Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie


In the grand tradition of movies subtitled “The Movie,” the cult TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000 blasted off into the film world with MST3K: The Movie, bringing its “bad movie wisecracking in outer space” concept to the big screen with relatively few changes. Except that it’s a movie. Not a TV show. The concept is the same in series and film: an innocent man (Michael J. Nelson, playing Mike Nelson) is stranded in outer space by a mad scientist, who subjects the poor slob to “experiments” that involve watching the worst movies ever made. In order to survive this cinematic torture, Mike and his two companions, sarcastic robots Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot, mercilessly heckle the film in self-defense. In this case, the target is This Island Earth, a 1955 sci-fi opus about cauliflower head aliens who abduct scientists from Earth and force them to help save their planet of Metaluna from certain destruction, or something like that. Silly special effects, stilted dialogue and general goofiness ensue. Despite the larger budget afforded a movie subtitled “The Movie,” MST3K: The Movie plays as a shorter (yet still hilarious) version of the TV show, with the robots and sets purposefully maintaining their ingenious, homemade look. A great treat for fans and a fun introduction for the uninitiated, MST3K: The Movie perfectly demonstrates the show’s savvy combination of pop culture deconstruction and intelligently offbeat humor. (Dir. by Jim Mallon, 1996, USA, 73 mins., Rated PG-13) Digital