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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie

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"…can be yours IF The Price Is Right!"

Film watched: This Island Earth

The Segments:

  • Dr. Forrester provides an introduction to this movie, and the one which will be riffed momentarily.

Segment 1

  • Mike's morning workout is interrupted when Crow attempts to tunnel his way out of the Satellite of Love and into space.

Segment 2

  • Claiming he can be a better pilot than Cal, Mike tries his hand at piloting the SOL. He ends up crashing into the Hubble telescope, and only makes things worse trying to fix it.

Segment 3

  • As it turns out, Tom has an interocitor in his bedroom, so Mike and the Bots use it to contact a Metalunan ask it for help in escaping. The one they get is not really much help.

Segment 4

  • Mike and the 'Bots unwind from the experiment with a little "Metaluna mixer". When Dr. Forrester attempts to crash the party with his own interocitor, he himself gets zapped to Metaluna.


  • Mike and the Bots riff on the credits to their own movie.

The MST3K movie provides examples of:

  • 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.note 
  • Big Budget Beef-Up: Of particular note is the famous theater hallway, which is now a real full-size hallwaynote . Mike and the Bots even stroll through it in one scene. The theater also has a few additional seats, thanks to the widescreen format.
    • The bots have been upgraded, too. Crow's arms actually move when he uses the pickaxe, and he can tilt his entire head up to look at Mike and Servo. In one of the deleted scenes, he even convincingly plays the harmonica. 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.
  • Big Damn Movie: Dr. F. is being a real jerk ths time around, so the threats to Mike and company are much more pressing than usual, and their ultimate victory against him is a lot more pronounced and satisfying.
  • Brain Bleach: Mike's reaction to Servo's underwear collection.
  • Brick Joke: The original ending has 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.note 
  • Call-Back: This isn't the first time the Satellite's Manipulator Arms were used.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The 213 official episodes of MST3K (through 2017) include the KTMA "Season 0" episodes, but not this movie. It's a telling legacy of how much discord it caused among the production staff, including creating rifts that have never truly healed.
  • Captain Oblivious: When Crow pickaxes his way through the hull and Continuous Decompression threatens to suck them all into space, he asks for the blueprints to his plan — meaning he actually did think this through, just... not well enough. Once the paper flies into his face:
    Crow: Well, this is confusing! Mike, could you hand me my calculations? (a wad of paper smacks Crow in the face) Thank you! Huh, would you look at that: "Breach Hull - All Die!" Even had it underlined!
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Crow is considerably loopier than usual here.
    Crow: Come come, boys, we must confound Jerry at every turn!
  • Continuity Nod: Servo would later detail the exact contents of his underwear collection in a later episode.
  • Could Say It, But...: It takes Tom several minutes to outright tell Mike that Crow is trying to tunnel out of the Satellite of Love, even after repeatedly commenting on how nothing seems life-threatening at the moment, and how there's a rhythmic thumping echoing throughout the ship.
    Tom Servo: Something's causing this, Mike. Hmmm, now let's think: I'm here, you're here, Gypsy's here-
    Tom Servo: "Where's Crow," huh. I'm not supposed to say anything, but I did see that little moron heading towards the basement with a pickaxe in his hand!
  • Epic Fail: Mike busts up the Hubble so bad that it somehow drops through space. Mike (and the viewer) has no idea how that even works.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: "Hey, look at that, Dr. Forrester's gone!" "Alright! Now we'll never get back to Earth!" (Everybody laughs, Fade to Black.)
  • Fan Edit: A fan went through the effort to make an extended cut of the film that restores and reinserts the deleted scenes and obscure riffs that were cut from the final film.
  • Flanderization: Mike, as The Hero, is extra nice and bland; Crow is much more of a Cloudcuckoolander than usual and hefts the Idiot Ball more readily, rather than the nerdy prankster he usually is; and if anything, Tom is probably less of a Small Name, Big Ego and Cloudcuckoolander than normal thanks to Cast Speciation, although he does take on the lion's share of Vulgar Humor for the riffs rather than having everyone pass it around.
  • A God Am I: Forrester when he overrides the interocitor signal and fires beams at the crew to get them back to the theater room.
  • Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks: The film opens with a close-up shot of flasks filled with steaming, bubbling liquid—then the camera pulls back to show the rest of Dr. Forrester's lab. No explanation for the flasks is ever given.
  • 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 Interocitor, 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 fully instrument-rated as a pilot in Microsoft Flight Simulator prompts Crow and Servo to dare him to take the controls of the Satellite of Love. Lampshaded when he even complains when they first make the dare that piloting a satellite is nothing like piloting a plane, but one round of Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"! and he's cockily pushing Gypsy out of the bridge. Five seconds later, the Hubble space telescope is destroyed.
  • If My Calculations Are Correct: Crow plans to escape the Satellite of Love by tunneling out of it. You know, into space. "Well believe me, Mike, I calculated the odds of this succeeding versus the odds that I was doing something incredibly stupid, and... I went ahead anyway."
  • Kneel Before Zod: Dr. Forrester forces Mike and the Bots to bow down to him, the former through oxygen deprivation.
  • Medium Awareness:
    • Zigzagged for all it's worth. Crow doesn't know why their credits would involve puppeteers, but of course they're still watching the credits to their own movie. He also comments he always stays during the end credits — but from his perspective, which end credits is he referring to?
    • 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, sighs "Boys!" and shakes her head ruefully.
  • 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 pursuing 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: Of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Right there in the title.
  • 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.
  • Mundane Utility: Servo has been using his Interocitor to make hot chocolate.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • One of the theater doors has a cast of TV's Frank's face on it, surrounded by bananas (naturally, it's door number 2).
    • 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 Arms" 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.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: A fairly literal case. Mike has yet to embark on his world-destroying career, but he manages to steer the ship straight into the Hubble space telescope within seconds of taking the controls, then manages to damage it even further while trying to manually put it back in orbit with the Satellite's manipulator-arms, then botches things completely when, a few seconds after he lets go, it plummets straight to Earth.
    Tom and Crow: (chanting) Mike broke the Hubble! Mike broke the Hubble!
  • Oh, Crap!: In the original ending, when Crow intends to chainsaw his way out of the SoL.
    Crow: Oopsie.
  • Potty Emergency: Defied by Dr. Forrester at the beginning, who makes sure to ask if everyone's gone so that he doesn't have to stop the movie know...
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Gypsy sings "Drunken Sailor" while piloting, while Crow sings "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" while tunneling back to Earth — or trying to.
  • Room Full of Crazy: We finally get a good look at Servo's room, which contains a race car-shaped bed, a chainsaw, a collection of lamps as well as his massive underwear collection, and an interocitor he's apparently just had kicking around for years (he was using it to make hot chocolate).
  • Shout-Out:
  • 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.
  • Strangely Arousing: When Tom 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..."
  • Too Dumb to Live: Not only was Crow's plan to tunnel out of the Satellite of Love immensely stupid, but it turns out even he knew that:
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Dr. Forrester is much more sadistic and threatening in the film than he is in the series proper. In the pre-film scenes alone, he cuts off Mike's oxygen when he and the bots give him lip.
  • Typeset in the Future: The opening credits use the Eurostile font as a parody of serious science fiction films (like 2001: A Space Odyssey).
  • Unraveled Entanglement: Mike and the 'Bots get an unscheduled break from the movie when the film comes unspooled and then melts. The scene cuts to Dr. Forrester, whose tie is caught in the projector reel, and his arm is somehow on fire. He uses the film to put out the fire, and just gets his hands tangled in it.
  • Won't Do Your Dirty Work: Mike talks Gypsy—the usual pilot on the Satellite of Love—into letting him take the helm. Seconds later, Mike crashes them into the Hubble Telescope. He tries to see if Gypsy can fix the problem, but she's having none of it.
    Mike: Hey, Gypsy, can you...?
    Gypsy: Uh uh! No way! This is your dishwashing liquid, you soak in it!
  • Your Head A-Splode: Servo's dome seems to be a magnet for interocitor beams. Poor bastard.

The MST3K movie-within-a-movie presentation of This Island Earth contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: Steve Carlson is played by Russell Johnson, so a few jokes center around his role as the Professor on Gilligan's Island and the use of Bamboo Technology.
  • Anal Probing: The topic of two of Servo's riffs about the Metalunans.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The MutAnt's big, exposed brain makes for an obvious target.
    Crow: (as MutAnt when Cal hits it repeatedly in the head) OW! I'm very vulnerable there — D'oh! There go the piano lessons! AAGH! I can't remember my dad!
  • The Cameo: Obviously unintentional, and they don't call attention to it, but the deliveryman is played by Coleman Francis, who directed the films featured in three classic episodes.
  • Captain Obvious: When Cal points out the aliens' foreheads being inhuman, Servo chuckles and exclaims, "No!"
  • Department of Redundancy Department: When the Universal International logo appears:
    Mike: Doesn't the fact that it's universal make it international?
  • For Science!: Nobody questions Cal and Joe spending time, money, and power assembling various ill-defined machines that don't actually seem to work.
    Mike: Ah, yes. This is when science didn't have to have any specific purpose.
  • Gratuitous German: One of the riffs has Tom speaking in guidebook German (a Shout-Out to Fawlty Towers).
    Tom: Guten Tag! Zigaretten? Wir wollen ein Auto mieten!note 
  • Ho Yay: In-Universe, several references are made to Cal and Joe being a couple.
    Joe: You're too darn smart.
    Servo: And handsome!
    Joe: Cal, won't you reconsider?
    Cal: I did. All night.
    Servo: (suggestively, as Cal) Didn't you hear me?
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Mike and the 'Bots singing along with a poorly-timed dramatic sting:
    Mike & The 'Bots: (singing along) Normal View, Normal Viewwww, Normal Viewwwwww, (Servo alone, grandiosely) NORMAL VIEWWWWWW!!!!
  • Oh, the Humanity!: When Cal's experiment in an early scene (which the riffers compared to Eggo Waffles) suddenly explodes.
    Mike: Oh, my God, my waffle! Oh, the humanity!
  • Potty Emergency: One of the riffs, as Joe runs up the control tower:
    Crow: (as Joe) Putting the men's room in the tower; what was I thinking?!
  • Precision F-Strike: Three S-strikes are made during the riffing for the sake of pushing the movie's rating to PG-13.note  All three are delivered by Tom:
    • After being told what two of their fellow scientists are working on (uranium, plutonium):
    Tom: Whoopty-shit.
    • On first seeing Metaluna:
    Tom: What kind of shithole planet is this?!
    • And just a few minutes later as they're trying to escape from said shithole planet:
    Tom: No, I could've sworn we parked on level C, right next to the — (sees space monster around the corner) oh, shit.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: The Metalunans all have orange skin, white hair, and big, oddly-shaped foreheads. Ruth and Steve think they need a series of sketches and diagrams as proof of this.
    Ruth: "Notice the strange indentation in both their foreheads."
    Servo: NO!!!!!?
  • Running Gag: Many, as usual for the series.
    • "In the event that the first assistant production coordinator is unable to fulfill her duties..." "Okay, enough!"
    • "The Amazing Rando!", Construction Coordinator and behind-the-scenes Memetic Badassinvoked Rando Schmook, from the ending credits.
    Tom: Watch Rando the Great construct sets with his very MIND!!
    Tom: Excuse me, Magic Film and Video, but RANDO will do all the magic on this film!
    Tom: Eastman.note  He came out of the east to do battle with the AMAZING RANDOOO!!!"
  • Shout-Out:
  • Something Person: As Joe piles into a Jeep after Cal's near-crash on the airstrip: "This is a job for Weenie Man!"
    Crow: Into the Weeniemobile! Weenie Man away!
  • Stopped Reading Too Soon: Dr. Cal Meacham gets several crates full of the necessary parts to build an interocitor. The scene skips to after he's unpacked them, and the thousands of fragile parts are spread out on the floor. Cal reads the instructions again...
    Tom Servo: (as Cal Meacham) "But before unpacking..." D'oh!
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The riffers have a lot of fun with the fact that the main characters are fooled by the incredibly obvious aliens.
    Cal: What do you think of Mr. Mozart, Exeter?
    Exeter: I'm afraid I do not know the gentleman.
    Servo : (as Exeter) I'M NOT AN ALIEN!
    (as the dinner ends)
    Tom: (as Exeter) And then I'll ram my ovipositor down your throat and lay my eggs in your chest, but I'm not an alien!
  • Take That!:
    • "Okay, let's see here. Shatner, Shatner... Doesn't look like he's in this one. We're safe."
    • "Hey, you can see the Cubs losing!"
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Servo has a German scientist greet Cal and Ruth with an overly cheerful "Heil Hitler!"
  • Toilet Humour: The crew wasn't above fart jokes.
    Servo: (as Cal) Sorry, I farted.
    Mike: (as Ruth) I farted.
  • You're Not My Father: One of the riffs:
    Joe: "You know what the kids would say..."
    Servo: ...You're not my real father!

Crow: Country of First Publication: United States of America. Offer void in Utah.
Mike: Children under 12, employees, and their families are prohibited from taking part in this contest.
Tom: If not fully satisfied with this film, please return unused portion for a full refund.

Alternative Title(s): Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie