Random Movie Reviews: MST3K 401 – Space Travelers (aka Marooned)

As previously mentioned, I am slowly working my way through the full 5,034 seasons of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

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Hyperbole.

I’m still watching – yeah, only on season 4, give me a break – Joel’s films, and becoming more and more fond of his work as I go along. Some I’ve seen out of order:

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MANOS! THE HANDS OF FATE!

And I’ve seen the guys break during some of the worst film I’ve ever seen in my life (worst they’ve ever seen, too):

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Proof that a good actor does not make a good movie. (Christopher Lee in this case.)

Marooned

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This one.

was awarded an Academy Award for visual effects and was also nominated for cinematography and best sound. It was originally titled Marooned, 

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Told ‘ya. Also: The ship’s called “Ironman”, but it’s not about Iron Man. Super disappointing.

but was re-released as Space Travelers, and that was the title MST3K used. It was released in 1969, so … actually, yeah, the visual effects weren’t bad. Not Gravity level zero-G space effects, but not completely unbelievable.

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It’s like … you’re really THERE, you know? (via Misplaced Boy’s wordpress)

I believe it also tried to stay close to real space program dialogue, which made it rather boring.

Plot

Space program sends up a team of 3 astronauts. They’re supposed to stay up for 7 months, but they start breaking down mentally and physically. Their ability for motor tasks is failing, and they’re having some emotional issues as well. The Big Suits decide to bring them down 5 months in, but – OH NOS – something goes wrong! Not enough oxygen! Not enough time to send up a rescue mission! And a GIANT FREAKING HURRICANE that would stop a rescue rocket, even if they could get one up in less than 48 hours.

MST3K Focus

It’s terrible that the MST3K episode was filmed a few years before Apollo 13 was released because they could have played on that. It’s obvious that the 1995, much more famous, movie drew heavily on Marooned. Hell, half the time I forgot what movie I was watching, some of the dialogue and action was so familiar.

As it was, their teasing focused heavily on two big-name actors, Gene Hackman and Gregory Peck. The fact that Gene Hackman was terrible made this very easy. The Wives were also objects of amusement (really? I know you’re trying to play it cool, but talking about buying furniture?), and the way others talked to The Wives. (I’m sure they had names, but I didn’t catch them.)

Interesting to Note

This movie – made in 1969, remember – featured a Russian. A Russian astronaut. Who wasn’t a bad guy. Wasn’t at all a bad guy.

All-in-all

Few MST3K offerings will be as funny to me as Manos: The Hands of Fate or Space Mutiny, and my favorite astronaut episode is (and might always be) Rocketship X-M, but Space Travelers (Marooned) is special in its own right. No other Oscar winning film was (that I’m aware of) shown throughout the 10 seasons of the show.

That says something important about the film, right there.

(Something important…not that I know what that something is…)

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MANOS! THE HANDS OF FATE!
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