Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr A “Mystery Science Theater 3000” reboot is happening. No more speculation. This is real. And since it’s been picked up by Netflix, the show’s reboot season will see its movie-length episodes unhindered by traditional commercial television concessions. But no concessions to Comedy Central or the Sci-Fi Channel made in the show’s 10 previous seasons come close to rivaling those made during the making of MST3K: The Movie. The most obvious and most frustrating of these is the sheer amount of material that ended up on the cutting room floor. The typical “MST3K” episode runs about 90 minutes, including footage of a human test subject and his robots riffing on bad B-movies and separate segments following their spaceship antics. Inconceivably, MST3K: The Movie, the vehicle by which “MST3K” was meant to reach more audiences and expand upon its local-access-born satirical concept, clocks in at just 75 minutes. Despite being shorter than every “MST3K” episode, MST3K: The Movie is an ideal primer for those new to the series. That is in part due to the thorough introduction from mad scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester (Trace Beaulieu) that opens the movie (ostensibly replacing the usual theme song). He proudly announces, “I have shot a man into space and have been driving him crazy by forcing him to watch the worst movies ever made!” His “disgustingly mild-mannered dope” of a test subject is Mike Nelson (Michael J. Nelson) who has solved the problem of soul-crushing loneliness by creating robots Crow (Beaulieu) and Tom Servo (Kevin Murphy). Forrester’s latest attempt to drive Mike mad is This Island Earth, a doozy of a sci-fi flick that revolves around Cal Meacham (Rex Reason), a noted scientist and jet pilot and Dr. Ruth Adams (Faith Domergue), his love interest who does a lot of screaming, as they meet a mysterious man called Exeter (Jeff Morrow), who totally doesn’t look like an alien, and join his equally mysterious research project. The essence of “MST3K”’s riffing lies in poking fun at low-budgets, flimsy scripts and terrible acting as much as it does in making obscure references. Like anyone subjected to sub-par entertainment, Mike’s goal is to liven the experience and keep himself from going brain-dead. MST3K: The Movie, produced as it was by Universal Pictures, was limited in its B-movie choices to previous Universal productions. And while This Island Earth is terrible, it’s nothing compared to other “MST3K” victims like Monster A-Go-Go or Manos: The Hands of Fate. The comedy even comes off as a little less niche; the movie opens with a drawn out homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is certainly “MST3K” in its most accessible form. No self-respecting discussion of “MST3K” would be complete without over-excitedly listing favorite lines, and MST3K: The Movie has plenty. Beginning with a jab at the Universal-International company itself (“Doesn’t the fact that it’s universal make it international?”) and including an ingenious eulogy to Dr. Steve Carlson (Russell Johnson aka the Professor on “Gilligan’s Island”) (“And his coffin will be made entirely of coconuts”), this may be a somewhat streamlined “MST3K,” but it’s just as hilarious as ever. And, frankly, criticizing the movie for cutting 30 minutes of This Island Earth is a moot point. Plenty of episodes were ruined by showing us too much of a bad movie (the sandstorm in “Hercules Against the Moon Men,” anyone?). Sure, we only see a little over 50 minutes of Cal and his heroics, but it’s so little and the jokes so good that you’ll likely walk away thinking This Island Earth probably isn’t that bad. You’ve forgotten Brack (Lance Fuller) and Exeter’s giant foreheads and the mutant Metalunan (aka an over-sized fly). It’s bad. There’s truly no need for MST3K: The Movie to exist. But if you think of it as just as another, shorter episode, it still stands alongside “The Final Sacrifice,” “The Atomic Brain” and “Pod People” as a definite fan favorite. While the movie was released with little to no fanfare by distributor Gramercy Pictures and thus was an inevitable box office bomb, the show’s massive cult following means that won’t be an obstacle for the reboot.