Although Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs is a bona-fide comedy classic, upon its release in 1987, it was seen as a far cry from the films of the heyday of the Oscar-winning writer/director whose earlier classics include The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. Although cineastes, including those polled for the famous American Film Institute “100 Years…100 Laughs” list, may hold many of Brooks’ earlier films in higher regard, Spaceballs is arguably Brooks most popular film, spending 25 years winning legions of new fans and achieving the greatest cult status. In fact, it’s been one of Brooks’ two highest-selling titles on the home video market since its initial release (the other being Robin Hood: Men in Tights, go figure). With the enduring popularity of the film, it makes sense that MGM studios and Fox Home Entertainment would release a 25th Anniversary Edition of the film on Blu-ray, and in doing so, raid the Spaceballs archives for new and old Special Features. The Blu-ray hit shelves on August 7th  and here’s a rundown of what you can expect if you decide to take Spaceballs home with you tonight.

THE PLAYERS:

Director: Mel Brooks (Silent Movie)

Writers: Brooks, Thomas Meehan (To Be or Not to Be), and Ronny Graham (TV’s M*A*S*H)

Actors: Brooks, John Candy (The Great Outdoors), Rick Moranis (Parenthood), Bill Pullman (Independence Day), Daphne Zuniga (The Sure Thing), Dick Van Patten (High Anxiety), George Wyner (American Pie 2), and Joan Rivers  (The Muppets Take Manhattan)

STORYLINE:

While the main plot and characters most closely satirize Star Wars, Brooks and company also roast the Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Alien, and “Indiana Jones” franchises. Proving that nothing is off-limits, parodies of 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Wizard of Oz, and The Bridge on the River Kwai come into play among countless others. In addition to being a compelling fairy tale in its own right, and a clever satire rich with excellent comedic performances, Spaceballs is also Brooks’ indictment of a film industry less interested in making movies for the sake of creating compelling entertainment, and more concerned with selling high volumes of merchandise.

WHAT YOU’LL LOVE:

The seventeen-minute “Force Yourself! Spaceballs and the Skroobing of Sci-Fi” in which Mel Brooks shares many funny and meaningful insights into the writing and making of the film.

The thirty-minute “Spaceballs: The Documentary” featurette. Despite this being an originally produced for the laser disc in 1996, there’s something to be said for the feature that includes the most surviving cast and crew members reminiscing about the making of the film and reflecting on its legacy.

The twenty-minute “In Conversation: Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan” includes the two surviving writers sharing an in-depth look at the writing process. This new conversation is filled with insights that can’t be found elsewhere on the disc.

The ten minute “John Candy: Comic Spirit” featurette, in which a number of cast, crew, and other friends reflect on the comedic genius and generous spirit of the late John Candy.

A selection of “Film Flubs” that points out a selection of bloopers within the movie.

WHAT YOU’LL HATE:

The audio commentary by Mel Brooks. In addition to being a recording made for the laser disc release in 1996, there is little information here that can’t be found in another featurette on the disc.

The “Watch the Movie at Ludicrous Speed” is essentially rewatching the movie, except a pixilated version that last 29 seconds.

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All material copyright 2007-2012 by Craig Kennedy unless otherwise stated