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Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XX
DVD | Box Set
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Sit back, when youre not doubled over with laughter, that is for four classic episodes of this hilarious Peabody Award winning series. Crow T. Robot, Tom Servo and your host Joel Robinson (Joel Hodgson) are back to riff on your . . . erm . . . favorite movies and television series of yesteryear with all the TLC only the Satellite of Love crew can deliver. And for this XXth volume of the outstanding, groundbreaking series, were making it a very special Mystery Science Theater 3000 Joel-bilee! And youre on the guest list! Titles included in this set: Project Moonbase, Master Ninja I, Master Ninja II & The Magic Voyage Of Sinbad.
Brand-New Interview With Master Ninja Star, Bill McKinney
Tom Servo Vs. Tom Servo 2010 Dragon*Con Panel
Exploring The Look Of MST3K With Director Of Photography, Jeff Stonehouse
Mystery Science Theater Hour Wraps
Top customer reviews
First, Project Moonbase is a little forgettable. MST has done quite a few black and white, misogynistic, white-guys-in-space movies. This one is slightly different because it has some hilarious take-off scenes that made me laugh so hard that I had to rewind the movie. Even without The Guys, those scenes are almost worth sitting through such a crappy movie.
The Master Ninja's are decent episodes. It's another TV show converted to movie format so there's no real effects budget and to continuity whatsoever. Not something new to Mistie fans, though.
The Magic Voyage of Sinbad is where this set pays for itself. It's a classic episode that everyone should watch. The Russo-Finnish episodes are ALWAYS good. The production values make them easy to look at, the actors are always over the top and hilarious in their own right, the stories are almost always screwed up by the American who revisited them when they brought them state-side, the dubbing makes things inherently funny, and these movies are ripe for riffing.
Relative to other box sets, I'd probably give this one a C for average if it weren't for Sinbad. That bumps it up to a B- for me. A worthy addition.
The Magic Voyage of Sinbad is a wonderful movie. It's lush and you really wish you knew what the original movie was like before Roger Corman got a hold of it. "He's Not Sinbad" may be the best running joke in MST history.
I remember watching Master Ninja on TV (think it was on USA), so I love seeing these. Though, they really are cut up into a state of incomprehension.
Project Moonbase - You can tell it's in the future, as the president is a woman. Crow loves that one.
Great collection. Must get.
If you buy this DVD for The Magic Voyage of Sinbad alone, its worth every penny. Sinbad is one of those glorious episodes that has you in stitches the whole time.
Master Ninja also offers up some awesome moments. "Master Ninja theme song!"
Project Moonbase is a season 1 episode, which was new to me. I had not seen any previous season 1 episodes, so Tom Servo's voice was, well, felt a bit off during the movie. So I would have to say this is the weaker of the four.
I want to note that I am NOT giving a three-star score based on the bad quality of the source material! The TV prints of "Master Ninja" and such are terrible, and that's to be expected. My complaint is solely because of the disk flickers, pixelations, etc. and the lack of readily available information from Shout! about it.
When I first received this set, I exchanged it for another one, because of the technical issues. According to comments seen online, Shout! Factory has explained why there are video problems on these disks, stating that it is the result of master video tape degradation. It took me quite a while to find that explanation: There is a Shout! Factory forum post about the issues on "Beast of Yucca Flats" from July, 2010. There are pictures of the smears on that thread, too, so if you're looking for examples of these problems, that's a good place to start.
The information is not particularly easy to find and Shout! certainly doesn't go out of their way to let customers know that there were problems with the source material. In the thread over at Shout Factory, the employee who addresses the complaints about quality says, "My rant isn't directed at you, but to everyone making a big deal here... The fact is, we've seen it. We know it's there. ...we've evaluated these and we've graded them as "acceptable," based on the fact that they generally last for a frame or two and--most importantly--you're not losing any actual content from the show, by Shout! being forced to edit around problem areas."
He goes on to say that there doesn't need to be any "education" of the consumer regarding the flaws.
Basically, I have two problems with this:
1. It's questionable whether this is entirely a master tape/restoration issue at all, now that I've been able to compare two disks from the same volume. First of all, not everyone sees these problem areas, so it appears only SOME disks have glitches. I can confirm this myself by comparing the disks I got: While most of the flickers etc. are still on "Project Moonbase" on this new disk, some are gone. Two of these smears at 27 seconds and 1:45 into the episode on the first disk are not there on the second disk, which means this couldn't be a problem with the master tape. If it was on the master tape, both the disks I watched would have had the same smears on the video. Also, I have seen these disk problems in extra bonus features, such as panel discussions. These would NOT be subject to the same tape deterioration issues as the master tapes.
2. I disagree that the consumer doesn't need to know that there are glitches, flickers, sound problems, etc. on disks. Personally, I think if there are restoration issues or problems with quality, then Shout! needs to say so in a location that is easy to find, or on the product itself. That's why I think a review that mentions these disk issues is important, since it's hard to find information about it anywhere else.
So I don't know what to tell you. Some of you will be happy to just have the episodes regardless of quality, and that's fine. But some people want to know about quality issues, and I hope my review can help them make a decision.
As for the contents of the set, they are good. I bought this set specifically for Master Ninjas I and II. While I know the source for these movies are bad TV prints, the quality of the second Master Ninja is pretty darn bad -- I don't mention that as a negative, because that's out of Best Brains'/Shout's control, but I DO mention it for those who have only seen Master Ninja on their shared fan copies and don't realize much of the fuzziness and softness was original to the show.
In the same vein, the print for "Magic Voyage of Sinbad" is positively rotten. Note that I am talking about the print for the film itself, NOT the silhouette or host segments, which are nice and look so much cleaner than on the DAP or shared copies. That said, the host segments are a little soft to the point of occasional blurriness on "Sinbad".
The menu screens are similar to previous sets, with lines from the movies dubbed in to make it look like Crow and Servo are having a new conversation. Characters from the films are also pasted in, as is some weird computer generated cartoon ninja. They're not bad, but I'm not a fan of the ninja. The extras are great. I'm a big fan of Mike's Jack Perkins in the MST3K Hour intros and outros, so I love it when those are included.
In conclusion, I know I'm not in the majority when it comes to how the rest of MSTie fandom feels about these sets (most love the menus and hated the MST Hour, while I'm the exact opposite, etc.) but I am writing this review not as a fan, but just to get some information that can help future buyers out there.
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