krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
I've made it to the last DVD of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 "20th Anniversary Set." When I first had the chance to see episodes of the series (then) not available on official video, "Future War" was one of the first ones I sought out, and that might have had a lot to do with having already become interested in the movie's "high concept" plot as explained in the official episode guide, what with dinosaurs and cyborgs from the future and kickboxing... However, I've since noticed that it's not quite so much a favourite of some other people. I seem to recall someone suggesting that, since the episode guide itself suggests this episode was the one the "Best Brains" were working on when they were informed the tenth season would be their last, they had somehow "lost their spirit" and it showed. All the same, my own appreciation of this episode seems unabated. To me, it seems rich both with entertaining "riffs" and the poverty-stricken excess of the movie itself, in some ways distinct in the series as a "1990s ripoff" to match the "1980s ripoffs" also a memorable part of the series.

That "1990s vibe" seems somehow amplified by the plaid shirts some of the people in the movie's first scenes are wearing as they press through darkened tunnels, their walls covered with plastic piping ("Welcome to Pipe World. All we do is pipes, and we do them well.") One of these people is evidently important because his sleeves are missing to show off his muscles ("My shirt sleeves are around here somewhere!") He's played by Daniel Bernhardt, who would later play an agent in The Matrix Reloaded. Eventually, the group of people discover some Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaurs a little less impressive than those in Jurassic Park, and promptly flee the way they came. Although the black guy falls off a ladder for no clear reason and gets eaten, the others manage to escape setting up an extended flashback which begins as Bernhardt's character bails out of the "Dustbuster Galactica" as the opening credits roll until we reach the first in-movie commercial break. ("This movie is crediting the entire United States, person by person!")

Crawling up on a beach on Earth (near the "Three Mile Island all inclusive resort"), "Runaway" is pursued by quite small dinosaurs and a white-faced, mullet-haired cyborg, who he battles among many empty cardboard cartons. ("Boxes of air. Shipped anywhere in the world overnight!") While he emerges victorious from this kickboxing "Battle of the guys who peaked in high school," Runaway is promptly hit by a novice nun's car. ("Sister Vehicular Homicide.") "Sister Ann" doesn't need this hassle, as she's having a crisis of faith over a friend from her sinful past life having died from a drug overdose. (The press clipping that informs us of this somehow looks to me as if it might have been made on the even-then obsolete Macintosh SE sitting on a desk later in the movie.) However, after a fair bit of dialogue I had a little trouble making out, the dinosaurs attack again, and Runaway and Sister Ann flee. In the meantime, a dinosaur apparently devours the late Forrest J. Ackerman. (The "riffers" don't seem quite impressed by his cameo appearance, though, quipping that "He has the lithe, supple figure of a James Doohan.")

Sister Ann and Runaway eventually get picked up off the streets by a police car ("Yeah, I'm supposed to get you folks back in the movie?") and taken to a dinosaur incident, where the detective investigating asks them to follow him in without really seeming to determine who they are. After a lone officer stuck with carrying a gun in one hand and a flashlight in the other ("Where's the rest of my SWAT team? Am I just a SWAT guy?") is assailed by a dinosaur, Runaway manages to defeat the creature through the magic of shoddy forced perspective, and gets arrested for his trouble. ("A skinny Belgian idiot was arraigned on charges today.")

Fortunately, another cyborg played by the huge-faced Robert Z'Dar (who'd previously appeared on the series in "Soultaker") storms the rather underwhelming police station, and Runaway escapes yet again in the chaos. He teams up with Sister Ann once more, who can get help from the underworld with very little trouble and leads a team into the tunnels from the start of the movie. ("Lieutenant Nun leads the troops." "Plaid Avengers, ho!") They manage to trap or blow up all of the dinosaurs with only some casualties of their own, and then at last Sister Ann is ready to become a full nun. Unfortunately, the Robert Z'Dar cyborg storms the extremely underwhelming church ("It's the Arby's employee chapel."), and Runaway must battle him one last time, his shirt sort of falling off in the melee. He apparently survives to become a halfway house counsellor. During the extremely lengthy end credits, Mike tries to amuse the "bots" with forced perspective. Unimpressed, they ask him if this is because of Joel's recent visit.

Two of the "host segments" build on perhaps easy-to-miss bits of dialogue from the movie itself (although it's pretty fun to see Crow become "Droppy the water droplet, here to talk to you about water, nature's liquid"), and in a third Tom Servo makes himself some bulgy, footless legs so as to promise "constant kickboxing!" He manages, while struggling to get any sort of use at all from those new legs, to convince Gypsy to knock him out with her own new leg.

As a further bonus to the DVD, footage from a 2008 Comic-Con reunion panel is included. It may perhaps mostly reiterate things we learn from the history features on the other three DVDs of this collection, but the panel seemed like fun anyway.


Date: 2008-12-15 09:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Uncle Forry was also a great pioneer for Esperanto, the global language.

Dankon al vi pere de

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