Release Date(s)Various (March 8, 2011)
- Film/Program Grade: B+
- Video Grade: B-
- Audio Grade: B-
- Extras Grade: B+
- Overall Grade: B+
WE’VE GOT MOVIE SIGN!!!
Here we are again with Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Shout! Factory’s Volume XX DVD set. These boxed sets are released tri-annually with some nice extras and better quality episodes than what you might find floating around online or on bootlegs. The price is kind of steep, but if you’re a fan of the show, you know that these sets are definitely worth picking up.
I’ve gone into a good amount of detail about MST3K and my love for it in my review of the movie, so I won’t bother getting into that. We’ll keep things short and sweet and just cover the set itself. With this release, you get the following four episodes: Project Moonbase (Season 1, Episode 9), Master Ninja I (Season 3, Episode 22), Master Ninja II (Season 3, Episode 24), and The Magic Voyage of Sinbad (Season 5, Episode 5).
The episodes in these boxed sets usually feature two hosted by Joel and two hosted by Mike, which is a good balance, but in this case, this is an all Joel set. The quality of each episode varies, with some episodes being better than others. Project Moonbase is a space exploration movie gone awry, with the S.O.L. crew along for the ride. Master Ninja I and II are re-edited episodes of the TV series The Master starring Lee Van Cleef and Timothy Van Patten. And The Magic Voyage of Sinbad is not about Sinbad at all, but instead is the Russian opera-turned-movie Sadko. It was later distributed in the U.S. with a horrible dub and under a different title, which is how it ended up here.
As far as image and sound quality, everything is sourced from the original master tapes, which were on video. The episodes look generally good, especially in the latter years of the show, with an occasional minor green band or video-source anomaly here or there. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles. Short of Shout! Factory putting some extra money into producing these sets in high definition, these are definitely a major step up from circulating bootlegs of the show.
As for the extras, you get a few from disc to disc, most of them newly-produced just for this set. For Project Moonbase, you get the interview Exploring the Look of MST3K with Director of Photography Jeff Stonehouse and the movie’s theatrical trailer. For Master Ninja I, you get the short interview Looking Back at the Master With Bill McKinney. For Master Ninja II, you get the Kevin Murphy and J. Elvis Weinstein Q&A Tom Servo Vs. Tom Servo Panel at Dragon*Con 2010. For The Magic Voyage of Sinbad, you get an introduction by Trace Beaulieu and a set of MST Hour Wraps. Also included (as is standard with all of the MST3K boxed sets) are 4 paper insert reproductions of the artwork from each DVD in the set.
All in all, this is another solid boxed set release of MST3K goodness from the fine folks at Shout! Factory. If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely want to pick it up. Now push the button, Frank.
- Tim Salmons