RiffTrax Live! MST3K Reunion Blu-ray and DVD Reviews
In celebration of their tenth anniversary (not to mention their 20th live show), RiffTrax decided to go big and go big they did with an epic “Mystery Science Theater 3000” reunion live special. The near 2 ½ hour live show (with credits) was comprised of a series of short films. What all was in this show and who riffed what? Read on to find out!
The show begins with Bill Corbett, Mike Nelson and Kevin Murphy tackling “The Talking Car.” In this short, a young kid runs into street and is later educated about road safety by a trio of scary cars with animated features. This is the type of short that is funny on its own (see the angry dog shots for reference), but the short is made even more amusing thanks to the solid riffs by the RiffTrax gang.
Next up was the previously released “A Word To The Wives” which was riffed by Mary Jo Pehl and Bridget Nelson. This short involves a wife and husband being jealous of another couple’s fancy kitchen. It is basically a glorified ad for appliances. Having heard several short riffs by Mary Jo Pehl and Bridget Nelson now, I find this duo’s comedic style to be refreshing as they offer up something different from the core RiffTrax team. Comedy wise, there’s plenty of laugh-out-loud jokes involving “A Christmas Story” and the time period.
The third story is titled “More Dates For Kay” and this one features the riffing talents of Frank Conniff and Trace Beaulieu (AKA The Mads). The short finds a loner (Mary) learning about how another gal (Kay) is able to get men’s attention. Personally, this was my favorite of the lot as it was far more risqué than the usual fare. The jokes about promiscuity, characters, and sandwiches were particularly noteworthy. I hope one day that Trace and Frank will release video riffs instead of just doing live shows together.
For RiffTrax devotees, the machinery safety video “Shake Hands With Danger” short has become somewhat of a cult classic mostly due in part to the title song that will undoubtedly be stuck in your head forever. Anyway, like with the previously released versions, Bill, Mike and Kevin riff this always uproarious title.
The barbers and beauticians centric “Americans At Work” is the second best short from this show. Original MST3K host Joel Hodgson and future host Jonah Ray team-up for this one and deliver some memorable bits about hair cuts, the time period and Frankenstein’s monster.
The show’s participants take a break while the RiffTrax 10 year anniversary highlight reel plays. Good times all around.
After the reel, all 9 riffers join the stage to take on a new short titled “Stamp Day For Superman.” George Reeves stars as Superman in this hokey Government short about stamp sales, a kidnapped Lois, and burglars. Between the jokes about the Blinky character and comic books, there’s something for everyone here.
The reunion closes out with another iconic RiffTrax short “At Your Fingertips: Grasses.” As you may or may not know, the short poses the question “Is corn grass?’ before delving into insanely awful grass crafts that kids can make. Once again, all 9 people are on stage for this one and it’s a fitting end to the show.
Considering how lengthy and funny the show is, you really get your money’s worth here. Do I wish all of the shorts were new or that they did a feature length film instead? Perhaps, but with the inclusion of fan favorite shorts as well as some brand new ones, you can’t go wrong with this live show.
When comparing the video quality of the DVD and Blu-ray, the Blu-ray obviously wins out, but the DVD transfer is impressive too. In terms of the actual quality of the show and the shorts, the show itself looks nice and crisp while the shorts predictably vary in quality (“The Talking Car” looks a bit rough with all of the lines).
The unspecified audio track delivers clear sounding riffs which is what matters most. Much like the video quality, the audio of the shorts is uneven. The Superman show is noticeably scratchy but it’s still audible enough.
Extras: An amusing mock trivia slideshow which is accompanied by music and 33 minutes of “Behind The Scenes Footage” which contains a light hearted Q&A with the entire cast of 9 riffers and the press, behind-the-scenes footage (like the title suggests), and rehearsal footage.
The RiffTrax Live! MST3K Reunion DVD and Blu-ray can be pre-ordered here http://www.rifftrax.com/rifftrax-live-mst3k-reunion and is scheduled for release the second week of December, 2016
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