krpalmer: (mst3k)
krpalmer ([personal profile] krpalmer) wrote2007-04-01 09:28 am
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MST3K 303: Pod People

I've returned to one of the first Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes I ever saw. My first experience watching it (as opposed to just reading MSTings) was watching "Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie," and I greatly enjoyed it, but having read in several reviews that not only was the series better than the movie, but the "Joel episodes" were better than the "Mike episodes," I rented a copy of "The Amazing Colossal Man" from a well-stocked video store in my university town when I had the chance. (As it turns out, rights issues made that movie officially available for just about as long as "Godzilla vs. Megalon," some years later...) However, I somehow wasn't quite as blown away as I had been by the movie, and that left me wondering... but the next episode I rented had me feeling more confident. I'm pretty sure it was "Pod People," although it just might have been "Cave Dwellers," too... In any case, I've just rewatched "Pod People," and whether it came at the right time before or not, it's still entertaining.

The movie itself may start slow, but it's another one of the ultra-low-budget ripoffs of more successful movies that form a small but memorable subgenre within the Mystery Science Theater "canon." In this case, a young boy (with an odd voice, the second episode I've seen in a row where this was the case) finds a friendly alien out in the very foggy forest and brings him home, with "product placement" playing a small role (in this case, boxes of Kellog's cereal on the table, a bottle of Planters peanuts, a "Simon" game rewired by the alien to no particular purpose, and a lonely Sprite logo stuck up on an outside wall)... as the "riffing" proclaims at one point, "Hey, it's like that scene in 'MAC and Me' where MAC came back to life!" However, the alien "Trumpy" is perhaps less memorable than some, in part because his cone-headed, anteater-snouted ("Let me get the attachments; you can do the couch"), hairless head is completely immobile. Also, there's another identical alien out there, whose eggs were smashed by a backwoods poacher (except for Trumpy's) and is killing people, including most of the members of a pop band also out in the forest on a vacation. It ends with most of the cast dead, and that makes the friendly antics ("What, did he come here from planet Goofball? Did he come in a little clown car?") a little less cheerful. The riffing may not quite realise this, though, and seems to try to present Trumpy as always about to lash out. I started wondering if there's quite so much of a difference between the "Joel episodes," which I saw as giving the movies more of a chance to condemn themselves, and what I saw as the sharper "Mike episodes," after all. The often quite memorable riffing does, though, include a number of Yoda imitations and the subtler Star Wars reference "Carbon scoring all over my droid..."