Cinematic Titanic Live: Danger on Tiki Island – A DVD Review

by on July 3, 2010

in Entertainment, movie reviews

Cinematic Titanic - Danger on Tiki Island - DVD

This DVD movie review is for Cinematic Titanic Live: Danger on Tiki Island. Cinematic Titanic is the next chapter of the MST3K gang and Live: Danger on Tiki Island is their latest release. The franchise is going happily along at full-steam just like they used to and you get exactly what you would expect from the MST3K alumni, but just a bit more updated!

This DVD is a live riff performance and having a live audience in the DVD product is a brilliant idea. It’s like having an honest laugh track from an audience appreciating the moment with you rather than a canned laugh track. It helps connect you to the funny moments that you find funny. It’s great to hear people laugh at things you find funny (and not at you). It cements the connection you know you have with that unseen audience just out of camera range. Plus I seriously hate laugh tracks that try to convince me something is supposed to be funny. Do networks think we’re so stupid we need to be told when something is funny?

The Cinematic Titanic riff Squad L-R:  Joel,  J. Elvis, Mary Jo, Trace, TV's Frank

The Cinematic Titanic riff Squad L-R: Joel, J. Elvis, Mary Jo, Trace, TV's Frank

The DVD starts up with Joel Hodgson introducing the crew to the live audience. (J. Elvis Weinstein a.k.a. original Tom Servo; Mary Jo Pehl a.k.a. “Pearl Forrester”; Trace Beaulieu a.k.a. “Dr. Clayton Forrester” & a.k.a. “Crow T. Robot”; & Frank Conniff a.k.a. “TV’s Frank.”)

The intros are short, sweet and to the point because they get right down to business. Tonight they have a movie to riff. The latest victim they’re adding to their collection of riff is Danger on Tiki Island. and they cut right to the chase, what we’re interested in, the riffing of Danger on Tiki Island. Normally I explain some outline of a movie on the site, but what’s the point. It involves nuclear bombs, island natives, monsters and someone with barely enough money, time or equipment to make a top-notch movie!

The DVD also contains a mini-documentary DVD extra titled Between the Riffs.

The movie starts and though I desperately miss Tom Servo‘s sarcastic flailing springy arms, I’m quickly lost within the storm of riffs that circle the fuzzy, outdated D-movie. The riffs are timeless and right on mark and as you get caught up in the sarcastic attack of the film, I find I no longer miss Tom Servo. At least while I’m distracted during the film. Film? That might be a strong word. Movie? Fuzzy thing on the screen? Beer-drinking inducing product? Which ever. The alumni MST3K gang rips it like it should be ripped. (Come to think of it, I have to wonder when all the Syfy Channel movies will become victim to the riff squad? Isn’t that ripe material for them?)

I find myself hit by riffs like the following throughout the movie:

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Movie character: “How have you returned to primitive ways?” The riff: “Two words – Dial-up!

Movie scene: The group walking up to the village with a fire in the center with smoke spewing from it. The riff: “Sorry about all the smoke, Michael Phelps is training.

A scene with a large “moth” flying about in a hut. The riff: “It’s crapus on a stringus.

On using midgets to play natives in the movie. The riff: “I see you’re short staffed on the island today.

Hey it’s wild west Tom Servo!” Scene with old oil lamp in a bamboo hut.

Movie: As a character starts to turn into the monster (crap, was that a spoiler?), the riff: “Gotta find my Blackberry and tweet about this!

EXTRA: CT LIVE: Between The Riffs

The extra DVD feature shows the team, a few at a time in a dressing room or in a theater chatting about their aspects on their world of riffing. Joel explains what a riff is and the triangle it involves. (No, I’m not giving that up. That’s a spoiler. You’ll have to buy the DVD to get the answer!)

They point out that coming to the live riff sessions are more fun because you have a whole theater full of people laughing with you.

The gang loves it when movies have really bad monsters. Monsters with zippers, monsters that don’t look that threatening and such. Two funny points he made about the monsters in these bad movies:

Cinematic Titanic - Danger on Tiki Island monster

Cinematic Titanic - Danger on Tiki Island monster

In referencing the upcoming movie, I can’t help but think Joel was referring to the monster in Danger on Tiki Island, but he noted how the monster looks like the MIchelin Man, after getting in a bad, fiery car accident. But he also added how though sometimes the monster isn’t scary, you can tell that sometimes something bad is actually happening on-set, but they keep filming because the actors are truly afraid and look it. Something they wouldn’t get otherwise. LOL.

Cinematic Titanic - The gang on stage at a live event

The Cinematic Titanic gang on stage at a live event

They said that in any movie they can get 600 riffs out of it but 300 will work just fine. They talk about other things but if I tell you everything they said, where’s the incentive for snapping up this DVD?

In closing I’ll toss out that Joel joked that they should be at community colleges in their multi-purpose rooms with what they’re doing but instead, they’re riffing in theaters. I could see the appreciation he had for their good fortune and the great fans the Cinematic Titanic franchise has. Cinema Static on Brusimm says thanks for getting back together!

(The monster photo from Charlie The Beer Guy’s Flickr Stream., DVD provided for review by the gang from Cinematic Titanic )

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