Monday, February 27, 2012

MST3K: Episode 311 - It Conquered the World

I'm watching all the episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 in order. More about this here. It began here.

Episode 311: It Conquered the World

First aired: Comedy Central on 24 August 1991

"They gave away the ending!"
This episode is another that has never made it to home video. But it is one that I've seen before. Keep in mind that I have seen many more "Mike" episodes than "Joel" episodes. Or, at least, I had before I began this project of watching all the episodes.

Comedy Central aired this episode 15 times, and I must have seen at least one of those airings. The thing is, I didn't remember a lot about it, but I did remember the speech at the end. Or it sure seemed familiar, anyway. Unless another episode had a movie that ended with a speech, then replayed the speech twice at the end, then played it again over the closing theme, then this is the episode I think it is.

My copy is a fan copy. It didn't translate very well importing it into iTunes -- I do that so I can watch it without having to drag a DVD out -- but it is watchable. I'm still experimenting with importing the fan copies into iTunes, so I may find a setting that keeps it clearer. The DVD actually looks pretty good.

The giant red space pickle from Venus.
This film is a Roger Corman affair. Word is, he never lost money on a film. I can believe it. If you don't put much money into it, it won't be hard to turn a profit. And, this fits the pattern.

The special effects aren't special. Some of the actors can't act. And the plot is a little silly. But, some of the talent in the film is actual talent. The three main stars of the film are (or were) good actors: Peter Graves, Lee Van Cleef, and Beverly Garland. None of them are with us any longer.

I liked this episode. Like I said, I remember seeing it, but only because of Peter Graves' speech at the end. It didn't stay with me, so it was almost like seeing it for the first time when I watched it just now (as of this writing).

The short subject was hilarious. Not so much the short itself, but Joel & the Bots (and, of course, the writers) had a field day with it. For instance, when the announcer said that "skiing" was pronounced "shee-ing," Joel offered, "You're full of skit."

Beverly Garland, looking good enough to eat...... so the giant red space pickle eats her.
The move's plot? Peter Graves sends a satellite into space. Lee Van Cleef's friends from Venus capture it and send a giant red space pickle to earth to take it over by unleashing flying bat-critters to control men's minds (women's too). Beverly Garland, who's married to Lee Van Cleef (it's science fiction, after all), tries to stop the giant red space pickle. The pickle eats her -- and not in a good way -- but then Lee Van Cleef gets all hot and bothered about that, so he burns the pickle as it kills him. Peter Graves gives a speech. The end.

I really liked this episode. I do hope they'll be able to release this one on DVD one day. If they did, this would be a perfect episode to introduce a newbie to MST3K. It's funny. It has a short feature. It has actors people would recognize. It has bad special effects. It has a laughable story line. And, the movie, though bad, isn't stick-ice-picks-in-your-eyeballs bad. It's bad enough that a newbie would appreciate someone making fun of it.
Joel & the Bots listen to Peter Graves' speech.The Mads listen to Peter Graves' speech.
Let me conclude by saying "He learned, almost too late, that man is a feeling creature ... and because of it, the greatest in the universe. He learned, too late for himself, that ... men have to make their own way, to make their own mistakes. There can't be any gift of perfection from outside ourselves ... and, when men seek such perfection, they find only death ... fire ... loss ... disillusionment ... the end of everything that's gone forward. Men have always sought an end to toil and misery. It can't be given; it has to be achieved. There is hope ... but it has to come from inside ... from man himself."

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