Spaceballs

"Excellent"

Spaceballs Review


True story: Before I turned 18, I had seen Spaceballs far more times than I had seen Star Wars. Since then, innate geekiness caught up with me and Star Wars eclipsed it. But when I was ten, my loyalties were with the Mel Brooks parody; the Schwartz was with me.

I don't doubt this is the case for many fans of the best Brooks films--how many kids of the seventies saw Blazing Saddles before laying eyes on a real western, or Young Frankenstein before the bride of same? I point this out to place Spaceballs with those other, more acknowledged Brooks classics.

Although many considered it too little, too late from Brooks upon its 1987 theatrical release (Brooks' prior home run dated back to 1974), home video erases such pretensions of topicality. (Besides, did anyone complain that Young Frankenstien took dead aim at a series of movies from 30 years prior?) Actually, Spaceballs is weirdly effective as a distillation of the entire Star Wars trilogy plot: Luke Skywalker and Han Solo become one character, Lone Starr (Bill Pullman, a more game actor than he's often given credit for); he is accompanied by Barf (John Candy), a talking variation on a wookie, and they rescue Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) from Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis). Ewok and Jawa DNA is combined to form the chattering, helpful "dinks," and Brooks himself provides some Yoda with a smattering of Obi-Wan as the sage Yogurt.

If some of the jokes are a little cornball and eighties-bound -- would any other decade allow a cameo from funny noises guru Michael Winslow? -- others are gloriously meta, with extended riffs on a variety of Spaceballs merchandise including, ominously, Spaceballs: The Video, which the bad guys actually plop into their high-tech video monitors to keep the story straight. Star Wars is the easy-target framework, but some of the best bits are throwaway riffs on other sci-fi classics like Alien and Planet of the Apes. Brooks displays a canny feel for the Zucker-Abrams-Zucker style of movie parodies, never going in for the overkill like overly referential offshoots like Jane Austen's Mafia! (or Shrek, for that matter).

The cast isn't full of Brooks regulars like Gene Wilder, Zero Mostel, or Madeline Kahn, but Pullman, Candy, and Moranis slip into the shticky rhythms nicely, all doing some of their best comic work. It may sound like faint praise to say that the film's mock-swashbuckling plays well to kids, offering the twin pleasures of (a) sci-fi adventure and (b) goofy jokes on sci-fi adventure. But the comedy in Spaceballs, at its best, plays like the action in Star Wars, awakening a sense of pure enjoyment of movies -- the kinds of movies you once enjoyed and are secretly hoping to enjoy again.

So what's present here, and not in much of Brooks's work that followed, is a real sense of joy: It may have been released four years after Return of the Jedi, but no one had mounted a full-length Star Wars parody before, and everyone involved seems jazzed for the task. It's not the best or most original Brooks film, then, but it may be the most fun.

'Ball geeks can love up the new Special Edition DVD, with two discs of absurdity, Brooks style, to love. Among the copious extras are commentary from Brooks, outtakes, a trivia game, storyboards, and a tribute to the late John Candy.



Spaceballs

Facts and Figures

Run time: 96 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 24th June 1987

Box Office Worldwide: $38.1M

Budget: $22.7M

Distributed by: MGM

Production compaines: Brooksfilms Ltd., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Fresh: 19 Rotten: 16

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as President Skroob/Yoghurt, as Dark Helmet, as Lone Starr, as Princess Vespa, as Barfolemew 'Barf', as Colonel Sandurz, as Dot Matrix (voice), as King Roland, as Radar Technician, Lorene Yarnell as Dot Matrix, as Kane, as Dink #1

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.