BLU-RAY REVIEW: Space Balls - 25th Anniversary Edition
The Classic Sci-fi Parody By Writer/director/actor Mel Brooks Hits Hi-Def Home Video...
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It's really no surprise to me why Mel Brooks made Spaceballs. It was 1987 and there'd been plenty of sci-fi films to use as film fodder for the comedic genius' sci-fi comedy parody. Fan-favorite films like Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, and Aliens provide Brooks some intriguing characters and plot devices; however, while these popular films provide some of the Spaceballs' memorable moments, it's George Lucas' cash cow Star Wars that provides the central riff to the film. It's only natural a film like Star Wars, with its popularity and success, would draw fan films, documentaries, re-edits, and parodies and since the release of Spaceballs, there have been many. Thankfully, Spaceballs continues to stand the test of time as a tongue-in-cheek parody that's ripe with terrible jokes that now actually seem funnier than they were even 25 years ago.
Available in a Spaceballs: 25th Anniversary Edition, this new blu-ray release makes for a great way to reminisce about the days of old, when crotch shots were kosher, phallic humor was key, and there was nothing more entertaining than making fun of what's considered now to be one of the most successful franchises in movie history. A master of the parody, Mel Brooks created this classic sci-fi spoof filled with a slough of fan-favorite actors from the 1980s, including Bill Pullman as the the space bum Lone Starr, John Candy as his half-dog/half-man sidekick Barf, Daphne Zuniga as a princess in need of rescue, and - my favorite - Rick Moranis as the not-so-menacing Lord Dark Helmet. Of course, Brooks himself makes an appearance as both President Skroob, the evil leader working with Dark Helmet, and Yogurt, the Yoda-spoof character who helps our...ahem...rebels by introducing them to "The Schwartz." Hilarious in 1987? Pretty fun. Still hilarious now after 25 years? Yup, still funny, even now. (And maybe even funnier now that we've seen what happened to Star Wars in the prequel films).
For this, the 25th Anniversary Edition of the film, Spaceballs hits hi-def home video features a gorgeous 1080p picture in the film's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The colors are bright, the lines tight and clean, and - considering the film's age - very well reproduced here. Likewise, the film's 5.1 DTS-HD master audio is solid with crisp dialogue and sound effects which - when applicable - fill the sound stage. Overall, the video and audio here are well worth picking up as they are the best available.
As for special features, this release includes a number of previously included material as well as one new featurette. This new featurette, entitled "Force Yourself! Spaceballs and the Skroobing of Sci-Fi" comes in at just under 17 minutes and features writer/director Brooks reflecting on Spaceballs, the film's story, and the cast. While not as extensive as some others, it's well worth a watch for die-hard fans of this cult film. Other special features include the 17-year old audio commentary with Brooks from the 1996 laserdisc home video release; the 30-minute "Spaceballs: The Documentary," which includes cast and crew interviews, production footage, and more; the 20-minute "In Conversation: Mel Brooks & Thomas Meehan," which features the two writers chatting about their process and where their jokes came from; the 10-minute "John Candy: Comic Spirit," which features the actor's Spaceballs co-stars reflecting on one of the most talented comedic actors in history; and the 30-second "Watch the Movie in Ludicrous Speed," which is a hilarious look at the movie in half a minute. Other special features include a 7-minute "Storyboards-to-Film Comparison," which uses a split-screen to show both the artistic drawings and the final film next to one another, three "Still Galleries" featuring over 60 images, two Spaceballs movie trailers, six "Film Flubs" showing mistakes in the film, and two additional joke scenes presented in Mawgese and Dinkese, two fictional languages used in the film.
While Brooks has had a variety of cinematic hits throughout the years, including Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights, for me it's re-watching Spaceballs that cements the writer/director/producer/actor's place as comic royalty. Spaceballs isn't as smart as Young Frankenstein, as funny as Blazing Saddles, or as timely as Robin Hood: Men in Tights, but - by gosh - I'm a sci-fi fan at heart and I love a good laser to the crotch every so often and thus Spaceballs is a natural fit.
If you're a sci-fi fan and looking to laugh, cringe, and simply have fun at the expense of your favorite classic films, Spaceballs is where it's at. Likewise, if your a fan of Mel Brooks' unique style of humor and need to add this one to your ever growing hi-def home video collection, it doesn't get any better than the Spaceballs: 25th Anniversary Edition on blu-ray now wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley
Last edited by JeffSaylor; 08-21-2012 at 12:15 PM.
"Until next time...have FUN with your figures!!"
Jess C. Horsley