krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
The second set of episodes of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival were presented with numerous winks towards “watching them one after another,” but with one thing and another (including Christmas vacation), I didn’t get around to getting through all of them until now. I do want to say these six episodes built on the foundation of the fourteen before, but perhaps can’t say much in the way of articulated argument for that beyond that the original Mystery Science Theater had kept changing through its run, I keep finding the complications of the new setting amusing, and the latest episodes didn’t seem to build quite as many “riffs” around references to online services as I remember their predecessors doing.

After commenting on “MAC and Me” and “Atlantic Rim,” I didn’t quite get around to saying anything at the time about “Lords of the Deep,” which returned to the 1980s but was now picking The Abyss as its more well-known source to knock off (although that movie is one more of the 1980s productions I’ve still to this date only experienced by reading its novelization). The colourful and thoroughly late-1980s uniforms of the undersea base where another variant on that recurring science fiction theme of “inner space” is peculiarly developed were one eye-catching part of the experience, but so was the puppet that appeared in the final “host segment” outside the movie.

I might have thought just a bit beforehand that “The Day Time Ended” was a movie from the 1960s, but it was in fact from the 1970s, and as I understand it from the people who’d made “Laserblast,” a notable earlier feature in the MST3K canon. Stop-motion animation did feature in both movies, but “The Day Time Ended” perhaps took longer to really get going (including a notable running gag in the “riffing”); once it finally had kicked into an explain-little, overwhelming-experience gear, though, it was sort of interesting for managing to avoid the sort of bleak conclusion I’ve long been tempted to associate with numerous 1970s movies featured by MST3K (including “Laserblast” itself).

The title “Killer Fish” had left me wondering just how similar this movie would be to “Lords of the Deep,” but as it turned out this movie from the 1970s seemed more a crime caper in an exotic locale that eventually turned into a small-scale disaster movie involving killer animals. While the episode itself might not have really picked up until then, once it did it seemed to turn out well. For me, though, that just might have had something to do with fewer direct references to its 1970s actors being made in the “riffing” than I can imagine the series making in the “Joel years.”

As for “Ator the Fighting Eagle,” I knew this movie preceded the feature Film Ventures International had repackaged and renamed “Cave Dwellers,” a notable part of the MST3K canon at the start of the third season. Bits of it did keep realising I’d already seen them in the extended flashback (“This is the part we like to call ‘she had to ask.’” “Tolkien couldn’t follow this plot!”) near the beginning of the previous episode. Still, along with not seeming to notice any references to the earlier experience (even with “Pod People” being mentioned in the host segments), I did wonder if the score sounded that much more grandiose than in “Cave Dwellers.” I am aware that Rifftrax produced its own take on this movie not that long ago, but unfortunately I’m still stuck there with the concern I did manage to overcome for the revival, that too many gratuitous shots will be taken at familiar targets just a few of which I don’t share the loudest opinions towards. As for the understated story arc of the host segments, there was another puppet, a return appearance of Dr. Laurence Erhardt, and a conclusion with less of a cliffhanger feeling than the first episodes of the revival. Still, I’d absolutely welcome a further block of revival episodes, of whatever length.
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