One of the best parody films ever, Spaceballs was Mel Brooks’ response to Star Wars, Alien, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, The Wizard of Oz, the 1986 animated Transformers: The Movie, and any other science fiction film you can think of. Almost every line of dialogue is a joke, and almost every one is funny. Add that to some hilarious cameos, such as Mel Brooks himself as Skroob and the noise-production guru Michael Winslow (who reportedly saved Brooks money on sound effects), and you’ve got a cult classic in the making.
The acting isn’t the best, nor are the visual effects, but I bet that was intentional to heighten the humor. Bill Pullman came to prominence through his starring role as Lone Starr (he wasn’t even promoted on the film poster), and other roles are hilariously filled by John Candy, Daphne Zuniga, Joan Rivers, Dick Van Patten, and the ever-funny Rick Moranis as Dark Helmet. The funniest scene in the whole movie for me is the Alien spoof near the end, which is made more amusing by the presence of John Hurt, who had previously been involved with Brooks in History of the World, Part I and The Elephant Man.
The main reason Spaceballs isn’t higher on the list is its frequent language and crudities. From phallic jokes to insults used as names, these gags are funny in some ways, but they detract from the film’s appeal. Kids probably wouldn’t even get most of the clever references to other films, but Brooks ensured that it wasn’t appropriate for them in the first place.
Still, barring the double entendres, Spaceballs is a must-see for science fiction fans, especially those of Star Wars. There are too many sight gags, puns, and fun antics to spoil them all, and I don’t want to try. I dare you not to laugh.Best line: (Dark Helmet) “Before you die, there is something you should know about us, Lone Starr.” (Lone Starr) “What?” (Dark Helmet) “I am your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.” (Lone Starr) “What’s that make us?” (Dark Helmet) “Absolutely nothing! Which is what you are about to become.”
Artistry: 5 Characters/Actors: 7 Entertainment: 10 Visual Effects: 7 Originality: 8 Watchability: 10 Other (language and crude jokes): -4 TOTAL: 43 out of 60
Next: #184 – The Ultimate Gift
© 2014 S. G. Liput
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