13 February 2007

MST3K (M01)

M01 - This Island Earth - I still don't really understand why there was a great need to bring MST3K to the big screen. At its heart, the show was a modern revival of the local channel horror host shows. In fact, the show started on a local station itself. Though its subject matter is film, it's really about film as it's presented on late night TV. Moving this concept into a real movie theater doesn't really seem to make sense to me. Sure, everything is bigger, better shot, better composed and better constructed, but that's not what MST3K is all about. It makes for a fun one-off experiment, though.

Any fan of the show not privy to the inside scoop will immediately be able to tell that there's a host segment missing somewhere. Instead of the normal three segments interrupting the movie, there are now only two. That partially explains why this "episode" is so much shorter than the ones found on regular TV. This lack of a host segment also contributes to a sense that they're completely extraneous. I can see non-fans emerging from the theater wondering what the point of the Dr. F bits were at all.

Speaking of: poor guy. All by himself, Dr. F is forced to carry the Deep 13 segments without any backup. Trace is great at hamming it up as a mad scientist, but it was odd not to have the ever-likable Frank there as his foil. I guess this is the first Frank-free episode in 6 years, after all.

"Then I ram my ovipositor down your throat and lay my eggs in your chest. But I'm not an alien." The riffing was pretty funny. It should be, as this was the movie the guys practiced with during live shows. Though not a terrible movie, This Island Earth had enough goofiness in it for the guys to rip into.

For a special cinematic experience, this was the very first movie I watched on my new HDTV that was delivered today. It looked good. Even though the DVD had a non-anamorphic transfer (Universal: special edition, please), it looked just fine on zoom. Weird to see all of those new empty seats to the left of Servo, though. The theater is so lonely in widescreen!

"Oh, please say we can get the Sci-Fi Channel. Please-oh-please-oh-please." (7/10)

film d. Joseph M. Newman & Jack Arnold [as Joseph Newman] (1955)
mst d. Jim Mallon (19 Apr 1996)