Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Enjoying a rollicking Return to the Satellite of Love

Cinema snark fans rejoiced this spring holiday weekend, as Netflix gave us a basket full of giggleworthy goodies(and songs!) with Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return.

Fourteen new episodes of the classic camp fest are now available for your viewing pleasure, with a new cast and crew but the same old flair for movie mockery. Joining bots Crow and Tom Servo is Jonah Heston, the latest Gizmonic employee to be snatched up for bad film duty by a new generation of Dr. Forrester(Felicia Day) and henchman(Patton Oswalt).

While the sets are a bit more snazzy and a slew of celebrity cameos pop up when least expected, the show wisely keeps true to the mission of making awful movies tolerable with endless jokes, pop culture riffs and sheer goofiness. I watched three of new MST3K episodes over the course of the weekend and boy, were they ever MST-ie worthy:

REPTILICUS: A Danish monster movie,re-edited for the American market, from 1961 is the initial outing for the Satellite of Love crew and there's plenty of comedic material here, from a slow moving open to a monster that makes the puppet work of Kukla,Fran and Ollie look like Jim Henson.

With heavy dubbing, an overabundance of blonde women who seem to do nothing more than hover around the youngest man on the monster hunt team and backgrounds so fake that Jonah and the bots sing "Xanadu" more than once, this sad attempt at a European version of Godzilla is rightfully put in it's place:

CRY WILDERNESS: The second feat of endurance for Jonah and his robot friends was this bizarre 1987 film that has an annoying kid named Paul share a bond with Bigfoot.  He gets a mystic message from his forest dwelling buddy that his park ranger dad is in danger and heads out to save the day, mostly by whining.

Why is Paul annoying? Well, he does tend to ignore any attempt by an adult to avoid danger and gets easily frustrated when they refuse to believe him about Bigfoot, even though he has a magic necklace that can summon the badly costumed guy, which would clear up some of that nay saying there!

Of course, the only grown-up who does listen to him is a sleazy bounty hunter type,eager to make money by bagging Bigfoot as the ultimate trophy. This would be a simple plot, if not for the over reliance on stock footage of animals and odd tonal shifts from laughing at raccoons to dealing with cranky locals. Quite a challenge indeed but Jonah and company manage to get through this movie without sobbing in despair:

STARCRASH: I skipped ahead to episode six, as any sci-fi flick from 1978 that has Christopher Plummer and David Hasslehoff playing father and son must be given top priority.

You do have to wait until halfway into the movie before either one of them shows up(Plummer arrives first,btw) but there's plenty of science fiction cheese spread to make those patience cracker snacks munchable fun.

We have an action heroine named Stella Star who dresses like Vamperella at times, a robot helper with a country western accent and a sidekick with unexplained magical powers who fights cavemen with a not-an-official light saber.

The intermission skits, where Jonah dresses up like some of the characters from the film, are great fun and personally, I could have done without the Jerry Seinfeld bit. One of the best running jokes was that the gang kept thinking the movie was over during any major explosion onscreen and trying to leave, which you could hardily blame them for:

All in all, I think this new take on MST3K is great fun and I look forward to checking out the rest of the bad bunch, which includes such gems as The Christmas That Almost Wasn't, Yongary:Monster From the Deep and The Loves of Hercules with Jayne Mansfield.

 Plenty of pop culture misery to feast upon here and who knows, maybe Netflix will allow for some fresher fare to be featured as well? We shall see but in the meantime, let's repeat to our selves that it's a just a show and we really need to relax, so welcome back, Mystery Science Theater 3000, welcome back indeed:

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