WARNING: SOME MINOR SPOILERS
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return’s fifth episode is a step down from the previous episode, but it’s hard to improve on perfection. This episode’s movie, The Beast of Hollow Mountain, is so bad it slightly overwhelms Jonah, Crow and Tom’s noble attempt to liven things up. But even when they aren’t at their best, its still hilarious.
“Establishing Shot: The Motion Picture!”
The Beast of Hollow Mountain is probably the worst movie of the show so far. While it’s suitably cheesy, it’s not bad in an entertaining way. It’s just bad. The weird western/monster movie hybrid forgets it’s a monster movie for nearly its entire run time. Instead, our boys are treated to several shots of mountains, cows and swamps. Plus there’s a boring romance to drive them crazy too. When the titular beast does show itself, it’s simply a claymation dinosaur.
The guys have some choice insults for the b-movie, especially during a hilarious table fighting scene, but this is one of the few times where the “badness” kind of overwhelms them. Despite some great one liners, I found my mind wandering away. When that dinosaur does show up, it should be hilarious. While they have some nice quips for the monster’s appearance, it’s not as huge a laugh fest as it should have been. It’s like the movie was so bad it wore the guys down. Sometimes, some movies are just too far gone.
Shoehorned comedy relief rears its ugly head once again. In The Beast of Hollow Mountain’s case, it’s Pancho. “Well, if there’s anything that spells ‘comic relief’ like an alcoholic single father mourning his dead wife, I can’t think of it,” Jonah quips as the man is barely able to mount a horse. This continues, a weird trend for The Return’s b-movies, as though the producers of these cinematic travesties watched a bunch of John Ford movies and thought his often baffling use of comic relief was the key to making a great movie.
Dinosaurs Make Everything Better?
The comedy stays pretty consistent outside the theater as the crew finds some fun ways to continue ridiculing The Beast of Hollow Mountain. The skits don’t have anything approaching last episode’s musical number, but there are some cool moments.
The invention exchange is pretty fun, with Max (Patton Oswalt) and his charming stupidity stealing the segment. Later, the Jonah and the bots come up with artsy movie titles and make fun of the odd fashion of the western with a silly fashion show. These are all solid, but the standout skit comes at the end.
The boys believe any movie is better with dinosaurs, so they come up with a pretty funny list. It lives up to the weird standards of The Return, but hits a ridiculous high with the combination of Wallace Shawn‘s My Dinner with Andre and raptors. It’s as silly as it sounds, and it escalates to awesomely dumb levels. The dioramas are a nice touch as well.
Not Quite A Step Back
It’s no surprise that this episode of The Return is not as strong as the Avalanche episode. That was utter perfection. But even on an off episode, this crew keeps the laughs going. The Beast of Hollow Mountain does its best to destroy our heroes, and while they take their licks, they still emerge with a victory.
SCORE: 8 OUT OF 10
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return is currently streaming on Netflix