Monday, May 8, 2017

Movie Review: "Spaceballs" (1987)

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Director: Mel Brooks
Year: 1987
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 36 minutes

Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) and his crew of Spaceballs plan to kidnap Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) of planet Druidia so they can blackmail her father King Roland (Dick Van Patten) for his planet's air shield combination and steal 10,000 years worth of fresh air from Druidia. King Roland hires an outlaw name Lone Starr (Bill Pullman) and his partner Barf (John Candy) to rescue Vespa from the Spaceballs and bring her home safely. 

Mel Brooks parodies "Star Wars" in the now classic comedy, "Spaceballs." This is one of our favorite Mel Brooks films, and both BigJ and I have seen many times. We both grew up watching it, quoting it as kids to the dismay of adults everywhere. It stars Bill Pullman, who plays Lone Star, a hybrid parody of both Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. He is an intergalactic smuggler who owes one million space bucks to the notorious gangster Pizza the Hut. When we say Pizza the Hut, we mean it, and in a parody of Jabba from "Star Wars," voiced by Dom DeLuise, Pizza drips and oozes toppings as he makes threats to Lone Starr via video conference. Joining Lone Star is his partner Barf, played by the great, wonderful, hilarious John Candy, who is a know, half man, half dog, a mog. C'mon, people, he's his own best friend!! Lone Starr and Barf are hired to save Princess Vespa, played by Daphne Zuniga, who is a total snot, a spoiled, rich, bratty, entitles princess with a major attitude with too much love for her over-sized blow dryer. She is joined by her robot Dot Matrix, voiced by the incomparable Joan Rivers, whose primary function seems to be to protect Princess Vespa's virginity with her virgin alarm. Rick Moranis, who plays the evil Dark Helmet, a faux Darth Vader with a comically large helmet, seems to have a bit of a small man complex and uses the power of the dark side of the Schwartz (we are seriously cracking up while writing this) to shoot those who upset him in the dick. Does this not sound hilarious to you?! Mel Brooks does triple-duty as the director of the film, as the dimwitted leader of the Spaceballs, Dark Helmet's boss president Skroob, and as the everlasting know-it-all Yogurt, who teaches Lone Star about the Schwartz. Genius!!!

Like most Mel Brooks films, there is a hefty amount of silliness in "Spaceballs," but it's not all fun and games. Okay, well, it is, but it's also combined with some really clever wit and a ton of slapstick. This film is ripe with amazing jokes that are still funny today, and though it's a parody of "Star Wars" and the entire sci-fi genre as a whole, it never seems to insult its source. You can tell all of the humor here comes from a deep admiration of its source genre. Sure, some might see this movie as a step down from "Blazing Saddles" or "Young Frankenstein," but why can't they all be just as great as they are, separate from one another yet still wonderfully fun and hilarious? It might sound snobby, but we don't want to be friends with anyone who dislikes this movie. We don't need that kind of negativity in our lives. At the end of the day, "Spaceballs" remains one of our favorite comedies, and not just because we are obsessed with "Star Wars," but because this film really has it all: an excellent cast with a brilliant director, tons of great jokes, some plays on other franchises ("Alien," "Star Trek"), tons of sci-fi puns, and many fantastic performances by actors we love and have since lost.

My Rating: 10/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB Rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 54%
Do we recommend the movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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