Blu-ray Review: Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie (Collector’s Edition)

After six seasons of making fun of movies on TV, it made sense that the cast from Mystery Science Theater 3000 would commit their show to celluloid. Mike Nelson (Michael J. Nelson), Crow (Trace Beaulieu) and Tom Servo (Kevin Murphy) would finally take over a real movie theater. The consequences were unlimited. How many fans would show up with their own robots to enjoy the flick? Would the ushers be racing around the theaters looking to quiet down the stars of a film in the surround sound speakers? Would confused theatergoers complain that they can’t hear the movie within the movie? Could Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie lead to rioting in the streets and the death of cinema as we know it?

The upgrade to cinema allows viewers to enjoy a larger and more cluttered version of Deep 13. Dr. Forrester (Beaulieu) explains how he tortures Mike Nelson by sending him bad movies. This had to be done since they didn’t feature the usual opening theme song that sets up the premise. Forrester shocks the audience by letting them know that trapped in their theater sets, they are also part of his experiment. The would submit their sanity to watching the worst movie ever made with Mike. Up on the Satellite of Love, Mike gets to recreate the treadmill scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Mike learns quickly that things aren’t going to be normal as a TV episode since Crow is digging his way out of their prison. Seeing how they’re on a space ship, this is not a good plan of action. But even if Mike prevents Crow from letting all the oxygen escape, he still must deal with the latest cinema atrocity sent up by Dr. Forrester. In this case, it’s the Universal science fiction “classic” This Island Earth. Scientist Dr. Cal Meacham (Rex Reason) gets contacted by a strange man with huge forehead (Jeff Morrow). Turns out the guy is an alien who wants to beam Cal and Ruth Adams (Faith Domergue) onto his distant planet. Turns out that the new world isn’t doing well. The inhabitants want to move to Earth and they aren’t being nice about the relocation effort. Can Mike and the Bots survive this plot, too?

This Island Earth was a good selection for them to riff off since there’s plenty of silent pauses after the characters deliver profound lines. The gang get to have plenty of fun with the short appearance of Russell Johnson about his future gig as the Professor on Gilligan’s Island. There’s even an innocent Pete Townsend joke. The segments focus on Mike and the Bots doing their best to escape the clutches of Dr. Forrester. Mike find out how to pilot his ship except he’s not good behind the wheel. The Hubble telescope takes the brunt of his bad skills. There should be a slight warning that Tom Servo goes blue a few times. It’s not an Andrew “Dice” Clay rant, but might freak out little ears. The film ends on a funny note when the gang have to run back into the screening room to mock the credits of their film. They have a fun time with art director Rando Schmook.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie is only 74 minutes long which makes it shorter than a normal episode. This is rather awkward since This Island Earth runs 87 minutes. There’s almost a little bit of a rush feel with both the movie and the movie within the movie. The sad truth is that Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie didn’t do too well at the box office since it played on so few screens. A numbskull at the studio must have determined the real money was going to be on home video because people love it on TV. Mike and the Bots could never escape.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. This is your only real chance to see classic Mystery Science Theater in high definition since the series was shot on standard definition video. Crow T. Robot is 10 times as suave on Blu-ray. The audio is DTS HD Master Audio although the movie within the movie is mono. They did get fancy with the audio during the host segments to give a bit of an echo effect as if they’re really inside a metal spaceship. The movie is Closed Captioned.

DVD contains all the content from the Blu-ray.

The Making of Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie (5:17) is a vintage featurette that mixes high octane music with film clips, behind the scenes footage and cast interviews. All the secrets are revealed about the show.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie: The Motion Picture Odyssey (33:07) delves into the film with cast and crew. Their goal for the film was to get an audience to enjoy MST3K in a group. They discuss the larger version of the film before the budget came down.

This Island Earth: 2 1/2 Years In the Making (36:45) gives everything you want to know about the movie within the movie.

Deleted Scenes (23:10) are mostly scenes cut out of Mike and Bots watching the movies. There’s an extended cut of the disaster scene. The original ending is also included. The footage appears taken off a medium resolution video cut.

Original Theatrical Trailer (1:40) reminds audience that they’ll be going to the movies to see other people watch a movie.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie does its best to open up an episode to the demands of a motion picture. They show us parts of the Satellite of Love that are off camera in the TV show. But they don’t go too wild. The meat and potatoes of the production is still a man and his two robots sitting in front of a movie screen mocking away except the fans were also sitting in front of a movie screen this time. The bonus features make this a priority upgrade for those who bought the previous barebones DVD releases.

Shout! Factory presents Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie. Directed by Jim Mallon. Starring: Michael J. Nelson, Trace Beaulieu, and Kevin Murphy. Running Time: 74 minutes. Rated: PG-13. Released: September 3, 2013.

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