The SmarK DVD Rant for Spaceballs: The Blu-Ray

Spaceballs_BD

I think the spirit of this movie, probably the last relevant comedy from Mel Brooks, is best summed up by the impossibly long panning shot of the evil Spaceball ship at the beginning, ending with a bumper sticker that says "We Brake For Nobody". It’s kind of a shame, actually, that Star Wars became such a parody of itself that this one almost loses a certain something compared to it, not to mention Blue Harvest and the Robot Chicken versions of it. But that’s OK, it’s still hilarious.

The Film

Just as cheesy and cheaply made as ever, but now in 1080P! Planet Spaceball, led by ridiculously corrupt President Skroob, is running out of air, and obviously stealing it from neighboring planet Druidia is the only solution. So the evil Spaceballs, led by incredibly evil (and overcompensating) Dark Helmet, kidnap Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga from Melrose Place), leaving mercenary Lone Starr (Bill Pullman in a rare effective comedic role) to rescue her. Along the way he meets Yogurt, master of the Schwartz and learns the true secret of the universe: Merchandising. This was John Candy’s last big role and he makes the most of it, hitting it out of the park as Barf, the half-man/half-dog co-pilot (he’s his own best friend!). Of course, the real charm here is the dumb wordplay and cheap jokes. Really cheap jokes.

– "I’m surrounded by Assholes!"

– "We’re not just doing it for money, we’re doing it for a SHITLOAD of money!"

– Jamming the radar. With raspberry!

– Druish humor.

– LUDICROUS SPEED!

– The most inspired gag in the movie sees the Spaceballs figuring out the location of the heroes by actually watching the home video, as new advances in technology have allowed home video versions to be released before the movie is finished airing. This would of course come true, as the producers of Wolverine can attest to.

– Combing the desert.

– The complex combination to the planetary security system. "That’s amazing, I’ve got the same combination on my luggage."

– Riffing on ’80s sensation The Transformers. Man, is THAT joke dated today. Does anyone even remember that show now?

– "What’s the matter Colonel Sandurz…chicken?"

– "At last we meet for the first time for the last time."

– "I am your father’s brother’s nephew’s former roommate." "What does that make us?" "Absolutely nothing!" Hell, the entire scene between Dark Helmet and Lone Starr is comedic genius. You’ve got dick jokes, breaking the fourth wall, sight gags with the light sabers…everything you could want.

– "Out of order? Fuck, even in the future nothing works!"

That is some awesome joke-to-clunker ratio, as this one pretty much hits every beat it goes for in the comedy department. Some dated jokes aside (Dot Matrix…) everything still holds up like it did in 1987 because cheap gags are still cheap in 2009. And no one was cheaper than Mel Brooks! Hacks like Seltzer/Friedman should take note here and concentrate on writing spoofs that are actually funny instead of just referencing movies that no one will get in 5 years.

Audio & Video

Here’s the thing about cheap movies: They look even cheaper in hi-def. Although this is Blu-Ray, it’s the same print from the 2005 Collector’s Edition, so you get the same flaws and lack of clarity that you got there. Not that you really need it, but you kind of have to wonder what the point is if they’re just going to do a straight transfer onto another format instead of cleaning it up further.

Audio is excellent here, presented in DTS-HD 5.1, and it’s a surprisingly aggressive mix for a silly comedy. And hey, just in case you speak another language, you get also everything from French to HUNGARIAN thrown on there as well. There’s also Mawgish and Dinkish audio tracks, but I’ll leave the joke up to the viewer to discover. It’s pretty funny, though.

Bonus Features

Exactly the same as the Collector’s Edition, but on one disc now instead of two. However, in one of the strangest extras I can recall, they actually give you a copy of the original 2000 DVD release (the double-sided one with widescreen on one side and full-screen on the other). Did MGM have a bunch laying around that they wanted to get rid of or something?

As for the extras on the main disc, you have:

– Commentary with Mel Brooks (same thing that’s already been done twice before)

– The 30-minute "Spaceballs: The Documentary".

– The 20-minute "In Conversation: Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan"

– A tribute to John Candy that is touching and well worth watching.

– "Watch the movie in Ludicrous Speed." You’re probably already way ahead of the joke here, and it’s exactly what you’d expect.

– Still galleries, trailers, storyboards, etc.

Kind of disappointing that they’d just move everything over from the DVD, but it’s a decent set of extras.

The Pulse

It’s Spaceballs! On Blu-Ray! Is it worth upgrading your $10 DVD from years ago? Probably, although you’ll get another copy out of it anyway. Is it worth upgrading your Collector’s Edition? No, because it’s the same thing.

Star Wars nerds and Mel Brooks aficionados alike should of course have this in their collection one way or another, and this is as good as any. Highly recommended.

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