For a brief period in time, long after Mystery Science Theater 3000 had been retired (but before it was resurrected), there were two prime movie riffing options from the original crew involved with the show. The first and more well-known was Rifftrax, but the second one was a lovely piece of gold called Cinematic Titanic. The project featured Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, Mary Jo Pehl, and J. Elvis Weinstein as a five-person team riffing on films with silhouettes on either side of the screen. Now through the magical awesome Wayback Machine that is Shout! Factory, all of the episodes have been put into a single collection, that’s out today.
By the words of Weinstein in the DVD extras, Cinematic Titanic didn’t really have a fully fleshed-out vision, as they created a world where the five of them were reviewing films for some corporation with a loosely fitting plot idea that, depending on what your take on the series is, was either brilliant or a total flop. Ultimately, the plan was dropped once the crew started doing tours and performing live shows in big theaters. All of them found their fans wanting to see more in person, which made the entire thing successful.
All of the episodes were sold as single DVD releases from 2007-2012, and their final tour wrapped up in 2013. The group quietly broke up and stopped the physical release of the episodes (which you could still download on Amazon for a time), but it was clear in 2015 that they probably wouldn’t be reforming after Hodgson started his campaign to bring back MST3K. But much like the hallowed library of MST3K was brought back to life via Shout! Factory, they have partnered with them again to bring this awesome set of episodes to us.
These are the original episodes, nothing has been cut or removed, and no cleanup necessary as it was filmed in HD. You get them as they were on DVD at the time of their release, both in the studio and live. One of the weird parts about this is that it is a mix of studio episodes and live content, and while I know they only made a certain amount of studio shows, I’m also aware that almost everything was done for a live audience. It would have been cool to get both versions since there are only two films per disc. It also comes with also comes with two nice featurettes. One featuring J. Elvis Weinstein going over the history of it, and another that examines the riffing process when it came to the series.
Cinematic Titanic was an amazing show to have when it was out, and now having all of these in a single DVD set with The Complete Collection is fantastic. I highly recommend to MST3K and Rifftrax fans, you must own this little slice of riffing 2.0, especially to see the live versions as the crowd and the occasional screw up help make the show. No real complaints about this, just minor wishes to what is a spectacularly funny collection.
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