It makes me laugh quite a lot that modern Hollywood are planning to spoof “Star Wars” when Mel Brooks pretty much supplied the definitive “Star Wars” spoof thirty years ago. You can argue maybe there’s more to offer, but no, Mel Brooks did it first and best. He mocked the characters, he mocked the plot holes, and he even mocked the rampant consumerism that George Lucas partook in when “Star Wars” became a cash cow. “Spaceballs” involves the evil President Skroob kidnaps Vespa during an arranged marriage, in an effort to steal planet Druidia’s fresh air. The evil Lord Dark Helmet is assigned to complete the task of sucking Druidia’s air, and hires Lonestarr and his pal “Barft” (The mog, a half man and half dog) to find Princess Vespa when she escapes the arranged marriage.
She’s accompanied by her female droid Dot Matrix, a bitchy and crabby assistant voiced by the late Joan Rivers. After crashing, Lonestarr meets the mystical Yogurt, who teaches him the art of “The Schwartz” which the hero uses to realize his destiny. “Spaceballs” is a childhood favorite, but also a damn funny and looney satire that brings together an unusual cast of people that aren’t typically Brooks regulars. There’s Bill Pullman as Luke and Han Solo amalgam Captain Lone Starr, Daphne Zuniga is Princess Vespa, John Candy is hilarious as Chewbacca clone “Barf,” and Rick Moranis is raucously funny as villainous Lord Dark Helmet. If there’s anyone in the movie having a great time, and arguably a better time than everyone else, there’s Rick Moranis.
Moranis plays the villainous monster that is a bit of a slimy and short bad guy underneath his helmet, and damn does he get some of the best moments of the entire movie. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Candy who is great as the mog “Barf,” and George Wyner who works well off of Moranis as a zany villain. Director Brooks tackles just about every nuance of “Star Wars” that he can and does a great job with the inclusion of small little gags. There’s Lonestarr’s flying Winnebago space ship winking at the run down Millennium Falcon, and “Barf” is even a subtle wink at the origin of Chewbacca, who Lucas created inspired by his sheep dog. He even mocks the entire stunt double gags in a hilarious bait and switch in the finale.
You can argue that “Spaceballs” is one of the last great Brooks’ spoofs as he has a good time satirizing the “Star Wars” franchise juggernaut, while grabbing top notch performances from the entire cast. He even manages to squeeze in a great “Alien” nod. “Spaceballs” is the definitive “Star Wars” lampooning that still manages to grab some strong laughs with its wit and subtle gags involving this odd universe Brooks creates.