It is a pleasure to report that last night’s live RiffTrax show was a huge success. Attendance was high and enthusiastic, and the riffers themselves were on fire with a consistently hilarious performance that included a short film (the anti-existential “What is Nothing?”), a pair of original cartoons and the main event, Jack the Giant Killer. For those who missed it, fear not: the show’s broadcast will be made available on DVD and blu-ray sometime in the future, as have the two previous live shows.
If you do not want to wait that long, there are plenty of other RiffTrax already available for you to enjoy, some of which are currently available for streaming off of Netflix. Popular favorites include:
The Star Wars series – Harkening back to their MST3K roots, the RiffTrax team are right at home making fun of the six Star Wars movies. Sadly, they get a little too hung up on the ire surrounding the prequels to deliver a consistently entertaining experience. Their take on the original trilogy is far more satisfying, drawing as it does from the immense Star Wars mythology and playing on the inherent melodrama of the story and characters.
The Harry Potter series – The success of the Harry Potter series lies in its ability to balance the whimsical wonderment of the wizard world with the ever-heightening sense of drama and angst stemming from the series progressively dark storyline and the adolescent development of its cast. Needless to say, this gives the RiffTrax team all the ammunition they need for a collection of hilariously pointed and absurd commentaries, rife with pop-culture references, scatological tangents and bemused observations.
300 – This tale of the Spartan warriors’ battle against the Persian army is played so straight in spite of all its ridiculous imagery and over-the-top machismo that a RiffTrax treatment was inevitable. Just as the film is narrated in the style of its graphic novel origins so too do the riffers provide their own inane commentary chronicling the intricacies of Persian battle tactics (crab-handed executioners and flamboyant magicians included), as well as the complex interpersonal relations between the various Spartan elites.
The Bourne Identity – The premiere entry into the Bourne series is a tight and intelligent thriller with some spectacular set-pieces throughout. Still, there’s a lot of quiet intensity between those action scenes, and the RiffTrax crew take it upon themselves to diffuse said tension hilariously. From the banality of the film’s road-movie-esqe interludes to the unfortunate resemblance of star Matt Damon to another action hero (“I’m sorry I called you Mark Wahlberg, stop crying!”), this is an essential part of anyone’s RiffTrax collection.
The Twilight series – Few series have been as divisive in recent years as the Twilight saga, which has sparked a fervent fan base whose passion is matched only by the series’ detractors. Safe to say, the RiffTrax team falls squarely into the latter category, though their commentaries here are not nearly as bitter or one-note as those of the Star Wars prequels. For the most part, the jokes here stick mainly to the inherent awkwardness of any teenage romance story, though equal mileage is gotten from the inherent silliness of what’s on screen. Even loyal “Twihards” should find these tracks as hilarious as the rest of us.
These commentaries and more are available on the RiffTrax website for an average of $4.00 each.