Monday, January 16, 2012

MST3K: Episode 111 - Moon Zero Two

I've decided to watch all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes. More about the project can be found here and here.

Episode 111: Moon Zero Two

First aired: The Comedy Channel on 20 January 1990

This is another one of those episodes that has never been commercially available. As such, it's only been seen via broadcast or by someone doing what's called for during the closing credits of so many episodes: "keep circulating the tapes." I never saw the broadcast, but I have a "circulating tape." Or DVD.

Joel dances to the music during the animated opening of the film
This episode only aired four times, twice in 1990 (The Comedy Channel) and twice in 1991 (Comedy Central). My copy is from one of the 1991 broadcasts.

The show opens (after the theme song, of course) with Joel explaining the premise. Again. Not sure if this was their idea, or if it was The Comedy Channel that wanted these segments that explain the premise right after the opening song that explains the premise.

Joel and the Bots get another film ... IN COLOR! That's two in a row. Could be a trent.

The movie stars James Olson, who played one of the main characters in The Andromeda Strain. You've actually seen him in all kinds of roles over the years. His credits go back to include Have Gun, Will Travel, and go all through The Virginian, Medical Center, Bonanza, Ironside, The Bionic Woman, Hawaii Five-O, Matt Houston, Murder She Wrote, and a whole lot more. Yeah, you've seen him before. In this film, he was the first man on Mars whose career had taken a bad turn and winds up piloting people to and fro.

The opening credits of the film would be perfect for a light-hearted adventure on the moon. The animation and the 60s music didn't seem to fit the film. Had it been a light-hearted affair, then yes. But not a mystery with a James Bond plot set in outer space.

How to dress for travel on the moon
This was a Hammer Films production that didn't star Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee. Yeah, I know, they did lots of other stuff, but you never heard of any of that. Okay, a few.

The movie is almost as 60-ish as an Austin Powers film. It looks exactly like what it is: a sci-fi film from the 60s that tried way too hard, but failed, to be scientific. It's one of those that's not quite done. You don't really care about the characters. You know who the hero is and who the villain is, but you don't really care about them.

I'm one of those people that gets all bothered by poor attempts at demonstrating science. For example, when they turn the gravity off (don't know how you do that on the moon, but apparently you can) people selectively float. And, you can stand on a regular floor in zero G and throw someone without so much as a recoil. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, next time you find yourself in zero G, try throwing someone and see what I mean. I'd be happier if they never addressed the gravity situation, rather than have the rules apply sometimes, and sometimes not, especially during the same scene.

Gypsy appears
Oh, they never addressed this, but apparently, in the future, there are no black people. I don't recall seeing any blacks in this movie. Lots of British, but not too many blacks. Maybe they live on the Earth and all the white people moved to outer space. Which means that Earth in the future is Detroit and the moon is the Hamptons. But I didn't see Dr. Hank Lawson, so he must be back on the clinic on Earth.

Gypsy appears in the final segment. It's the first time in four episodes that she appears, and the fifth time this season, although she was allegedly in the giant hand costume in Episode 106- The Crawling Hand. They repeat the "Richard Basehart" gag from Episode 101- The Crawling Eye. It won't be the last time.

This episode wasn't as strong as some of the other episodes from Season One, but still worth a look. If you can find a copy.

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