Monday, December 26, 2011

MST3K: Episode K17 - Time of the Apes

Mystery Science Theater 3000. Four little words. Or is 3000 actually two words? That would make it five little words. Well, however many words it is, I'm watching all the episodes. Because I can. More about this here and here.

We began at the beginning: the 21 episodes that aired on KTMA (now WUCW) in Minneapolis, before it went national. Episodes 1-3 aren't available, but 4-12 are. We've covered 4-16. And counting.

Episode K17: Time of the Apes

First aired: KTMA on 2 April 1989

Joel floats outside the Satellite of Love
Remember some episodes back where Trace Beaulieu was unavalable for some shows, so they had Crow frozen for two episodes, then had him taken apart in another? Well, there's a cast member missing from this episode, too. Only it's Joel Hodgson. So, they covered it by having the Bots lock him outside the satellite.

Oh, remember that episode where Joel went solo riffing the movie? Exact opposite here. Servo (Josh) and Crow (Trace) handle it without Joel. And, do pretty well, though I do miss Joel.

What did Joel miss? Not much, really. Back in 1974, there was a TV series in Japan called Saru no Gundan (Army of Monkeys). It was not a rip-off of Planet of the Apes, though, because in Planet of the Apes, astronauts landed on a planet populated by apes, that turned out to be Earth in the far future. In Saru no Gundan, a woman and two schoolchildren wake up in the future on Earth populated by apes. Totally different.

In the 1980s, someone decided to put some of the episodes together and call it a movie. Then, Sandy Frank (who else) brought a dubbed version to America and called it Time of the Apes.

Let me state right now that there is no evidence that Sandy Frank is the Antichrist. Of course, there's no evidence he isn't, either.

"Gorilla my dreams"
No giant flying turtles that shoot fire in this film. No hot Japanese she-villains, either. This film could have used a hot Japanese she-villain. It did have a hot Japanese heroine, so there's that.

Of course, there's the obligatory friendly ape, who doubles as comic relief. She sticks around way too long.

There's a flying saucer that shows up from time to time. It doesn't seem to serve any purpose other than to distract the apes every time the human heroes get in trouble. I'm not sure, but I think it's the U.S.S. Deus ex Machina.

There is some super computer or something, that runs everything, like a super Multivac or something, that throws them forward or backward in time or something. It has a happy ending. At least, it ended, and for that, I was happy.

One thing about the whole "Joel is locked outside" storyline: it gave the writers the chance to run a storyline through all the host segments. In Episode K08 - Gamera vs Guiron, the segments were all part of a "dream" theme. In Episode K15 - Superdome, the "Servo writes a letter" theme was throughout. That makes this two out of three shows with a running theme.

My buddy Mad Max has seen both this episode, and the reworking during Season Three:
This is one case where both the K-version and the regular seaason are must-sees.

... there are scenes in this version that were cut for the regular season. ... Not that it made anything any clearer.
This is the 9th movie from the KTMA season that was redone during the national seasons. One of those (Episode K02 - Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars) is a "lost" episode. The other 8, we've now covered.

There are four more shows in Season K/Season Zero, none of which were redone. You'll see why soon enough.

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