Spaceballs is a Mel Brooks film from 1987.That’s right, the mind behind the Producers, Young Frankenstein, History of the World part 1 & Blazing Saddles among others. So, how does this one compare to his other works?
The titular Spaceballs have a problem. Their planet, Spaceball, is running out of air. They would plant vegetation, but that would be silly. As such, their obvious course of action is to ransack another planet and steal its air. Their choice is planet Druidia, a world protecting itself with an air shield. They’d choose a different target without an air shield, but that would be silly. Fortunately for their schemes, Princess Vespa of Druidia runs off, not wanting to marry the chronically sleepy Prince Valium. They take advantage of the situation to try and capture her but her father, Roland, contacts the mercenary Lone Starr to go rescue her.
This is a film that parodies a lot of science fiction. Most notably Star Wars, but it also pokes fun at Aliens, Planet of the Apes & Star Trek. It’s also a film that does it very well. There aren’t any jokes in the film that fall flat or otherwise don’t work. It’s bloody hilarious from the start to the end. Another bit of praise I can offer it is that a lot of the jokes work even if you’re only passingly familiar with what’s being parodied and haven’t watched it. Which isn’t an easy feat.
The cast isn’t incredibly deep but they work really well. They play off of one another strongly. Their interactions are incredibly funny. there’s some skilful contrast used for them. And they’re just a fun, endearing group.
Cinematography, Visuals & Effects:
This film has a lot of strong visual gags. The random product placements in particular, all of which advertise Spaceballs. The film is also shot really strongly with a lot of comedic moments where the comedy is greatly enhanced by the cinematography. The special effects are dated by today’s standards, but I wouldn’t say they’ve aged badly.
Acting & Music:
The performances in this are fantastic. Mel Brooks pulls double duty as the Spaceball President, Skroob and as the wise Yogurt. Bill Pullman, the late John Candy, Daphne Zuniga & the late Joan Rivers play our main heroes and they are really amazing & funny in the roles. Our two main antagonists, Dark Helmet & Colonel Sandurz are portrayed by Rick Moranis and George Wyner, both of whom are fantastic. The music was composed by John Morris, the same gent who did the soundtracks for most of Mel Brooks’ films. And the music is really damn good. It’s evocative of the sci-fi films that are being parodied while also being its own, unique thing.
Spaceballs is an incredibly funny comedy. With a superb sense of humour, endearing characters & a strong acting cast. If you’re a fan of science fiction and you like to enjoy a good laugh, I can highly recommend it. My final rating is going to stand at a 9.5/10.
Next week I’ll continue December’s extra reviews with Arrow, series 1. Until then, have a safe and pleasant holiday season whether you celebrate Hearth’s Warming, Hogswatch, the Solstice, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia, Christmas, or any other holiday.