krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
Having already commented on "Pod People," I'm moving ahead to the fourth season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and "City Limits." Fitting it into a pattern two episodes after "Space Travellers" and in between "The Giant Gila Monster" and "Teenagers From Outer Space," I can see it as helping to establish a brief alternation at the start of the season as a lower-key echo of the alternation between "American movies" and "Japanese movies" that made up a lot of Mystery Science Theater's third season, the difference this time around that the alternation is between black and white movies from the 1950s (which filled most of the third season) and the repackaging efforts of "Film Ventures International" (which helped lead it off). For once, "City Limits" seems to have its own footage heavily solarized to serve as a backdrop for FVI's opening and closing credits, but it's difficult to say if this helps the movie any...

"Fifteen years" from now (or whenever the movie was made), after a plague that killed off almost all the adults in the world and left the children to cobble together an anarchistic society of their own, an injured young adult is helped to the home of James Earl Jones (one of the few adult survivors), who first reacts with what might seem understandable caution ("This is CNN. Get off my land."), but then helps out the group of young adults in "theme outfits." Then, it's on to a flashback, in which a young man with a skull-themed helmet rides his fairly light motorcycle (just like everyone else is equipped with) to the city (helping out a stranded young woman along the way and then skinny-dipping in a water tower tank with her, with Joel helpfully holding up an open umbrella to block things out) hoping to join the youth gang "the Clippers." ("I guess you could call this Cheesy Rider.") It turns out that the Clippers have the city divided with another gang, and in his initial brawls the young man (apparently) manages to kill someone, which is a no-no, but it's all right because some sort of single motorcycle combat is held inside a museum to further demolish its exhibits.

However, with the youthful representatives of "the government" moving into the city, one of whom is Kim Cattrall (both acting and being "riffed" on well before she appeared in "Sex and the City," although Crow seems smitten and performs an ode to her in one of the "host segments"), someone starts getting his hands on guns. There's a massacre at a sort of funeral ceremony, and then the survivors reach the home of James Earl Jones. ("Great, they lapped the plot. We're back at the beginning!") The survivors regroup and head back to the city ("Okay, we're at the last rest stop before the end of our careers.") with James Earl Jones following in his car. An assault on the fortified compound of the bad guys goes ahead with little to no trouble, especially once James Earl Jones starts flying in model planes packed with explosives. ("Jim Henson's Flying Leatherneck Babies." "This is F-U-N.") Finally, the young people are able to put things back together (or not) the way they see fit.

The host segments are rounded out with Joel and the bots, inspired by scenes of reading comic books in the movie, thinking up members of "The Fantastic 185," but in some ways the final segment, where they try to play the "City Limits" edition of Trivial Pursuit but can't remember anything from what they've just seen, has a certain resonance to me. Still, the episode became amusing enough while it was under way, and the bots constantly referencing "the NBC Mystery Movie" every time they see flashlights helps set up the beginning of "Teenagers From Outer Space"...
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