krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
After a fair break, it's back at last to commenting on episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. A little while back, I mentioned how the series showed enough movies that could be called "ripoffs of 1960s James Bond movies" to think that they amounted to a "subset of the canon," and decided to rewatch the other episodes that qualified for that. (As it turns out, I managed to increase my knowledge of the actual James Bond movies over the Christmas vacation by watching Thunderball...) This particular movie takes a particularly interesting approach in ripping off James Bond.

"Operation Double 007" features a throng of actors who played roles in the actual James Bond movies ("What's Moneypenny doing there? Isn't that a conflict of interest?"), including Adolfo Celi, who played the villian in Thunderball, but here doesn't wear an eyepatch. ("I think I know why Thunderball was a hit--we never saw him kiss anyone in it!") The lead character, though, is played by Sean Connery's brother Neil Connery, who's actually called "Connery" in the movie and is identified as the "brother of our top agent." However, this doesn't mean that "Connery" is somehow a little out of his depth. He's a famous plastic surgeon who, when the burn victim ("That's what happens when you bob for french fries") he fixed up is captured by the bad guys because she turns out to have been the hypnotic recorder of an actual secret agent killed when the villain crashes a remote-controlled car into his light plane on landing, joins the forces of good with only some complaining. "Connery" can hypnotise people himself using an ancient Tibetan method, he can read lips, and he's a pretty fair hand-to-hand fighter and a good archer. It is true that when trying to pass himself off as a blind carpet-maker, he gives himself away by using Arabic "from the Crusades," but all in all I'm faintly reminded of the "self-insertion fanfics" some MSTing writers (including myself) seemed somewhat compelled to tackle, stories in which the main characters could tend to be greatly overequipped for the stories they wound up in and the challenges they set themselves to face.

The "riffing" in this episode is fun, and doesn't seem to me to go overboard trying to "take on" whatever pretensions the movie or particular actors may have had. (In one host segment, Joel and the bots present "Sean and Neil--parallel lives," tracking Sean's steady ascent to superstardom and Neil's steady descent to selling light bulbs over the phone and bouncing cheques, then actually make a cheerful apology to Neil, commenting "And no matter what's gone wrong with his life, Neil can always look in the mirror and say to himself, 'Well, at least I didn't do Zardoz'.") Another fun host segment features Joel imitating the villian with the movie's soundtrack blaring, and Torgo himself returns from his previous host segment appearance in "Manos: The Hands of Fate." It also helps that the movie swirling around Neil Connery is actually kind of absurd fun itself, with a killer nun, the theft of an "atomic nucleus," flashy costumes for the girls (and some of the guys sometimes, too) and a climax featuring a subterranean lair and an army of archers charging to the rescue on horseback. I'm not quite sure if it's explained just where these archers come from, but maybe it was cut for time to make the episode.

Date: 2008-01-20 03:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jeanerj.livejournal.com
An 'atomic nucleus'? Hm. Aren't they just sorta, well, lying around everywhere, for the taking? I mean, gosh, there's one, right over there (points). Maybe it was an Anna Nichole nucleus, and worth a bunch. But hey, who knew?
Btw, Mercury is breathtaking. Minimal cratering. Do you think the gravity from Ol' Sol might have saved it from a pounding?

Date: 2008-01-21 12:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] krpalmer.livejournal.com
Of course, if it had been the Geometric Nucleus...

I had to look back at the new Mercury pictures when I heard "minimal" cratering, but in looking (http://www.planetary.org/news/2008/0118_MESSENGERs_First_Mercury_Flyby_Highly.html) I did become intrigued on picking up that there are smoother patches. My own guess is that there have been lava flows at some point filling in the older craters, as with our moon, but I suppose I'll have to wait and watch for further commentary.

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