Wednesday 28 February 2007

Saturn 3

Saturn 3 was a British science fiction film made in 1980 in a flagrant attempt to jump on the Star Wars/Alien bandwagon. Despite its Britishness (low budget, poor effects) it boasted three bona-fide Hollywood stars in the shape of Kirk Douglas, Farrah Fawcett and Harvey Keitel. Here are some other facts you might not know about Saturn 3:
  • At the time it was the only place you could get a glimpse of Farrah Fawcett naked, even if only for a second (this was long before career desperation brought about ill-advised Playboy shoots).
  • The film's screenplay was written by a certain Martin Amis, later to find fame as a serious novelist and author of The Rachel Papers, London Fields and more. Whether Steve Gallacher, author of the film tie-in book of Saturn 3, is a nom de plume of Mr Amis, who knows?
  • Inexplicably, Harvey Keitel's dialogue is dubbed by someone called Roy Dotrice.
So why am I writing about such an obscure film? Because it belongs to a select band of science fiction films that have been criminally overlooked (see also Logan's Run, Westworld, Capricorn One, Silent Running and, more recently, Event Horizon). Just because a "sci-fi" film has bad special effects (and occasionally laughable dialogue, in the case of Saturn 3) doesn't mean it's a bad film. Imagine "3" being reshot, let's say by a somehow-resurrected Stanley Kubrick, with decent CGI effects instead of wobbly models made out of leftover Airfix. Now let's cast Pierce Brosnan as our ageing hero, Keira Knightley as his much younger love interest and, let's say, Clive Owen as the menacing interloper with a psychotic giant cyborg for a friend. Find some decent dialogue from somewhere instead of the Amis corn, submit to the inevitable tie-in PlayStation game and you've got a blockbuster... but none of that is going to happen, so instead look at the late-night listings of the more obscure satellite and Freeview channels, or in the bargain bins of your friendly neighbourhood DVD store. If you stumble across Saturn 3 in either of those places, watch it, you're in for 88 minutes or so of interesting film.

And even if you don't like it, you get to see a young Farrah Fawcett with her top off...

Sunday 18 February 2007

The danger of whim

There's an old saying: act in haste, repent at leisure. As you might have guessed from the fact that it has become an "old saying" there is a lot of truth in those simple words. Because, my friend, whims can be dangerous, oh yes.

You see, it doesn't matter how good an idea seemed at the time, or how good your intentions were, or how much you saw things going differently in your head. The tragedy is that, more often that not, actions carried out on a whim, particularly when that whim occurs late at night and after way too many beers, by which time the moral compass is utterly demagnetised and the foot has come off your mental brake, it's those actions that you later desperately wish you could undo. Of course you cannot and, like me, you are left with no choice but to face up to the consequences, however unpleasant.

Those of you who have read this blog before might be remembering some posts from this time last year and hypothesising that this "whims are bad" rant is somehow related to Valentine's day. Well you might think that - I couldn't possibly comment.