Recap: Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie

Every year, Hollywood makes hundreds of films. This is one of them.

Film watched: This Island Earth


The MST3K movie contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Anal Probing: The topic of two of Servo's riffs.
  • Actor Allusion: Steve Carlson is played by Russell Johnson, so a few jokes center around his role on Gilligan's Island and the use of Bamboo Technology.
  • Artistic License Physics: Discussed and lampshaded - when the Hubble Telescope suddenly falls and burns up (and presumably blows up in an incredible offscreen fireball), Mike points out that it shouldn't even be possible for it to suddenly drop out of orbit like that.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Well, probably PG in this case, but Gramercy insisted on having a handful of foul words used during the film so the MPAA would bump the rating up to PG-13 and help the film attract a wider audience.
  • Big Budget Beef-Up: Of particular note is the famous theater hallway, which is now a real full-size hallway. Mike and the Bots even stroll through it in one scene.
    • The bots have been upgraded too, Crow at one point lifts his whole head to look up at Mike, Servo is actually seen hovering as Mike climbs down a ladder (rather than being an Informed Attribute like in the show) and Gypsy... Well, she has a fresh coat of paint.
  • Brick Joke: The original ending had Crow returning to trying to tunnel out of the satellite, this time with the chainsaw he found in Servo's room. This had to be cut because the focus groups found the original ending too long.
  • Call Back: Not the first time the Satellite's robot arms were used.
  • Captain Obvious: When Cal points out the aliens foreheads being inhuman, Servo chuckles and exclaims, "No!"
  • Completely Different Title: In Brazil, it was released under the title The Stupidest Movie In The World.
  • Epic Fail: Mike busts up the Hubble so bad it somehow drops through space. Mike (and the viewer) has no idea how that even works.
  • Failed a Spot Check: When Crow breaches the hull he asks for the blueprints to his plan. The paper flies into his face and he reads it over.
    Oh look at that, "Breach Hull, all die!" I even had it underlined!
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Tom Servo blocks the hull breach with his hoverskirt, he starts giggling as the vacuum of space sucks at him from underneath, declaring, "I'm experiencing a sensation altogether new to me — and frankly, I love it!" When Mike removes him, he growls, "Aw, darn..."
    • In the German dub, the riffers all declare the Interociter as "Die Muschibildschirm!" (literally "pussy screen").
    • The MutAnt is given the name "Scrotor" by the gang.
    • Cal jerking on his joystick elicits some bemused reactions by the crew as well.
      Servo: Should we be watching this?
      Cal: Jerking around caused a flameout.
      (Servo chuckles nervously.)
  • A God I Am: Forrester when he overrides the interocitor signal and fires beams at the crew to get them back to the theater room.
  • Gratuitous German: One of the riffs has Tom speaking in German.
  • Homage: The movie's opening credits play over Mike jogging along the inside of a circular track, similar to 2001: A Space Odyssey...but Mike's in a human-sized hamster wheel.
    • Complete with hanging water bottle.
  • Ironic Echo: When Tom reveals he has an Interociter, Mike's skeptical about it, with Tom replying "Doesn't everybody?" When their attempt to use it to escape fails and Forrester's ugly mug shows up, he replies "Auntie Em! Auntie Em! Surprise! Like who doesn't have an Interocitor?!"
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Mike's revelation that he's an instrument-rated pilot in Microsoft Flight Simulator prompts Crow and Servo to dare him to take the controls of the Satellite of Love. Five seconds later, the Hubble telescope is destroyed. Notably, he complains when they make the dare that piloting a satellite is nothing like piloting a plane.
  • If My Calculations Are Correct: Crow plans to escape the Satellite of Love by tunneling out of it. "Hey, I calculated the odds of this succeeding versus the odds that I was doing something incredibly stupid, and... I went ahead anyway."
    • "Wow, look at that! 'Breach hull, all die.' Even had it underlined!"
  • Kneel Before Zod: Dr. Forrester forces Mike and the Bots to bow down to him.
  • Medium Awareness:
    • Averted for a change. Crow doesn't know why their credits would involve puppeteers.
    • There's an odd reversal from the show, which had the SOL crew talk to the audience regularly while the Mads mostly ignored them. Here, Dr. Forrester talks directly to us to set up the premise, while the crew ignore us, save for a brief moment after the Hubble is destroyed. When Mike and the 'Bots head back to the theater, Gypsy looks at the camera, groans "Boys", and then shakes her head disapprovingly.
  • Memetic Badass: In-universe; during the credits, we get the AMAZING RANDO!
    • Out-of-universe, the AMAZING RANDO! is art director Rando Schmook. Born and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Schmook took to the rails and explored the entire lower 48 states via freight train before perusing a degree in architecture, which he used to design sets for Hollywood movies, including My Cousin Vinny. Rando really was amazing to the rest of BBI, who credit him with fully achieving the look they were going after, as well as being amused by his eccentricities, which included showing up to work in ratty sneakers and changing into freshly shined black patent leather tuxedo shoes before starting his work (he claimed the soles allowed him to run around sets faster), and changing back into said sneakers before leaving for the day. He also apparently only ate a pound of Oscar Mayer bologna slices (no bread or condiments) for lunch every day, with no other food or drink consumed the rest of the time.
  • The Movie
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The "hallway to the theater" transitions are accompanied by a ridiculously majestic score (especially the first one). It's probably safe to assume that this was a parody of the trope.
    • "Normal view, Normal viewwww, Normal viewwwwww, NORMAL VIEWWWWWW!!!!"
  • Oh, Crap: In the original ending when Crow intends to chainsaw his way out of the So L.
    "Oopsie."
  • Precision F-Strike: Even if it was Executive Meddling, they made good use out of it (Mary Jo Pehl was responsible for both of them):
    Tom: (On first seeing Metaluna) What kind of shithole planet is this?!
    • And a couple minutes later:
    Tom: No, I could've sworn we parked on level C, right next to the — [sees space monster around the corner] oh, shit.
    • "Whoopty-shit."
  • Room Full of Crazy: We finally get a good look at the room of Tom Servo, which contains a race car-shaped bed, a chainsaw, a collection of lamps, his massive underwear collection, and an interocitor.
  • Running Gag: As one example, there's "The Amazing Rando!" from the credits.
  • Shout-Out/Mythology Gag: One of the theater doors has a cast of TV's Frank's face on it. The "hard copy of the wire service reports" that Gypsy gives Mike is actually an old Satellite News from the MST3K Info Club. The "Manipulator Arm" Mike uses to delicately pry the Hubble off the SOL's hull is labeled "Manos" and is accompanied by a brief snippet of Torgo's leitmotif. Many, many references to 2001: A Space Odyssey, especially during the opening credits.
    • As Crow attempts to tunnel out of the Satellite, he sings "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" which is a reference to The Mary Tyler Moore Show finale; this is later repeated in the series finale of MST3K itself.
    • In the intro sequence, the closeup on Gypsy's eye is both a reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey and a callback to the Mitchell episode of MST3K itself.
  • Something Person: "This is a job for Weenie Man!"
    • Thememobile: "Into the Weeniemobile! Weenie Man away!"
  • Space Is an Ocean: The controls of the Satellite Of Love are almost identical to a boat's helm. To the point Gypsy (whose major duty in-series is running the satellite) drives it while wearing a captain's hat and singing "What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor".
    • When Mike fixes the Hubble Space Telescope with the S.O.L.'s robotic arms, and then releases it into space, the Hubble falls like a waterlogged ship falling into the ocean. The look of incredulity on Mike's face is priceless to any audience members who understand orbital mechanics.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The riffers have a lot of fun with the fact that the main characters are fooled by the obvious aliens.
    Tom:(As Exitor) Then I'll ram my overpositor down your throat and lay my eggs in your thorax but I'm not an alien.
  • Typeset in the Future: The opening credits use the Eurostile font to parody serious science fiction films.
  • Your Head A Splode: Servo's dome seems to be a magnet for interocitor beams. Poor bastard.