Spaceballs

spaceballs

Year: 1987

Synopsis: Lone Star and Barf are offered a shitload of money to save Princess Vespa and her space-car, and with the help of the wise yet plain Yogurt, Lone Star must learn the mysterious ways of the Schwartz to save the galaxy from the evil Dark Helmet and megalomaniacal President Skroob.

Pros:
• An overall effective send up of the original Star Wars trilogy — MERCHANDISING — and Sci-Fi pop culture of the time.
• Most of the almost intense onslaught of one-liners and sight gags hit, effectively hiding the ones that missed.
• The whole cast was more than game for those relentless jokes.
• Perhaps with some irony, the overall dialogue was stronger than what was from either the original or prequel trilogies. The film was filled with endless, often quite intelligent  comedic quotes.
• Its methodology for making fun of multiple related pop culture themes at once can still be seen today.
Did you see anything!? / No, I didn’t see you playing with your dolls again!

Cons:
• Built primarily for fans of Mel Brook’s humor and the less serious fans of Star Wars.
• Some of the jokes have become a bit dated for today’s audience, while some might have been a bit obscure for even 1987 (MST3K would master the obscure joke not long after).

Discussion:
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Spaceballs today is how many of the jokes have evolved in notable ways over the past three decades, particularly with 2018 politics and the succeeding Star Wars films. The politics of the Spaceball people might be a bit like the politics of the Star Wars prequels. Dark Helmet had a lot more in common with Kylo Ren of the sequels than Darth Vader: they are both moody, short-tempered, and did not need the stupid helmet-mask. Mel Brooks’ President Skroob is so wildly nixonian that he came off more like the real-life US President of 2018 than Emperor Palpatine (Darth Sidious). The Spaceballs themselves came off more like the First Order until the end of Last Jedi from how neither seemed to have an iron grip on the galaxy. The Spaceball Troopers were definitely not clones. Even Lone Star was reminiscent of Rey: they were both abandoned when they were young, channel metaphysical powers, pilot a piece of garbage (Eagle 5 Winnebago-Millennium Falcon Freighter), and perhaps most interestingly, the 2008 Animated Series retconned Lone Star to not even have royal parents. That is all more compliment than anything else, while one must wonder how much Spaceballs was on the mind of George Lucas and J.J. Abrams when building the sequel trilogy.

Spaceballs is a film that became far more transcendent than was probably ever intended. It is easily funnier the more it is watched, as the world has caught up to it in horrifyingly ironic ways. The time is ripe for the long awaited sequel film, Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money.

Related:
Star Wars Franchise
Laugh It Up, Fuzzball: The Family Guy Trilogy


Rotten Tomatoes — 58%

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