tek's rating:

Spaceballs (PG)
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Caution: spoilers, maybe?

This came out in 1987, but I didn't see it until some time later. I'm not sure when exactly, but I think it must have been the early 90s. I was like, over at a friend's house, and he was surprised I'd never seen it. I think it was on TV, though it's possible it was on VHS. I watched it by myself; I have no idea why my friend wasn't involved in the watching. But anyway, I suppose I thought it was okay. I'm sure I didn't like it nearly as much as my friend, nor as much as the movie's many fans. Anyway, in 2008, an animated series based on the movie was announced to air on G4, so I bought the DVD to refresh my memory, but never got around to watching it before the series started (some time later than it was supposed to). And I didn't watch very much of the series, because it sucked. And it was actually cancelled before it even started airing, apparently, though there were more episodes than the few that I watched. (It's odd that when I think of the animated series, I feel like I watched it in the house I was living in in 2010-11, but that's impossible; there's no way I was watching reruns, so I must have seen it in 2008. I'm like 99% positive.) Anyway... I'm finally watching the DVD of the actual movie in 2012.

So... the movie is basically a parody of Star Wars, complete with expository opening crawl. (Lots of other things are satirized, but it's mainly Star Wars.) Um, so there's this planet called Spaceball, which has nearly depleted its air. So they want to steal the air of their neighboring planet, Druidia. But it's protected by en energy shield, and the Spaceballs have decided to kidnap Druidian Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga), and ransom her for the code to get past the shield. Meanwhile, Vespa is supposed to marry Prince Valium. But because she doesn't love him, she runs away into space, accompanied by her droid, Dot Matrix (voiced by Joan Rivers). (Dot Matrix, btw, is also the name of a character from ReBoot; I'm not sure whether I saw this movie or that show first, but either way, I don't think I remembered the characters having the same name. Now, I think it's kinda weird.) Anyway, President Skroob of Spaceball has sent a huge ship under the command of Lord Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) to capture the princess. (Well, actually it's commanded by Colonel Sandurz, but Dark Helmet assumes command for this mission, I guess.) Meanwhile, there's a mercenary named Lone Starr (Bill Pullman), captain of a spaceship that looks like a Winnebago, who owes a million space bucks to some alien called Pizza the Hutt (voiced by Dom DeLuise), who is basically a big pizzalike creature. (I'm sure that long before I ever saw this movie, I had an idea for some kind of Jabba the Hutt-type alien called Pizza the Hutt, because the joke is so amazingly obvious.) Anyway, Vespa makes a distress call to her father, King Roland, when her space car is being shot at by the Spaceball ship, and Roland calls Lone Starr, begging him to save his daughter. Lone Starr and his sidekick, a half man, half dog named Barf (John Candy), agree to the job in exchange for a million space bucks, to pay off their debt to Pizza.

So, they manage to rescue Vespa, but then they crash land on a desert planet, because they ran out of gas. Luckily, they end up meeting the reclusive wise old hermit Yogurt, who trains Lone Starr to use a ring that gives him the power of the Schwartz (and Dark Helmet also has the Schwartz, btw). Anyway, I should mention that Lone Starr and Vespa kind of hate each other, but fall in love in spite of that, apparently just because they find each other attractive. And um... the Spaceballs manage to recapture Vespa and Dot. So Lone Starr and Barf will have to rescue them back, as well as stopping the Spaceballs from stealing Druidia's air. And... I don't want to say any more about the plot. But there is a sort of twist revelation at the end that was impossible not to predict far, far in advance.

Um, so like... I dunno. I guess it's all fairly typical Mel Brooks style comedy, not that I've seen a lot of Mel Brooks movies. (Brooks, btw, is not only writer/director/producer, he also plays Skroob and Yogurt.) And I do enjoy the fourth wall-breaking. For the most part the humor seems fairly silly, to me... but not in a bad way. It's one of those rare pieces of entertainment where I find even silly gags amusing, and there's plenty in the film that is actually kind of clever, I guess. I wouldn't call myself a fan of the movie... but I definitely did like it, and I'm sure I'll enjoy watching it again, someday.

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