Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Outside Film review 2: This Island Earth/MST3K

The movie This Island Earth is a classic low budget 1950’s sci-fi film.  It has become a cult classic due to its B-movie terribleness.  It has its own following for good reason but what I really want to talk about is Mystery Science Theatre.  I am hoping you are familiar with the show but on the off chance that you aren’t they would find old crappy B movies to lampoon over.  During the success of the show they did a theatrical release movie and they chose This Island Earth as their subject.  What I find to be so important about this is that in their making fun of “bad” movies they have widened the audience for such a genre.  I can’t tell you how many obscure old sci-fi films I have watched because of Mystery Science Theatre.  Movies I would have never wasted my time on due to their age and genre.  But in between laughing at their jabs at the gaping plot holes, terrible acting and sub-par sets you are seeing pieces of cinema history.  Some of these films were very popular in their time and have just haven’t aged well.  Some of these movies are so bizarre they explore totally different ways to look at sci-fi.
This Island Earth doesn’t break too many molds.  It was well received during its release and was one of the first major science fiction films to be made in Technicolor.  But it should have been a movie to disappear into obscurity as bigger films of note took their place in sci-fi history.  But it hasn’t, with the riffing of the Mystery Science Theatre crew it has a cemented place in the discussion of what sci-fi was and what it will be.  Any movie MST3K touched has become a part of the curated timeline of cinema.  I may sound preachy but seriously, who would ever watch The Beast of Yucca Flats or Eega if there wasn’t a goofy gag reel to go along with it.  But by making fun of them they are exposing them to a much, much wider audience.  All hail Joel, Mike, Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot. Amen.

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