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Spaceballs (SE)
DVD disk
05.04.2005 By: Scott Weinberg
Spaceballs (SE) order
Director:
Mel Brooks

Actors:
Bill Pullman
Mel Brooks
Rick Moranis

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Itís just about the funniest sci-fi spoof ever made! When Druish Princess Vespa runs away from home, she quickly needs rescuing from the goofball hero Lone Star and his loyal sidekick Barf. Meanwhile, the evil Dark Helmet plans to steal all the air from the princessí home planet...but the plotís not really all that important, stargeeks.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Writer/actor/director Mel Brooks delivered a trio of bona-fide classics very early in his career, (The Producers, Young Frankenstein, and Blazing Saddles, for those keeping score at home) and followed those films up with a variety of generally well-received comedies. Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, and History of the World Part 1 have more than their fair share of supporters Ė heck, thereís people out there who love High Anxiety and Silent Movie, too Ė but just about every Brooksfan out there holds a special place in their heart for Spaceballs.

Mostly a broad and very funny spoof of the Star Wars conventions and cliches, Spaceballs also sets its sights on classics like Alien and Planet of the Apes, and itís an absolute buffet of belly laughs for all the sci-fi fans in the audience. But what makes Spaceballs better than your average spoof is that, in addition to being an unending stream of space-silliness, it also stands on its own as a solid space adventure!

The ensemble cast is overflowing with great performances. The late, great John Candy is clearly having a great time as a half-man, half-dog sidekick; Mel Brooks delivers a lot of laughs as both the tiny wizard Yogurt and the horny President Skroob; and Rick Moranis offers one of the funniest performances of his career as the clueless Dark Helmet.

OK, so maybe Spaceballs doesnít have the vulgar giddiness of Blazing Saddles or the drop-dead brilliance of Young Frankenstein, but itís one of Brooksí best mid-career efforts, and itís an absolute keeper for the Star Wars geeks out there. The ones who have a good sense of humor, that is. (Word is that George Lucas himself is quite fond of Spaceballs.)
THE EXTRAS
You'll find two extra features on Disc 1, one of which is pretty solid and the other... not so much.

Audio Commentary with Mel Brooks: As in most of his audio commentaries, Mel Brooks spends most of his time praising the cast & crew and narrating the onscreen action, but he also exhibits a clear and jocular affection for this particular movie. Fans will enjoy this track, but most likely wonít stop back for a second visit. (Originally recorded for the 1996 laserdisc release, this audio commentary was also offered on the first (non-SE) DVD.)

Watch the Movie in Ludicrous Speed: SPACEBALLS in 27 seconds. Silly.

Disc 2 is where you'll find most of the Spacegoodies:

Spaceballs: The Documentary: Here's a loose and laid-back retrospective featurette that runs a solid 30 minutes and features memories and anecdotes from several of the SPACEBALLS lunatics. Filmmaker Mel Brooks, visual effects supervisor Peter Donen, cinematographer Nick McLean, make-up designer Ben Nye Jr. and actors Bill Pullman, Dick Van Patten, George Wyner, JM J. Bullock (!), Daphne Zuniga, Joan Rivers and Rudy De Luca contribute to this entertaining piece ... but where's Rick Moranis?

In Conversation: Mel Brooks & Thomas Meehan: Sit down for a light-hearted conversation with two of the three SPACEBALLS screenwriters. (The third, Ronny Graham, passed away in 1999.) The old pals reminisce about how Spaceballs got started, and offer some insight in to where some of the movie's best gags came from. The featurette runs just about 20 minutes, and should prove quite entertaining to fans of Mel Brooks in general and Spaceballs in particular.

John Candy: Comic Spirit: A classy little memorial for a brilliant funnyman, this featurette runs nearly 10 minutes and features several of Candy's SPACEBALLS co-stars as they look back and honor the beloved comedian. You could probably fill two full hours with Candy's friends and accomplishments, but this is still a sweet little inclusion, especially because the guy was really quite hilarious in SPACEBALLS.

Exhibitor Trailer with Mel Brooks Introduction: A brief teaser trailer preceded by an intro from Mel asking theater owners to play the clip.

Theatrical Trailer: The original SPACEBALLS theatrical trailer.

Storyboard-to-Film Comparison: A collection of storyboards that run right next to their corresponding scenes from the film. It's a pretty cool way to exhibit the storyboards, as opposed to simply delivering them page-by-page. Runs about 6 and a half minutes.

Galleries: Filed under headings "Behind-the-Movie Photos," "Costume Gallery," and "Art Gallery," this is a healthy collection of snapshots from the set, production artwork, and character designs.

Film Flubs: Here's a funny little piece: six scenes from the film are shown with big blue arrows on hand to point out some fairly obvious technical glitches. Heh. Good to know that Mr. Brooks has a sense of humor about his mistakes!

Space Quotes: Something for the kiddies, I suppose. Seven of the Spaceballs characters deliver their most "quotable" moments from the film.

Trivia Game: Twenty (fairly easy) trivia questions about Spaceballs. Fun the first time around, but you'll never be back for a second.

Also worthy of mention are the menu screens from both discs, which poke a little fun at the menu layouts from the STAR WARS DVDs. Just a little something for us sci-fi geeks. And yes, you'll find a handful of goofy easter eggs if you click in the right spots.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
While I donít consider Spaceballs one of Mel Brooksí very best efforts, itís still more than amusing enough to earn a spot on your DVD shelf...especially if (like me) you already own the whole Star Wars collection. Brooks displays an obvious affection for the sci-fi stuff heís spoofing, which helps the laughs to flow forth a whole lot easier.
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