krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
I'm still putting some time into watching movies I've had sitting on my hard disk recorder for quite a while, sitting in a peculiar limbo of "I can't just record them to DVD until I edit them, but I can't edit them without watching them first." After watching a few respectable but lengthy old movies, however, I moved on to something a bit more dodgy. When I heard of "mockbusters," movies with names almost like those of big-budget features as if to fool at least a few people into buying something far more cheaply made, I remembered the cheesy movies of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and how the more recent "ripoffs" in that show's canon were some of my favourites. Beyond buying and watching my way through a DVD of the "raw" "Space Mutiny," I haven't devoted too much time to experiencing those sort of movies without a crew of professionals laying the comedic groundwork, but when I saw the science fiction channel was programming a string of "mockbusters" late one night during one holiday marathon (not just last Christmas, mind you) I decided I could take a chance on some of them.

The opening effects of "Transmorphers" indeed looked pretty cheap, but I happened to notice how it had "robots from space" not only arrive but reduce the Earth to a post-apocalyptic wasteland bringing The Matrix to mind. As soon as actual people showed up, I had the unsettling impression that only was there something off about the acting, but that everybody looked less photogenic than "typical" actors. That the first group of people to be featured turned out not to be the "main characters" I had expected them to be was something, but by that point I was pretty much struck by how briefly any of the killer transforming robots were on screen for, as if "we can't afford any more effects" were themselves combining with "and they look worse the longer they're on screen." However, a lengthy digression among more off-key actors in ubiquitous black leather jackets sort of ground in the cheapness that much more. Even though when I was working on MSTings I never seemed that quick at coming up with "riffs," I did begin to suspect there really had to be something special to the outrageous ineptitude of the MST3K canon. I wound up getting so distinctly bored I left the second half of the movie for the next day with the thought the audience itself was being "mocked."

In that second half of the movie there was a bit more going on, though, and even an idea or two that was a bit of a surprise. That in itself added on to how I was convinced the first half of the movie had managed to mention same-sex marriage in a matter-of-fact way, which would have been that much braver (it didn't seem that "exploitative," even if this might just be a matter of the general lack of "exciting" feelings) when it had been made a few years back. I even got to the point of wondering about acting getting filtered through the certainty that it's "bad." Perhaps I am able to grab onto "ideas" from stories and mull them over without bothering to go back to the actual story; even setting aside the crassness I do unfortunately remember of the actual live-action Transformers, I might have contrasted even the people we got in this "mockbuster" against how "humans" very often seem just along for the ride in Transformers stories with fans looking down their noses at them to celebrate the exceedingly archetypical robot characters. However, I got an impression why the "mockbusters" haven't been dragged into the post-MST3K "riffing" fray yet too, and that after all was a crucial factor going into this.

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