Monday, December 14, 2009

The Mel Brooks Collection: Spaceballs Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 35.7 GB
Film Size: 30.1 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: A

Spaceballs comes to Blu-ray with the same 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation present on the standalone release. The film can look very good at times, but it can also look very mediocre as well. The biggest issue I had with the transfer is the amount of scratches and dirt present at times, the film is in desperate need of a cleanup, which I don't see happening for a future Blu-ray release.

The film's effects do stick out in a negative way, but I honestly expected that. The effects in the film are cheap at best, whether it was intentional or not can be argued, although I have a feeling it was at least a little bit. The film also features many soft scenes that lack detail and then the next scene is sharp and filled with detail.

Inconsistent is the best way to put the transfer, it can't seem to make up it's mind whether it wants to look ugly or pretty, which is more distracting then being just an ugly presentation from beginning to end. The high-def encode itself is quite healthy, I definitely blame the majority of problems on the master themselves than I do on the transfer. Overall I think you will be slightly pleased but slightly disappointed by Spaceballs on Blu-ray. 6.5/10.

A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included and is definitely more impressive than the video presentation. The film sounds quite good, dialogue is key and usually comes clearly through the center speaker. The film's space theme and environments do open it up to some surround use opportunities, some moments which were right on and others that were missed opportunities.

The track was certainly front heavy, but effects were placed in the surround sound area from time to time. What was disappointing was the film's music, it was very front heavy when it could have made quite an effective surround use.

At times the track was immersive and other times we are thrown back into reality and realize we are watching a catalog comedy release. It's a good track that will impress from time to time, but it's not amazing. 7/10.


Audio Commentary
by Mel Brooks

Spaceballs: The Documentary (30:04) (SD)
The cast and crew talk about working on the film, they also share stories from production and more.

In Conversation: Mel Brooks & Thomas Meehan (20:30) (SD)
Mel and Thomas talk about the idea for the film and beginning production, learn details such as the original title which was 'Planet Moron.' Anyone who is a fan should enjoy this feature as it's both funny and informative.

John Candy: Comic Spirit (10:02) (SD)
A tribute to comedian John Candy which features both cast and celebrity-friend interviews, including Joan Rivers with her previous face.

Watch the Movie in Ludicrous Speed (:30) (HD)
Self-explanatory title, watch the film in 30 seconds.

Still Galleries
The Behind-the-Movie Photos
The Costume Gallery
The Art Gallery

Trailers (SD)
Exhibitor Trailer with Mel Brooks Introduction
Theatrical Trailer

Film Flubs (SD)
Edge of the Mirror
Grabs Himself Early
The Magic Reappearing Ring
More than his Head
No End in Sight
Tracks Behind Dot

Storyboard-To-Film Comparison (6:41) (SD)
See certain scenes with both storyboard and final products side-by-side.

Extras are very good on this release, although they are dated and there is no new featurette from Mel Brooks, they did a great job at including all previous DVD extras. The included featurettes are fun and the tribute to John Candy is touching. Overall this is a solid package that would have been a bit better had their been new extras produced for it. 7/10.

Blu-news Summary
Spaceballs is a spoof of many films, but most common reference is to that of the Star Wars films. I've never loved Spaceballs too much to be honest, I never connected the spoofs for the most part other than the most common stereotypes that even non-Star Wars fans know about through pop culture.

As a film it's probably one of his cheesiest. It's certainly fun but it lacks a bit of charm compared to Mel Brooks' previous films. The cast is great, something Mel never has a problem with in his movies. We have Mel Brooks as President Skroob, the late John Candy as Barf, Rick Moranis as Dark Helmet, Daphne Zuniga as Princess Vespa, Bill Pullman as Lone Star and many more talented people involved.

While I love Mel Brooks, I think the humor in his films decreased by this time, with Spaceballs, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and Dracula: Dead and Loving It all feeling mediocre to me. The film does have some laugh out loud moments, but for me they were few and far between. Being a comedy it's hard to really talk about this film, I know many who love every second of the movie and others who don't, it just goes to show that comedy is probably the most subjective genre of film. 6/10.

The Blu-ray release is mediocre, with average video and audio presentations. The extras are a bit dated but still very enjoyable. Spaceballs is one of nine films included in The Mel Brooks Collection, which is 'Highly Recommended.'

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