Spaceballs (the review)
Dir: Mel Brooks
Star: Mel Brooks, Bill Pullman, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Daphne Zuniga
Cert / Year: PG / 1987
Format: DVD R2

The planet Spaceball has used up all of its air, so they have decided to steal the air from the peaceful planet Druidia. To do this they have dispatched the evil Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis in the biggest hat ever!). He kidnaps Princess Vespa of Druidia (Daphne Zuniga) to obtain the code to planet Druidia's air shield. Enter heroes Lone Star (Pullman) and his sidekick Barf (John Candy he is a mog, half man half dog he's his own best friend!), who must rescue the princess and save the planet in order to pay off Pizza the Hut (groan). Their only help in their quest is from the almighty know it all Yoghurt (Mel Brooks in a one of two roles, the other being President Skroob of Spaceball), who teaches them the force? er no...the Schwartz

In case you haven't figured it out yet this is a Mel Brooks spoof of Star Wars. Every thing is here, big spaceships, troopers in white uniforms, a drop out hero, a princess to be rescued, a mystical force, even a selection of dwarfs. Nothing is sacred from the scrolling into the screen opening credits, to the exploitation of merchandising (merchandising, where the real money from the film is made, Spaceballs the action figures, Spaceballs the lunch box, Spaceballs the flame-thrower. A joke that is cleverly worked into scenes throughout the movie).

So the spoof is accurate and well observed but is it funny? In places it is hilarious, for example the jump to ludicrous speed, the gunner a**hole sketch, and instant video scene. However there are many jokes that are plain awful. Certain scenes (mostly the ones that don't contain Mel Brooks or Rick Moranis) tend to drag. So it's a mixed comic bag, when it's good it's very good and when the jokes are bad they are awful.

A spoof of a Star Wars is going to need good special effects otherwise you would end up laughing at it not with it. Fortunately the model effects are excellently done, in fact they add layer of humour in themselves (Lone Stars ship is a flying Winabago). The best spaceship though is Dark Helmets ship, which is so big if you walked from one end to the other the movie would be over. Apart from the models the other effects are also handled well from the laser blasts to the Schwartz swords (I see you're Schwartz is as big as mine!).

Special mention must be made of the costumes and set designs. Rick Moranis's helmet is Darth Vader to the extreme, and the Spaceball troops look sufficiently like stormtroopers to allows for the jokes to work with out having to hammer the point home. The same goes for the locations as well, yes we have deserts. Check out the Planet of the Apes gag for the perfect combination of both.

Actor wise we have a star performance from Rick Moranis (and no we didn't see him playing with his dolls), and Mel Brooks in both roles (Yoghurt the all knowing, Yoghurt the mighty, no just plain Yoghurt). Bill Pullman is adequate if not a little ineffectual (At least he isn't making ridiculously patriotic speeches as in Independence day). John Candy is as usual big, but fails to get many of the best gags (Barf, not in here its a Mercedes. Say no more). Special mention must go to George Wyner as Colonel Sandurz (Chicken) who is the perfect straight man for Rick Moranis. Worth looking out for are the cameos from Police Academy regular Michael Winslow (Jones) and the great Alien spoof from John Hurt.

Spaceballs is funny, and in places hilarious. It's not the best Mel Brooks film (see Blazing Saddles) marking as it does the beginning of a major drop in quality (don't see Robin Hood Men In Tights). However when it hits the mark in nails it perfectly.

May the Schwartz be with you.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Picture 1.85:1 Not bad at all.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Good but not used to full effect.
Features Trailer
Verdict The DVD is the usual back catalogue affair great picture quality, good sound, and no extras save a trailer. The menus are nice but this is yet another disappointment.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home