Mystery Science Theatre 3000: The Movie (UK - BD RB)
Marcus tags along for the Doctor's experiment and wishes he hadn't...
Based on the long running cult TV show, Mystery Science Theatre 3000, upgrades to the big screen and Dr. Clayton Forrester (Trace Beaulieu) continues to subject Mike Nelson and his two robot buddies, Crow and Gypsy, to the worst movies ever made, this time it's Universal's This Island Earth.
Those who do not know what Mystery Science Theatre 3000 is or have never seen it, it's essentially as simply as that synopsis above. There's some madcap introduction with the mad doctor telling us what his experiment is and then we cut to Mike and the muppet-esq robots on their "space station" tinkering about before they are forced to go and watch the film. Then while the film is running we have silhouettes at the bottom of the screen that show Mike and the robots watching the film and they make comments about what we're seeing. That's all there is to it and if like me that is a baffling concept for a movie, you'd be right.
I can't lie, there's a certain likeable charm to the set up here. Its super low budget, the simplest set up of all time and so goofy I can understand its appeal but for me Mystery Science Theatre 3000 isn't the sort of thing that makes me laugh and if it was it would be a far sharper, funnier approach than what this movie provides.
The idea of two robots and an everyday Joe watching a movie and poking holes it in, on paper sounds great but it's so drab here. Long gaps of silence then the odd comment or chuckle highlight the obvious issues with the film they are watching but it's never enough to really work for me. This feels like a boring commentary track for the most part, the gags are pretty lame, the observations never all that funny and the madcap breaks we have between seeing the film that are set on the space station are very much a glossy version of the TV show roots of the project and again, not all that funny.
I'll chalk this one up to me missing the boat. I'd not seen Mystery Science Theatre before, though I had heard a great deal about it. Sitting down to watch this review disc felt like I was about to step into a realm of fandom and kick myself for missing out on it, sadly despite my best intentions, this is a cult favourite I just don't get.
Given the low budget nature of the movie and the 1996 release, MST 3000 actually looks pretty bloody good. Sure it's coloured like Batman and Robin, with ultra bright blues, reds and greens and of course it's lit like any low rent TV show from the 90s but there's a strong transfer here, with nice edges, good detail and a nice bit of lighting. Yeah, it shows off the cheapness but it's not like the film makers were ever trying to hide that.
All that said, the image has some grain to it in places, a few soft areas to the frame and it certainly has that 90s TV to movie upgrade look but it's never that bad. Of course the elements of This Island Earth look like an old B movie should but even that gets a bit of a boost from the HD upgrade.
The audio track is a little more basic. There's the odd increase in volume to add to the excitement of going in to watch the old film but there's very little going on here besides dialogue. Even so there's a nice divide between This Island Earth and its three viewers and there's a genuine sense the trio are sitting in front of the main features audio, so that all works quite nicely.
Sadly all you get here is a five minute featurette (which gives a brief history of the show) a trailer and a still gallery.
Mystery Science Theatre 3000 wasn't really for me despite wanting to like it more than I did. The extras are thin, so that holds this release back from being a fans delight somewhat but the video and audio departments are great considering the low budget nature of the movie.
Review by Marcus Doidge
General viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children
Release Date: 28th May 1995
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English
Extras: Featurette, Trailer, Stills Gallery
Easter Egg: No
Director: Jim Mallon
Cast: Trace Beaulieu, Michael J. Nelson and Jim Mallon
Length: 74 minutes
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