Spaceballs (1987)

“Spaceballs” (1987)

IMDb

rewind

I turned to this just a few time after i saw in a row the trilogy of double episodes of Family Guy spoofing Star Wars (“Laugh it up, fuzzball”). I wanted to compare the jokes made there with comedy made while Star Wars were still hot. Also, it’s quite likely that MacFarlane saw this film in his teens, even more when we know he’s a SW freak.

What we see here is quite dated today, in what concerns the pure value of the comedy. It’s not so much about the jokes, which actually fall in most cases in the same categories of the equivalent jokes in “Laugh it up…”. But the pace has changed since this was made. Audiences require much more frantic developments now, so they won’t turn away. I mean, even the Simpsons now sound slow when compared to Family Guy, South Park or Friends. But i supposed it was going to be like that. Among all the genres, comedy is the one which gets dated more often, and more quickly. Rythms change, demands change, and even the interests change. This film is still kept alive, i suppose, because Star Wars, boosted by the new recent episodes, is still kept alive. So it’s still possible for people born after this film was made to relate to its jokes.

But i wanted to see a feature film. I wanted to get out of the television world of series, who live on the sketches themselves, but always lack the grander scheme, the long form. And Mel Brooks doesn’t usually fail in the writing chapter. He is a true joker because his mind works cinematically, and it’s cinematically that he performs the twists. The fun is in the writing, the conception, as much as in the jokes themselves.

So, the jokes can work for you or not. The Han Solo dressed as Indiana Jones. The enhancement of features from star wars to cartoonish levels. Sexual inferences regarding light sabers or the physical samurai figure of Darth Vader (both of which Family guy also tackles). But the good things that really make this film for me are the self-referential bits. Films about films, films about filmmaking. There are several ordinary allusions to the fact that we are watching a film, but one really interesting moment. Darth Vader and crew, in order to find out where the fugitives are, assume that they are film characters in the film, so they look for the film itself, searching a shelf filled with Brook’s films, finding this film already edited on video, and running it on a TV, quickly going over everything we’d just seen. Than they get to the present point of the story so far, and we get a double image of the outside film, and of the same film being watched by the characters in it, all in sync. This was a marvelous piece of self-reference, which will be appreciated always, whenever we see it, than, now and in the future.

My opinion: 3/5

This comment on IMDb

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