Spaceballs (Blu-ray Review)

SpaceballsLet me start off by saying that I am a huge Mel Brooks fan.  I have been so for as long as I can remember, but it has been a long time, admittedly, since I have sat down and viewed one of his films.  When recently given the opportunity to review The Mel Brooks Collection on Blu-Ray, specifically the film Spaceballs, I was nevertheless ecstatic.  I was excited not only to watch some of these comedy classics again, but also to see what kind of remastering efforts and extras were included on the Blu-ray releases.


I really wanted to give this film a high score.  I really did.  But like many other childhood memories, when relived, they don’t quite measure up to the way you fancily remember them.  Spaceballs is no exception.  I enjoyed the film, the visual quality and the audio, but I am pretty sure I didn’t even chuckle during the entire feature.  It was amusing, but not the “laugh out loud” comedy I remember.  Maybe my comedic tastes have drifted over the years?  Maybe it’s the age of the comedic references (Planet of the Apes) in the movie?  I’m not sure.

Spaceballs, while containing other references, is generally one colossal-size Star Wars pun.  Characters like Pizza the Hutt (Dom Deluise) and Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) only fortify that.  Planet Druidia, homeplanet for Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) contains the one thing the planet Spaceball lacks, an abundant supply of air.  Obviously, the easiest way to obtain a fresh supply of oxygen for your planet is to build a very large spaceship capable of transforming into a giant maid with an enormous vacuum.  I think I actually enjoy describing the movie more than I enjoyed watching it.  Funny how life works, huh?

Despite my flaws I have with the film, there’s no denying that while the film only earned a modest $38 million at the box office, it is the cult classic status of the movie that makes it live on in the hearts of its fans.  Tales of an eventual sequel turned out to be a hoax, but there was a short-lived sequel animated series of the film that aired in 2008.  Whatever your feelings are towards Spaceballs, it is now time to let the Blu-ray specs speak for themselves.


Considering how long ago this movie was filmed, I am fairly impressed with the 1080P AVC MPEG-4 video encode.   I was slightly disappointed that none of the special effects were remastered, or at least they didn’t appear to be.  The colors were bright and crisp and the lighting was consistent throughout the film.  I noticed details on the side of the Space-Winnebago that I had not previously seen before.  Knowing the exact size of the model from the documentary, I think it looked pretty realistic, even on the Blu-ray format.  I also expected to see more film-grain than I did.  I especially enjoyed the fact that you could see a lot of the items in the background of the “Merchandising” segment.  I even noticed one of the items had a picture of Optimus Prime on it.  Everything was clear for the most part, but because of the lack of a remastering effort and the age of the video, I was forced to only award it a score of 3.


I had no major complaints with the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track.  The soundtrack was vibrant and didn’t lack any highs or lows.  The voices were usually clear and distinct from the center channel.  The laser and light saber sounds lit up the surround speakers with surprising depth.  That’s what surprised me the most about this Blu-ray’s audio presentation.  For a 20-year old comedy, the surround sound fields were used frequently.  Kudos!  The only issue I found was an extended period of “bass” when it should have ended or been less pronounced.  When the ship was flying by in the beginning, it seemed overpowering.  There were some other areas where there was an ambient rumble for no apparent reason, but that’s not a deal breaker by any means.

Special Features 

To my surprise, this turned out to be my favorite part of the disc; mainly because of the John Candy tribute.  There was an adequate amount of extras, although a few, I could have done without.  All of the special features were presented in 480p, with the exception of the “Ludicrous Speed” section, which featured a Hi-Definition resolution.  However, there really weren’t any sections that screamed out and demanded any type of High-Definition display anyway.  Let’s take a closer look at the Special Features you will find here.


  • John Candy Tribute – The John Candy tribute (mog) turned out to be something that I will probably go back and revisit again.  It was a great tribute to a great comedian.  Many previously unknown facts, photos and footage of John Candy were presented in this segment.


  • Spaceballs: The Documentary – There were some really in depth looks at the production of the film here, more than I expected.  Who knew that during filming, Pizza the Hut actually started smoking from the heat produced by the wire that kept him “melting?”  It’s nonetheless a mildly interesting section.


  • Ludicrous Speed – This segment ran the movie in super high speed (and often missing segments), condensing the entire movie into about 1 minute.  While I chuckled the first time I saw it, it isn’t something I would ever bring up again.


  • Audio Commentary – In my opinion, this track didn’t add much to the movie.  Other than a few jokes, it was something I could have done without.  Brooks talks about a few of his other movies and pretty much described what is going on in the movie.


  • Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan – After about 5minutes of this, I had a hard time paying attention.  This feature consisted of the two writers discussing how their ideas came to be, where they came up with them and how they were integrated.  For example, they discussed the alternate movie names they had on the table.  The second half of this feature definitely had more information than the beginning, so if you can stick with it, it’s worth watching.


  • Photo Galleries – Here we have a pretty standard photo collection with lots of great concept art.  I specifically enjoyed some of the ideas/pictures that were never put into production.


  • Trailers – The 2 trailers (a teaser and a theatrical one) were completely un-interesting, something that I would not have minded skipping.


  • Film Flubs – I enjoy bloopers and “film flubs” included in a lot of movies.  Unfortunately, I did not consider most of these flubs.  Some of them, in my opinion, were not even mistakes.  It seemed like they made some pretty big stretches to come up with material for this feature.


  • Storyboard/Film Comparison -This feature consisted of some conceptual drawings compared side-by-side with movie scenes.  Most of them were pretty accurate (which I expected), but very boring to endure.  Again, this is not something I would find myself revisiting anytime soon. 

Final Thoughts 

Despite its age and distant jokes, this is and will always be one of my favorites.  Combine the film quality with the extras and I would definitely say this is worth picking up, especially packaged with all the other Mel Brooks’ films in The Mel Brooks Collection.  I was especially happy to catch some interesting “extras” in this re-released Blu-ray version of this film.  Keep firing @$$holes!

 All scores above are out of a possible of 5.

 Spaceballs Blu-ray Cover Art

 The Mel Brooks Collection on Blu-ray


Bring home Spaceballs today!



Comments are currently closed.