Sunday, August 24, 2014

700 - This Island Earth

Premier - Thursday, April 18th 1996. Uptown Theater, Minneapolis
#36 in Mighty Jack's Top 100
Excellence Level: Platinum
Movie Pain: Low - Innocuous sci-fi romp
Riffing: Hilarious
Skits: Induced mostly smiles

Oh what could have been. If the studios hadn't botched the promotion of this flick, it might have made money, which might have lead to more movies... who knows!
MST3KTM is slicker, but shorter than the average episode (???), and is a good one for newbies to watch as an introduction to the show. There's nothing too obscure in the riffing and for long time fans some of the work will sound familiar (as they do pull out a few old jokes). Never the less, there are enough fresh and clever gags to make this a blast for die hard MSTies as well.
Yes, the host segments aren't great (Dr. F needs a sidekick). The charming, low budget -creature feature host- type of skits that were the shows trademark, are gone (and will stay that way through the Sci-Fi years). But everything else works.
Using "This Island Earth" to rip on also proves that the movie does not have to be horrible (It's actually a watchable film all on it's own) for the boys to have fun and make it funny. There were a lot of laughs in this one and it was the first experiment I'd ever seen. I was instantly hooked - an obsessed fan from that point on.
Of Note: There was one more host segment (positioned some time after Mike hit the Hubble). Originally they had written a visit from arch enemies, Pure Reason and Pure Energy; who wind up wrestling. The Studio asked for a change so they re-wrote and filmed a very funny bit where the SOL is caught in a meteor shower and the crew has to head for the storm shelter. Mike passes out, Crow shows great strength and Servo flies to save the day (Gypsy even gets some big laughs as well). Sadly, this scene was cut. Also, The original ending has the SOL crew sending a Mutant down to hassle Dr. F. (Both of these can be seen as an extra on the Blu Ray release)

Host Segments
Intro: Forrester and a paddle and the premise of the show. Segment 1: Mike's working out, Crow's breaking out. Segment 2: Mike pilots the SOL and hits a satellite. Segment 3: Servo has an interociter and the gang contacts a Metalunan in the shower. End: It's a movie party and Dr. F is not amused. Stinger: None.

Notable Riffs
* "Increase the Flash Gordon noise and put more science stuff around." - Crow as Cal
* "All that ringing. Now we know what the world sounds like to Pete Townsend." - Servo
* "Until we find out what happened, all three of us are blind." - "I'll go poke Webb's eyes out." - Cal/Crow as Joe
* "You know what my kids would say..." - "You're not my real father?" - Joe/Servo
* "Hey, Miss Interoceter." - Mike as Cal
* "Normal view, normal view, normal view, NORMAL VIEW!" - All 
* "This is a job for Wienie Man!" - Crow as Joe
* "My contents have shifted!" - Servo as Ruth
* "Ew, it's Michael Stipe's head!" - Crow
* "Give Uncle Scrotor a hug!" - Servo, as mutant
* "So they worship the everlasting gobstopper?" - Servo
* "Well, I never Metaluna I didn't like." - Mike as Cal
* "A giant flaming hat was seen over the coast tonight." - Crow 
* "I'm your pilot, Claude Rains, your co-pilot, Harvey the Rabbit." - Servo
* "Here's something my wife could use around the house." - "A man?" - Joe/Crow
* "Industry, science and technology." "Big men putting screwdrivers into things, turning them and adjusting them!" - Crow/Servo
* "Then I ram my ovipositor down your throat and lay my eggs in your chest, but I'm not an alien!" - Servo as Exeter
* "They're magnetized." "And if your hands were metal, that would mean something." - Exeter/Mike
* "Oh, I'm very vulnerable there! There go the piano lessons. Ow, I can't remember my dad! Ow!" - Crow as a mutant 

Riffs Explained: Movie Style!
"Your in flight movie is "Fearless" - Servo
Said as Cal is whisked away on an airplane: This great Peter Weir film stars Jeff Bridges as a survivor of a plane crash

"You two are beginning a strange journey" - Mawidge" - Exeter/Crow
This comes from The Princess Bride. Peter Cook plays a minister with a speech impediment who waxes on about the glory of Mawidge -er- Marriage

"WOO-HOO!" - Crow
Said while Exeter's craft plummets to Earth: From Dr. Strangelove. Slim Pickens makes this sound as he rides a bomb that's been dropped from a plane.

Stuff and Nonsense
* Jeff Morrow (Exeter) was a commercial artist who later returned to that profession. His co-star in "The Giant Claw" (a movie that desperately needed to be MSted) Maria Corday (Black Scorpion) said that Jeff took his roles very seriously. In fact, during the premier of the Claw, Morrow hid in the men's room because he was so embarrassed by the film.

* Faith Domergue (Ruth) revealed that she wasn't wearing a thing underneath that outfit she had on at the end of the film. She did this because the panty lines showed -plus- it was difficult to sit in the restrictive costume, so she had them build those leaning slant boards that they use as chairs when aboard the spacecraft.

* When Mike tries to save the Hubble, notice the word on the control panel, it says "Manos"

Available on Blu Ray From SHOUT Factory

< Previous * Next >