Saturday, January 15, 2011

Movie Review: MST3K: Time Chasers

I used to watch Mystery Science Theater 3000 (abbreviated as MST3K) on the weekends with my former roommate, Ryan, and my friend (who at the time was also the BYU 38th Ward Book Club president), Jonathan.[1] We would often eat chocolate pudding, Fritos scoops, and Tostitos Salsa con Queso (not all at once). This episode of MST3K, Time Chasers, was my favorite.

The frame story of MST3K involves a man (Mike Nelson) who is trapped on a space station by an evil scientist and forced to watch bad (read: really bad) movies with his two robot sidekicks, Servo and Crow. To keep their sanity, they heckle the movies. As part of the gimmick, you see at the bottom of the screen the silhouettes of movie theater chairs and sitting in them, Mike, and the robots. They occasionally wiggle around as they make their snide comments.[2]

Time Chasers is about a college professor in Rutland, Vermont who uses a Commodore 64 to turn a Piper Cub light aircraft into a time machine. After licensing his invention to a local businessman he discovers that the future has taken a turn for the worse. Now it is up to him to undo what he has done—and get the girl at the same time.

My verdict: This movie would be completely unbearable if it weren't for the peanut-gallery comments from Mike and the robots.[3] My favorite riffs were: the incredulity about who the star of the show would be, a moment when the college professor does a somersault over the wing of a plane, the "choice of vehicles", and a reference to a classic episode of The Twilight Zone. Be warned, some of the humor is crude.


[1] Sometimes we watched Akira Kurosawa films instead.

[2] After the show was canceled it evolved into RiffTrax, where you download their comments and play them while you watch the movie (you have to rent or buy the movie separately). See their webpage here.

[3] The producers of MST3K reported that they put the film into the black by paying the licensing fees to rebroadcast it. The crew of Time Chasers actually held a party to watch the lampooning of their cherished film and some of the actors had their feelings hurt. See

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