When Planet Spaceball needs some air,
Its leader Skroob intends to dare
To steal it from the Druids’ planet.
It can’t get more absurd, now can it?
Wait, it can, a Druish bride
Named Princess Vespa can’t abide
Her sleepy groom; she’s unafraid
To leave with Dot Matrix, her maid.
Her father calls the rogue Lone Starr,
To save her (and her nice space-car)
From Dark Helmet and Spaceball One,
A ship that they cannot outrun.
Lone Starr, along with friendly mutt,
Is in debt to Pizza the Hutt,
So for a price, Lone Starr agrees
And rescues her, which sparks unease.
When Dark Helmet goes way too fast,
He goes to plaid and whizzes past.
But Lone Starr’s gas runs out too soon,
And they crash on a desert moon.
Though bride and rogue despised each other,
They start to flirt till Dot plays mother.
They meet old Yogurt, who purports
To know the power of the Schwartz.
He shares with Lone Starr much advice,
Such as his plans for merchandise.
With help from Spaceballs’ VHS,
Dark Helmet searches with success.
He kidnaps Vespa, using her
To force her daddy to defer
And give his world’s defensive code
To save the nose job he’d bestowed.
Then Spaceball One (to serve the plot)
Transforms into a maid. Why not?
The Druids lack time to prepare
As those Spaceballs suck up their air,
But Lone Starr rescues Vespa’s head
And makes the sucker blow instead.
He journeys through the Mega Maid
And finds the self-destruct (clichéd).
He fights Dark Helmet comically,
But wins and then is quick to flee.
The maid explodes (well, most of it),
And Vespa’s back to wed a twit.
But after dinner and a show,
Lone Starr is told he’s royal so
He interrupts to wed the bride,
And they fly off in his sweet ride.

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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