Friday, April 03, 2009

MST3K Volume 12

DVD Review from The Movie Snob

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection Volume 12. I don’t think I’ve written about MST3K before, but I’m a long-time fan of this show that ran for maybe 7 years on Comedy Central and 3 more on the Sci-Fi channel. In case you’re unfamiliar with it, the basic idea is that they show bad movies, and at the bottom of the screen you can see three silhouettes, as though people were sitting in front of you in a movie theater. The silhouetted people make wisecracks about the movie from the opening credits through the closing credits, and the wisecracks are what make the show funny. There are also segments in which the wisecracking guys put on little skits of their own, but those parts are not usually all that amusing. Oh, and two of the guys are robots. Since cancellation, they’ve put out a few episodes on single-episode DVDs and many more in four-episode volumes, and I have most of them. I just haven’t been reviewing them on the Court. So here are my reviews of the four episodes that make up this collection. I skipped most of the skits, so the reviews relate just to the movie parts.

The Rebel Set, plus short feature Johnny at the Fair. Sometimes the guys show a “short” before the main feature, and they are often funnier then the movie. That is probably true in this case. Johnny at the Fair is about an annoying little boy who wanders away from his parents at a Canadian world fair, and the commentary is very entertaining. The Rebel Set is a lame 1959 crime movie about three losers who get recruited by the owner of a beatnik coffee house to commit an armored-car robbery. I never watched the TV show Get Smart, but the criminal mastermind guy apparently played the Chief on that show. The movie is goofy, and the commentary is funny. To my surprise, they got one of the stars to give an interview for the disc. This disc is a solid B.

Secret Agent Super Dragon. This is a 1966 James Bond rip-off with a super-smug secret agent whose code name is, yes, “Super Dragon.” The plot is incomprehensible, and SASD’s fight scenes and escapes from certain death are ridiculous. So is the shlubby guy who plays SASD’s Walmart version of Q. The guys have some fun with this one, but it’s not one of the best entries in the series. B-.

The Starfighters. According to the Internet Movie Database, this is the second worst movie of all time, and I believe it. Released in 1964, it is like Top Gun stripped of any action or interest whatsoever. Two long chunks of the movie are taken up with stock footage of fighter aircraft refueling in flight. There’s a dramatic sequence in which one of our courageous pilots may have crashed during a training flight—and they show absolutely no flying at all. Even the hecklers can’t do much with this utterly lame waste of celluloid. D.

Parts: The Clonus Horror. Did you see the 2005 movie The Island, starring Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge!) and Scarlett Johansson (He’s Just Not That Into You)? If so, then you’ve seen Parts, a low-budget 1979 sci-fi film about an unscrupulous corporation that runs a clone farm as a spare organ bank for the wealthy and powerful. There was a copyright lawsuit against The Island folks, in fact, and it settled before trial. This disc actually features an interview with the director of Parts, and he talks a little about that lawsuit, although I’ll bet he wasn’t supposed to under the terms of the settlement. Anyhoo, the movie has aspirations to serious social commentary, but it is rather weighted down by its low budget and bland acting. Peter Graves (Airplane!) shows up as a top bad guy (spawning numerous Biography jokes), and beloved Dick Sargent (TV’s Bewitched) is one of the evil doctors at Clonus. A solidly entertaining episode. B+.


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