For the last few weeks I've been waiting in anticipation. Anticipation I haven't felt since seeing the words "to be continued" at the end of Back to the Future back in 1985 or the first time I heard the familiar "DA DA DA DA DUM" music and saw all that fire in the Terminator 2 teaser trailer. I'm talking about that anticipation you feel when you find out that the thing you love, that you thought was over and done with...is about to live again.
That's how I felt in early December when I read that Joel Hodgson and the original gang from Mystery Science Theater 3000 were getting back together again. Those voices we first heard in the age of New Coke, B.U.M. Equipment and Forenza sweaters were once again going to be making comments during old-school sci-fi flicks under the moniker -- Cinematic Titanic.
As soon as I saw the following trailer, I knew I must have it.
I couldn't wait. I immediately ordered my copy of "The Oozing Skull" and waited...and waited...and waited. This afternoon a little white envelope FINALLY came to my door containing a little ol' disc that looks like this:
I literally went to my mailbox, ripped open the envelope and put it right into the DVD player. I feel like I'm a kid again. I love it. It has so much of what I loved about MST3K. It has this "live" feel, everyone is overlapping each other, having fun and most importantly -- it's FUNNY.
I'll admit I'm biased. I first found MST3K back when I was in 8th grade. It was on "The Comedy Channel" that later became "Comedy Central." I loved everything about it, especially the low production value which helped me connect to the show. It made me feel like I was the only person in the world who knew about it and was watching it. I loved that. Something about the DVD arriving in a plain white envelope complete with low rent DVD menu (a still image of the disc label itself) had a familiar "homemade" charm that was apparent in MST3K all the way down to their planet logo that looked like a ball of silly string painted primer gray.
During this first season (which I guess will never be on DVD) I wrote a letter to MST3K and drew a very crappy picture of Joel and the bots. It actually got read on the air and I still have the VHS of it. It followed the movie Moon Zero Two. Here it is:
I suppose I'm pre-destined to automatically love Cinematic Titanic. So there, I admit it. It also makes me pre-destined to resist the new things like "A female voice in the mix?!! Whassup with that?" (No offense Mary Jo.) Still, 20 minutes in and I warmed up to her the way I warmed up to that other guy who does Servo probably because lo and behold...they're both funny people. (I'll admit I never couldn't get on board with Mike hosting the show. I know, I know he was head writer for years...it just wasn't the same for me without Joel. I completely blame my biases and not the talented man, myth and legend who is Michael J. Nelson.
One thing different about Cinematic Titanic is seeing a movie in its entirety. They do freeze frame it a couple times for a gag or two, but without the commercial breaks, skits, intros, outros and the 'this has movie modified for television' edits that MST3K had...it runs out of steam around the one hour mark. It's the fault of the original movie itself, not the CT gang. I do look forward to seeing what they come up with to help this as the series develops (I call it a series because I don't know what else to call it.)
Another thing I was looking forward to was some sort of premise explaining where or why they're watching this movie together. Are they in Stephen Hawking's private screening room? Atop makeshift scaffolding during an outdoor screening at Hollywood Forever? Or are they just supposed to be themselves, getting together in front of a green screen to entertain us? I don't really have a preference... I'd just hoped for some sort of intro or explanation of "it" whatever "it" is. Maybe we'll see that in DVD's to come. Related to this, it'd be great to have some sort of recap with them chatting about the movie at the end. It could be as simple as seeing their silhouettes having a cup of coffee and piece of pie, recapping their thoughts or making fun of it. Maybe that's just me not wanting it to end.
All in all, it's Cinematic Titanic is a great thing and I'm so excited to get each new movie every month. I hope these guys will keep making these forever and all the MST3K fans out there will buy their DVDs so they can.