'Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie'
(John Brady, Kevin Murphy, et al / DVD / PG-13 / (1996) 2008 / Universal Studios)
Overview: From the makers of the highly successful cult classic TV series comes Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie - one of the most outrageous, most irreverent, and most hilarious big-screen spoofs ever!
DVD Verdict: 'MST3K - The Movie' got great reviews when it was in theaters in 1996 and deservedly so. Even after the studio chopped it down to a mere 75 minutes they couldn't destroy anything this funny. Siskel and Ebert at the time raved about it, as did most fans and critics. Sadly, the DVD has been out of print in the USA for many years, so it's great that this is available again for all the MSTies who missed out on it the first time around.
The movie being "riffed" is the classic color SF film from 1955, This Island Earth, starring Rex Reason, Faith Domergue (she was in the original Invasion of the Bodysnatchers), Russell Johnson (the Professor on Gilligan's Island), and Jeff Morrow. It's a great looking film that is reasonably entertaining and well-made. However, as the MST3K writers point out repeatedly during jokes in this film, there's still plenty to make fun of, such as futuristic looking props that don't seem to have an actual purpose, plot premise issues, and some general fantastic silliness. MST3K The Movie is a lot of fun.
Note that Frank Conniff and Joel Hodgson had both left MST3K by the time that this film was made, so the Satellite of Love (SOL) is helmed by Mike Nelson and Dr. Forrester is on his own in Deep 13. The jokes are top notch, though occasionally a bit more PG-13 than on the regular MST3K TV show. The SOL and Deep 13 sets constructed for the film are slightly more elaborate than those previously used for the TV show on Comedy Central to that point.
There are even a few scenes in the SOL in more than one location! The movie does follow the same general format as the TV show, including host segments. Look for the "Manos" reference during one host segment. "Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie" doesn't disappoint in any way. It's always funny, always fresh and always clever. Fans of the show will most likely love the movie. It can even be enjoyed by those who are experiencing MST3K for the very first time. If you're lucky enough to stumble upon this little gem, then I highly recommend buying it. And remember kids, these guys are professionals; do NOT attempt this at home! This DVD is HIGHLY recommended! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, but (mysteriously) comes with no Special Features.