I’m a big sci-fi nerd. Star Wars is my life, and I’ve made it my life-long goal to watch every major piece of science-fiction film ever made. And that’s why I love Spaceballs so freaking much. A 1987 sci-fi spoof, it parodies every science fiction cliche in the book, and thanks to an all-star cast, is actually pretty hilarious.
First off, this is a terrible movie. The plot is pretty much a compilation of every sci-fi cliche, and while it borrows heavily from the original Star Wars film, it pays homage to so many different movies that it ends up making no sense whatsoever.
But that’s the point.
The movie follows (if you can call it that) Captain Lone Starr (played by Bill Pullman), and his dog-like friend Barf (played by John Candy), as they agree to rescue Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) and her robotic maid Dot Matrix (voiced by Joan Rivers) from the evil clutches of Darth Helmet.
Lone Starr is pretty much Han Solo and Luke Skywalker mixed together, and Barf is one part Chewbacca and one part classic John Candy. The banter between the two is immature and stupid, but funny nonetheless.
However, I have to say that, outside of a a few scenes, they can be pretty bland. Candy is funny as always, but resorts too much to ‘bathroom’ jokes, and Pullman’s character tries too hard at times, but still succeeds in nailing a few very jokes, including one very funny scene with Rock Moranis’ Darth Helmet.
And while Princess Vespa and Dot Matrix are similar to Lone Starr and Barf in that they’re pretty flat and uninteresting, since this movie isn’t trying to be anything other than a stupid parody, it all works. The four of them have some good banter together, and they’re at their best when playing off each other.
With the exception of Dot Matrix (who’s just too creepy to be really funny), the whole cast is actually really good. But, the real stars here are the villains. President Skroob and Darth Helmet (played by Mel Brooks and Rick Moranis respectively) are absolutely hilarious and deliver the best jokes of all.
Darth Helmet is the best parody of Darth Vader you’re ever going to find, and Rick Moranis is just too funny to describe. His jokes always elicit laughs, and his personality is so all-over-the-place that it’s funny and entertaining. His performance alone is worth the price of admission.
And Mel Brooks, who plays the simple-minded President Skroob of the planet Spaceballs as well as the Yoda-ripoff Yogurt, is funny and witty, and delivers his lines with just the right amount of cheese and 80’s humor to elicit many laughs. And did I mention he plays a guy named Yogurt? Yeah? Well he’s funny there too.
And while I could talk about how stupidly hilarious the characters are all day, I’m not going too. Because, at its heart, Spaceballs is a sci-fi spoof. With it is immature, childish, random, and very stupid comedy, it’s like someone made a milkshake out of everything from the 80’s, and then added a firm dose of Monty Python-esque humor and sci-fi references galore.
While it’s most obvious influence is Star Wars, Spaceballs references Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Aliens, The Wizard of Oz, Rambo, and every Mel Brooks movie ever. The more references you pick up on, the more enjoyment you’ll get out of this movie.
If you can turn your brain off, and let yourself fall back in time, then you’ll probably have a good laugh with Spaceballs. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and even acknowledges its stupidity in its own, well, stupid way.
So if your a fan of 80’s science fiction movies, or just want something to watch in the middle of night, give Spaceballs a try. You might lose some intelligence, but you will laugh. Over and over again.