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Worth A Look: 30%
Average: 13.75%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

4 reviews, 56 user ratings

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Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie
[] Buy posters from this movie
by brianorndorf

"A franchise curiosity back on store shelves"
4 stars

So, the famous television show that makes fun of movies decided to become a movie that makes fun of movies. The translation is a little bumpy, but this is “Mystery Science Theater” we’re talking about here: even a less concentrated effort is guaranteed to be a pants-wetting night of endless laughs and infectious bad movie grimacing.

Coming straight from the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” school of thought, the plot for “The Movie” is simple: Dr. Forrester (Trace Beaulieu) wants to melt the brains of space-station lab rat Mike (Mike Nelson) and his robot pals Crow (voiced by Beaulieu) and Tom Servo (Kevin Murphy). To do so, the evil madman has secured a print of the 1955 alien invasion epic “This Island Earth” for the crew of the Satellite of Love to suffer through, hoping to secure his plans for world domination with this latest step in bad movie experimentation.

Produced midway through the run of the classic television series “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” “The Movie” limped into the theaters in 1996, severely compromised by distributor Gramercy Pictures and given only a fleeting release in a measly 26 theaters across the country. A sore spot for MSTies, “The Movie” is probably the least “Mystery Science Theater” flavored thing the franchise ever produced. However, like a great heavyweight champ, it fought back hard, refusing corporate defeat to become a hilarious exercise in big-screen mockery.

Sure, the faults are plentiful in “The Movie;” in trying to open up the sets to make use of a larger playground, the show’s intimacy and low-tech, one-dimensional appeal is lost. It doesn’t quite look like “MST,” which was an intentional move, but remains off-putting. The picture is also robbed of iconic host segments, as “The Movie” is more film-oriented, with an angry studio behind the production trying to hurry up the proceedings by ordering skit cuts, leaving “The Movie” only a paltry 70 minutes long, compared to the luxurious 90+ minutes of the series. The abbreviated pace is disorienting.

Regardless of a few production missteps, “The Movie” is one uproarious feature film, showcasing the cast taking on their most challenging film subject and pulling it off with wit, goofball charm, and generous helpings of slapstick. “This Island Earth” is a peculiar film to heckle, not only because it features impressive production standards for its time, but it’s also considered to be something of a “classic” by sci-fi fans. With a show that usually traffics in unforgivable schlock, the appearance of this classy picture raises eyebrows and erects a few imposing comedic roadblocks.

Obviously, the riffing in “The Movie” isn’t nearly as formidable as on the show. With higher expectations for mass-audience appeal, the production dials down the more obscure tangents to snuggle up to the Average Joe. With “This Island Earth,” the riffs are almost entirely based off visuals from the movie, with Mike and the Bots sticking close to the genre absurdity presented. Also, being a film shot in 1995, some of the riffs are a little moldy, with references to John Sununu, Patriot missiles, and the Hubble space telescope sneaking into the flow of comedy. Sections of the riff track are dated and perhaps a bit confusing to new viewers, but I wouldn’t want “MST” to be any other way. “The Movie” is a tad more obvious, but remains an engaging trivia game for fans who like to pick out reference origins and spot loving tributes to past episodes.

On a more personal note, I was actually an intern with a public relations company that represented Gramercy Pictures during the release of “The Movie.” I mention this only because the film’s intent as a communal experience was squashed by a studio that failed to grasp what they had. I’ll always treasure the memories of the premiere events surrounding “The Movie,” and the opportunity to view the feature with a throng of enthusiastic fans. The series works like a charm with a small crowd huddled around a TV, but “The Movie” was always a more electric experience positioned in front of a large audience.

Having this DVD is wonderful, but the entire film feels predicated on the reaction of hundreds of people at once, and I feel awful for those who basically weren’t allowed to enjoy that critical comedic momentum by the suits at Gramercy.

Though riddled with tiny flaws, “Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie” is a delight to watch, presenting constant laughs and elastic visuals that make the film a unique experience in the now extraordinarily widespread “MST” universe.

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originally posted: 05/10/08 10:19:46
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User Comments

4/29/09 Dr.Lao Nothing more than a high budget version of the TV show, and This Island Earth is not bad! 3 stars
4/29/07 William Goss Funniest when seated, and yet not as hilarious as certain episodes. 4 stars
8/26/05 ES "there goes a stupid, stupid man' = wish I had seen more of the tv show 4 stars
7/21/05 Kenny I left the iron plugged in when i watched it. And I didn't care!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/30/05 DM Funny, but too short and "This Island Earth" really isn't that bad. 4 stars
3/23/05 indrid cold Just an average MST3K episode, meaning it's funnier than most other comedies. 4 stars
2/06/05 Pants Weenieman away! 5 stars
6/16/04 franknutz too bad its shorter than a regular episode and near impossible to get on dvd anymore 5 stars
3/27/04 blue A-FUCKING-MAZING!!! 5 stars
1/21/03 Matt Thiel There are deleted scenes that Universal *ordered* to be cut. We deserve an SE DVD release! 4 stars
1/15/03 mans0n its just like an episode, nothing new here! and "crowes" voice is different which sucks! 3 stars
1/10/03 Ange Faitore The end credits are the BEST! Amazing Rando, that Rando stuff *kills* me! 5 stars
1/08/03 y2mckay "WHOOP DE SHIT" - funniest line. 4 stars
1/07/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" lyrik *dies laughing* 5 stars
1/07/03 Skeeboarder This is absolutely THE funniest movie ever made! Go see it or get a life! 5 stars
10/15/02 Charles Tatum Honestly, the funniest movie ever made 5 stars
6/19/02 Film Dude Yeah, Mike sucks ass... but the movie is still fucking funny! 5 stars
6/09/02 Kyle I never thought I'd be saying this, but... I agree with Andrew Carden. *Shudders* 5 stars
4/25/02 Mister Char hilarious material, there are too many funny one liners to list .... 5 stars
1/26/02 Seth Berg THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH 5 stars
12/10/01 The Bomb 69 laughed from beginning to end!!! 5 stars
11/23/01 Andrew Carden I Just Love How This Shows All Of These Stupid Movies, It's Great! 5 stars
9/05/01 Butterbean They had funnier TV episodes than this movie. Mike Nelson looks even hotter on big screens 3 stars
8/18/01 Dakamus It's alright, but nothing can stand up to the original episodes with Joel. Mike sucks ass. 3 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk This is a genuinely funny-ass film. MST3K is so well-written and thought out...I loved it. 5 stars
7/10/01 kegs Snazzy!!!!! 5 stars
6/09/01 cinkcool Very Funny. Too bad the series is gone. 5 stars
5/05/01 buck futter buck my futter! 5 stars
4/28/01 Hawkeye "Calling Doctor Jemima...." Rent this movie! You'll laugh yourself silly. 5 stars
4/25/01 J THE cult classic of 1996! 5 stars
2/28/01 Soggy Bottom Boy Didn't stand out from the TV version. 3 stars
2/26/01 jonny bravo weiner man! 5 stars
2/14/01 Karen Of course MST3K's fucking awesome! Brains are optional for most shows -- you need one here! 5 stars
2/14/01 TomServo its way too good 5 stars
2/07/01 Macarthur Student The greatest and saddest victim of bad marketing hacks. 5 stars
2/05/01 Diego Romero That´s not funny Ruth,I was a slave 5 stars
1/31/01 Nellie's mother sucks cocks in hell! great! 5 stars
1/31/01 Big Isil Good fun, different comedy riffing that we all do at home. Too short, though. 4 stars
12/27/00 TomServo too funny 5 stars
3/10/00 David Rogers MST3K ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/23/99 Physh You can still taste it weeks after seeing. 5 stars
7/05/99 Thanos6 The only thing funnier than the movie is the TV series. 5 stars
5/21/99 J. Random Hacker I drove hundreds of miles to see this, and it was worth it! You'll laugh your ass off! 5 stars
3/31/99 TIE Girl Hmm...suddenly I have this refreshing mint flavour 5 stars
1/25/99 Scion of Sailor Jupiter If there is a God, there will be a sequle sometime in my life. 5 stars
11/16/98 Lord Of The Dunce Genius. 5 stars
9/28/98 Heather Holder A cult classic! Even if you've never seen the show, you'll like this one! 5 stars
9/26/98 Michael Grote It rocked 5 stars
9/26/98 Pat Flanagan Would have been even better if Gramercy didn't fuck it up. Viva MST3K!! 5 stars
9/25/98 angevines C'mon, bite me, I'm a toaster strudel! But caution, my filling might be hot! 5 stars
9/25/98 ShadowStar Glad I saw it... more gald I didn't travel to Manhattan to see it in a theater. 4 stars
9/23/98 Jason Rosenbaum If you love the show, you'll love the movie. It's pretty much the same. 4 stars
9/21/98 Johny Not in the mood for plot driven films and need some wise ass humor? This is good stuff. 4 stars
9/05/98 bizzy is that a poptart? hahahahhahahhhahahah 4 stars
8/25/98 Mister Whoopee I've never had a girlfriend that didn't hate this thing. Big stars for that, I say! 4 stars
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  19-Apr-1996 (PG-13)
  DVD: 27-May-1998

  N/A (PG)

  03-Oct-1996 (PG)

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