20 January 2007

MST3K (611)

611 - Last of the Wild Horses - And, here's yet another DVD-R disc that froze on me in the middle of watching. Whatever brand of disc MST3Kguy uses, it dies 10-11 months after burn. Having to stop, rip and re-burn a disc never puts me in the best MST-watching mood. It also extends this process to what seems like infinity hours. It already takes 1.5 hours to watch the episode and an hour to construct a blog post. Add 30 to 45 minutes of repair time, depending on which of my DVD drives can actually rip the damaged disc, and there goes a lazy Saturday afternoon. Arg.

Luckily, I was looking forward to this episode. As with post-apocalyptic movies, I'm a sucker for a good parallel universe tale. It was fun seeing Mike, Crow, Dr. F and Frank trading places with their evil/good counterparts from the Mirror Universe. I just wish they'd toned down the Star Trek references a bit. I would have rather seen this episode stand more on its own. The cause of the switch (an ion storm) and Mike's goatee would've been sufficient nods to the source of the idea. We didn't really need the agony booths, the ISS Enterprise-style uniforms or the entire plot structure duplicated from that episode of Trek.

It's been five years since we had only two riffers in the theater. That was quite the burden on Frank. Trace is Trace, whether he's Dr. F or Crow. Frank is essentially replacing both Mike and Servo. That's rough, especially since he's never done any riffing outside of the writers' room before. He was OK, though a little "shouty" with his comments. With some practice under his belt, he could've carried the entire show. I'll admit that I wasn't disappointed that the Mads only riffed one segment of the movie.

There were a lot of old-school callbacks in this episode. The evil universe thing was first seen long, long ago in K05. There was an "I thought you were Dale!" riff, which we haven't heard since, maybe, 106. The Good Mads also duplicate two old host segments. In the first, Frank pulls out the "8 of Chris Lemmon" playing card, from 517. After that, and several times throughout the episode, they sing the "Joey the Lemur" song, from one of my favorite Joel host segments from 210 (also, I'm sure not coincidentally, a Lippert movie).

Overall, despite the attempt to do something fun and different, this episode was a disappointment. Outside of the novelty of seeing Dr. F and Frank in the theater, the only bits of this episode that I enjoyed were the "Joey the Lemur" song, Torgo as the computer voice and the Good Mads calling on the hexfield (I love the nod to the Star Trek "rule of three": reference two real things from the 20th century first, then one made-up thing from the future). The riffing wasn't particularly funny for any of the five characters in the theater and the host segments were too bogged down in Star Trek to really explore the fun of the evil universe idea. Ah, well. Maybe the evil universe got the good version of this episode?

"Only one man has this sweaty 'a neck." (6/10)

film d. Robert L. Lippert & Paul Landres [as Robert L. Lippert] (1946)
mst d. Kevin Murphy (15 Oct 1994)