111. Moon Zero Two (1969)

A mixed drink of Marooned (1969) and The Pink Panther (1963)? Heralded as “the first moon western”, Moon Zero Two (1969) fizzled commercially and annoyed the critics. Even its director Roy Ward Baker admitted in 1992, “Moon Zero Two was a bad picture. It was hopeless, and never got off the ground. We didn’t have enough money to do it properly. It was crazy – a complete muddle. And, it was undercut by the fact that you could turn on the television and see Neil Armstrong jumping about on the real moon.” Eating Vicariously, Drive-By Food, Mouth-To-Mouth Celebrity Toothpaste, First Moon Landing, Games Of The Future, Zero Gravity Fighting, Pros and Cons. “Really bad music already. This is great!”, “Hey The Cartoon Has Landed!”, “Is this a Pink Panther movie?” “Titles by Mrs. Reedy’s Third Grade” or “Hey I didn’t know the Russians had cartoons”?

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The MST3K Live Socially Distanced Special featuring Emily and the Bots and Moon Zero Two (1969).

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Future Board Games.

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First Moon Landing.

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Hide The Garnishes.

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Free Form Jazz and Spaceships.

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:musical_note:Moon Zero Two!:musical_note:

For me this is the best episode of season 1. The movie’s interesting and actually not that bad, for a swinging 60s sci-fi caper. The main plot’s pretty good and it’s got enough silly bits to feed the riffs. The riffs themselves are coming along at a better pace this far into the season and it feels more like the MST3K we’re used to. I’ll watch this one casually, and it was one of the episodes I watched when the Gizmoplex launched.

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I always liked this one. It’s silly and it has a catchy theme song, but it’s definitely rife for riffing, which makes it richer.

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Best of 111.

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Moon Zero Two (1969) Opening Credits.

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Moon Zero Two is one of my favourites. Growing up, I had exposure to some of the Carry On films so seeing the big fellow in this was fun. Also, well, British 60’s sci fi is just kinda neat. The movie itself has a decent enough pace and the story is interesting. It’s a lot more grounded than it’s contemporaries too; no atmosphere, at least some attempt to acknowledge the lower gravity, even the little bits like the urinal splash guard memorial being put out of the way to not upset the tourists.

Fun fact: there is a sign in the opening 5 minutes setting the movie in May 2021. We are very behind schedule.

Also, I’m deducting 10 points for Moonopoly

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I love Moonopoly.

I love that the movie doesn’t take itself seriously, but still has one of the better and more coherent plots we’ve seen on the show. As you say, it does its best to account for actual science (artificial gravity not with standing). The opening title cartoon lampooning the cold war during the height of it is beautiful. The low gravity bar fight is simultaneously goofy and one of the better low gravity sequences I’ve seen from the era. It’s a rare MST movie that I could enjoy unriffed. But the riffing makes it so much better. As Dr. Phantom said, it’s a real season one gem.

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I sometimes reference this sequence in discussion of the modern space business.

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This one is close to my heart because it’s the first episode I ever saw. Joel doing his white boy dancing during the title sequence never fails to amuse.

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I enjoyed that one, mostly, but they cut my favorite riff (‘I’m here for the Gumby wedding.’)

I dunno why they re-edited the episode for the pandemic riff.

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If MST3K were to do a Hammer movie, you’d think it would be one of their trademark Gothic horror films, particularly the ones from their decline period like Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde (though that one might have been a bit too sleazy). Instead, they presented this science fiction nugget which looks as if it could be remade into a middle of the road episode of Firefly.

Though despite the space Western theme, space colonization has never looked so British outside a Doctor Who serial. If you look at the cast list, many of the actors have appeared on that show. Catherine Schell was in “City of Death” (though she’s better known as Maya of Space: 1999). Adrienne Corri was in “The Leisure Hive”. Dudley Foster was in “The Space Pirates”. Bernard Bresslaw was in “The Ice Warriors” (as well as being the cyclops in Krull). And that’s just among the primary actors.

This being the 1960s, the opening credits feature an animated sequence in the vein of The Pink Panther films. Its theme of the U.S./Soviet Space Race grandstanding being swept aside as private sector efforts take over could be regarded as mildly prescient.

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It describes it as a Western but I guess I always thought of it as a crime thriller/spy movie.

Also, I did not no this was a Hammer production, I think the only one in the series.

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I unironically love this episode and movie (own them both on DVD)

When I lost my job in 2019 I watched this riff dozens of times as a pick-me-up on YouTube (thank you Shout Factory) it got me through some tough times.

I really enjoyed a lot of season 1 but this is the top film of that era.

One of the things that I really like about MST3K is that it showcases movies that I had never even heard of let alone watched and this is one of them. Being a Space 1999 and Bond fan I recognized Catherine Schell immediately. I was also somewhat familiar with James Olsen from various 70s TV shows (I had a lot of spare time growing up in the 80s) but man this is every goofy thing I love all smooshed together in a movie I had never seen before!

One of my top episodes

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2021 clothing and hair in our world is so much less interesting than 2021 clothing and hair in Moon Zero Two. Plus, no moonbase. Feh.

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When they get around to the remake, I expect some hunky male dancers in giant Extra-BOLD foam cowboy hats to balance out the scales.

I also thought it was cool that they had a woman as Sheriff, despite her predictably bad taste in men. (You find out in the original version that she was sleeping with the astronaut.)

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