By Hemanth Kissoon
“Shatner, Shatner, Shatner. He’s not in this one, think we’re safe.”
I’d heard of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATRE but didn’t know anything about it. The Blu-ray release of the 1996 spin-off movie from the television series is a perfect opportunity to dip my toe in the water, right? I’m not sure whether it’s a reflection of the quality of the show, but it’s certainly dampened my hunger in seeking out any more. A barely funny, interminable experience, whose only saving grace is the 74 minute runtime. Any longer, and the TV would’ve been switched off. I so far have never walked out on a film in the cinema; I have no such qualms with DVDs.
Basically what MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATRE 3000: THE MOVIE is, is a sarcastic running commentary by three dudes (two of whom are robot puppets) on a film playing in the background. They make cinema and pop culture quips, which occasionally invoke a titter of amusement. Thrown into the mix is a dubious lack of political correctness, which is nowhere near the satire/thought-provoking end of such a spectrum. The film is projected on to a screen while the commentators are silhouetted below. The choice of derision is THIS ISLAND EARTH (1955), a sci-fi B picture, and the question is: what’s the point? It’s easy to slate such a slice of hokum. Though probably the rights owner of a more famous film would never allow it to be insulted so.
The flimsy context for the set-up is that a mad scientist has put a normal guy on a space station orbiting Earth; where the former forces the latter to watch terrible films, in order to hone a technique for world domination. The humour in these peripheral segments is so broad and direly played that I might have cringed with sympathy had they not been the ones subjecting me to the ordeal.