Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie - * * *

The TV show writ large. For those unfamiliar with the concept, the premise is this: An evil scientist, Dr. Clayton Forrester, has hatched an evil plan to take over the world by forcing people to watch bad movies. To perfect his technique, he captured a test subject, Mike (Mike Nelson), and trapped him on the Satellite of Love, where, acompanied by loyal robots, he is forced to watch the worst movies that the Mad Doctor can find. However, Mike and the ‘bots refuse to give in so easily, and they face the bad movies with nonstop wisecracks and jokes. The movie is exactly the same as the TV show, except with larger and more detailed sets. This time around, the torture is This Island Earth, a sci-fi flick from the mid ’50s, complete with bad sets, bad effects, and bad acting. However, the nonstop riffs provide ample distraction. Nonstop commentary ranging on subjects from popular culture, unintentional subtexts, and, of course, the bad sets, bad effects, and bad acting, are hilarious. Sure, up to a third of the jokes may bomb, but the rapid-fire assault ensures that you’ll be laughing before long. The film slows a bit during two intermission segments, where Mike and the ‘bots have various antics around the Satellite, most of which will be interesting only to die hard fans. The biggest question in my mind is ‘why?’ There’s not much of a difference between the television show and the film…and in fact, although the movie is very funny, it pales in comparison to a couple of the classic episodes from TV. Still, if you’re a fan of the show, or haven’t ever seen it before, watch this film.

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