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Spaceballs

AKA:
 
 


The front of Princess Vespa's spacecraft looks exactly like Dark Helmet's face.



More Trivia from Spaceballs
A long time ago in a galaxy, far, far, away...

Oh, wrong movie! Ladies and gentlemen, Mel Brooks and his crew of lunatics make mincemeat out of mostly every important sci-fi event up to 1987 with "Spaceballs"... Let's examine, shall we?

Somewhere in the Ford Galaxy (buckle up, folks... this movie is Pun City), there lies the peaceful planet of Druidia. A quaint area, we are to be witness to a wonderful celebration. Princess Vespa, Daughter Of Roland, King Of The Druids (Zuniga) is engaged to be married to the narcoleptic Prince Valium (JM J. Bullock).

Everything is perfect, except for one small detail... Vespa doesn't love Valium, who is truly a pill (Stay with me here, folks). Ditching the royal sleepyhead at the altar, she and her maid of honor, the robot Dot Matrix (voice of Rivers, movements by Lorene Yarnell), hop into her space cruiser and blast off. Needless to say, good King Roland (Van Patten) isn't too pleased.

Cruising through the stars, we meet two unique individuals. Lone Starr (Pullman) is a bounty hunter and occasional drunkard. He's tired, he's lonely and he has a secret so hidden even he doesn't know about it, his only clue being the medallion around his neck. Starr is accompanied on his quests by Barf (Candy), who, despite hanging around Lone Starr, is truly his own best friend, being as he's a Mog (half-man and half-dog).

One night (or day...you can't tell in space), our crew has their Bon Jovi-induced ride interrupted by the evil space gangster known as Pizza The Hutt (Dom DeLuise...hey, I don't make up these puns). Pizza needs money from the duo... one million Spacebucks, to be exact, after they screwed up an earlier job.

Needing the dough for the dough (hey, if Brooks can write a pun-filled script, I can write a pun-filled summary), Roland fortuitously calls up Starr and a deal is negotiated to get Princess Vespa back to Druidia, where the wedding will happen, come heck or high water.

If only it were so simple, though... also tracking down Vespa is a man who is mean, vicious and under the mask... REALLY nerdy. This is Dark Helmet (Moranis), one of the dumber people of the galaxy and an employee of President Skroob of Planet Spaceball (Brooks... notice the anagram of his name).

Helmet's mission, with the assistance of his commander Colonel Sandurz (Wyner), is to steal the most important part of Druidia... the hermetically sealed air supply that keeps the Druids alive. Air is a precious commodity for the Spaceballs (for example, they smell cans of air as opposed to drinking cans of beer) and they'll do anything to get it. With Princess Vespa riding through the galaxy, Helmet and Sandurz see an opportunity.

Battling with Starr's Winnebago to get the fair Vespa, Spaceball One gets the vehicle...Starr gets the girl... and it's hate at first word. Vespa and Starr don't like each other... not even when "The Horse-Faced Space Dog" and "The Beer-Swilling Pig" lock eyes for the first time.

Having crashed on a desert planet, our crew needs shelter. Taking only what they need to survive (in Vespa's case, a huge hairdryer), they set out over the sands. Resting for the night, it seems like Vespa and Starr might connect after all, but Dot will have none of it.

Awakening (to a brilliant dissolve, notes Barf), our heroes are saved by a race of small hooded creatures they call the Dinks. These small creatures are the employees of the most powerful man in the galaxy... The Ever-Lasting Know-It-All they call Yogurt (Brooks again).

Yogurt lives by two things...the Schwartz (this movie's version of "Star Wars'" infamous 'Force'), and of course, MERCHANDISING. You name it, Yogurt will slap the Spaceballs tag on it... cereal, dolls, coloring books, and of course "SPACEBALLS-THE FLAMETHROWER!" ("The kids love this one", notes Yogurt). Training with this charming green man in the ways of the Schwartz, Starr is unaware that Helmet is closing in on Vespa.

Pulling off the ultimate bit of trickery, Helmet projects himself to be Roland, but reveals his true identity when Vespa is in his arms. Taking her to Spaceball One, the game is afoot. Starr, despite feeling inadequately trained, is sent off to get Vespa, but not before being given the gift of a fortune cookie.

Vespa is now on ship, and Helmet, having been pulled away from playing with his dolls, gives Roland the information on what he'll do to Vespa if he doesn't give up the combination to the air lock (yeah, another pun).

It's a fate worse than death... If no combination is given, Vespa has her Sweet 16 birthday present of a nose job changed back to its original (and ugly) form. The combination given is 1-2-3-4-5. With that, the plan is set. Vespa, sad over her fate, gives a deep-voiced (really deep-voiced) reindition of "Nobody Knows The Troubles I've Seen". It's so deep that Starr and Barf, having snuck onto the ship under guise of guard, are amazed. They rescue Vespa and Dot, and before they can escape, Spaceball guards are following them. Starr takes out guns and gives them to everybody for shooting. Vespa says she's afraid of guns, but then laser blasts go through her hair, and she goes Rambo on the guards.

Getting in the Winnebago, they speed into space to confront Helmet one final time. Helmet is safely ensconced in the comfort of the giant Transformer known as Mega Maid. The vacuum-cleaner-equipped doomsday device is pointed straight at Planet Druidia, and as the air is sucked, Starr battles through the catacombs of the robot to find his Helmet. When he does, an important secret is revealed to him by the Dark one... But revealing it would ruin one of the funniest lines in the movie!

Helmet and Starr battle it out with lightsabers, and then Starr escapes. Starr and crew escape through the ear, and he calls upon the power of the Schwartz to send the air back to Druidia. Zooming off, Mega Maid is destroyed and the villains are sent off to meet a fate of another sci-fi spoof.

Back on Druidia, the wedding is to be tried again. Stalling at the altar, we can sense something important. After a bad diner experience, Starr dumps the fuel into his tank, and Yogurt comes out again, this time revealing Starr's secret. I won't reveal anything more, except to say it brings our movie to its 80s-style happy ending.

Verdict?

What can I say except that we've all found something to laugh at when we've seen this movie? The puns, the movie references, the go-for-broke jokes about how it is indeed only a movie and a killer soundtrack add up to Mel Brooks' last great movie before Broadway beckoned.

Despite a few ribald jokes and four-letter words, this movie is very good viewing for the kids and of course, the adults will love it as well.

This movie has a point-and-a-half reduced for the fact that after you see it so many times (and you will, it's THAT funny!), you'll be bored. It's still good enough for an 8.5, though.

Rent it, have fun, and the Schwartz will be with you, always.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Funny jokes of all stripes, great soundtrack and good performances...

Weaknesses? Gets a little boring after repeated viewings.

Our rating: 8.5 out of 10


Review Written by John Edward Kilduff:  Contact  |  More Reviews by John Edward Kilduff
Spaceballs