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Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (1996)

tomatometer

73

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 41
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 11

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie may be thin and uneven, but it's hilarious in enough of the right spots to do the show's big-screen transition justice.

71

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 4

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie may be thin and uneven, but it's hilarious in enough of the right spots to do the show's big-screen transition justice.

audience

88

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 26,758

My Rating

Movie Info

The cult television series Mystery Science Theatre 3000 transfers its brand of science-fiction wisecracking to the big screen with relatively few changes. The concept is the same in series and film: an innocent man (Michael J. Nelson, playing Mike Nelson) is stranded in outer space by a mad scientist, who subjects the poor slob to "experiments" that involve watching the worst movies ever made. In order to survive this cinematic torture, Mike and his two companions, sarcastic robots Tom Servo and

Oct 10, 2000

MCA Universal Home Video

Watch It Now

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All Critics (41) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (11) | DVD (21)

[The wisecracks], more often than not, don't go over. But those that do still add up to lotsa laughs, and the sheer weight of them eventually builds an atmosphere of mild lunacy that it's useless to resist.

May 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

So, how does movie differ from TV show? The answer is, thankfully, not a lot.

June 5, 2007 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Helping to make these pleasantries funny is their spur-of-the-moment quality, the same quick spontaneity that characterizes chance remarks overheard at raucous movie houses. Capturing that bright and unexpected quality is what the MST3K crew does best.

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the film's more likable aspects is its certainty that nothing's sacred.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Part of the appeal of the program is in the wisecracking. But the movies themselves are also crucial.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I guess there are some concepts that don't excel in the translation from the small screen to the big one.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: ReelViews | Comment (1)
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You have to love Best Brains for doing their best to reward the fans.

October 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

This Island Earth is actually a GOOD movie ... For the first (and last) MST motion picture, the honor should have gone to a universally acknowledged turkey like Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster or Ed Wood's immortal Plan 9 from Outer Space.

September 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

The good news for fans is that MST3K: The Movie, for all its flaws, at least works as an okay facsimile of the real thing.

September 4, 2013 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

The TV show might be funnier but this is pretty solid introduction to the MST3K phenomenon.

May 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

In the theater, whenever Mike, Crow or Tom Servo flub a punchline or resort to a fart joke, you almost want to lean forward and shush them.

May 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Comments (3)
Slant Magazine

The translation is a little bumpy, but this is Mystery Science Theater we're talking about here: even a less concentrated effort is guaranteed to be a pants-wetting night of endless laughs and infectious bad movie grimacing.

May 7, 2008 Full Review Source: BrianOrndorf.com
BrianOrndorf.com

As we were saying to Andy Rooney the other day, don't you just hate it when you go to see some old movie and find the front two rows filled with college students who think they're extremely clever and don't care who knows it?

June 5, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide | Comments (3)
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Anything Mystery Science puts a smile on my face!

December 19, 2004
Juicy Cerebellum

Sophomoric laughs, sure, but funny.

October 14, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

A bad idea for a TV show becomes a worse idea for a movie.

December 4, 2003 | Comments (23)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

My guess is this highly specific art form will not survive this trip from late-night TV to the big screen. Still, fans of this genre should get plenty of what they came for.

May 20, 2003
Palo Alto Weekly

Great fun from Mike and the Bots, who can make almost any awful movie worth sitting through.

March 19, 2003
eFilmCritic.com

It's fun for the entire family. And one more thing. Push the button, Frank.

September 9, 2002 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Played on the big screens, but it's basically a B+ episode. Stick with Manos & Mitchell.

July 26, 2002
eFilmCritic.com

Audience Reviews for Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie

From the cult TV series, a man and his two robots trapped in space mock one of the worst movies ever made--only in the one-off feature version the film is THIS ISLAND EARTH, a colorful sci-fi film that isn't close to the laughable fare the show usually covered. The feature film offers very few extras for fans, won't covert anyone new to the cause, and would have been considered an average to below average episode if it had aired on TV.
May 2, 2009
366weirdmovies
Greg S

Super Reviewer

I love Mystery Science Theater, but the movie version does not compare well with the television series. This Island Earth just doesn't offer many opportunities for humor (except for the absurd insect mutants that are supposedly similar to the insects here on earth). I can't imagine even the most hardcore MST3K fans enjoying this very much.
December 15, 2008
lewiskendell

Super Reviewer

My first exposure to the MST franchise, I had to watch it a second time around to get it better (first time was at night on tv when I was half-asleep) and I'm glad I decided to give it a second chance when I taped it. I had myself in stitches while watching this, I really did. Taking a below average film and subjecting it to ridicule was, at that point, the most original thing I had ever seen or heard and these guys made it seem so easy.

Naturally, after watching episodes of the show, I see things in the movie that could have been improved (like adding the theme song, which is now my favorite theme song to any show ever made) but considering what they had to work with and what came out, I'd say it's a great result regardless.

Despite what some call "dumbed down" commentary, there are still good laughs to be had by all. Recurring jokes such as "The Amazing Rando" and frequent outbursts of "I'm not an alien!" are always amusing. And the host segments are great, as they all relate to their plight of being stuck in space.

If science ever gets around to building robots that aren't glorified slaves, Crow and Servo should be on the top of their to-build lists. I know I want a pair of wisecracking robot buddies like those two
December 21, 2007
Passenger1986
David S

Super Reviewer

If you, the viewer, are not familiar with Mystery Science Theater 3000, better known as MST3K, I recommend that you rent/buy/borrow, beg, or steal tapes and dvds to become a tad familiar with the concept.

The concept is: riffing a B-or-worse-scifi-movie; the victim, er-- subject, in this case, is "This Island Earth", a classic from the 50's. There's this guy (Mike) who's been shot up to an orbiting space station (the Satellite of Love, or SOL) by a Mad Scientist (Dr. Clayton Forrester). Mike is a replacement test subject (Joel, who made the robots for companionship, escaped), and he and Joel's 'bots (short for ro-bots) ease the stress of being test subjects by making wise@$$ remarks while the movie is running. Then there are little interval segments that attempt to tell a coherent narrative.

The catch is that the bots are actually only puppets made from a gumball machine head, salad bowl, Tupperware interlocking set of flower vases, and armatures from folding adjustable desk lamps. The original actor who voices Crow T. Robot is Trace Beaulieu, who also plays Dr. Forrester . The guy who voices Tom Servo is Kevin Murphy-- well, if you really want to see him, you'll have to find the episodes on tape and go looking for his appearances as other characters.

This movie is just as good as the episodes that have appeared either on Comedy Central or the Sci-Fi Channel, but this time Best Brains, the production company, had more money to make better sets, props, and better staging of gags. The Hubble was great, as was the amusing and embarrassing segment where Dr. Forrester ends up in the Metalunan guy's shower. [aaagghhh!!!]

MST3K: The Movie was what I hoped at the time to be the first in a long line of franchise movies. Too bad that didn't happen but we still have this movie and the episodes of the series to enjoy
December 5, 2007
cancercapricorn2002
David Ladd

Super Reviewer

    1. Mike Nelson: Doesn't the fact that it's Universal MAKE it international?
    – Submitted by David G (2 years ago)
    1. Tom Servo: I use mine to make hot chocolate.
    – Submitted by John E (2 years ago)
    1. Mike Nelson: Look out, President Clinton!
    – Submitted by David G (2 years ago)
    1. Tom Servo: Captain's log: a bunch of our ship fell off, and, nobody likes me.
    – Submitted by Wes S (2 years ago)
    1. Dr. Clayton Forrester + Crow.T. Robot: [as Cal flies over Chicago] Hey, you can see the Cubs losing!
    – Submitted by Derek A (2 years ago)
    1. Dr. Clayton Forrester + Crow.T. Robot: Well, look at that: 'breach hull, all die.' Even had it underlined.
    – Submitted by Derek A (2 years ago)
View all quotes (7)

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