Spaceballs on DVD
by Johnny Bray
(Editor's note: this review comes courtesy of
Not so long ago in a galaxy about as close as they come, a man
named Mel Brooks liked to poke fun at movie genres. After successfully
parodying horror, western, epic, and a few others, Brooks realized he had but
one left: sci-fi.
That came in the form of Spaceballs, a parody of all things Star
Wars and some things Star Trek. And while this isnt a timeless, epic
classic of cinema, it has a few things going for it.
President Skroob (Brooks) has managed to squander the air supply
of planet Spaceball, and enlists Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) to kidnap Princess
Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) of planet Druidia and hold her for ransom against the
combination to Druidias air supply. So King Roland (Dick Van Patten)
enlists the help of Lonestar (Bill Pullman) and his sidekick, Barf (John Candy)
to save the princess and the citizens of Druidia.
After a successful rescue, they crash land on a desolate planet
frighteningly similar to Tatooine and encounter Yogurt (also Brooks), the
keeper of the Schwartz. With Yogurts help, Lonestar, Barf and the
princess should be able to thwart the evil Spaceballs and their sucking.
I was seven years old when I first saw Spaceballs upon its
theatrical release, and I loved every second of it. Its probably due to
this fact that I still enjoy the movie, because when I examine it these days, I
cant help but notice its not really all that funny. Considering
Star Wars is essentially a kids tale, its possible that Brooks also
wanted to make a more kid-friendly film, which would explain the extra
enjoyment I got at a younger age. This is supported by the fact that my dad
claims to have never really enjoyed the film.
Spaceballs does have some classic moments (I see your
Schwartz is as big as mine!), and a great cast to make the mediocre
material that much better. Rick Moranis as Dark Helmet is pure genius, even if
it means the guy has yet another nerdy role. The humor is about as subtle as
that of the Wayans Brothers (but infinitely funnier), so if you dont mind
having jokes shoved down your throat you just may have a good time.
Spaceballs is the kind of movie that would be best left to fans of
Mel Brooks, kids, people who saw the film as a kid, or just any fan of good old
fashioned science fiction. And if its at all possible try and save
Originally released as a pretty bare-bones edition, the movie now
gets its very own special edition. Its presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic
widescreen and Dolby Digital & dts 5.1 tracks with a bunch of extras. Audio
and video are both fine, with good color and detail and surrounds. Both are a
major improvement over the previous release, which looked and sounded
The audio commentary by Mel Brooks is the same as the previous
version, and is unfortunately not that good. Not only is the comic mastermind
not the least bit funny, but he doesnt even really have anything
interesting to say. Spaceballs: The Documentary runs half an hour
and is typical of this sort of thing. It features interviews with the main
players and takes us through the production of the film, from pre to post.
Its always fun to watch people reminisce on their experiences, but
its even more fun to see what they look like almost 20 years later.
In Conversation is a 20-minute interview with Brooks
and co-writer Thomas Meehan, in which they play off each other and talk about
stuff. John Candy: Comic Spirit takes us through the career of
everyones favorite Mog and makes us sad that hes no longer with us.
Finally, we get some outtakes, storyboard-to-film comparisons, spacequotes, a
trivia game, costume & art galleries, and trailers.
Spaceballs, from MGM Home Entertainment
96 minutes, anamorphic
widescreen (1.85:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital & dts 5.1
Brooks, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga
Mel Brooks & Thomas Meehan & Ronny Graham
Produced and directed by
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