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This review is from: Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
"We'll send him cheesy movies/the worst we can find (lalala!)/he'll have to sit and watch them all/while we monitor his mind..."
A simple yet hilarious premise for a TV series -- a guy is trapped in the "Satellite of Love" with a bunch of sarcastic robots, and is forced to watch (and mock) cheesy sci-fi movies. "Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition" brings together four spectacularly awful movies from years apast -- some are boring, some are stupid, and some are BOTH.
One episode features the low-key, somewhat mellow Joel, while the other three feature the perky everyman Mike Nelson. As usual, they're being tortured either by the goofily evil Dr Forester or the equally goofily evil Pearl -- with bad cinema.
Among the movies mocked here: "First Spaceship on Venus," a sluggish and boring sci-fi saga with extremely poor dubbing; "Laserblast," in which a very dumb teenager finds an alien weapon that turns him into a smaller version of the Hulk; "Future War," a ridiculous yet pompous story about cyborgs and tiny attack dinosaurs; and "Werewolf," an inept tale of a cursed skeleton, a Russian scientist with the world's most ridiculous accent, and werewolves driving cars.
Obviously these movies aren't the absolute rock-bottom wretchedness of filmmaking (ie "Manos the Hands of Fate") but they are spectacularly awful. Everything here is worthy of mockery -- the bad special effects, the cardboard characters, silly cinematography (the girl who can't run through a mud puddle) and ever-changing hair.
But of course, the endless stream of mockery turned out by Mike, Joel and the robots is absolutely gutsplitting. They constantly snark bad continuity ("Did those oil barrels just leap out in front of him?"), stupid characters (mock the stupid Russian chick's accent -- "You and Noel is in it for fame and fortune? But over my dead body!") and constant running jokes (the guys never stop mentioning that the atrocious "Laser Blast" was awarded TWO AND A HALF STARS by Maltin).
Even the framing stuff is hilarious, as we watch Joel trying to impress Dr. Forester with his junk-drawer invention and Mike trying to escape the Satellite of Love. And there are the usual minor disasters, such as Mike becoming a WereCrow ("... and you know, I'm perfectly comfortable with that, yeah").
The movies are awful, the snark is hilarious, and the robots are sarcastic ("Let me anoint your beak with scented oils!"). Assuming that "First Spaceship on Venus" doesn't lull you to sleep, this is an entertaining way to spend an evening.