Revenge of the Schtick
Sometimes you really have the fight the urge to just phone in a movie review piece. I mean, who hasn't seen Spaceballs before? It's almost underhanded for me to put it up so close to the new Star Wars flick's release date - but considering the fact that thus far I have been doing this entirely without profit or earnings, I feel it more proper to call it "getting my engine revved up for another movie I'm excited about." For the science fictions fans who want to laugh, we all know that this option throws the biggest balls around.
An evil race known as the Spaceballs have sucked up all the air on their planet. In need of new air, they've created a giant spaceship and set their sites on a nearby planet. It isn't going to be easy though, as the planet happens to have an air shield around it, keeping all that wonderful fresh air trapped away from them. Still, they have a plan - all it takes is kidnapping the soon-to-be married princess of the planet, and they should easily be able to get the passkey to open the shield and take all that air!
A pair of space adventurers are in some trouble with an intergalactic gangster who seems to be part man part pizza. In need of some serious space bucks and fast, they find themselves answering a call to save a princess from the Spaceballs. They whisk in to find the princess stuck in a magnetic beam, but jam the radar and move in for the steal. Leaving the Spaceballs with an empty car, they jump to hyper-speed to make their escape. The Spaceballs make pursuit, taking things a step further and going straight to ludicrous speed - unfortunately for them overshooting the heroes by quite a bit. The heroes don't have it all easy though, as it seems that their own warp has eaten up all their fuel supply.
They crash on a desert planet, and after some arguing it would appear our princess and main human character are starting to feel a bit romantic for each other. Still, no supplies and the rising sun rolls up on them, and it's not long before they pass out in the dunes. Back aboard the Spaceball ship, some meta-cheating of watching the movie lets them discover the location of the heroes, and they set course to close in for the capture.
It's a parody of Star Wars, for sure - although there's definitely some other throw-outs in there as well, including even a little Wizard of Oz. This gives it a bit of an advantage over the wave of other SW knock-offs out there - mainly, that it keeps you laughing. The plot is there, but it's not above making fun of itself - pointing things out by talking straight to the camera, using itself in meta ways to advance the plot by literally having characters watch the movie to figure things out. This is actually a great little feature, as it really opens up the science fiction genre to be more approachable to people who otherwise might not care for it.
Said humor is surely going to be hit or miss for people - as humor usually is - but if you've seen other Mel Brooks entries and found them hilarious and enjoyable, this one should be more the same. The jokes range the gauntlet from quick little jabs to long-plays - some examples being the "part man, part dog. I'm my own best friend" line, literally combing the desert and getting the frustrated reply "we ain't found shit!", and an extensively drawn out introduction shot of the Spaceballs ship model followed a minute later with the pay-off license plate "we brake for nobody." Of course, as mentioned a few times there have meta-references fly around as well - including "Spaceballs merchandise" floating around all over the movie, and even an actor from the first Alien movie re-visiting a chest burster scene and saying "not again."
Effects and costumes are also pretty dang good here. Actors do a great job bringing characters to life and delivering their lines - including the punchlines. Some costumes lead to interesting character interactions - such as the ladybot's actor not being able to see at all, and having a lot of scenes where she's being rolled around while holding on to someone's skirt, tail, or arms. There's plenty of details in the costumes themselves that can be enjoyed as well, including the Darth Vader equivilant's little "tie." Lasers look great, the models all look fantastic, and even a decent amount of the background paintings look pretty good - although at times it will show its age.
This is a fun movie. I see no reason why anyone shouldn't check this out - outside maybe if you don't like your children hearing curse words I suppose. It's light-hearted and quick flowing, plenty well acted and with a bevy of guest appearances that people (at least those familiar with movies of the time period) can recognize. If you haven't seen it, I'd say go check it out - it might not have the scale and story of something like Star Wars, but it might be just the thing that a lot of people are looking for.