MST3K; Knight Rider; Buck Rogers (News from the frontier, 5/9/2008)

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie re-released on DVD – finally!
I watched This Island Earth Wednesday on DVD. The 1955 film is one of the best science fiction movies of its time, complete with fairly decent special effects, plus one of the greatest movie aliens of all time. While watching it, I started thinking back on the last time I saw This Island Earth. It was the movie riffed in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, which I also have not seen since catching it in the movie theater way back in 1996.

“Too bad the MST3K: The Movie DVD is impossible to find unless you’re willing to pay $90 for it,” I thought. Lo and behold, while checking out the fine Deep Ape blog yesterday, I read that MST3K: The Movie was actually re-released on DVD on Tuesday. These are the kinds of weird things that happen to me all the time. I’m used to it. I usually try to let you know about interesting DVD releases in advance, but this one slipped me by.

It was great (and surreal) to see MST3K in the movie theater, but I also remember being a tad disappointed by the movie. For one thing, the movie’s running time, including host segments, is 75 minutes. This Island Earth is an 87 minute movie. You do the math. I was hoping for an extended version on DVD, riffing the entire movie (assuming that they did in fact riff the entire movie and then trim it for the release; if not, that would explain it). However, this appears to be a bare-bones release of just the theatrical cut (without even the customary preview trailer that most bare-bone releases have). Looks like it is only $13.99 at Amazon, though, so I am not really complaining.

I am looking forward to finally being able to see this again. Thanks to Deep Ape for the heads-up. They also have another interesting article over there, about what might have been for the 20th anniversary of the show (can it really be twenty years already?).

Hey, I was just thinking – now that MST3K: The Movie is commonly available on DVD again, any chance of Mike Nelson recording a rifftrax for his own movie? Talk about surreal. Though it might be hard to riff during the riff segments, even a downloadable commentary track would be cool.

New Knight Rider TV series producer talks changes
Neil Epstein at Shadowyflight.com snagged a detailed interview with Gary Scott Thompson (The Fast and the Furious, Las Vegas), who is serving as executive producer and showrunner for NBC’s new Knight Rider series. Thompson, who was not involved on the TV movie that aired earlier this year, seems to have a good sense of what made the 1980s series work. He also notes that his series will take things in new directions, including more advanced capabilities for KITT.

“[T]he first episode will be the template of what the series is going to be. You don’t have to have seen that 2-hour [movie]. [. . .] The Knight Rider fans are going to come because they’ll be curious and it’s our job to make sure they stay, to give them everything that they want. What I really want to get is fans who didn’t show up, or the fans who just thought, eh, that’s that kitschy show from the 80s, why are they redoing it… I want them to see that first promo and go holy crap! This is Knight Rider? I gotta see this thing. That’s what we’re shooting for here. To get a new audience.”

Thompson is also gearing the series towards a family audience, rather than the more adult-themed TV movie, bringing the show back to its roots. “There’s not a lot of shows you can watch with your kids and we want to create the kind of show that you can watch with your kids. And your kids are getting one thing out of it and you’re getting a completely different thing,” he said.

I’m looking forward to seeing Thompson’s take on Knight Rider this Fall. Be sure to read the complete interview over at Shadowyflight.com.

Buck Rogers movie in the works
As a fan of Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, I lament here on The Film Frontier every now and then that it has not yet received a modern movie adaptation. Well, apparently a movie is now in the early planning stages.

Josh Tyler over at CinemaBlend reports that Frank Miller may be among the candidates to direct the big-screen adaptation. Miller’s previous directorial credit is Sin City, but comic book fans know him best as writer/artist for a popular 1980s revamp of Batman for DC.

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut and Indy IV both prove that even dream projects can eventually get made, so I will keep this one on the radar.