Mel Brooks's Spaceballs
(1987), which took swipes at the Star Wars
trilogy and virtually every other major science fiction/fantasy film of the late 20th century, has enjoyed a modest but loyal cult following in the quarter-century after its release, and this Blu-ray special edition presents an extensive look at the film's production history for die-hard fans. The premise itself, which pits Bill Pullman's ersatz Han Solo (complete with faux Chewbacca John Candy) against the villainous but height-challenged Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis), is really just a backdrop for Brooks and cowriters Ronny Graham and Thomas Meehan to launch a relentless barrage of jokes at the Star Wars
mythology. As with any gagfest, many of the bits fall flat, but the ones that do--which lampoon the Lucas series' runaway merchandising and the "magic" of special effects--can still generate a laugh, which has much to do with the film's enduring quality. Brooks's cast also helps to sell the material, with Candy and Moranis doing most of the heavy lifting and Brooks tackling his favorite subjects--the idle upper class and Judaism--in President Skroob and Yogurt. Though light years (far, far away) from the heights of Young Frankenstein
and Blazing Saddles
is amiable, amusing fun on a broad palette, which probably accounts for its cult status.
The 25th-anniversary edition ports over most of the supplemental features from the 2005 collector's edition and original DVD release in 2000, including Brooks's commentary, a 30-minute making-of featurette with cast and crew interviews, a chat with cowriter Meehan, and an array of trailers, promotional spots, and a gag reel. There's also a new retrospective interview with Brooks that underscores his affection for the picture, a feeling undoubtedly shared by its many fans. --Paul Gaita
The farce is with you in this laugh-out-loud funny sci-fi send-up that scores "four stars" from USA Today...and "eight trillion on the laughmeter" (Gene Shalit, NBC-TV)! The fearless - and clueless - Lone Starr (Bill Pullman) and his half-man/half-dog sidekick (John Candy) race against time to free a princess (Daphne Zuniga) from the evil clutches of Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis). Along the way, they meet the wise Yogurt (Mel Brooks), who teaches them the mystical power of "the Schwartz" in order to bring peace - and merchandising rights - to the galaxy!