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Mystery Science Theater 3000 Volume XXV DVD Review

Mystery Science Theater 3000 XXV

Volume XXV is bound to please Misties.

Misties that have been eagerly waiting for more MST3K home video releases after Volume XXIV will find their patience rewarded with this new set featuring 4 underrated episodes- “Robot Holocaust,” “Operation Kid Brother,” “Kitten With A Whip,” and “Revenge Of The Creature.”

First up in this set is the season 1 favorite “Robot Holocaust.” It’s no secret that season 1 episodes can be rough to watch, but thankfully, ‘Holocaust’ is arguably the highlight of that particular season. Like with all of the season 1 episodes though, there are still too many quiet spots and clumsy deliveries. However, this post-apoc mess of a movie makes for perfect fodder for Joel and the bots. With a cast as robotic as the robots in the film (if not moreso), bad accents, phantom voice overs, Beatles and Lynyrd Skynyrd jokes, and Crow wanting to be carried, you’ll be hard pressed not to laugh. As an added bonus, you also get chapter 9 of the “Commando Cody” serial series which is amusingly cut short due to a film break.

“Operation Kid Brother” (AKA “Operation Double 007”) is a James Bond spoof that revolves around the world’s best secret agent’s brother (in this case, Sean Connery’s brother Neil Connery). Despite actually having actors from the Bond series (namely Lois Maxwell, Adolfo Celi and Bernard Lee), the movie is a spy snooze thanks to Neil Connery’s lack of screen presence as a Doctor/hypnotist/spy. With that said, Joel and the bots keep the movie interesting with jokes about Bond, “Scent Of A Woman,” a lunchbox, the opening song, and even a much welcomed “Sleeeeep” bit. Keep an eye out for 2 funny host segments involving Torgo and Joel as the movie’s villain (Mr. Thai).

The third episode in this set (“Kitten With A Whip”) might actually be one of the most watchable movies that was ever riffed on the show. Sure, John Forsythe walks through the movie, but Ann-Margret’s hyperactive, crazy performance is something to behold. At any rate, ‘Whip’ is about a politician who becomes entrapped by a young girl fugitive (and some of her “friends”). While the riffing might not be a laugh a minute, there are plenty of great sexual, poli-sci, stuffed animal and “bye” jokes to be found here. The host segments are also top-notch (especially Kevin Murphy as an actual kitten with a whip).

Last, but not least, there is the first episode of the Sci-Fi era, “Revenge of the Creature.” Like ‘Kitten,’ ‘Revenge’ (which is the third part of the “Creature From The Black Lagoon” trilogy) isn’t a bad film either. Yes, it’s predictable and slow, but when it comes to old school sci-fi monster movies, the ‘Creature’ trilogy is one of the better offerings of that genre. At the same time, the dated movie is also quite riffable and Mike and the Bots manage to make the movie even more watchable with hilarious jokes about stinky and handsome guys, Gillman, Clint Eastwood, milkmen, Chris the dog, and an airhead fish expert.

On a side note, this episode is also notable for introducing the new Crow (played by Bill Corbett), Bobo (Kevin Murphy) and the new Mad/Lawgiver in charge, Pearl Forrester (who was previously seen in a supporting role in several season 7 episodes).

Video/Audio:

For the most part, the video quality is pretty satisfactory here. The two B&W features (‘Creature’ and ‘Kitten’) are in good shape as are the 2 color flicks (‘Operation’ and ‘Robot’). Yes, all of the prints have their issues like scratches and fading colors, but considering each of the film’s age, they look decent enough. The MST3K host segments also look solid with ‘Creature’ looking more impressive as it was a newer episode.

Like with most MST3K episodes, the audio is generally decent, but a bit too low. You may find yourself having to crank the audio up or down depending on whether there’s action or quiet dialogue centric scenes.

Extras:
* An introduction by Joel Hodgson to “Robot Holocaust” in which he talks about the KTMA era, season 1, “Robot Holocaust,” invention exchanges, Joel’s comedy act, etc.
* “Life After MST3K: J. Elvis Weinstein”- An 18 minute featurette on Weinstein’s fascinating comedy career. Definitely a must watch extra.
* 4 mini-posters.
* An introduction to “Operation Kid Brother” by Joel Hodgson. Joel talks about the production values of the movie (and the episode), Bond, jokes, etc.
* An introduction to “Kitten With A Whip” by Mike Nelson. He talks about the cast, the lack of whips, and the fact that the movie isn’t the normal MST3K fare. I like these short intros and I hope to see more of them in the future.
* An introduction to “Revenge of the Creature” by Mike Nelson. Mike talks about the ongoing story in the host segments, the Sci-Fi channel era, riffing, and ape costumes.
* “Jack Arnold At Universal”- A featurette/tribute to the famous film and television director who worked on everything from “Creature of the Black Lagoon” to “Gilligan’s Island.”
* “Life After MST3K: Bill Corbett”- The hilarious Bill Corbett talks about online animated projects, “Meet Dave,” the Film Crew, theater work, and, of course, RiffTrax.

Summary: For MST3K junkies, Christmas has definitely come earlier with the release of Volume XXV. Go out and get a copy!

December 4, 2012 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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