Monday, February 6, 2012

MST3K: Episode 211 - First Spaceship on Venus

My goal is to watch all of the episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. More about this project can be found here and here.

Episode 211: First Spaceship on Venus

First aired: The Comedy Channel on 29 December 1990
Availability: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon DVD (20th Anniversary/Volume 13), Shout Factory (20th Anniversary/Volume 13), Best Brains (20th Anniversary/Volume 13)

This is one of those episodes I bought but, for some reason, never watched. I own both the DVD pack and the iTunes download, but I never got around to watching them. Not all the way. I started watching it on iTunes, but was interrupted and never finished.

First spaceship on Venus
Then, I found out about Netflix offering MST3K episodes, and put my focus there, getting DVDs in, watching them, and sending them back. That was before I decided to watch all the episodes, and obtain fan copies of unreleased shows.

I put this episode on the back burner, and never got back to it. Now, because of my quest to watch all the MST3K episodes in order, I'm back to this one.

The film is an English version of the East German/Polish film Der schweigende Stern / Milcząca Gwiazda. The movie isn't all that bad. Sure, some of the science is wrong, but not as much as most of the other movies featured on MST3K. The plot isn't hard to follow, and some of the special effects are not bad, especially if you consider the movie is from 1961.

Hot Japanese she-doctor
There's no hot Japanese she-villain, though there is a hot Japanese she-doctor, and that's close enough.

The plot? Scientists discover that the Tunguska Event wasn't caused by a comet or asteroid, but a Venusian spaceship that went all kaboom. So, they send a ship to Venus to see what they wanted. They find out that the Venusians wanted ... *SPOILER* ... everybody on Earth to die! Only the Venusians messed up and killed themselves instead.

Half the crew of the expedition to Venus end up dying or being stranded (and, apparently, dying) on the planet. But the hot Japanese she-doctor lives, so the movie had a happy ending.

Tom Servo made a not-so-friendly (though not extremely unfriendly) reference to the HA! channel, which was the main competition of the Comedy Channel prior to the merger of those channels a year later. That merger produced Comedy Central.

There were a couple of references that I thought were dated, but then I thought better of it. Just because it was a current reference at the time doesn't mean it becomes a dated reference later. To me, it then becomes an obscure reference.

Tom Servo's head explodes
For example, they made reference to Dan Quayle, who was vice-president at the time. Such a joke probably wouldn't be made today. However, Crow also made reference to "weird figures, strange figures" from the Marx Brothers' Animal Crackers, which was itself a reference to Eugene O'Neill's Strange Interlude.

I'm not sure why the Dan Quayle reference would be considered dated, but the Marx Brothers reference would be considered obscure. After all, I suspect more people who watch MST3K remember Dan Quayle than have seen Animal Crackers. But I could be wrong.

At the end of the movie, Joel & the Bots talked about the movie. Crow actually liked it. Joel, not so much. Servo? It made his head explode.

As I said, not a bad film. Okay, not a horrible film. Good episode. Weird bits at times -- not just the film, but the MST3K crew.

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