krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
Getting back to filling in one-episode gaps in my list of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes commented on, I've returned at last to the "Joel episodes" and the first "Hercules" movie the show featured, which just happens to be the sequel to the original "Hercules movie starring Steve Reeves," which the show didn't feature until the following season but which I've already commented on... Things already seem to be getting complicated, and that's even before reaching "Hercules Unchained" and its own convolutions.

Things begin with Hercules, his wife Iole, and the young Ulysses bidding their travelling companions farewell and setting out by covered wagon for Hercules's home city. Along the way, Hercules battles and defeats ("What scares me is they don't have showers.") the giant Antaeus (played by former heavyweight champion of the world Primo Carnera), and then discovers there's some sort of crisis involving his home city. He sets out with Ulysses and an important letter, but just so happens to drink from the Waters of Forgetfulness along the way and collapses. ("Uh, I forgot how my muscles work!") He's then collected by the forces of Queen Omphale ("I just love Italian beef."); Ulysses manages to pass himself off as a deaf-mute when also captured. Eventually, after much hedonism involving the queen ("So, what's on the slate today; eatin' and lovin'?"), Ulysses manages to cut off Hercules's supply of the Waters of Forgetfulness long enough for him to recover his memory just as the travelling companions show up. Feats of strength enliven the escape ("Oh, come on; he's throwing a giant chocolate bunny!") and the queen tosses herself into whatever it was that made statues out of her previous lovers, and then it turns out that with his mission having gone awry, Hercules's home city is under siege. Hercules infiltrates, wrestles some tigers ("Hobbes, get offa me!"), leads an army out against the beseiging horde ("You know, this is like I, Claudius, only it's not good."), and pulls over some siege towers using a grappling hook. ("You know, this kind of reminds me of The Empire Strikes Back, only it's not very good.") At last, Hercules has an only slightly awkward reunion with Iole. ("This is the end of the story of forgetfulness, those who watch of it will die of boredom!")

The "host segments" feature, among other things, Mike Nelson playing a somewhat befuddled Steve Reeves visiting Deep 13 and what sort of strikes me as Gypsy's character shifting from "big dumb mascot who does happen to keep things ticking over" to "still kind of simply straightforward yet now articulate." With even the "riffers" making frequent comments towards the end about how confusing the plot is, I suppose it's easy enough to let the experience wash over and past you, but it is still fun in its own way.

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