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Reviewed January 17th, 2002 by Dan Jones


ďItís a wonder Mitchell II never came out.Ē

(I would like to start this review by asking our readers to disregard my numeric ratings above; as they do not truly judge this release, please just read ahead and hopefully I will be able to better convey my experience. Also, forgive me for some repetition in this review as compared to my previous review of Manos, The Hands of Fate review.)

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is an interesting brand of show. Essentially, the plot behind the show was that a person was being punished by being sent into space and moreover, while there, made to watch horribly bad movies. So, the show advances with this person, in this case a character named Joel, and his robot friends (Crow and Tom Servo) he creates, sit down to laugh and make jokes at the worst of the worst in cinema.

I have always been a big fan of MST3K and used to watch it quite a bit when it was still being shown on Comedy Central. I cannot say that I have seen a lot of episodes, but I did pop into a number of them. When I heard that Rhino Entertainment was releasing some of the more popular, near cult followed episodes I knew I had to snag a couple. The one I will be reviewing today is often times referred to as an MST3K classic, right up there with (but nowhere as bad a film) my previously reviewed Manos, The Hands of Fate; yep, Iím talking about Mitchell.

Perhaps most importantly, Mitchell marked the last episode of Joel; who was always my favorite host of MST3K. So for that reason only this was a classic episode; the movie accentuated this episode to legendary status.

Mitchell is some kind of film. For the most part itís an action based, cops and criminalsí movie; yet this one has the most unlikely of heroic cops, Mitchell. Mitchell is an interesting breed of man. Basically he drinks all the time, is clearly out of shape, and constantly is sleeping with, then arresting a prostitute. He is obviously not a good cop and is generally an unpleasant character; yet we have to believe that he is our hero, so we accept it... I guess.

You might guess that anyone in Mitchell probably would not have much of a career afterwards; but thatís definitely not so. Mitchell himself, played by Joe Don Baker has gone out to quite a long and movie packed career, appearing most notably in a number of the James Bond movies (amusingly enough, as you can see that Mitchell was attempting something similar to the 007 movies, yet did it in a much different way).

But, in reality, the plot of Mitchell, or the actors that graced the film is neither here nor there; the real fun comes from Joel and the bots poking fun at this incredible misuse of film...

Now letís take a closer look at this DVD release by Rhino. Starting off, Rhino gives us a pretty basic DVD layout. We get an amusing FBI warning, and very basic menu sequence, giving us Play, Chapter Selection, or the option to view the trailer all backed up by crackly audio from Mitchell. Oddly enough the selectors are UFOs??? After viewing, Manos, The Hands of Fate, I just hope that Rhino will start giving a more standard template to the DVDs almost... or maybe not standard, but more fitting at least.

On the video side; MST3K - Mitchell is presented in the original MST3K broadcast ratio of 1.33:1 and is not much better then you would have found in the broadcast release. The video quality is just not good at all during the movie and fairly good (because of which I gave it an overall 35) during the little skits that break it up. But, overall, donít expect miracles because youíll be disappointed. On the plus side, I noticed no digital compression problems. Overall, the presentation is just standard to original broadcast quality.

For audio we get very lacking movie sound with more pronounced dialogue from Joel and the bots. Again, audio during the skits in between the movie is good (because of which I gave it an overall 25). The movie track itself is crackly with a bit of a constant hiss; which many fans of the show have probably come to expect.

For extras, we get the original theatrical trailer for Mitchell; which looks like its been stored in the muffler of a broken-down í75 Chevy or something, truly poor quality. But, it does allow us to see quite a horrible trailer, and should be good for a laugh, before or after you view the presentation.

Overall, Mitchell is some kind of movie; do yourself a favor and do not watch it without Joel and the bots helping you out. With his MST3K release you get one of the de-facto episodes of the series; a truly horrible movie presented the character way: with heavy satire.

DVD wise there is really nothing impressive here; its just nice to have this MST3K classic on a better format then VHS, or better then hoping you might see it rerun somewhere sometime on TV. If you are a fan of MST3K this is required viewing; if youíd like to start off in the MST3K experience, Manos, The Hands of Fate should be your starting point; this should be your second. Recommended!


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