The Bandewagon Nerds are back with this week’s Nerd Review, the 80s comedy classic Spaceballs!
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Nerd Review! Every week the Nerds give you their take on a different cult classic from the Nerdosphere. This week the guys review the Mel Brook’s Spaceballs!
The Flick: Spaceballs
What’s it About: The evil planet Spaceball has squandered most of its supply of air and is on the verge of collapse. President Skroob sends his mightiest fleet, led by the villainous Dark Helmet and Colonel Sanders, to kidnap Princess Vespa of Druidia and hold her ransom in exchange for the planet’s 10,000 years of breathable air. When they succeed, Druish King Roland of enlists the aid of space cowboy Lone Star and his trusty half-man, half-dog Barf to rescue Princess Vespa and her droid Dot from Dark Helmet’s clutches.
Metacritic Score: 46
The Nerds’ Take
Dave Spoofing one of the most beloved trilogies in cinematic history was a risky proposition. But not too risky for the amazing Mel Brooks who delivered another comedic classic with Spaceballs. Unapologetically spoofing the original Star Wars trilogy, Spaceballs took many great elements of Star Wars and made them side-splittingly hilarious. The Spaceballs, led by their clearly incompetent President Skroob, have decimated their own air supply to the point that they now travel from planet to planet stealing others air supply (no, not the 1980’s band). They come across the planet Druidia and its Druish Princess Vespa, who is fleeing from an arranged marriage to the less than enthralled Prince Valium. From there, it is one classic moment after another. Lonestar and his sidekick, Barf, agree to rescue the Princess before she is abducted by the “sinister” Dark Helmet. A daring rescue leads to an escape to a desert planet where Lonestar meets Yogurt, who teaches our hero about the Schwartz, a powerful force that can create laser swords and levitate objects. In the end, our heroes prevail, Lonestar discovers his royal lineage, and we get a happy ending.
If it all sounds familiar, it should. Similar to other Mel Brooks movies, this one is full of one-liners and memorable moments and it holds a very special place in the hearts and minds of many people. Like other Mel Brooks movies, this one also has an All Star Cast. Brooks himself pulls double duty as President Skroob and the Yoda-like Yogurt. Rick Moranis plays Dark Helmet, a bumbling version of Darth Vader who likes to, well, play with dolls and remind us all that evil will always triumph over good because good is dumb. The magnificent John Candy played Barf, one of his funnier roles in a career and lift cut far too short. Bill Pullman played Lonestar, inspiring others to follow him years before he did so again in Independence Day. Appearances by Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, and some great voice work by Joan Rivers, rounded out a cast that was simply too good to fail on any level.
The movie is not without its flaws and it lacks the little something extra that made Blazing Saddles or Young Frankenstein so special. But it is still one of the funniest movies of all-time and shows the immense range of vision that Mel Brooks has had over the years. If you are a fan of Star Wars and you have not seen Spaceballs, stop reading this review immediately and move at ludicrous speed to whatever streaming service you can so you can watch this classic immediately. You will not regret it.
Dave’s Rating: 4.5/5
DPP: Another Mel Brooks classic. Spaceballs is mostly a spoof of Star Wars, with additional nods to movies like Star Trek and The Wizard of Oz. The main story features Princess Vespa kidnapped by Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis), who is attempting to steal the air from her planet in order to save their own. The movie is filled with slapstick comedy, one-liners, visual jokes, and everything you expect from a Mel Brooks movie. The main protagonist, Lonestar (Bill Pullman), pilots a flying Winnebago. His co-pilot is a half-man half-dog, a spoof on Chewbacca, and is played by John Candy. The continued use of fourth wall breaks in his movies add a new twist, when they put in a copy of the movie in the middle of filming, and they watch themselves doing the exact part of the movie as they are filming it. They make fun of over merchandizing, when you begin to see Spaceballs themed everything throughout the film, from toilet paper to bedsheets to flamethrowers. Mel Brooks enjoys satire type of movies, over the top jokes, and can not only make jokes on himself, but also the movie industry in general, in a fun and entertaining way.
DPP’s Rating: 4.5/5
Patrick: I have watched Spaceballs more times than I can count. I have seen it so many times I don’t need rewatch it to write my review. This movie brilliantly skewers the space adventure genre at every turn. From Star Wars to Star Trek to even Alien. This movie has it all, yet like Blazing Saddles before it, there is also a not so subtle commentary of the merchandising that exploded with Star Wars action figures. Spaceballs the Coloring Book! Spaceballs the Breakfast Cereal! Spaceballs the Flamethrower! It casts a humorous light on the way George Lucas monetized my childhood and the Star Wars franchise.
The cast here is terrific with a young Bill Pullman as Lone Star, Daphne Zuniga as Princess Vsepa, John Candy as Barf, and Joan Rivers as Dot. The real star of the film though is Rick Moranis as Dark Helmet. Every scene he is in is funny. Just fall out of your chair, laugh out loud funny. Whether he’s playing with his dolls again, telling assholes to keep firing, or reminding Lone Star that, “Evil will always triumph, because good is dumb,” Moranis is the heart and soul of this movie. If you have a favorite line from the Spaceballs, Dark Helmet probably said it. The rest of the cast seem to elevate their game when on screen with him. Moranis really just made everyone better.
As with many older comedies, there are some pretty dated jokes here (how many of you younglings know what Dot Matrix means?), however most of the gags play off of famous sci fi films – so the audience should have a frame of reference. And if you don’t, do yourself a favor and do some research because Brooks parodies some all timers in this one. Spaceballs, like all of Brooks’ parodies, is an unabashed love letter to the science fiction genre. Frankly, it should have been the first movie we Nerds reviewed (stupid poll, 😊). Of Mel’s films it is my second favorite all time. There is little wrong with this movie, and if you are a science fiction fan who has never seen it, get out of the basement and watch it yesterday.
Patrick’s Rating: 4.75/5