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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (1996)



Reviews and Comments

This feature film episode of the popular cable television series is pretty much like any other episode -- in fact, some of the television episodes have longer running times. For those unfamiliar with the television show, it has a remarkably simple and original premise -- so much so, that it's a minor miracle the show ever aired in the first place. The idea is, a human and a couple robots are forced by a mad scientist to watch the world's worst movies. They survive the ordeal by their senses of humor. We watch the movie with them, see their silhouettes at the bottom of the screen, and, while watching the movie, listen to the hysterical potshots and one-liners they make at the movie.

The target for this episode is 1955's This Island Earth, which, while not actually as bad as most of the show's targets, is nevertheless improved upon by all the wisecracks. The cut sequences have a visibly higher budget for this feature film than in the television episodes, but they're a drag anyway -- I would have preferred to have a more complete version of This Island Earth lampooned. (A good half hour or so is cut out of This Island Earth -- presumably the parts that were difficult to make fun of were cut.)

This film and its accompanying series are perhaps the best way to introduce the uninitiated to the surprising pleasures of watching and laughing at really bad movies -- a hobby celebrated in its own RinkWorks feature, It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Movie. The sharper the wit of those watching, the more fun the experience. The wits of the writers behind Mystery Science Theater 3000 are among the sharpest.

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