Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Spaceballs (1987)

SpaceballsI love the film so it was a no-brainer to get it for the store, and my slight disappointment is offset with showing what a high storage capacity can do for this product.

The package comes with both the BD and the standard def discs and included are all of the special features we know from the 2005 release. So what's changed? Nothing except for the languages: Dubbed in DTS for six languages (including Castilian, German, Italian and French) and Mono or Dolby for three others, and subtitled in nine languages (incl. Danish, Swedish and Norwegian). None of the supplements have been upgraded but that DTS always sounds awesome during the main feature. The picture has not been cleaned up from the transfer so there is plenty of artifact, hair and random film discolorations. I enjoyed watching some of the same special features again, including the John Candy memorial and the Mel Brooks conversation. The ludiricous speed is just as lame as before.

The menu is a killer if your player is not tuned up (or older). It becomes painful when trying to watch those flubs sequences as there is no play all option. It is Spaceballs, it is Mel Brooks so it makes it a worthwhile purchase if you did not already upgrade a few years ago to that special edition DVD (especially with both included here). I would normally rate this lower but there is so much here I had to go up one.

Spaceballs is perhaps the best Sci-fi spoof of all time. It has already been mentioned that it spoofs Star Wars, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, but it really spoofs nearly every big Sci-fi movie ever. Star Wars, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Alien, 2001: A Space Odyssey ("...they've gone to plaid!") and many more. Some of the best sequences are the "ludicruous speed" scene, the "instant video" scene, and the whole Yogurt part. Mel Brooks plays the spoof of Star Wars' Yoda who is the guardian of the Schwartz and is also heavily into Spaceballs Merchandising, including the Spaceballs flamethrower. ("The kids love this one.") Rick Moranis, of course, is the Darth Vader spoof, and I have to congradulate the casting department, because Rick Moranis and Darth Vader have to be as close to being polar opposites as you can come. Although I have heard it called unfunny and lame by others, I think it is a very funny movie and deserves to be watched not only by Sci-fi fans, but by anybody looking for a good laugh.

Buy Spaceballs (1987) Now

Spaceballs is one of my all time favorite films and I eagerly awaited it's bluray release and even put in my preorder months in advance. Now that the bluray is here it is still one of my all time favorite films but i must admit the transfer is not demo material.

The transfer itself is solid and without any unnecessary tampering (digital noise reduction, edge enhancement, etc) and it is the best this film will probably ever look on home video however the film itself will never wow anyone with detail.

On the audio side we get a 5.1ch track that does it's job as well as the source material allows... just like the video it's not demo material but it's still a solid track. Also included is the original dolby stereo track along with a rather large collection of languages (and subtitles as well)

The bonus features are the same as the previous DVD edition, I haven't really dug into all of them but in Fox bluray tradition features that need a play all option (in this case the film flubs) don't get that much needed option.

The included DVD is the older flipper disc with the 4:3 pan&scan on one side and the non-anamorphic 1.85:1 version on the other.

Read Best Reviews of Spaceballs (1987) Here

The movie itself is pure Mel Brooks. I really enjoy how Mel brings hilarious havoc to the sci-fi genre, spoofing movies from Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers to Star Trek and Star Wars. I am surprised that MPAA had originally given this movie a PG rating instead of a PG-13 rating since the movie is heavy on adult humor, language, and sexual innuendos not exactly what I would call a flick for the whole family. Enough about the movie; this review is about the newly released Collector's Edition (CE), especially the bonus material.

The Dolby 5.1 sound quality has been enhanced compared to the original 2000 DVD release, but I will need to confirm this. I'm glad MGM offers a DTS track on disc 1. I have not yet compared Mel's commentary on the CE to the original release. I did make some limited comparisons of the picture quality: The colors are more vibrant (perhaps too much on the red?) and the picture is clearer to my eyes; the skin tones look correct to me. Since the video presentation is not THX quality, you will see some specks and film blemishes. The aspect ratio on the CE (1.85:1 for 16x9) is the same as the original 2000 release, but on my Sony monitor (4:3) the CE widescreen version is "slightly" zoomed in more than the 2000 widescreen released version.

I am disappointed in the Special Features. Why? For one reason, it does not include Rick Moranis. He is mentioned but is not interviewed at all how can Mel not include Dark Helmet! In addition, you will not find any behind-the-scenes coverage (other than still photos) such as those found on the 2000 DVD release. Mel did not include any deleted scenes or bloopers (no, the film flubs don't count). However, there is a well-produced 29 minute documentary that includes the other main actors and crew members. You will learn that the actors and crew members had more laughs making this movie than the audience had watching it. If this is true, Mel should have included some of those comical moments in the Special Features. Also missing on this CE is a featurette about special-effects. The conversation between Mel and co-writer Thomas Meehan is rather boring, but the tribute to comical genius John Candy is commendable, touching, and about time.

The CE is a 2-disc DVD set. It is a shame that MGM and Mel could not/would not include more about this classic comedy. Overall I give the CE version a 3/5. The movie gets 4/5!

Want Spaceballs (1987) Discount?

Following the multi-million-dollar success that George Lucas enjoyed with his original "Star Wars" trilogy of films released in 1977, 1980 and 1983, comedic actor/writer/director Mel Brooks was inspired to create one of his most outlandish films in 1987 entitled "Spaceballs". The film begins on the dark planet of Spaceball, which no longer has a breathable atmosphere. There, President Skroob (Mel Brooks) wants to steal another planet's atmosphere and transport it back to planet Spaceball, so he orders Colonel Sandurz (George Wyner) and Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis spoofing "Darth Vader") to take a giant military spaceship (much much larger than any of Lucas' spaceships, except for the Deathstar) to planet Druidia to kidnap Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga spoofing "Princess Leia") and hold her for ransom. On planet Druidia, Princess Vespa is scheduled to marry the very boring Prince Valium (JM J. Bullock) as arranged by her father, King Roland (Dick Van Patten). However, when Princes Vespa has cold feet, she runs from the Druidic church with her android, Dot Matrix (voice of Joan Rivers spoofing "C3PO"), and takes off from planet Druidia in what was to be her honeymoon spaceship. In space, she is encountered by the giant Spaceball ship, but is rescued by the trader/smuggler Lone Starr (Bill Pullman spoofing "Han Solo") and his sidekick Barfolemew 'Barf' (John Candy, 1950-1994, spoofing "Chewbacca") in a space-worthy Winnebago RV. As with the constant love-hate relationship that Princess Leia and Han Solo had in Lucas' "Star Wars" trilogy, so too do Princess Vespa and Lone Starr have a similar relationship. Along the way though, Lone Starr finds out from a mysterious Yoda-like character named Yogurt (Mel Brooks again) that he's really a prince and sets out to rescue Princess Vespa who had eventually been captured by Dark Helmet. It is from Yogurt that we hear those immortal words, "May the schwartz be with you," spoofing Lucas' creation of the Force in "Star Wars".

With hilarious one-liners, a classic Mel Brooks storyline, good actors and reasonable special effects, "Spaceballs" is a truly funny comedic sci-fi spoof. Rick Moranis' portrayal of Dark Helmet is one of the funniest roles, especially since he can't always keep his visor open. Also funny are George Wyner and Joan Rivers. Overall, I rate "Spaceballs" with 4 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys a great spoof by Mel Brooks, sci-fi and a good laugh. Even product merchandising isn't free of being spoofed by Mel Brooks in this hilarious film.

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