It's easy to forget exactly how effective writer-director-star Mel Brooks' Spaceballs was when released 25 years ago. The Star Wars spoof arrived four years after Jedi was on screens and there was a lull in all things Star Wars. Contrast that with today where any given week can bring news of a new game/toy/TV/novel/comic announcement as George Lucas continues to keep telling stories from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. If Spaceballs, with its skewering of not only Star Wars the movie but also film merchandising culture and the big business of sci-fi, feels less fresh than it did back in '87, it's only because we're in an era where the thing it's poking fun at is synonymous with stuff like this.
Thankfully, with a cast including Rick Moranis, John Candy, and Bill Pullman, Spaceballs remains a funny enough movie on its own, even after all these years, and receives a fantastic disc from MGM and Fox to do it justice.
The 25th Anniversary Edition is the latest in several home video releases for Spaceballs, beginning with the VHS release back in 1988, a 10th anniversary release in '97 as part of MGM's Movie Time line (and just in time for all of the hubub for the original trilogy Special Edition releases), and its first DVD in 2000. The studio put out a Blu-ray back in 2009 from which the current disc gets its features, but I haven't had the chance to check them out and compare them against one another.
But it's hard to imagine that disc looking quite as nice as this HD beauty. Fine detail in Dark Helmet's costume, Dot's hair and (ugh) Pizza the Hut's body get a full high-def upgrade here with rich color and nothing approaching nose in the picture. The blacks are deep and elements like the gloss of the Spaceball-1 interior shine through here.
MGM/Fox's disc includes 5.1 DTS HD sound for one of the two English tracks although I did find that it pushed some of the dialog down lower than expected while pumping the film's score. Spanish and French also get their own 5.1 DTS tracks, if you need 'em.
Nearly all of the features from the 2009 Blu-ray and the 2000 DVD seem to have made it over to this disc with the addition of the new featurette/extended interview "Force Yourself! Spaceballs and the Skroobing of Sci-Fi" where director and star Mel Brooks talks about the genesis of making the movie--he was fed up with all of the merchandising from Lucas' blockbuster franchise--as well as having to make a deal with the bearded one to not create merchandise and toys for Spaceballs that might cause brand confusion on toy store shelves.
This is the full rundown of features on the disc:
Farce Yourself! Spaceballs and the Skroobing of Sci-Fi featurette
Commentary by Mel Brooks
Spaceballs: The Documentary featurette
In Conversation: Mel Brooks & Thomas Meehan featurette
John Candy: Comic Spirit featurette
Watch the Movie in Ludicrous Speed featurette
Exhibitor Trailer with Mel Brooks Introduction
Spaceballs is available on DVD and Blu-ray now from Twentieth Century Fox and MGM.