When Mel Brooks created this typically uneven parody of Star Wars (1977) and other space adventures, he went to extreme lengths to deliver a bad pun or a cheap visual gag.
He also made significant creative and budgetary investments in payoffs that are funny almost by virtue of their eye-rolling cheesiness, like naming a character Colonel Sanderz for a single one-liner (“What’s the matter, Colonel Sanderz? Chicken?”) or taking the phrase “combing the desert” to its literal extreme. Anything for a laugh.
The Spaceballs of the title are running out of air on their home planet, so their evil leader Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis, pictured above) schemes to siphon fresh air from the peace-loving planet of Druidia.
In order to get the code to break through Druidia’s protective shield, Dark Helmet and his minions attempt to kidnap Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga, who doesn’t look Druish) and bribe her father into giving them the information.
The king, in turn, calls on rogue Han Solo-type Lone Starr (Bill Pullman) and his half-man/half-dog Barf (John Candy) to rescue the princess and restore order to the universe.
This was Brooks’ last semi-decent spoof before he permanently hit the skids with films like Robin Hood: Men In Tights (1993). Brooks was operating without a quality-control button on Spaceballs but still came out OK on the hit-to-miss ratio.
President Skroob Yogurt
Dick Van Patten
Pizza the Hutt
Dot Matrix (voice)
Captain of the Guard
Magnetic Beam Operator