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jlcmsu
04-12-2005, 09:11 PM
Spaceballs: Collector's Edition
May the schwartz be with you!

April 12, 2005 - Did Mel Brooks take a bad career path? Think about it: his most successful and enduring creation was his first, The Producers. Since then, he's done predominantly spoofs of other genres. Sure, they were brilliant spoofs - no one will say there's no value in Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein or Robin Hood Men In Tights -- but he is dependent on someone else's work to poke fun at. Food for thought, and the mailbag.


Spaceballs was one of his great parodies, but the timing was sure off. It came out in 1987, well after Star Wars mania had run its course and before Star Trek: The Next Generation had gotten off the ground.

The new special edition from MGM is perfectly timed, with Revenge of the Sith due in just weeks. And this special edition has something special about it.

Planet Spaceball is the heart of an evil empire controlled by President Skroob (Brooks) and his right-hand man Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis in an oversized Vader helmet). However, the planet is running out of breathable air and needs to find a new planet with an atmosphere it can plunder.

Yes, that alone is ridiculous. It gets better. They find the peaceful planet Druidia, which has plenty of air but a solid defense system. Dark Helmet and his first officer Colonel Sandurz (George Wyner) prepare to attack the planet, which is distracted with the wedding of Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga).



-MGM Home Entertainment
Combing the desert. Get it? Hahaha- ok, it's kinda stupid.




However, Vespa is reluctant to marry, since she's not in love with the groom, Prince Valium (JM J. Bullock) and runs off with her female C3PO robot Dot Matrix (voice of Joan Rivers). Dark Helmet plans to kidnap the runaway Druish Princess (yes, that's what they call her) for extortion to get Druidia's air, but she is saved by the rogue Lone Starr (Bill Pullman) and his sidekick man/dog Barf (John Candy), who fly around in a camper with wings.

Star Wars gets the lion's share of the lampooning, but Star Trek, Alien, Dune, Space 1999, Planet of the Apes and even Lawrence of Arabia. The whole thing is just so ridiculous, which is the point. It's not built on mean-spirited comedy, just sheer goofiness.



-MGM Home Entertainment
Post-Atkins Diet, Vader's clothing proved quite baggy.




Occasionally gags fall flag (ludicrous speed, faster than even light speed), but the acting and casting is totally inspired. Pullman and Candy are a great comic team and there couldn't have been a better choice for Dark Helmet than the diminutive Moranis. He switches between his thin, reedy voice and a near-perfect imitation of James Earl Jones with total ease.

The downside, if there is one, is that the film really shows its age. The cheesy effects, Pullman's haircut, the source material for parody… it's all locked firmly in 1986. I wonder how many people under the age of 20 will get the joke behind calling an android "Dot Matrix." But that's not the fault of the movie, after all. All parodies are like that.

Score: 8 out of 10



-MGM Home Entertainment
The Spaceballs DVD Menu.




The Video

The original Spaceballs DVD was pretty sad: non-anamorphic and dirty as hell. For this release, I'm very happy to say that MGM did a great job of restoring the video, giving the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen video a near-new appearance. I'm not sure if this was a Lowry job or not, but it's beautiful.

The print looks brand new, without a hint of dust, flicker or fade. There are no signs of imperfections on the print. The transfer is bright, vivid and colorful. Dark Helmet's uniform is a solid, slightly glossy black, Dot Matrix has a nice golden shine and the white ball helmets of the Spaceball crewmen are solid, without noise.

There is one problem, and that was some macroblocking on pans. More than a few times, during camera wipes, the video went blocky in a noticeable way. But this is marginal. There was no notable edge enhancement or other glaring flaws.

Score: 8 out of 10



-MGM Home Entertainment
Darn, I hate when that happens.




Languages and Audio

Spaceballs comes in English DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Stereo and Spanish mono, with subtitles in English, French and Spanish.

Things aren't as impressive here. Even the DTS fails to give the old, pre-multichannel audio any richness. The audio is thin, lacking any richness in sound effects, soundtrack or voices. It's thin and lacking in any timbre or strength.

At least there's no hiss or distortion. So it's clean and clear, even if it isn't particularly strong.

Score: 6 out of 10



-MGM Home Entertainment
I find your lack of faith disturbing.




Packaging and Extras

The DVD comes in an Amaray case with a cardboard slipcase reproducing the cover, which is a spoof of recent Star Wars posters and cover art. There is no insert.

Mel Brooks' original commentary track is reproduced here. He really could use some company on his commentaries, because he's not particularly energetic, tends to just laugh at his own jokes or fall silent. He doesn't have a whole hell of a lot to offer, but then again, we didn't need a lot.

Also on disc one is the option to watch the movie at Ludicrous speed. And yes, the whole movie does fly by in the space of 24 seconds.



-MGM Home Entertainment
Imagine what Brooks would have done to Jar-Jar.




On to disc two, there are three featurettes. The first, Spaceballs: A Documentary, features current day interviews with all of the cast, save John Candy of course. Daphne Zuniga still looks great. They all reminisce about the shoot, with their own stories to tell.

Also interviewed is Peter Donen, visual effects supervisor, make-up designer Ben Nye Jr. and Nick McLean, director of photography. This may have been a goofy comedy but it had a lot of effects shots for its time. They also discuss the costumes for the film, which were pretty nice.

In Conversation: Mel Brooks & Thomas Meehan features two of the three co-authors of the film talking back and forth about the genesis of the script. The third writer, Ronny Graham, died in 1999. Finally, there's a very nice tribute to John Candy in John Candy: Comedy Spirit, featuring old interviews and Second City TV footage.



-MGM Home Entertainment
Looks like Han Solo's poke luck ran out.




Under the Galleries menu are three sets of photo galleries - one behind-the-scenes, one of the costumes and one featuring artwork based on the film, such as the actors in costume.

Fun & Games is a great segment. Film Flubs actually points out where they goofed in the film, such as visible camera tracks and a mirror under a "floating" space ship.

Space Quotes is a clunky segment featuring memorable quotes from all the actors. It would be a lot more fun if the interface wasn't so clumsy. It's difficult to navigate and has no Play All option. Finally, there's a trivia game. I quit after 12 answers because I was tired of the same Correct clip over and over.



-MGM Home Entertainment
Thunderbird Two is go!




Last, there are storyboard comparisons, with storyboard art side-by-side with the final footage, trailers for the film and a trailer for The Pink Panther (the Steve Martin remake).

Score: 8 out of 10

Gruson
04-12-2005, 09:18 PM
This is a CLASSIC!

Love it.

RodLonghi
04-12-2005, 09:30 PM
I heard somewhere that Mel Brooks was doing a sequel. The original plan was to release one week before RoTS, but it has delayed and we will only see it in 2006.

LOTR Fan
04-12-2005, 09:51 PM
I love that one! My personal favorite the Yogurt flamethrower----- such good stuff! :ted

Mannie The Dragon
04-12-2005, 11:15 PM
I heard somewhere that Mel Brooks was doing a sequel. The original plan was to release one week before RoTS, but it has delayed and we will only see it in 2006.

actually. The original plan was to do a spoof of episode I. Sadly, that never happened..... which sucks, because i was actually excited about it.

jlcmsu
04-13-2005, 08:49 PM
Yeah, this movie is really funny. It just spoofs everything to a "T" IMO.

Sick Rick
04-14-2005, 12:10 AM
Yep, Mel brooks films are classic, Spaceballs and YF are my 2 and 3's ...still looking for his remake of "To be or Not to be", that one is my all time favorite....why no DVD?

DarkShadowCollectibles
04-14-2005, 08:39 AM
That is good to hear.

I loved the movie.

:ted

bigdaddyrob
04-14-2005, 08:51 PM
Def one to own! Make a great break during a SW Weekend!

tomandshell
06-05-2006, 02:04 AM
Just watched this movie again. It's funny.


I wonder if Sideshow could ever get the rights to do Spaceballs figures?

If I remember correctly, George Lucas allowed Mel Brooks to do the whole parody thing on the condition that there be no toys made. Maybe enough time has passed that his mind has changed.

After all, he said he would never release the unaltered original trilogy on DVD. Then he changed his mind! Then he said those DVDs would not be anamorphic. Then he changed his mind again!

Oh, wait...

No he didn't...

:o

BDboystoys
06-05-2006, 02:23 AM
Just watched this movie again. It's funny.


I wonder if Sideshow could ever get the rights to do Spaceballs figures?

If I remember correctly, George Lucas allowed Mel Brooks to do the whole parody thing on the condition that there be no toys made. Maybe enough time has passed that his mind has changed.

After all, he said he would never release the unaltered original trilogy on DVD. Then he changed his mind! Then he said those DVDs would not be anamorphic. Then he changed his mind again!

Oh, wait...

No he didn't...

:o


Well not so much changed his mind...
I heard that after his redone versions he went to the studio's and burnt the originals. The ones found in the new dvd's coming are copies or or something(there was a specific word but I forgot)

tomandshell
06-05-2006, 02:38 AM
They will be using the laserdisc transfers from 1993. A software program that could be downloaded for free off the internet would allow them to recode the transfers in anamorphic widescreen, cropping off sections of the black bars and giving us an image that would be viewable on widescreen monitors with no distortion. They could enhance all of the old laserdisc prints and it would cost them no money and just a few hours of their time. But they just don't care what the fans want, and apparently can't spare zero cents and a half-day of work for one staff member.

:sick

Darklord Dave
06-05-2006, 09:53 AM
I just watched Spaceballs for the first time since it came out. Man that's one really, really bad movie! And I'm a huge Mel Brooks fan - but that thing is just stinky!

But I don't know how Lucas could stop them from merchandising it - parody is protected, although there might be something about merchandise that is too similar to existing product.

LordAzrael
06-05-2006, 05:44 PM
Just watched this movie again. It's funny.


I wonder if Sideshow could ever get the rights to do Spaceballs figures?

If I remember correctly, George Lucas allowed Mel Brooks to do the whole parody thing on the condition that there be no toys made. Maybe enough time has passed that his mind has changed.

After all, he said he would never release the unaltered original trilogy on DVD. Then he changed his mind! Then he said those DVDs would not be anamorphic. Then he changed his mind again!

Oh, wait...

No he didn't...

:o

Get Sideshows Legal Dept onto interpreting their licence - I'm sure a good lawyer could twist is so that Spaceballs is covered - I WANT A DARTH HELMET!!!

LOTRFan
06-06-2006, 10:51 AM
I just watched Spaceballs for the first time since it came out. Man that's one really, really bad movie! And I'm a huge Mel Brooks fan - but that thing is just stinky!

But I don't know how Lucas could stop them from merchandising it - parody is protected, although there might be something about merchandise that is too similar to existing product.

It's the flamethrower, Lucas wanted to be first with that one. :lol

You really didn't like it? C'mon, Pizza the Hut! :monkey5

Deak Starkiller
06-06-2006, 04:09 PM
I just watched Spaceballs for the first time since it came out. Man that's one really, really bad movie! And I'm a huge Mel Brooks fan - but that thing is just stinky!

But I don't know how Lucas could stop them from merchandising it - parody is protected, although there might be something about merchandise that is too similar to existing product.
Blasphemous. :emperor

EVILFACE
06-06-2006, 04:16 PM
Coming to DVD? The thing has been on dvd forever. No need to double dip.

LOTRFan
06-06-2006, 04:28 PM
Coming to DVD? The thing has been on dvd forever. No need to double dip.

This is the special edition with Lone Star's eyebrows corrected. :monkey1