Spaceballs (1987) Directed by Mel Brooks. With Bill Pullman, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Mel Brooks, Daphne Zuniga and Dick Van Patten.
In the years since Spaceballs, every man and his Wookie has had a swipe at/with Star Wars. Present day, and it’s still possibly the most referenced piece of popular culture out there. Arriving a good four years after Return of the Jedi, Mel Brooks’ film came at a time when Star Wars had begun to quietly fade into the background of popular culture. The generation of kids who saw it at the cinema for the first time was beginning to pack it’s Luke, Han and Leia figures to the attic, where they’d gather dust for a few wilderness years. So it seems odd that Brooks chose to make a parody of something that wasn’t quite so on trend, at a time when some of the harder edged blockbusters that were beginning to emerge.
With fine comic talent like Rick Moranis, Joan Rivers and John Candy in attendance, it’s especially disappointing just how few genuine laughs there are. There’s a certain amount of enthusiasm from all involved but ‘The Force’ is now called ‘The Scwartz’, Yoda has become Yoghurt and well…you get the general gist.
It’s understandable that Brooks must have enjoyed Star Wars, as did many of us, but a few moments aside, Spaceballs gradually becomes more of a chore than anything approaching entertainment. A last reel cameo by John Hurt might conjure a few wry smiles but on the whole, we’re left with the scraps of an untidy ode to George Lucas’ inspired fantasy world. 2/5