Monday, March 19, 2012

MST3K: Episode 401 - Space Travelers

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that can be found here and here.

Episode 401: Space Travelers

First aired: Comedy Central on 6 June 1992

They misspelled "Marooned"
I've seen this movie. It's actually Marooned, which won an Academy Award for visual effects in 1970. I didn't see it when it was released to theaters, but I've seen it a couple of times on TV. When it came time to watch it, I thought, "It's okay. It drags in places, and they get some stuff wrong. But, it's really not a bad movie. Not as bad as the rest of the movies that got MST3K treatment."

But, it was. Sure, it wasn't as bad as most movies, but it wasn't a good movie.

It was nominated for an Academy Award for Visual Effects (which it won) and for Cinematography and Sound (which it lost), and not for script or acting. It does star Academy Award-winning actors Gregory Peck, Gene Hackman, and Lee Grant. But that doesn't make it a good movie.

"They have jockstraps on their head!"
Did I say it drags in places? Let me correct that: it drags in places. No, wait: it drags in places. Or, it DRAGS in places.

This is all stuff I knew prior to seeing the MST3K treatment. I never saw this episode when it aired on Comedy Central. The episode has not been released commercially, but I do have a fan copy.

It picked up the name Space Travelers when it was picked up for distribution by Film Ventures International. I never saw it aired under that name until I saw this episode of MST3K. There were some missing scenes that I remember, but I suspect those were edits done by Best Brains to make it fit in the format of a 2-hour show.

Rendezvous? Close.
The primary missing scene was the one when David Janssen's character was on the launch pad with the hurricane approaching. I recall that there was a long scene where they kept looking at the wind speed, and would have to cancel the launch if it hit 45 knots. The scene picked up with Gregory Peck calling a hold once the winds hit 48 knots. There may have been other scenes cut, but that's the one I remember with certainty.

There were some language cuts, where the words were replaced with silence rather than a beep, that I think FVI may have done, since they primarily obtained movies to distribute to TV outlets. But, I suppose those could have been Best Brains edits.

There were some changes to the closing credits. The font looks a little different, and there were no "Special Guest Villians" (sic) listed. Instead, Dr. Forrester and Frank were listed as "Also Featuring." Oh, and Frank isn't "Frank" anymore. He's now "TV's Frank." And they either misspelled Dr. Forrester's last name (as "Forrestor"), or they suddenly corrected it after all these episodes. Or maybe they have a rule that the credits must have one thing misspelled. Goodbye "Villians" hello "Forrestor." Also, AA's "Bill W." loses an end credit "Special Thanks", but "The Authors of the First Amendment" pick one up.
No more "Special Guest Villians"He's now officially TV's Frank!Thanks!
One final thought on the movie. Some people didn't like it because of its long, drawn-out scenes of NASA stuff. That didn't bother me. Maybe because I remember all that long, drawn-out NASA stuff during the Gemini and Apollo launches (I don't remember the Mercury launches). What I didn't like was all the soap-opera stuff:
  • An astronaut is unstable
  • A hurricane times its visit so it disrupts the rescue 58 seconds before launch
  • The Soyuz can change its orbit and park next to Apollo, but can't approach any closer than 50 feet -- even though Gemini VI-A and VII approached to within a foot ... four years earlier.
  • They have less than an hour of air, so Richard Crenna goes for a space walk.
This movie was one of the better ones that MST3K riffed, but it was a bad movie.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please choose a Profile in "Comment as" or sign your name to Anonymous comments. Comment policy