Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition: Cheesy Movies Beware!

Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition
Shout Factory/Comedy Central/Sci-Fi Channel
Starring Joel Hodgson, Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Trace Beaulieu
Not Rated
Running Time = +/- 7 hours (on four DVDs)

The first MST3K episode I ever saw was Pod People. I have been hooked ever since. I love this show! Another favorite: The Day the Earth Froze. While some episodes are far better than others, MST3K still manages to milk laughs out of some of the worst films ever made. It’s a shame it’s not around today; there are plenty of current flicks to go after. But just do it yourself, the other moviegoers won’t mind.

Above all, the shorts are my favorite. I love watching the 50s, 60s, and 70s filmstrips with commentary. My favorites are “Mr. B Natural” and “What To Do On A Date.” Classics.

Then there was Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, which was well-done. But, due to it being in movie theaters, the jokes didn’t come as fast so at home the pace is a bit slow. Plenty of good lines through. And now, the review.

The story: A regular guy (Joel and then Mike) gets sent into space by his evil boss (Dr. Clayton Forrester). He’s forced to watch cheesy, bad, awful films, and he pokes fun at them with the help of two robots (Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo).

When I heard that Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition was coming out, I was excited. As a fan of the series, I was curious to see what the four flicks were that made it into this anthology. And, I’ve gotta be honest: these aren’t the best I’ve seen.

Are thy funny? At times, yes. But there are dozens of others I would have placed in a 20th anniversary edition over these four films. The four: First Spaceship on Venus, Laserblast, Werewolf, and Futurewar. For me, the funniest one was Werewolf. There’s something about a werewolf driving a car that I find funny.

Another funny fact: The film Laserblast actually received two and a half stars from Leonard Maltin. I defy you to watch the film and agree with him.

It’s hard to describe what is and isn’t funny about each episode because there’s such a mix of humor throughout. It also depends on what type of mood you’re in. If you’re in the mood to watch a guy and two robots poke fun at movies, you’re in for a great time. If not, I’m sure you can find a fine program on the History Channel.

Now, I tend to cheat when I watch MST3K on DVD. I always skip through the host segments and go right to the film. In this collection, you can’t do that. The chapter breaks are all over the place. Unlike other MST3K DVDs, the chapters don’t begin and end at solid points. It was frustrating.

The best part of the collection? The documentary on the 20-Year History of MST3K. I thought it was fascinating. They have interviews with the cast and crew. Discuss the origins of the show, how it came to be, where it started, how it became what it became. It was very entertaining to watch. There’s also footage with the MST3K cast members at 2008’s San Diego Comic-Con. Again, another great special feature for the die-hard MST3K fan.

So, what’s the verdict? Rent it. I can’t recommend you buy the collection because these aren’t the best movies from the run of the show. They have their moments, but aren’t worth the money. I do strongly recommend the special features. Very informative, insightful, and have lots of footage from the old days of MST3K.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition gets a B-. I wish the movies chosen were as good as the special features.

What’s your favorite MST3K episode? Post a comment and let us know!

You can get other MST3K episodes and compilations of just the shorts in stores, on the web, or through Netflix or Blockbuster.com.

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