Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XX
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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
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* 109- PROJECT MOONBASE (with shorts: Commando Cody, parts 7 & 8)
This 1953 space exploration film was co-written by famed SF author Robert Heinlein. It's set in 1970 when the United States supposedly wants to build a moon base. Three astronauts, two men and a woman, are sent to explore the moon. One of the men is revealed to be a spy who endangers the mission and the free world. Unintentional comedy ensues, especially how the movie cheerfully resolves itself. As if the dated attitudes toward men and women working together in space aren't hilarious enough, we have two Radar Men From The Moon shorts featuring Commando Cody. This is a terrific and hilarious Season One effort and I'm looking forward to having a great commercial DVD release for it.
* 322- MASTER NINJA I
Master Ninja is an edited version of episodes from the 1984 TV series "The Master" featuring Lee Van Cleef and Timothy Van Pattern. Lee Van Cleef plays a veteran who became a ninja master while living in Japan after the Korean War. Timothy Van Patten is his unlikely apprentice. These particular episodes also feature Shô Kosugi and a young Demi Moore. This MST3K episode also features the quite memorable musical gag, "Master Ninja Theme Song!" The "film" is an odd mix of fine movie actors and young aspiring newer actors in a fairly mediocre TV series. There's plenty of action and goofiness for MST3K to make fun of and that they do here extremely well. Well worth a look.
* 324- MASTER NINJA II
This one is more mildly goofy TV episodes edited to look like a movie from the series "The Master". Lee Van Cleef and Timothy Van Patten reprise their roles as The Master and his apprentice still traveling around righting wrongs wherever they encounter them while The Master continues his search for his long lost daughter. In one host segment you get to check out the 'Bots' custom van designs. It's hilarious fun once again.
* 505- MAGIC VOYAGE OF SINBAD
This 1962 Americanized version of the 1953 Russian folktale movie originally entitled, "Sadko" is a must see episode for all MSTieS! For my taste it is simply one of the funniest episodes ever produced. The jokes are incredibly dense, well-thought out and well timed from beginning to end in this beautiful but corrupted foreign film. The hero, Sadko, is renamed with the more familiar, Sinbad, in this American version dubbed into English. Sinbad returns from sea and is distressed to find his hometown on hard times. A water princess, some magical fish and an incredible sea voyage searching for the Bluebird of Happiness should set things right. This is one of those episodes I never get tired of no matter how many times I see it or how close together. One of many episode highlights is the host segment where Joel and the 'Bots dress up like jesters from the movie. Don't miss it!
Extra Features Include:
* A featurette on the look of MST3K with DP Jeff Stonehouse
* An intro to Magic Voyage of Sinbad by Trace Beaulieu
* Mystery Science Theater Hour Wraps
* A look back at Master Ninja with guest star Bill McKinney
* Servo vs. Servo at Dragon*Con
* Original Trailers
* Mini-posters by Steve Vance
Even the animated menus have been hilarious on recent MST3K releases. This should really be something MSTies will want to own.
But you gotta admit, there is some small connection between the episodes in "Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XX" -- they're all Joel, all the time. The collection is still small and expensive, but the episodes here are lots of fun, with a splattering of bad ninja TV movies, boring science fiction, and a lame Russian fantasy movie.
First there's an episode from the early days. After the invention exchange ("I think you could bruise a child's tender psyche." "THANK YOU"), the Mads sentence Joel and the bots a tedious, obnoxiously sexist movie called "Project Moonbase." Basically two men and a woman are sent on a rocket to an orbital space station, only to have one of the guys turn out to be a spy. It's a lot less exciting than it sounds.
Then there's "Master Ninja" and "Master Ninja 2," a pair of horrible TV movies made out of old TV episodes sandwiched together. Basically some old white guy who was trained as a ninja travels around with an annoying teenager, and they defend the commonfolk against evil. And occasionally, against other ninjas (actual Asian ones).
And after the usual hijinks for the Mads and the Satellite of Love folk (chin-underwear!), there's "The Magic Voyage of Sinbad," about a seemingly insane man who is obsessed with bringing happiness to the masses. As he goes off in search of the bluebird of happiness, he shamelessly leeches off a sea nymph and leaves his girlfriend to stand on a rooftop for six years.
All these movies are bad in different ways -- "Sinbad" is ornately and pretentiously absurd (like Sinbad himself), "Project Moonbase" is so boring and sexist (an army officer seriously threatens to SPANK a female astronaut) that you'll want to impale yourself on something, and the "Master Ninja" movies are just baaaaaaaad, soppy, clumsy TV.
And as usual, Joel and the bots are absolutely hilarious. Their little goofy intermissions are just hysterical (the gang dons big furry hats and big furry beards), and their constant mockery of the movies is gutsplitting -- just listen to all the pretend lines from the ninja sidekick's hamster ("He soldered me in here!"). Although you gotta admit that the Demi Moore jokes haven't aged well, especially since apparently when she was young she ate Brillo pads. How else can you explain that voice?
"Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XX" is a solid collection of two horrible movies and two horrible TV movies -- fun, wild and delightful. If only I could get full season collections...
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