Do you know how ludicrous it is that you’re currently reading a movie review of “Spaceballs”? It might be more ludicrous when I tell you that my top five favorite comedies include (in no particular order) “Bull Durham,” “Caddyshack,” “Nacho Libre” and “Zoolander.” Well, considering it takes a lunatic to love “Spaceballs,” it’s only appropriate that a lunatic is “reviewing” the 27-year-old movie for his school newspaper rather than doing actual homework.
If I’ve offended you as a moviegoer or some type of movie aficionado, don’t get all jammed up about it, although tough luck if you don’t like the raspberry. Also, if the word “ludicrous” didn’t evoke a chuckle or Spaceballs-related reference in your mind, you might as well just stop reading. But if you want to continue, take a quick visit to Mr. Coffee and let’s get started on Spaceballs: The Review.
As someone who watched “Star Wars” at a very young age, “Spaceballs” was a very relatable parody film of the famous trilogy and other sci-fi films up to that point. Although the first three Star Wars movies came out in 1977, 1980 and 1983, the three sci-fi films were re-released as a Special Edition in 1997 with remastered effects and things of that nature. When I was six years old, “Star Wars” was back in theaters.
At some point during the hubbub of my dad taking me to see the films in theaters and buying me the VHS boxed set, I was introduced to “Spaceballs.” You may want to question my parents’ philosophy at this point, allowing their elementary school-aged son to watch a movie full of what would now be labeled PG-13. But can you really blame them? “Spaceballs” is somehow a PG-rated movie.
Early on in the movie, you get that the bad guys (the Spaceballs) are running out of air on planet Spaceball (a giant spaceship) and must steal it from the fertile planet Druidia. Unfortunately for the leader of the Spaceballs, President Skroob (played by Mel Brooks), planet Druidia is encased in a giant air shield and they must get the combination in order to open the door and take out all of the air.
President Skroob’s underling, Dark Helmet (a mockery of Darth Vader, played by Rick Moranis) and his right-hand man, Colonel Sandurz, must follow through with the plan, which includes capturing Princess Vespa, daughter of planet Druidia’s leader, King Roland. How do we know this? Because early in the movie, Colonel Sandurz explains the situation while they’re locating Princess Vespa on Mr. Radar (a device capable of tracking spaceships) and Dark Helmet addresses the camera: “Everybody got that? Good!”
Of course there have to be good guys, and that would be Captain Lone Starr (played by Bill Pullman) and his sidekick Barf, who is a “mog” (half man, half dog). Once King Roland realizes his daughter is about to be captured by the Spaceballs, he calls up Lone Starr and Barf (played by John Candy) to save Princess Vespa for the price of one million “spacebucks.”
Much like the relationship Han Solo has with Jabba the Hutt in Star Wars, Lone Starr is in hot water with gangster Pizza the Hut (made entirely out of pizza) and owes him a lot of money. Barf is hesitant to risk his life for a princess, but Lone Starr coerces him by reinforcing the simple fact that “We’re not just doing this for money. … We’re doing it for a s— load of money!”
The movie proceeds as many other of Mel Brooks’ productions do: zany interactions with hilarious characters, jokes that would only make immature numbskulls (like me) laugh, and out-of-nowhere side-splitting moments, all with the styling of a director who did things his way. Brooks also plays Yogurt (a mockery of Yoda), who teaches Lone Starr about a power known throughout the universe as the “Schwartz.”
In recent years, I have been introduced to other Brooks films, such as “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein,” but “Spaceballs” will always have a special place in my heart. Other movies with questionable content also shaped my early life, such as “Happy Gilmore” and “Liar Liar,” but “Spaceballs” remains my go-to rainy day movie. It’s always good for 90 minutes of laughs as well as hundreds of lines that I’m able to recite based on the dozens of times they have been repeated by the goofy cast members.
So if you’re looking to comb the desert for a movie to watch this weekend, call up your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate and flip on “Spaceballs.” You don’t even have to drive your Winnebago to the movie store; it’s on Netflix! It’s as easy as 1-2-3-4-5. I can’t promise that you won’t lose the bleeps, the sweeps, or the creeps, but I can promise that I didn’t see you playing with your dolls again.