Mystery Science Theater 3000: Season 12 – The Gauntlet (Blu-ray Review)
DirectorRob Schrab/Joel Hodgson
Release Date(s)2018 (November 26, 2019)
Studio(s)Netflix (Shout! Factory)
- Film/Program Grade: C-
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: A-
- Extras Grade: F
- Overall Grade: C-
WE’VE GOT MOVIE SIGN!!!
Mystery Science Theater 3000 returns with Season 12, otherwise known as The Gauntlet, in an 3-Disc Blu-ray boxed set from Shout! Factory. Returning with a cast that includes Jonah Ray, Felicia Day, and Patton Oswalt, MST3K successfully came back to Netflix in November of 2018 with 6 new episodes and the show continued its popularity with only minor detractors.
I’ve gone into a good amount of detail about MST3K in past reviews, so I won’t bother getting into that. We’ll keep things short and sweet instead and just cover the set itself. New episodes of the show include the following films: Mac and Me, Atlantic Rim, Lords of the Deep, The Day Time Ended, Killer Fish, and Ator, the Fighting Eagle. The quality of each episode varies, with some episodes being better than others.
In the 1988 cult favorite Mac and Me, a family of aliens come to Earth and it’s up to a young boy in a wheelchair and his Coca-Cola drinking, McDonald’s eating friends to save them from the clutches of the FBI. In 2013’s Atlantic Rim, made by the infamous mockbuster studio The Asylum, giant monsters are emerging in the Gulf of Mexico and it’s up to military men in women in giant robot suits to stop them... yeah, that’s not derivative at all. In the Roger Corman produced Lords of the Deep from 1989, earthquakes are disrupting an undersea laboratory, whereupon large monsters appear and begin attacking the crew.
In 1980’s The Day Time Ended, a small farm family is on the defense after UFOs knock out their power and begin dropping monsters nearby, which are intent on slaughtering them. In Killer Fish from 1979, a gang of jewel thieves attempt to reclaim a bounty of stashed treasure from the bottom of a holding tank, but must battle an army of hungry piranha to get it. Last but not least is Ator, the Fighting Eagle from 1982, a Conan the Barbarian knock-off in which the titular, muscle-bound warrior must battle the evil Spider Cult in order to save his future bride.
Shout Factory’s boxed sets of the old show were normally released three to four times a year with some nice extras and better quality episodes than what might have been found floating around online or on bootlegs. That’s not the case with this new show. As far as image and sound quality are concerned, the host segments were shot in high definition and the films themselves are taken from the best elements available, most of which are quite good. Everything appears colorful and detail-oriented as expected with little to nothing worthy of complaint. The audio for the episode is presented in both English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD with optional English subtitles. I personally found the 2.0 presentation to be more than ample enough, although the 5.1 does offer extra space to breathe in, as well as added ambience. Both are fine tracks to choose from.
Unfortunately, there are no extras to be had, which might be the first MST3K boxed set to not have them. Regardless, it’s still a fine release from the good folks at Shout! Factory. If you’re a fan of this new version of the show, you’ll definitely want to pick it up. Now push the button, Frank... err, Max.
– Tim Salmons