Mystery Science Theater 3000: ATLANTIC RIM
December 5, 2018 3:09 PM - Season 12, Episode 2 - Subscribe

In a world that we are assured bears no relationship with anything created by Guillermo Del Toro, three pilots of experimental, implausibly humanoid giant robots fight against monsters from the ocean. Where do the monsters come from and why are they attacking now? Who knows! What's more important is that our heroes, Black Guy, Woman and Obnoxious Bro, fight the monsters to both the stern disapproval and enthusiastic approval of General Father Figure. At last the crew of the Satellite of Love come up against the fearsome work of The Asylum, makers of mockbusters extraordure. In subplot news, this is the second of the six movies of "The Gauntlet," Kinga's latest ratings stunt, a sequence of films shown to Jonah and the bots back-to-back. They hold up well, even though the movie is exceptionally tiresome. "Flush them the movie!" Episode 1202 is available on Netflix.

Rotten Tomatoes (Critics N/A; Viewers 10%) - Wikipedia - TVTropes
IMDB (as "From The Sea," 1.7 stars, 2013)
"When giant monsters crawl out of the Atlantic Ocean and attack the Eastern Seaboard the US Government is forced to trust a trio of mischievous soldiers, specialized in piloting gigantic robots, to defend America."
Directed by Jared Cohn. Written by Richard Luma, Thunder Levin and Hank Woon, Jr. Starring Graham Greene, Anthony "Treach" Criss, David Chokachi and Jackie Moore.

TVTropes' page notes that this is the most recent movie the show has ever covered. It was released, to DVD, in 2013. But it roughly ties Outlaw (of Gor), released in 1988 with episode premiere in 1993, in time between movie release and initial episode airing. (When it comes down to counting months and days between release and broadcast, I very quickly lose interest. "Same number of years, let's roll with it!")

It's easy to tear into these movies, but unlike many of MST's subjects, the people who made this one are all still living and seeking work, so one doesn't wish to tear them down too badly. The Asylum has an unfortunate business model that relies on making movies as absolutely cheaply as possible. Which, in Hollywood, if you have a driving urge to to make movies but can't break into the big studios, you do what you can, right? So I can't look down on them too badly. A lot of their movies sure are tough to make it through, though.

My observation about Asylum movies in general: The trailer reliably shows around 90% of the special effects shot in the actual movie, of which there are few; most of the actual film is talking heads; their motto is always "tell, don't show"; and there will often be inexplicable scenes that have little to do with the action are supposed to demonstrate the personalities of the protagonists, but mostly just fill time.

Especially be on the lookout for the computer displays that just show an incomprehensible animated GIF, the visual equivalent of technobabble.
posted by JHarris (28 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
BTW, there is a sequel to this movie, with the same director, but none of the same writers or main actors.
posted by JHarris at 3:16 PM on December 5, 2018

This popped up on Prime, and I tried to watch it. I like shitty movies. I really tried to watch it. I could not.

In that respect, it's the perfect candidate for MST3k.
posted by mikelieman at 4:44 PM on December 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Atlantic Rim sequel goes to Los Angeles? Seems obvious.

The Asylum. You don't have to be crazy to make movies here, but it'll drive you there...
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:06 PM on December 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

I grew up going to the Pensacola area for vacations, so this movie wasn't just cheap as shit but charming to me. It was like a James Nguyen film set at Pirates World.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:47 PM on December 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

This movie is like they'd heard about a special-effects film but only third-hand and wrote scenes about five minutes before filming them.

Also if the guy who blows up the monster and gets a big shoutout from the trio of doofuses isn't like a Kickstarter backer or somebody's pal who bought pizza for the crew, I'd be really surprised.

Better get on the horn, see you can find a better movie. Graham Greene deserves better than this.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:52 PM on December 5, 2018 [5 favorites]

I like the part where the guy is in a big fight, and we see it all, and then he immediately meets up with his friends again, and then goes about describing the big fight we just saw.
posted by meese at 7:59 PM on December 5, 2018 [8 favorites]

Reporting back. I finally got through the whole thing on Netflix, thanks to MST3k. They did a great job in keeping the pacing moving forward, and were truly funny. Turns out, when I first tried to watch it, it was so unwatchable I didn't even make it to the robots the first time.
posted by mikelieman at 9:34 PM on December 5, 2018 [3 favorites]

This was really amazingly bad.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:40 PM on December 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

Also, I find it weird there is another famous Graham Greene.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:46 PM on December 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

Bull butter!

Graham Green is such a professional, he is doing his level best here to keep this thing seeming like a real movie.

Does the movie think it's a happy ending that girlfriend gets back with the white guy? Because movie seemed to be very much saying otherwise throughout.

if the guy who blows up the monster...

If you mean that first pilot, it's the director.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:47 PM on December 5, 2018 [6 favorites]

This was the worst movie of the Gauntlet because it was trying to be quick and cheap. It had no heart. Some of the worst movies on MST3K are still "good" in a way because the people working on them tried their best to create something, whereas Asylum films are all about the quick cash grab from confused grandparents.
posted by Servo5678 at 4:41 AM on December 6, 2018 [5 favorites]

Graham Green is such a professional, he is doing his level best here to keep this thing seeming like a real movie.

Greene had a pretty easy time of it. I remember starting an Asylum film with Illeana Douglas once and had to shut it off ten minutes in out of sheer embarrassment for that poor woman.

Asyum films are just too damn ambitious for their own good. When they try to do globetrotting and "This is an aircraft carrier! No, really!" on their budgets, it always turns out badly.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 5:15 AM on December 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Servo, you're reminding me of Time Chasers as the antithesis of this, folks who seemed like they were trying their best in the context of their obvious budget and talent limitations.

I will admit that this is my kid's favorite movie of The Gauntlet. He's watched it a couple of times since Thanksgiving. I asked him what he thought of the main terrible white guy, to check that he wasn't looking to this guy for life advice. "He's like Anakin in Clone Wars! He's going to be a bad guy later." That was more maturity than I expected from an 8 year old, and a more thoughtful analysis of character than this movie deserves.
posted by tchemgrrl at 5:50 AM on December 6, 2018 [9 favorites]

> "This was the worst movie of the Gauntlet"

At least in this one, I nominally understood what was going on most of the time. The Day Time Ended did not include that feature.
posted by kyrademon at 6:59 AM on December 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

Tiresome is indeed the word. Strange as it is to say, I expected more from Asylum.

Great nugget from Wikipedia:
Atlantic Rim was originally planned to be shot at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, but The Asylum were denied permission to film at the base after a high-ranking official read the script and disagreed with the portrayal of the soldiers.

It also saddens me how long and detailed the Wikipedia page for this is. It deserves maybe half that much text and time.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:22 AM on December 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

This movie was so cynical, it wasn't even fun to mock it. I did like the scene at the beginning where all 3 Robot Jocks express awe at the sight before them without actually explaining what they saw or giving the audience any hints at what was there. But I gave up on the movie after Bad Michael Biehn got drunk at the dance.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:13 AM on December 6, 2018 [3 favorites]

This movie was so cynical, it wasn't even fun to mock it.

Really, this is how I feel about almost all Asylum movies. The only one I've ever managed to stomach (with the aid of friends a lot of alcohol) was Megashark vs. Giant Octopus. And even then I think I only got through that one because Debbie Gibson has about ten billion times as much natural charisma as Mr. Walking Puka Shell Necklace.

Still, I thought Jonah and the bots did a pretty good job of making this turd watchable, even if half of their riffs were just variations on the Universal New Yorker Caption.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:20 AM on December 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Better late than never! Here's your periodic reminder of MST Club, tonight (Thursday) starting at 7 PM Eastern/4 PM Pacific (for the preroll movie), and 9 PM Eastern/6 PM Pacific (for the episode). Note how I resisted calling the Eastern time zone "Atlantic" for this reminder!

The show, as usual, takes place at I hope you can make it!
posted by JHarris at 2:08 PM on December 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

I actually liked The Day Time Ended, and thought the riffing was superb. I would swear it was made by the same people behind Laserblast. It's just a very 70s movie.
posted by wittgenstein at 7:47 AM on December 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Of all the things wrong with this movie, the fact that off brand Michael Biehn would accept that “hooked up” meant “kissed” somehow bothers me the most. Well that and the jet firing a fifty caliber machinegun like it was a big deal when real fighter aircraft carry much larger cannon, as someone in Pensacola might have told them.
posted by rodlymight at 12:44 PM on December 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

So here's what I like about this movie. Hear me out. I think it actually (inadvertently) really works as a critique of the rebellious hero who plays by his own rules but gets results.

Our Ryan Seacrest Type is clearly modeled on your Maverick, your Tequila Yuen, your Martin Riggs. Except in the absence of craft or talent, the charismatic mask that makes those characters work falls off and all you're left with is a preening idiot you could see yourself encountering in life. It turns out in their abject failure to manufacture the smallest amount artificial charm, we actually see something closer to the true nature of a rebellious lone-wolf troublemaker: an insufferable asshole, elevated to a position of prestige over more worthy colleagues for no discernible reason.

They failed so hard at making a movie they almost blundered into capturing something real. Almost.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 12:13 PM on December 12, 2018 [6 favorites]

Note how I resisted calling the Eastern time zone "Atlantic" for this reminder!

There is an Atlantic time zone, you know - it's the Maritimes.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:18 PM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Just caught this one:

The "it's ok, I hooked up with most of my brother's girlfriends" moment put me right into Poe's law regarding how Red should be read. Satire? Or are the directors the kind of dudes who think that would be charming?
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 6:48 AM on December 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Or are the directors the kind of dudes who think that would be charming?

I've only seen it once, but I didn't detect any subversive subtext w/r/t our heroes' constant self-congratulation, so I'm inclined to read it as non-satire. The bar scene, for instance, feels like the filmmakers' lame attempt at their own Avengers shawarma moment. More generally, everything about them feels based on Top Gun—and with the Asylum, assuming "imitation" as the overriding motive seems to be a safe bet. (But we can feel free to interpret it as inadvertent satire, along the lines of Phobos above; to paraphrase Joel himself, we don't have to accept the thematic content that the movie is trying to feed us.)

More like Flop Gun
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:42 AM on December 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

He gets grounded but then his buddies break him out of the brig and he saves the day, which isn't really the Top Gun plot. (Nor is it really the Pacific Rim plot, although Raleigh disobeying orders not to engage is closer to what happens in this thing.)

But more importantly: no, the Asylum's writers and directors have not even heard of subtext or satire. I'm not even sure they understand the concept of doing multiple takes. Like, I'm 90% sure that the whole "great job but I'm throwing you in the brig" scene that goes on forever was just Graham Greene trying to deliver multiple takes for the director/editor to choose from but they didn't understand that he was doing that so they just left all his takes in the movie.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:45 AM on December 13, 2018 [6 favorites]

Or they totally understood it and just wanted to use every scrap of footage they had of Graham Greene?
posted by chrchr at 12:54 PM on December 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

I still can't wrap my head around the economics of producing deliberate crap like this - going all the way back to the cheap monster or movies of the 1950s. I mean, IMDB lists the budget for Atlantic Rim at $500,000 - how does a project costing that much money break even, much less turn a profit? Do streaming services (and confused grandparents) really pay that much?

The movie itself is hard to watch for its utter cynical soullessness, but 12 hours later I'm still high on the inordinately huge warm fuzzy feelings I got from the "Armada: Featuring Herman Menderchuk" riff that felt like it was written personally for me.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 7:55 AM on January 4, 2019 [3 favorites]

Aaah that riff. You see, this is why you need real comedy writers to do your cowtown puppet show, instead of just one's vidyagaem playin' YouTube buddies, because who else could have made that joke?
posted by JHarris at 2:43 PM on January 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

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