MST3K 11.12–Carnival Magic

In every season of Mystery Science Theater 3000, there is at least one movie that is so awful, you wonder why it was made.

This season, that number is three: both Wizards of the Lost World movies and Carnival Magic.
With a little more thought, it would have been a decent kids’ movie. A carnival is struggling to survive, and there’s a rivalry with a magician and mentalist (Don Stewart) and an animal trainer. There’s even a love story with a cute girl and the guy who publicizes the carnival. That’s plenty to go on.

However, they decided at the last minute that the chimp had the secret ability to talk. Not exactly full sentences or a conversation, but some words. They also thought it was funny to let the chimp drive and be pulled over by a cop. Then the jealous animal trainer sells the chimp for experimentation.  It’s a confusing movie, and a real slog. By the way, Turner Classic Movies had a brief article.

The host segments do save this episode. Kinga tells Jonah he’s got to marry her–or else–in her attempt to get big ratings. Her “proposal” kind of rips off Julia Roberts’ “standing next to a boy” speech to Hugh Grant in Notting Hill. Again, he has no choice, and some fans may wonder if he’ll last through the honeymoon.

Even better is Mark Hamill (yes, that IS him) as P.T. Mindslap, the ringmaster of the Great Space Circus.

He describes glorious wonders, and invites Jonah and the bots to come along. Thing is, his circus is rather unusual, and maybe a fraud. Even Kinga and Max call him out on it. Maybe they’re worried if Jonah joins the circus it’ll run the fake wedding, but it’s still some proof the Mads care. Mindslap leaves, but vows to return. That promise better be in writing.

Then there’s the last segment, where the SOL crew narrate a parade that’s based on scenes from the movie. Not only that, the Mads help out. It’s a weird moment of cooperation. Then this happens:

Are the Mads having an experiment where some guy has to see OK movies and he doesn’t riff? He could also be Jonah’s replacement after the “wedding.” Either way, Kinga and Max say we should forget about Purple Guy because it’s a Kingachrome glitch.

RIFFS:

Alex the chimp drives a car while a girl is asleep in the back
Paramount Pictures presents Every Which Way But Why

Rossiter, the PR guy said he left his home town because his dad wanted to run his life, even choose a wife for him
Well, that’s Sharia Law for you.

After the gang sees other weird stuff, like the chimp fighting goons, one of the bots asks Jonah, “Can you get PTSD from a movie?”

Next: the season finale…but is it really the end?

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Post Author: David Mello

Worked nearly eleven years at a radio station as a board operator, news reader, and assistant producer for baseball broadcasts. Have been a staff writer for Whedonopolis since July 2008