Review by Michael Jacobson
Mel Brooks, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga, voice
of Joan Rivers
Director: Mel Brooks
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 96 Minutes
Release Date: May 3, 2005
pray to God..."
years after the first Star Wars trilogy wrapped, Mel Brooks decided to
delve into George Lucas' magic box and pull out a spoof.
I remember eating it up at the time it was in theatres, being both a
Lucas fan and a Brooks fan, and having not had a good Star Wars fix in
too many years.
that the world is overdosing on the return of Star Wars, fans can look at
Spaceballs for what it really was...just another in a string of attempts
to ridicule the groundbreaking franchise, and one that didn't quite distinguish
itself from any other.
story centers around some intergalactic nasty people known as the Spaceballs,
who have used up all the air on their planet, and now plan to steal the
atmosphere of Druidia. So President
Scroob (Brooks) sends his evil henchman Dark Helmet (Moranis) to kidnap the
royal princess Vespa (Zuniga) on her wedding day.
the Druish princess has her own ideas, fleeing the alter with her droid
companion Dot Matrix (voice of Rivers). Dark
Helmet pursues, but a renegade space hero named Lone Starr (Pullman) and his Mog
(half man, half dog) cohort Barf (Candy) aim to intervene...but can they rescue
the princess and save Druidia, and leave enough set up for a sequel?
movie is mostly a collection of gags, some better than others, wrapped around a
flimsy string of a plot. Watching
it for the first time in ages, I was surprised at how little I really laughed.
The only bit that had me in hysterics was near the end of the film, and
it involved a cameo by John Hurt...I'll say no more.
cast is mostly spirited, but Brooks and company seem to be trying too hard to
please. The result is a moderately
amusing diversion, but not something anyone could call a classic comedy.
TRIVIA: Mime great Lorene Yarnell
was the physical embodiment of Dot Matrix.
Schwartz was with MGM and this terrific anamorphic transfer, beating the rap
that 80s films usually get when they go to DVD. This is a clean, colorful, and well detailed presentation
with no noticeable effects of age or wear.
Colors look natural throughout, and the space scenes, which are sometimes
problematic in digital form, look crisp and real.
A slight touch of grain is noticeable here and there, but nothing major.
5.1 soundtrack is good, with a fair amount of dynamic range and plenty of
business coming from the rear stage throughout. The subwoofer isn't utilized much, but I didn't miss it as
much as I would have thought.
extras really make this double disc set a fun package...for starters, the menu
screens are terrific, designed to spoof the now-famous screens of the Star
One features a commentary by Mel Brooks, who shares his memories with great
warmth and humor. And for the
attention impaired, you have the option to watch the entire movie in ludicrous
speed, reducing 90 minutes to about 30 seconds.
Two begins with your choice of three consoles to navigate, and each one has some
amusing and easy to find Easter eggs (my favorite was the Star Schmuck's
coffee). A new documentary features
new cast and crew interviews and a look at the filming, special effects and
other processes. There is also a
conversation with Mel Brooks and co-writer Thomas Meehan, and a loving tribute
to the late John Candy.
are film flubs that have to be accessed one at a time (as opposed to a straight
out gag reel), a trivia game, a "space quotes" extra set up like a
virtual See n' Say so you can hear your favorite lines, art, costume and photo
galleries, storyboard-to-film comparisons, and a pair of trailers including
Mel's original one presented to theatre owners.