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Spaceballs - Collector's Edition

 

Rating: PG

Distributor: MGM Home Entertainment

Release Date: May 3, 2005
Review posted: April 25, 2005

 

Reviewed by Dennis Landmann

 

SYNOPSIS

 

The farce is with you in this "uproarious salute to science fiction" (The Hollywood Reporter) that teams comedy legend Mel Brooks with an all-star cast of cutups including John Candy, Rick Moranis and Bill Pullman! When the evil Dark Helmet (Moranis) attempts to steal all the air from planet Druidia, a determined Druish Princess (Daphne Zuniga), a clueless rogue (Pullman) and a half-man/half-dog creature who's his own best friend (Candy) set out to stop him! But with the forces of darkness closing in on them at ludicrous speed, they'll need the help of a wise imp named Yogurt (Brooks) and the mystical power of "The Schwartz" to bring peace and merchandising rights to the entire galaxy!

 

CRITIQUE

 

Like Mel Brooks says in the documentary on the second disc of this Collector's Edition DVD, only spoof the movies you love. Spaceballs is not just a spoof of Star Wars and Star Trek, and other movies, it's a classic movie in its own right. Written by Mel Brooks, Thomas Meehan and Ronny Graham, the script tells a good story and incorporates a lot of funny humor. The comedy is just terrific, whether it be the Dark Helmet character and his second-in-command (George Wyner), or the visual gags such as the very long spaceship in the opening scene and the jammed radar monitor. Spaceballs offers genuine humor and entertainment, aided also by excellent performances, and the special effects (the movie was made in 1987) hold up very well compared to today's effects standards.

 

THE VIDEO

 

MGM presents Spaceballs in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colors look clean and well saturated. Print quality is good except for noticeable specks and some grain in more than several scenes. The picture looks nice but it doesn't look cleaned up that much. Also, I can't compare this new transfer to the old one, though I'm sure the old one looks worse. Optional subtitles include English, Spanish and French.

 

THE AUDIO

 

MGM presents Spaceballs in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and DTS 5.1 Surround. Dialogue is clear and easy to understand, with the front speakers delivering noise free audio. Also available are French Stereo Surround and Spanish Mono dub tracks.

 

THE EXTRAS

 

Disc 1:

 

The audio commentary by Mel Brooks is fairly decent. He goes into detail on various topics but during other discussions just barely scratches the surface. The track is mostly low-key but some interesting stories are included.

 

Disc 2:

 

Spaceballs: The Documentary (30:01) is a hip and fun look back at the movie presented in letterboxed widescreen. It features new interviews with Mel Brooks, Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, George Wyner, Joan Rivers, the director of photography, the make-up artist, and the visual effects supervisor. Topics discussed include the movie's genesis, casting, the production crew, working with Brooks, and more (including stories from the set and so on). The question is, where is Rick Moranis?

 

Next are two featurettes, In Conversation: Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan (20:28) has the two sitting down opposite each other remembering the movie and more, and Comic Spirit (10:01) is an appreciation piece on John Candy.

 

The Storyboard to Film Comparison (6:40) is a decent feature that you'll watch once.

 

The "Fun & Games" section includes Film Flubs, a separate menu lists six examples of goofs from the film (select one and the scene plays out with the gag pointed out), Spacequotes, select one of several characters and play the quotes, and a Trivia Game, which is fun to play.

 

The "Trailers" section offers the Exhibitor Trailer With Mel Brooks Introduction (2:10), the Theatrical Trailer (2:28), and information about other releases from MGM.

 

Lastly, the "Galleries" section offers behind-the-scenes photos, a costume gallery, and an art gallery.

 

The menus on the second disc appear in three different versions with each menu (the Winnebago, the Spaceship and the Princess' Mercedes) displaying a different interface. I didn't find Easter eggs, but try to move over some of the extra buttons on the main menu screen for some animation.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

Spaceballs is a classic sci-fi comedy and the DVD extras are pretty cool. That's all the reason you need to pick up this 2-disc Collector's Edition DVD.

 

VERDICT: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

 

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:: The DVD

 

:: DVD Ratings

 

THE MOVIE

8

THE VIDEO

8

THE AUDIO

8

THE EXTRAS

8

OVERALL

8

 

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