krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
My trip through the "Russo-Finnish troika" of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes has come to an end, with the show that was made after the "troika" was named in the official episode guide. Perhaps, as "Jack Frost" got under way, I was wondering if the experience felt a little different in the first season of the "Sci-Fi Channel" era than it had before. As well, given that "The Sword and the Dragon" had felt more "epic" to me than "The Magic Voyage of Sinbad," which in turn had felt more "epic" than "The Day the Earth Froze," "Jack Frost" did seem to be on a somewhat smaller scale than any of the three movies before it. However, as the movie rolled on it grew more and more entertaining in a ridiculous sort of way, and given the season I chose to watch these episodes in, it's sort of fun for a good part of it to be set in actual winter.

Somewhere in a "Russo-Finnish" sort of land, the young maiden Nastya or Nastenka is oppressed by her evil stepmother ("You know Mike, I think I just don't like evil Russo-Finnish grandmas!"), who dotes in turn on her rather less attractive daughter Marfushka, first seen lolling around in bed while eating something vaguely like a lollipop. ("Mm, liver on a stick!") Nastenka manages to plead with the sun to turn back so she can finish knitting a sock before morning. ("So the first plot point involves knitting socks. We're in for quite a ride, guys." "Eh, the world's thrown into chaos - earthquakes, floods - but that's fine. You knit your sock!") At the same time, the strapping blond Ivan or Ivanushka is out roaming around, tossing the cudgels of a group of bandits into the air. ("You didn't tell us you were mythical!") After a strange encounter with a short mushroom person who fades in and out, Ivanushka meets Nastenka but, not truly heroic at this point, somehow gets a pail shoved over his head, which somehow leaves him with a crude-looking bear head. ("Every time I meet a man, he's either gay or a bear.") Ivanuska must do a good deed to change back, and horrifies a great many people in the process before the change happens under somewhat uncertain circumstances. ("So if you speculate about doing good, it's better than actually doing good?")

Winter falls, and Nastenka is taken into the deep woods to not get in the way of Marfuska being married off. She then runs into the character we're supposed to call Jack Frost, who takes her to his quaint house. In the meantime, Ivanushka has run into a witch living in a house on legs, who faces him with a peculiar challenge. ("Yes, every culture's mythology features the young hero chasing a pig-sleigh!") The witch also tries to freeze Nastenka using Jack Frost's fairly dangerous frost staff, but Ivanushka manages to show up to save the day. The couple returns in triumph with a horse-drawn sleigh and a rich dowry, and the jealous Marfuska demands to also be taken into the deep woods, but winds up returning on a pig-drawn sleigh. ("Proving once again that slightly unattractive people are evil!") Ivanushka and Nastenka are briefly threatened by the bandits from the beginning of the movie, but their own cudgels come down on their heads at last and we can close with a wedding with everyone in colourful costumes. ("Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Wedding.") "Host segments" include Mike becoming "Lord of the Dance" ("Did the other guy die?"), Professor Bobo and the Observer having to get along with Pearl Forrester off driving the "space children" home, and Crow not only becoming a bear but bringing in two unqualified individuals (at Mike's great expense) to try and explain the movie.

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