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The Film Crew is the successor to the cult classic television series, Mystery Science Theater 3000 that features three of the alumni from that series: Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. Hollywood After Dark and Killers From Space are their first two releases and let me just say, their choices for films hasn’t changed one iota. However, their comedy has.
I was a big fan of MST3K, even to the point of geeking out and going to their second convention in Minneapolis in 1996, so I was understandably sad when the series got canceled. I followed the cast over the years as they worked on various projects and got quite excited when the three afore mentioned members announced their intent to get back to doing movie tracks, albeit in a slightly different format.
It doesn’t work.
For those of you who don’t know how MST3K worked, I won’t bore you with the entire premise, just know that during the movie there was a silhouette at the bottom of the screen of the host (first Joel Hodgson and then Mike Nelson) and his two robot friends Tom Servo (Kevin Murphy) and Crow T. Robot (first Trace Beaulieu and then Bill Corbett). They would sit at the bottom of the screen and mock the movie, moving around, pointing at things, and it was just general fun.
Now they skip the silhouette and it just sounds like a DVD commentary track. I really boring, lackluster, commentary track.
Without the silhouette, the humor is broader and harder to follow. Where the old format allowed them to point at finer points in the frame to mock, the new way has to be more obvious since all you hear is their voices.
You can also tell the writing staff is missing some people. The old staff consisted of the three in the new version, and Paul Chaplin, Mary Jo Pehl, and Bridget Jones. The cutting of the writing staff by half is noticeable in the fact the jokes are more repetitive inside the same film. (Enough with the Biography jokes in Killers From Space!)
I can’t believe how disappointed I was with these efforts. The magic is gone, and I guess I should have expected some of that with age, but it almost feels like an insult to the memory of MST3K with this desperate grab to recapture those glory days of when you had a pop culture phenomenon to your name.
I can’t even bring myself to give these a rating I’m so let down.