Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 12

“In the not too distant future…” So begins the familiar intro theme for Mystery Science Theater 3000. Since 2002, Rhino Entertainment has been releasing the cancelled show onto DVD in these well-designed collection sets. With 11 under their belts, the 12th is now in stores. Each episode opens and is interspersed with the brief cheesy-joke-filled skits fans have come to expect. Viewers of this set can prepare themselves for wise cracks from robots Tom Servo and Crow as well as hosts Joel Hodgson (hosting the first two – The Rebel Set, Secret Agent Super Dragon) and Mike Nelson (hosting the second two – The Starfighters, Parts: The Clonus Horror).

This twelfth set contains four previously unreleased episodes, all obviously involving the guys (and robots) sitting in silhouette in front of the screen and berating whatever terrible film is forced upon them. Filled with sarcastic humor, pop references and mocking commentary, this set is as good as the rest of the releases and makes a good addition to any MST3K DVD collection.

The laughs come quickly, starting off with the Beatnik robbery flick The Rebel Set. When a character carefully states “A rose by any other name… would still have thorns,” one of the guys says “I… think you’re misquoting…” Next up is Secret Agent Super Dragon, a rather dull spy thriller that Joel and the robots actually manage to turn into one of the better episodes in this collection.  As Mike Nelson steps in, The Starfighters is up, and while it’s not the funniest episode, it’s still good for a few laughs. The final episode, also hosted by Mike Nelson,  is a fan favorite and an obvious precursor of the more recent Michael Bay sci-fi clone flop The Island. When the title comes up as parts the clonus horror, the witty “Apparently e.e. cummings wrote it” is a precursor of clever jokes to come.

There are a good deal of extras here, though it’s mostly for the truly devoted MST3K fans. The short Johnny at the Fair, which plays before The Rebel Set is especially funny, featuring a young boy getting separated from his parents. The interviews with Don Sullivan (who starred in Rebel Set) and Robert Fiveson (who directed Parts: The Clonus Horror) are interesting, though not especially engaging. The inclusion of the original theatrical trailers for the presented films is a good addition and unintentionally hilarious, especially after watching the films with mock commentaries. Overall, the DVD collection case is classy, the episodes are funny and the extras are worthwhile. If you’re looking for 400 minutes of a classic tv show, you can’t go wrong.

Zach’s Rating: B+
Perfect For: An entire day devoted to Mystery Science Theater
Stay Away if: You think bad movies are still bad movies regardless of funny commentary

To purchase Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Volume 12, visit Rhino
For a streaming video sample of Parts: The Clonus Horror, visit Youtube

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