The MST3K Journal: Season 11

Mystery Science Theater 3000 may have been cancelled, but it was in no danger of being forgotten. Once DVDs began their ascendency, Rhino put more effort in expanding the number of episodes available on home video. Then Shout! Factory took the reins and pushed even further, not only acquiring rights to movies once thought beyond reobtaining but including all sorts of extras with pink frilly edges. So even though new episodes weren’t coming out, at least we could still enjoy the old episodes in better quality than some tenth generation VHS recording.

As for the cast, the urge to riff never truly left them. Thus, we saw the advent of projects such as The Film Crew, Cinematic Titanic, RiffTrax, and The Mads Are Back. These were all enjoyable in their own right, but it still wasn’t quite the same as the MST3K experience.

Then in 2015, Joel announced the intent to crowdfund a new season of MST3K. This served two purposes. The first was to show any interested networks or streaming platforms the level of fan interest for the project. The second was that, by obtaining funds from people with a personal interest in the show continuing rather than an abstract desire for content, they’d retain greater control where it counted. The campaign was a huge success, surpassing all the funding stretch goals and setting a new record for a Kickstarter in the Film and Television category.

Though the basic premise remained the same, there were inevitable changes. First and foremost was that, though the Bots retained their basic forms, their functionality received some upgrades. There was also the matter of casting, with a new chump trapped in space, new Bot voices, a new mad scientist, and new lackeys. Even so, a few familiar faces would crop up.

But as with any reboot or continuation of a beloved series, there is fanboy grousing. Much of this centered around the way Jonah and the Bots would interact with the movie, particularly with Servo’s newfound flying capabilities. Personally, I thought this was just sour grapes. The original series saw plenty of Shadowrama interaction with the movie (particularly during the Joel era). I imagine the only reason they didn’t do it at the same level is they didn’t possess the resources to pull it off back then. A bit more understandable was the disconcerted reactions to all the celebrity cameos (though they mostly worked).

But enough of that. Time to check out the first new MST3K content in 6,424 days (because of course someone counted).

1101: Reptilicus [Grade: A]

After nearly eighteen years, new episodes of MST3K were being cranked out again. And this time I got to see them fresh rather than acquiring them through home video, both official and not (though for the latter it was only those without a proper release, because otherwise that would be wrong). And what better way to kick things off than with a kaiju movie! From Denmark, for some reason!

For the most part, it’s a typical kaiju film of the era that hits all the standard beats. But there are some details which help it stand out. First off are the two estrogen-addled daughters of Professor Martens, who appear ready and willing to hump anyone with a Y chromosome. The security guard Petersen is an odd character who looks as if he were yanked off the Hee Haw set. Apparently, the actor Dirch Passer is some sort of celebrated comic in Denmark. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and presume this was just a low point in his career.

But the true inanity comes from the kaiju itself and how its existence is based on a total misunderstanding of reptilian regeneration. In essence, Repitilicus came into being when a frozen fossil of a tail was brought up to room temperature and the rest of the reptilian organism grew out from that. This approaches Carbon-14 dating being able to tell that something’s from the future in its complete ignorance of science. Better just to sit back and enjoy as Copenhagen gets leveled.

As for the host segments, the blue ribbon goes to their excellent first song “Every Country Has a Monster”. In a way, this is unfortunate. Setting the bar so high right out of the gate makes it so that the other songs of the season pale in comparison, even ones that are good in their own right. The cloning of Servo is also worth a laugh, bringing back memories of the many duplicate Servos from the original series.

  • Favorite riff: Are you saying growing a monster in a tub was a bad idea?
  • Stinger: Petersen gets acquainted with the electric eel.
  • Alternate Stinger: Perfect!
  • Bechdel Test: Fail. The only conversation between two female characters is conducted sotto voce, so we can’t make out what is said.

1102: Cry Wilderness [Grade: C-]

The films of MST3K have had more than their fair share of obnoxious snot-nosed punks as protagonists. But none of them provoke the same amount of revulsion as Paul does in this movie. Not Johnny of Time of the Apes. Not Sean of Gorgo. Not even Kenny of Gamera. A particularly infuriating trait is how he always ignores instructions from adults, constantly running off after being told to stay. Now you might argue that this is no different from any other child protagonist. But what makes Paul different is how his actions always make the situation far worse. Considering this, the whole premise where he ran away from his boarding school because some sort of mystical contact with Bigfoot warning him that his father was in danger is flawed. About the only time the dad was in peril was when he got trapped in a cave-in at an abandoned mine. Which his moronic son previously charged into after being told to stay put. The brat truly is a menace to himself and others.

Another unfortunate aspect is the Bigfoot costume. Compared to the one in Boggy Creek II, it’s very much an inferior design. It’s not like it was left to some random shmuck. A bit of research shows that special effects technician Michael Hoover has worked on quality productions like 2010, Ghostbusters, and Spider-Man 2. Then again, even the best can only do so much with sufficiently limited resources. Just look at some of the stuff Rick Baker produced in his own MST3K credits. Finally, there’s the bizarre situation with the tiger. Early on, it’s implied that they have no idea what is menacing the local wildlife. But when the tiger is revealed, they act as if they always knew. The only reasonable explanation I can come up with is that a scene where they’re contacted by the circus from which the tiger escaped was cut. Personally, I’m not inclined to dig up an unedited copy to be sure.

And to any impressionable kids out there, you should realize that the portrayal of raccoons in this movie as lovable scamps has no basis in reality. The truth is that they are vicious little bastards, with a significant percentage of the wild variety being carriers of rabies.

Host segments start off a bit weak, with the reenactment of the racoon scene being quite labored. However, things pick up when Pearl, Bobo, and Brain Guy visit. The conclusion where Jonah and the Bots attempt to trick Max into allowing them to escape caps things off nicely.

  • Favorite riff: Made possible by a generous grant from the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Foundation.
  • Stinger: Big game hunter guy chows down.
  • Alternate Stinger: Got a tiger in the tank.
  • Bechdel Test: Fail. Helen and the mayor’s good time gal are the only female characters, and they don’t so much as share a scene.

1103: The Time Travelers [Grade: B+]

It’s always nice to see a time travel story that doesn’t try to pull any preserving the integrity of the timeline nonsense. Though this one has a rather pessimistic tone. Perhaps it was a bellwether for the later downbeat science fiction movies of the late 1960s and 1970s (Soylent Green, Logan’s Run, the Planet of the Apes series, etc.). By the standards of movies that get screened on MST3K, this is a reasonably competent affair with halfway decent production values. Though I do question the nightmarish design of the androids.

One weak point is the occasional heavy-handed pontificating. This sort of thing is common in science fiction movies of the time, but that doesn’t make it welcome. There is also a narrative flaw in the final act. They return to the present day outside the university building. Yet they don’t encounter anyone prior to arriving at the laboratory where they discover that everything around them is going at a slower rate of time. Even accounting for the possibility that it’s on a weekend, it stretches credulity that wouldn’t at least run into one closed door which, due to the differing rates of time flow, they would be unable to open.

Riffing-wise, this one gets interesting during the climactic battle, where Servo gets upset over the androids getting ripped apart. For a lot of fans, this was when Servo started feeling like Servo. It’s certainly true that being emotionally vulnerable has been one of his key personality traits.

Of the host segments, my personal favorite was the time portal safety drill. I’ve suffered through more than my fair share of workplace lectures which employ tortured acronyms to illustrate the point. This is also the first episode of the new series where they get visited by characters from the movie. The frequent cutting between the two sets of characters makes for a different rhythm than what we got with the conversations on the hexfield where such interactions usually occurred in the original series.

  • Favorite riff: We only have ten minutes before the real scientists return from lunch.
  • Stinger: Danny is diggin’ it.
  • Alternate Stinger: Detached android head wakes up.
  • Bechdel Test: Pass. Gadra and Carole talk about the starship’s photon drive.

1104: Avalanche [Grade: C]

The 1970s has many aesthetic crimes to answer for. One of the more obnoxious misdemeanors is the Disaster Movie. The basic formula was popularized with the inexplicable box office hit Airport, wherein a celebrity-studded cast of characters are trapped in the middle of a disaster, either natural or man-made, as they attempt to survive and work out their personal issues. Though in this case, celebrity was more likely to mean someone who could be a panelist on The Match Game or The Hollywood Squares.

While this isn’t the first Disaster Movie to be featured on MST3K, those instances occurred during the KTMA era and were mostly TV movies to boot. This time we have a theater release production and written riffs to toss at it. Our setting is a newly opened ski resort, and all the expected archetypes are present. We have the hubristic resort owner and his ex-wife, portrayed by a past his prime Rock Hudson and Mia Farrow respectively. We’re expected to believe that they still have dysfunctional yearnings for each other. Truth be told, Hudson had more romantic chemistry with Julie Andrews in Darling Lili, and they had none. Then we have the doomsayer whose warnings about the potential avalanche go unheeded, probably because he’s such a sanctimonious dipstick. There’s also a bunch of other characters whom I’m already starting to forget, except for the skier whose last act on Earth is to proposition a minor. That’s the sort of thing you can’t forget, no matter how hard you try. It’s difficult to tell which part goes on longer than necessary, the set-up before the avalanche or the aftermath. Both are equally tedious.

Host segments are uneven this time around. “Every Country Has a Monster” was always going to be a difficult song to top, but “Our Love is on Wings You Can’t See” is a complete dud. My dissatisfaction is due in part because this is clearly a Dr. Horrible nod, and I never really got the appeal of that property. Fortunately, the next host segment where Jonah and the Bots trademark a bunch of stupid B movie titles to keep them out of the hands of the irresponsible more than makes up for that.

  • Favorite riff: We’ve got an avalanche of polyester on the dance floor.
  • Stinger: Keystone Kops Emergency Services deploy.
  • Alternate Stinger: Perfect!
  • Bechdel Test: Pass. Caroline consults the hotel clerk about her reservation.

1105: The Beast of Hollow Mountain [Grade: A]

Stop motion wizard Willis O’Brien always wanted to do a western with dinosaurs. This would eventually be realized in 1969 with The Valley of Gwangi. But thirteen years before that, this movie ran with the same idea. Well not so much run as go at a brisk walk. The big flaw is how late the dinosaur is introduced. Its first on-screen killing (something that in any other movie would occur at the end of the prologue) doesn’t happen until well into the second act.

What this means is that we get a bland horse opera with the dinosaur being tacked on almost as an afterthought. It’s quite possible that this was a regular western that had been greenlit when it was decided to include the dinosaur idea. One thing about it that sticks out is the stampede scene. This was accomplished by shooting footage of the beeves going at a trot and then speeding up the film. This has the unfortunate effect of making it look like they’re speed walking. Compared to The Valley of Gwangi, it’s a massive disappointment.

What isn’t disappointing is the riffing, which manages to generate consistent laughs. Host segments are a big step up from the previous episode’s hit and miss sketches. The discussion on monster movies has an interesting visual with the two Bots sitting on bean bag chairs, especially for Crow whose position is reminiscent of Kermit on the wall. The parody of the bizarrely costumed paraders from the movie is also a hoot thanks to the terror it inspires in Jonah and the Mads.

  • Favorite riff: Is Pancho really worth four wet socks?
  • Stinger: Sarita speaks softly and throws a big stick.
  • Alternate Stinger: Agree.
  • Bechdel Test: Pass. Sarita asks Margarita to take her flowers, who hears and obeys.

1106: Starcrash [Grade: A+++]

This episode was an unusual experience in that I had previously watched the movie being screened. Therefore, I can assure you that the uncut version makes no sense either. My guess is that, to cash in on the then recent success of Star Wars, the writers assigned to the project were given a crash course in science fiction storytelling. This would certainly explain the haphazard nature of the worldbuilding and the randomness of the technobabble.

It’s certainly one of the more flagrant Star Wars knockoffs that came out, what with the space wizard wielding a laser sword. Far more so than Battlestar Galactica. But guess which one faced litigation from Lucasfilm? Fortunately, the movie’s stupidity is of the entertaining variety and the riffing enhances it. One scene in particular involved a series of ships being launched, where Jonah and the Bots rattle off a series of names for them. My first viewing of it had me laughing so hard that I ended up hyperventilating.

While the host segments are all decent, easily the best one is where Crow goes back to his screenwriting ambitions. The World War Space logo prop in particular is an impressive piece of work.

  • Favorite riff: Space Mountain with the lights on. They never show you how many people get killed on that ride. I took a secret Disney tour.
  • Stinger: Akton is pleased.
  • Alternate Stinger: Agree.
  • Bechdel Test: Pass. Stella and a female prisoner at the penal mine discuss the prospect of escape.

1107: The Land That Time Forgot [Grade: B]

It’s difficult to say whether The Beast of Hollow Mountain or this movie had worse dinosaur effects. But one thing in the latter’s favor is that it possessed far more ambition, even if it often fell short. I’ve never read the source material, though I’m given to understand that the German characters are originally portrayed as a collection of conniving nogoodniks. Not surprising, considering that it originally saw print back in 1918. That trait gets incorporated solely into the U-boat’s XO Dietz.

In retrospect, it’s curious that Dietz was portrayed by Anthony Ainley, who was still about five years away from appearing on Doctor Who as the Master. I suppose it’s not surprising that the Jonah and the Bots didn’t recognize him, since he doesn’t have a goatee. Though if you take a screenshot of him from this movie and compare it to one of him in Doctor Who, the resemblance pops out immediately. Quite a shame, as the prehistoric setting would make it a ripe target for references to the (admittedly terrible) Fifth Doctor serial “Time-Flight”. Even a Norelco jingle with a mention of the sonic screwdriver would have sufficed.

Doug McClure as lead character Tyler Bowen is perhaps not the best casting choice. Lead protagonists in Edgar Rice Burroughs stories are manly men, butch and fit. While maybe not quite as bad as Joe Don Baker, in his two MST3K appearances this season, Mr. McClure is still a bit pudgy.

In the host segments, it’s the ones that involve the Mads that prove to be the best. First off is how they get outed over their inventions being based off riffs Jonah and the Bots make in the previous episode. The dinosaur ranch is also an amusing concept. However, it’s the bit where Max ends up with Jonah’s message in a bottle that makes for a perfect ending. It recalls the ending host segment from Fire Maidens of Outer Space when, after jettisoning Crow’s evil counterpart Timmy, he ends up outside Deep 13 with Frank bringing him in.

  • Favorite riff: My dearest Eulabelle, the bloody war between the North and the thunder lizards continues without end. One of the simple local townsfolk has led us deep into enemy territory. I miss toilet paper. Love yours truly, Ambrose.
  • Stinger: Ahm gets snatched by a pterodactyl.
  • Alternate Stinger: Perfect!
  • Bechdel Test: Fail. Lisa is the only female character with a speaking part.

1108: The Loves of Hercules [Grade: B-]

What does it say about your Hercules movie when it’s the damsel who get top billing? Mind you, said damsel is portrayed by busty blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield, whose name probably had more marquee value than Mickey Hargitay. Reportedly she only agreed to perform the role if her then husband Hargitay got the title role. While he certainly has a Hercules type build (though he lacks the facial hair typical for the character), his performance falls flat. Further undermining him is how his English dub voice sounds like a stereotypical Italian, giving the impression that he should be working at a fruit stand or a barbershop or (if you want to be really cliché) a pizza parlor.

Another odd choice is that Mansfield either had her hair dyed black or she’s wearing a wig. As Sword & Sandal movie producers appear to prefer their damsels to be blondes and redheads, I’m rather perplexed with this decision. Also distracting is her rack. I get that Sword & Sandal damsels are expected to have a D cup minimum. But compared to her, the other women in the cast appeared to have Mia Farrow builds.

Unlike most Sword & Sandal movies, the core plot doesn’t appear to adapt any specific myth. At most, we get bits and pieces, such as the guys who get turned into withered trees being from Book 3 of The Aeneid.

Of the host segments, my personal favorite was their take on the odd ax throwing trial from the movie which they call People’s Throwing Court. I believe the idea in the movie is that the gods will the axes to strike or miss. This makes sense in context when you consider that the Greek gods were believed to meddle in mortal affairs and possess capricious temperaments. However, the one that got all the attention was the introduction and brutal dismemberment of M. Waverly. Personally, I think I could have lived a full and happy life never having seen Jonah in drag.

  • Favorite riff: Oh yeah. That bull has got murder in his big, dewy eyes.
  • Stinger: Hercules gets tagged by the hydra.
  • Alternate Stinger: Agree.
  • Bechdel Test: Pass. Deianira and Aleia discuss the former’s unpleasant impending fate.

1109: Yongary – Monster from the Deep [Grade: C]

Something of a misleading title, as “from the deep” is traditionally used to mean from the depths of the ocean. Presumably it refers to it coming from the depths of the Earth. This South Korean attempt at a kaiju film is typical of the genre. Even the monster design is unimaginative, as it’s basically just Godzilla with a horn on its snout. Another unfortunate trait is that the movie has its own Kenny in the form of Ichio. About the only good thing about him is that he’s a major step up from Paul in Cry Wilderness, who had set a new low in repulsive child characters.

One thing that is dissimilar from most kaiju films is that the title monster is killed rather than banished in some fashion. And it’s quite an unpleasant affair, with extended death throes and anal bleeding. Ichio’s plea of understanding for Yongary at the conclusion is something that could easily be dismissed out of hand. But much as it pains me to admit, he does have a point. Since Yongary appears to possess animal intelligence, it would be acting out of instinct rather than malice. But then so does a rabid dog.

Host segments are a mixed lot. The one on preferred music of astronauts meanders with no purpose before fizzling out. Fortunately, Servo’s Yongary Night Club picks things back up. The song “Push Past the Hurting” makes for a nice cap, especially the way Kinga and Max almost admit they’ve gone too far.

  • Favorite riff: What if aliens approached the Earth from this angle? How are they supposed to know that America is the best country?
  • Stinger: Yongary dances the night away.
  • Alternate Stinger: Perfect!
  • Bechdel Test: Pass. Suna and Onna briefly exchange greetings.

1110: Wizards of the Lost Kingdom [Grade: A]

When people think of fantasy films from the 1980s, what usually comes to mind is Conan the Barbarian and its many knockoffs, where minimal clothing was an indicator of combat prowess. For the male characters anyway. For every nearly nude female character in these movies who was a genuine Action Girl, there would be at least a dozen who were harem slaves, rape bait, virgin sacrifices, or some combination thereof. But then there were productions like this one where the sleaze was considerably toned down and you could watch it alongside younger family members with minimal discomfort.

Toned down, but not eradicated. Notable is that the protagonist apprentice wizard Simon and his betrothed Princess Aura are both portrayed by actual teenagers. Even more impressive when you consider the mass of fake teenagers in the high school comedies and slasher flicks of the decade. But herein lies the creepiness, from the giant bug siren creature that lures in Simon to the way main villain Shurka constantly leers at Aura. Not much better is how the behavior of Aura towards Simon is reminiscent of prepubescent Mary Hatch in It’s a Wonderful Life and her stalker mentality blossoming at such a tender age.

With our protagonist being such a wispy shmuck, he obviously needs some muscle to back him up. This comes in the form of Kor the Conqueror, who looks like Alan Tudyk but all bloated and washed-up (no, I won’t apologize for that). Obviously, it’s not Tudyk, as he would have still been in high school at the time. More inexplicable is the constant presence of Gulfax, who doesn’t really do anything. Well he does whack a couple of mooks in the climactic battle, but otherwise just tags along. For a Roger Corman production, some (though hardly all) of the creature effects are far better than you would expect.

Of the host segments, the top performer is the song “The Magic Inside of You”. This is also one of the few times in this iteration of the show where a discussion is held over the end credits. Recalling the one from Soultaker, they talk about how brutal Simon’s reign as king would actually be.

  • Favorite riff: Oh wait, something’s happening. I can tell by the music. Oh, maybe not.
  • Stinger: The scrying bowl explodes.
  • Alternate Stinger: Perfect!
  • Bechdel Test: Fail. None of the female characters converse with one another.

1111: Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II [Grade: B-]

Sequels have a reputation for paling in comparison to the original. While a sequel in name only, the stigma certainly applies to this movie. First off there’s the plot, which comes across as something procured from a particularly hacky console RPG. Our lead characters are whiny snot-nosed punk Tyor and his bumbling magic teacher Caedmon. They are not what you would call appealing and, as noted in the riffing, they make you long for Simon and Kor.

The sleaze factor has also been jacked up. As well as Lana Clarkson reprising her title character role from the sexually graphic Barbarian Queen movies (footage from which gets reused here with typical Corman thrift), we also get to see Tyor (whose actor was fifteen at the time) get propositioned by a leather-clad dominatrix named after a literal Norse sex goddess. To cap it off, the costume David Carradine wears is quite unflattering for him. I suppose we should be thankful that there was never a third installment in the series.

As for the host segments, this time around it’s the inventions that really stand out. The Punt Bunnies are the first thing Kinga has come up with that possesses a genuinely malicious vibe, in the same league as the Hard Pills to Swallow, the Tragic Moments Figurines, the Unhappy Meals, and the Tough Love Seat. The GIF Notes recall for me a column I read several years back (when smartphones were non-existent) about a project where downloadable notes on Shakespeare would be written in texting shorthand. The columnist was not impressed, and his writing had a, “Dear Gawd, have we really sunk this low?” tone to it. Never followed how it turned out, though the current generation of phones have probably made it obsolete.

  • Favorite riff: In Lost Kingdom, ham spiral cuts you.
  • Stinger: Tyor gets a Popeye arm.
  • Alternate Stinger: Agree.
  • Bechdel Test: Pass. Two of the damsel prisoners wonder what’s causing the ruckus they hear.

1112: Carnival Magic [Grade: D+]

These conventional dramas are such a trial to sit through. While technically the presence of a talking ape would be stretching the definition of conventional, they don’t really do anything interesting with Alex. All we get in that regard is a pale imitation of similar antics from previous ape movies, and those productions weren’t exactly anything to write home about. At the end of the day, it’s just about a bunch of carnies resolving their personal hang-ups. There’s also an unscrupulous researcher who appears to regard Harry Harlow as a role model and has terrible ADR.

The key problem is lead character Markov. The movie tries to convince the audience that he wise and contemplative. Instead, he comes across as smug and pompous in a manner similar to Peter Lawford’s character in Angels Revenge.

Regarding host segments, the showstopper was Mark Hamill’s cameo as an interstellar carnie who performs the song that comes closest to equaling “Every Country Has a Monster”. Watching it, you can definitely understand why he voices the Joker in the more recent Batman cartoons.

  • Favorite riff: So, Jonah, he’s endangered the lives of two people just now. Yeah, but it’s an ape, so it’s cute.
  • Stinger: Sad sheriff gets towed.
  • Alternate Stinger: Perfect!
  • Bechdel Test: Fail. The only conversation between two females occurs when Kate and Kim talk about Alex.

1113: The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t [Grade: C+]

I suppose it was inevitable. But after the previous Santa Claus movies featured on MST3K, this one is quite mundane in comparison. Also rather bleak, what with our lead character being faced with eviction by the spiteful Phineas T. Prune. Mind you, anyone with a name like that is pretty much destined to be a misanthropic grouch.

For what it’s worth, I believe this may be the first musical that has been screened. Admittedly, prior movies as early as Untamed Youth would feature inexplicable song and dance numbers, but none of them involved working as exposition dumps or expressing character motivations like we have here.

While the resolution is an obvious knockoff of It’s a Wonderful Life, at least it was of the scene where the citizens of Bedford Falls chip in to cover the eight thousand dollars Uncle Billy misplaced. If there’s one thing the world can do with less of, it’s yet another “what if X had never been born” scenario. Speaking of played out tropes, it eventually gets revealed that Prune’s animosity towards Santa is because (due to his letter getting misfiled) he didn’t get a toy boat he asked for as a child. Discussions have revealed this plot device cropping up in other media properties like Night Court and Early Edition. Perhaps The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t is the Patient Zero.

As you might expect, the host segments are themed to the holiday. My personal favorite is where they come up with explanations for the creepy department store toys that don’t reek of nightmare fuel. The closing host segment being done in the style of that odd slide show sequence in the movie was also an interesting touch.

  • Favorite riff: What did they cut out of this movie if this is what they kept?
  • Stinger: “Hey Sam, this is fun!”
  • Alternate Stinger: Agree.
  • Bechdel Test: Fail. The only conversation between two females occurs when a girl and her mom comment on how Santa’s beard is real.

1114: At the Earth’s Core [Grade: A]

Who’d have thought that Peter Cushing could just as easily have been cast as C-3PO? Seeing him in this is more likely to evoke images of everyone’s favorite mincing protocol droid than of a cold-blooded military governor.

Having read the source novel, I can say that the movie sticks closer to the original narrative than The Land That Time Forgot, though it does gloss over some bits in the manner of most film adaptations. The biggest flaw is how it botches describing the physical structure of Pellucidar. As I recall, it’s something akin to the interior surface of a Dyson shell, with a constant light source radiating from the center. This results in there being no objective method of measuring time, making temporal perceptions highly subjective (a concept only briefly touched on in the movie). Otherwise, it’s a reasonably faithful adaptation that’s enjoyable in its own right. Mind you, most of the effects have not aged well and Dia is probably a bit too damsel-like for modern tastes. Also, Doug McClure is still not fully convincing as an action hero.

Of the host segments, my personal favorite is Jonah giving the Bots steampunk makeovers. The visit by Doug McClure and his providing Max with questionable romantic advice is also worth a few chuckles.

  • Favorite riff: So this was before IMDB, where you could just lie about having special effects experience.
  • Stinger: A dinosaur is set on fire and falls off a cliff, landing in a big explosion.
  • Alternate Stinger: Agree.
  • Bechdel Test: Fail. Dia and Maisie are the only female characters with speaking parts, and they’re nowhere near sharing scenes.

Bechdel Test totals as of Season 11: 99 Pass, 90 Fail, 1 Ambiguous

And that’s all we have for now. Here’s hoping everyone continues to have a blast.

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