Mystery Science Theater 3000 Television

MST3K Movie Sign: Experiment 1101. “Reptilicus” Review

"Little known fact: Most of the big science problems are solved right here at the dish rack."

The Movie

Reptilicus is a 1961 Danish giant monster movie, in the style of a Godzilla, or King Kong movie, but with much less of a budget, and skill. It begins with a bunch of drillers, drilling into the ground. The drill jams up, and they bring it up to see that they’ve been drilling into flesh, as the drill bit is wrapped in blood and mud. What’s underground is a giant, prehistoric lizard tale, a scientific gold mine, and a cinematic snooze fest.

The first half of this movie is pretty boring. After the intro, it’s basically a bunch of scientists talking about how cool it is to get this dinosaur tale. There’s attempt at character development, but I can’t really tell the relationships between most of them beyond one of them being a daughter of the scientist. There’s Mr. Peterson who’s basically a security guard in overalls and a plaid shirt. He’s played by a comedian, but his performance is cringeworthy to say the least. But he is memorable, unlike every other character who I forget about as soon as they leave the screen.

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Comedy, question mark. (Picture Source: Netflix)

The real star of the show is Reptilicus, who doesn’t show up until over half way into the movie. We get tidbits of what he’s like, he regenerates tissue, which is how he’s able to grow from a tale, and he’s able to grow to be over 90 feet tall! When you finally see Reptilicus in action, it’s incredible, and not in a good way. It’s a marionette doll with a string attached to it’s forehead. It has wings, that done fly. It vomits green, animated goo, which is supposed to be acid, but ends up being a scene transition, every time. And the build of the puppet is… incredibly awful. It reminds me of a papier-mâché dragon, that has seaweed coming out of his mouth. There’s a minute where Reptilicus eats a dude, and it’s this poorly done rotoscoping, which honestly might have been impressive in 1961, but it’s silly to see a human disappear in a mouth with no esophagus.

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This is an impressive playset. I’d pay a whole $30 for it! (Picture Source: Netflix, pastemagazine.com)

“Reptilicus” has interesting ideas, like if you blow up an arm, it’ll grow into a monster. It would have been cool to see multiple monsters wreaking havoc, to punish the hubris of humanity, but we don’t get that. Overall, this movie isn’t good or bad enough to watch by itself. It’s just too unremarkable and takes forever to get into. If you were to watch this movie without the riffing, I’d start when the monster starts causing havoc. That’s when the silly hit’s the fan!

The Riffing

Jonah’s riffing, compared to Mike and Joel, was weird in the beginning, but you get use to it very quick. But the one thing that you’ll notice right away, is while Joel took his time with jokes, and Mike has more of a consistent pace, Jonah and the bots with the new episodes come out like a machine gun! You’ll be done a joke and laughing while the next joke is happening. It might be too quick, but this might be better for multiple watches.

Another change is the fact that they do more bits using their silhouettes, and that’s wonderful. Tom Servo can fly to point something out, and generally a lot more moving, which is welcome. My favorite bit is when the green slime gets vomited out, crow grabs a bucket to catch some, and when he puts it away, it follows for a couple seconds, before Crow looks at it and goes away. It’s a subtle bit, and I love it.

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If you just scratch its chin, it’ll just calm the hell down! (Picture Source: Netflix, basementrejects.com.)

The riffing is fun, with a lot of shade thrown at Reptilicus, the Danish, the cheapness of the movie, and that comedian character. One thing I kept noticing is the amount of musical parodies they do to fill the time. I enjoyed them, but it happens so much that it almost was distracting… I guess distracting isn’t a bad thing when it comes to this movie though.

Here are some of my favorite riffs.

Servo: Little known fact: Most of the big science problems are solved right here at the dish rack.

 

[as the scenes cut rapidly]

Servo: Door is ajar.

Crow: The temperature is negative five degrees!

Jonah: He’s well-groomed for a man who lives alone.

Servo: The time is 5:06 a.m.

Crow: The temperature is ten degrees!

Servo: Door is ajar.

Jonah: He’s well-groomed for a man who lives alone.

Servo: The time is 8:06 a.m.

Crow: The temperature is twenty degrees!!!

 

All: Reptilicus 6-5000!

 

The entire DnD bit in the Generals room.

The Host Segments

The host bits are also wonderful. We begin with a bit of origin story for Jonah Heston. He’s a rebellious space pilot who plays by his own rules, and is admired by everyone at Gizmonics, and then he gets kidnapped by Kinga Forrester, daughter of Clayton. Her, along with T.V.’s Son of T.V.’s Frank (A.K.A. Max), reopen the experiment that was started several years ago by her father, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 project. We even see a return of the invention exchange, with Jonah having a fan that expels a whole lot of bubbles, when you swing it! It’s pretty basic, but pretty cool, and I want one!

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The excitement of getting a new season is palpable! (Picture Source: Netflix)

The next segment is one where we get to learn about all the different monsters of the world, but in the style of rapping. At first, I was expecting something incredibly cringe inducing, and it began as that, but it turned into a really fun song.

We then a bit of fun with cloning. I do like how it really takes advantage of the mantra “Just repeat to yourself it’s just a show, I should really just relax” by cloning Servo multiple times, and we don’t see the original Servo surviving the clone cull, and it doesn’t matter.

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The new Nintendo Labo set is dope! (Picture Source: Netflix)

There’s also a return of fan letters! Only 2, one where we find out that Crow is this kids favorite bot, because he’s sarcastic, causing Servo to try and be sarcastic, and completely failing. The second letter is an example of kids math with the bots, which is really adorable.

The last segment is also wonderful, where Jonah builds a cardboard city for Gypsy to destroy, something Gypsy always wanted to do.

The Netflix season begins great, with a wonderful riffing, and even a small plotline to keep in mind. It’s a good episode all in all, and Jonah is a welcome host for this show.

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