Anthony's Film Review

Spaceballs (1987)

A spoof of Star Wars that is funny enough for 90 minutes...

Given how Mel Brooks made fun of Western movies with Blazing Saddles and horror movies with Young Frankenstein, it's no surprise that he would take George Lucas's Star Wars and make fun of it with his unique brand of humor. The result is Spaceballs, a goofy spoof that, thankfully, cannot be mistaken for the awesome Star Wars. When it comes to spoof movies that directly parody a specific movie, it's always fun for me to play a little game where I spot all of the funny references to the original film. In fact, let me go ahead and do just that.

First, replace the menacing Darth Vader and his scary breathing with the dorky and shorter Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) who can't even breathe with a mask over his face. Next, replace Princess Leia of the planet Alderaan with Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) of the planet Druidia, the golden male robot C-3PO with the golden female robot Dot Matrix (voiced by Joan Rivers), Han Solo and Luke Skywalker with Lone Starr (Bill Pullman), the dog-like Chewbacca with a half-man half-dog named Barf (John Candy), Han Solo's Millennium Falcon spaceship with Lone Starr's winged motor home, the monstrous Jabba the Hutt with Pizza the Hutt (a reference to an actual pizzeria chain), the wise Yoda with the merchandise seller Yogurt, and the Force with the Schwartz. (Interestingly, R2-D2 is spared any embarrassment with this Star Wars spoof.)

The characters of Star Wars are really the only thing that Spaceballs parodies. Otherwise, the plot in this movie is very different from Star Wars. Instead of an enemy that is using a moon-sized space station to destroy planets, we have a race of creatures called Spaceballs whose home planet of Spaceball has run out of fresh air in its atmosphere. To save planet Spaceball, Dark Helmet plans to steal the air from planet Druidia. And speaking of stuff not related to Star Wars, this movie also features Mel Brooks as Skroob, the President of Spaceball City, who is too goofy to be on the side of the villains. (Then again, Dark Helmet is, too.)

In my opinion, Spaceballs isn't one of Mel Brooks's funniest spoofs, but it has some good moments here and there. For example, Dark Helmet orders his ship to travel at ludicrous speed, which is even faster than light speed, and gets into a lightsaber (ahem, Schwartz) duel with Lone Starr while noting their equally sized weapons (held from their crotches). Also, there are plenty of jokes related to product placement and characters in this movie breaking the fourth wall. One of the funniest fourth-wall jokes occurs when Dark Helmet and two other characters watch this movie, Spaceballs, on video cassette, fast-forwarding it until the current scene so that they are seeing themselves as we are seeing them on screen. To top it off, the movie throws in quick humorous parodies of Star Trek, Alien, and Planet of the Apes.

Spaceballs is a funny comedy. Not really a hugely funny one, but a funny one nonetheless. About half of the time, I only smiled at the jokes because they're corny, but the rest of the time, I laughed a little or out loud briefly because they're creative and somewhat unexpected. So there you have it: a movie that should be funny enough for some of you out there. Whether you'll ultimately like it is up to you. Otherwise, there's one thing left that I'm wondering. Would C-3PO from Star Wars and Dot Matrix from Spaceballs make a good couple? Better yet, does C-3PO even have a thing for lady droids with the voice of Joan Rivers?

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Spaceballs, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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