Release Date(s)Various (December 10, 2013)
- Film/Program Grade: B+
- Video Grade: B-
- Audio Grade: B-
- Extras Grade: B+
- Overall Grade: B+
WE’VE GOT MOVIE SIGN!!!
Here we are again with Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Shout! Factory’s 25th Anniversary Edition DVD set. These boxed sets are released tri-annually with some nice extras and better quality episodes than what you might find floating around online or on bootlegs. The price is kind of steep, but if you’re a fan of the show, you know that these sets are definitely worth picking up.
I’ve gone into a good amount of detail about MST3K and my love for it in my review of the movie, so I won’t bother getting into that. We’ll keep things short and sweet and just cover the set itself. With this release, you get the following six episodes: Moon Zero Two (Season 1, Episode 11), The Day the Earth Froze (Season 4, Episode 22), The Leech Woman (Season 8, Episode 2), Gorgo (Season 9, Episode 9), Mitchell (Season 5, Episode 12), and The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (Season 5, Episode 13). The last two are actually reissue episodes previously available on discs only through Rhino Entertainment, both of which are out of print.
The episodes in these boxed sets usually feature two hosted by Joel and two hosted by Mike, which is a good balance, but in this case, there’s only a single Joel episode. The quality of each episode varies, with some episodes being better than others. Moon Zero Two is a movie that’s probably more respected for its look and its effects than its actual story, as evidenced by it being in this set. The Day the Earth Froze is actually one of my favorite episodes, mainly because I really like the movie and not just the episode. I think it’s a beautiful movie that, while not all that good, is kind of magical. The Leech Woman is another fan favorite episode, one long overdue for an official release. Gorgo is Britain’s answer to Godzilla, but in this case not much more than a whisper (as opposed to a roar). The last two episodes, Mitchell and The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, are actually the end of Joel Robinson’s run as the show’s host and the beginning of Mike Nelson’s tenure. They’re also two big fan favorite episodes.
As far as image and sound quality, everything is sourced from the original master tapes, which were on video. The episodes look generally good, especially in the latter years of the show, with an occasional minor green band or video-source anomaly here or there. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles. Short of Shout! Factory putting some extra money into producing these sets in high definition, these are definitely a major step up from circulating bootlegs of the show.
As for the extras, you get a few from disc to disc, most of them newly-produced just for this set. For Moon Zero Two, you get an introduction by Hammer Films historian Constantine Nasr, the Return to Eden Prairie Part I: The Crew documentary, and the movie’s theatrical trailer. For The Day the Earth Froze, you get the Return to Eden Prairie Part II The Locations documentary, a set of MST Hour Wraps, and the movie’s theatrical trailer. For The Leech Woman, you get the Return to Eden Prairie Part III: The Characters documentary, the Life After MST3K: Mary Jo Pehl interview, and the movie’s theatrical trailer. For Gorgo, you get the Ninth Wonder of the World: The Making of Gorgo (MST3K Edition) documentary, the Leonard Maltin Explains Something brief snippet, and the movie’s theatrical trailer. For Mitchell and The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (both on one disc), you get the featurette Last Flight of Joel Robinson and a short interview with actress Marilyn (Hanold) Neilson. Also included (as is standard with all of the MST3K boxed sets) are 4 paper insert reproductions of the artwork from each DVD in the set. It’s also housed in a metal tin if you were able to nab it during its initial release.
All in all, this is another solid boxed set release of MST3K goodness from the fine folks at Shout! Factory. If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely want to pick it up. Now push the button, Frank.
- Tim Salmons