Last night I had the good fortune to catch a special one-time event (not really… there are going to replay this movie in September), a live performance from the Rifftrax crew; Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo) and Bill Corbett (Crow T. Robot), formally of Mystery Science Theater 3000, as they tore into the sci-fi classic, Starship Troopers.
The moment Mrs. Blahg and I walked into the theater I knew we were in for something extraordinary. Not only was the theater packed… and it filled up early… but they even had their own pre-film entertainment in the form of goofy trivia, games, and so-called spoiler alerts such as, “Next season on Game of Thrones: Home video of your most painful childhood memory.” The crowd was laughing before the first frame rolled, and everyone was prepped for a great evening.
When the presentation began, it was a treat to actually see the three men behind the silhouettes. They stood to the right of the movie screen in a theater, I’m not sure where… but it was live, at three podiums. Not only could we hear the laughter of the crowd they were in front of, but the screen would reduce ~15% to allow the trio’s faces to appear on the right of the screen Brady Bunch-style, which gave us a glimpse of how they perform, and it was fantastic to finally match a face to the voice after so many years.
For those of you who don’t know… either you are too young, too foreign, or have been living in a cave for the last 25 years, Mystery Science Theater 3000 was a long running show that would make fun of bad B-movies as they were watching them. Imagine being in a theater where someone was constantly mocking the film… annoying right? Now imagine the people doing the mockery being professional comedians who have honed their responses and jokes after many many viewing of said piece of crap film, and there you have MST3K. Unfortunately, the show ended and it became impossible to release much of their catalogue for home viewing due to licensing issues… so they came up with a different model, they would record their reactions and performances, synch them up with the film they were mocking, and release their audio files for you to enjoy in the comfort of your own home as you laugh and titter along with your favorite bad movie. I first did this with Twilight… I couldn’t recommend that experience more.
Apparently, people’s appetites for hilarity grew, and thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, they were able to pull together and give us the long awaited Rifftrax for Starship Troopers, a movie so bad, yet so wonderfully great, that the jokes all but wrote themselves.
I’m not going to get into the specifics of what scenes they mocked or which jokes landed the best… but they took every opportunity to point out the rich onscreen intelligence of Denise Richards (I like cupcakes), the huge toothed Jake Busey (oh no, that’s the hand I use to hold my giant toothbrush), the never ending shots of starship models in space (boring audiences since 1977), and the fact that 80% of the total dialogue towards the end of the film amounts to nothing more than “Move!”. Plus, a very Nazi-like Neil Patrick Harris… a mine of vast humor riches.
This review isn’t so much about Starship Troopers itself… I don’t feel the need to say much about this masterpiece of schlock (I consider it a great bit of satire with regards to fascism and a mockery in itself of Robert A. Heinlein’s original novel, much to the chagrin of Heinlein fans who seem to appreciate his love of fascism… hmm), but more of the experience of viewing a film like this during a live performance of Rifftrax. I loved it… and the laughter was fed by those around us who were chortling and snorting at every other joke.
So… go to rifftrax.com, check out what they have available for immediate download, see where the encore presentation for Starship Troopers will be playing, and more importantly, know that they announced at the end of this film that they will be returning to theaters for a Rifftrax Live: Night of the Living Dead on October 24th. Get your tickets now (actually, tickets will be available August 22nd… so, later)… and spread the word.
The only good bug is a dead bug,
Cornelius J. Blahg