Spaceballs 2: The search for more money

Mr.
Vapor
writes, Good News Everyone!

I just watched Spaceballs last Friday and now Sci-
Fi Wire
is reporting that ain’t it cool news
is reporting
that PlayBill Magazine is reporting (whew!) that Mel
Brooks is writing
SpaceBalls 2!

One can only hope. Maybe the original should
get moved to a higher priority on the review list.

22 replies on “Spaceballs 2: The search for more money”

  1. y42 says:

    Yeaaaaaaaaaah…
    Didn’t Mel Brooks stop being funny sometime in the 80’s? I’m pretty sure he
    did…

    • TechnoGirl says:

      Re: Yeaaaaaaaaaah…

      Didn’t Mel Brooks stop being funny sometime in the 80’s? I’m pretty sure he
      did…

      Actually, most web pundits agree that Mel Brooks stopped being funny on April 22, 1986 at 7:46Am (EST) when he stepped out of a Studio City Starbucks and threw his iced Latte (skim) all over his (then companion. “That’s just not funny Mel”, she said, and he hasn’t been the same since.

  2. mbourgon says:

    parts better than the whole.
    There are four kinds of movies.

    1. Good movies, quotable. Princess Bride.
    2. Good movies, not quotable. Sky Captain.
    3. Bad movies, not quotable. Underworld.
    4. Bad movies, quotable. Spaceballs

      My big problem was that while the movie has so many good scenes, it’s not a particularly good movie. And I’m a huge Mel Brooks fan, I’ve even seen Robin Hood: Men In Tights. I deserve an award for that.

      All that being said – sure. Go for it, Mel. It can’t be any worse than Episode I or Episode II or (in all likelihood) Episode III. The biggest problem is that Mel really hasn’t been known for being funny since the 80’s, and putting “Spaceballs” at the beginning of the title isn’t exactly the calling card that “Star Wars”, “Spider-Man”, etc are. And can he successfully spoof movies that themselves are not particularly good movies? (I assume he’s going after Ep 1 & 2)

      Personally, I wouldn’t mind hearing if the audio commentary for Spaceballs is any good – I can’t believe the DVD for Blazing Saddles didn’t have one, but Spaceballs did, especially considering how great the commentary for Young Frankenstein was.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: parts better than the whole.

      Personally, I wouldn’t mind hearing if the audio
      commentary for Spaceballs is any good – I can’t believe
      the DVD for Blazing Saddles didn’t have one, but
      Spaceballs did, especially considering how great the
      commentary for Young Frankenstein was.

      I’ll give it a listen before I finish the review. So far,
      I think the best commentaries I’ve heard are on
      Ghostbusters and Superman: The Director’s
      Cut
      .

      • y42 says:

        Re: parts better than the whole.

        Personally, I wouldn’t mind hearing if the audio
        commentary for Spaceballs is any good – I can’t believe
        the DVD for Blazing Saddles didn’t have one, but
        Spaceballs did, especially considering how great the
        commentary for Young Frankenstein was.

        I’ll give it a listen before I finish the review. So far,
        I think the best commentaries I’ve heard are on
        Ghostbusters and Superman: The Director’s
        Cut
        .

        Have you ever heard the commentary from the writer, producer and director
        of Robocop on the Criterion edition? Verhoven cracks me up man. And I think
        he was going insane and having war flashbacks during the commentary on
        Starship Troopers… “Real, digital, real, digital, real, digital, real, DIGITAL!
        REAL! digital, , digital, real, RELA DIGI-REAL!” ;-)

        • fiziko says:

          Re: parts better than the whole.

          Have you ever heard the commentary from the writer, producer and director
          of Robocop on the Criterion edition? Verhoven cracks me up man.

          No, I didn’t. I don’t much care for what I’ve seen of Verhoeven’s work. I’ve seen Total Recall, which I’ve reviewed, Starship Troopers, which seemed to glorify war in complete opposition to the entire point of the source material and which removed the battle armour that would haev looked fantastic on screen so that they could “show more gore” (Verhoeven’s words), Robocop in a TV edit that should not be used to judge the movie, and Showgirls, which was a disappointment only because it wasn’t as bad as I’d heard. (Verhoeven all but tells the audience in person that he knows it’s a bad movie that’s full of nudity, and that people are watching it because they want the nudity. I swear it was a joke on the audience, saying “ha ha, you paid for the crap we stuck all this nudity in, even though we all know it’s a piece of garbage.” Movies that are bad because the filmmakers are incompetent can be fun, but movies that are bad because nobody really cared are just bad.)

          • y42 says:

            Re: parts better than the whole.

            Movies that are bad because the filmmakers are incompetent can be fun, but
            movies that are bad because nobody really cared are just bad.

            You’ve never seen Robocop? Oh my god…

            Get yourself some free time and go rent the Criterion Robocop. First of all, its
            worth it just for the ED209, secondly, you can bask in the irony that is its
            social commentary on consumerism and the military industrial complex.
            They spend most of the commentary explaining exactly how
            bad that movie was going to be, but since every single person of influence
            involved in it gave it their best to compensate for its huge sucking potential,
            it actually turned up pretty good.

            As for Starship Troopers, you completely missed the point : )
            Most people did. It seems to glorify war because its a war movie, and because
            its told from the point of view of a fascist world government’s propaganda.
            Irony is fun.

            • mbourgon says:

              Re: parts better than the whole.

              social commentary on consumerism and the military industrial complex.

              Agreed. Amazing social satire. “I’ll buy that for a dollar” is a rip-off of C.M. Kornbluth’s “Those Marching Morons”, where the average IQ is 70 and the catch-phrase of the most popular TV show is, you guessed it…

              Most people did. It seems to glorify war because its a war movie, and because
              its told from the point of view of a fascist world government’s propaganda.
              Irony is fun.

              That’s fine. Don’t sully Heinlein’s name with it, then. That had nothing to do with Heinlein’s world view. The book was about the choices you have to make to protect what you value, and the toll it takes. The movie was shit.

              • y42 says:

                Re: parts better than the whole.

                That’s fine. Don’t sully Heinlein’s name with it, then. That had nothing to do
                with Heinlein’s world view. The book was about the choices you have to
                make to protect what you value, and the toll it takes. The movie was shit.

                The movie, as I said, was not “shit”.
                It has a different message from the book, though I didn’t get the same
                message as you from that book it seems. To me the book had nothing to do
                about choices, it was an allegory about the value and nobility of the common
                infantry soldier. The book is set in a very technological future, and was
                written in a
                very technologically progressing time (the 50’s) by a WWII veteran of the
                south pacific campaigns who was working at a desk job at the military after
                being injured. In the book, the technology is overwhelming, but it all comes
                down to well trained soldiers who must do some hands-on work, not the toys
                they give them. You can bomb a city all you want, but to win a city you have
                to occupy it, have people dig trenches, stand guard, and be smart on their
                feet while they do it.
                The movie was directed by someone who was a 6 year old boy in a nazi
                occupied town in the netherlands during WWII, and therefore their point of
                view of war is different. Quite different. It focuses more on the orders these
                brave soldiers are given.

                “Private! Put your hand on that wall!”
                That scene pretty much sums up what the book took hundreds of pages to
                tell:
                No matter how much tech you have, you need soldiers to go in and do some
                dirty work. That and SS Douggie Howser’s speech at the end about Zim and
                the brain bug.

                So, as far a sullying Heinlein’s name by having a different world view…I don’t
                see that at all. He keeps the nobility of the soldier, he criticises the
                leadership. They toned down the “soldiers are the best” message a bit, which
                was quite insisted upon in the book, but they didn’t remove it, or contradict
                it.

                And as far as the gore factor in the movie, its not just for the entertainment
                factor of gore. Its purposefull: Its a movie about war, and in war, you get
                gore. No war movie should ever shy away from showing the hell that is war.

                • RageWars says:

                  Re: parts better than the whole.
                  More than half of the original “Starship Troopers” is devoted to accounts of Johnny’s training — first in a brutal boot camp that takes in soft kids and turns out killing machines, and later in an officers’ program that teaches him how to be a leader of men. It’s the kind of total character transformation portrayed in the stunning first half-hour of Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” — sadism, all right, but carefully controlled sadism, with a point.

                  In Verhoeven’s film, boot camp feels more like summer camp: These volunteers play pool in their spare time, cavort in co-ed showers and never stop beaming incandescent smiles. By the time the movie tries to turn more serious — as, for instance, in a sequence where Johnny is flogged for carelessness that led to a comrade’s death during an exercise — the sadism just feels gratuitous and dirty, thrown in for sheer sensational effect.

                  The “Starship Troopers” screenwriter, Ed Neumeier, who also collaborated with Verhoeven on “Robocop,” rewrites Heinlein’s spare, male-dominated story, embedding an unabashedly formulaic romantic plot in the story’s brutal heart: Ace fighter Dizzy (Dina Meyer) loves Johnny, but Johnny loves crack pilot Carmen (Denise Richards), but Carmen’s kinda more into her co-pilot, Zander (Patrick Muldoon). Since none of these young actors shows much talent, none of this much matters, but it does help explain why the film is so confused; it’s trying to be “Melrose Place” and “Paths of Glory” at the same time.

                  Heinlein’s writing sneered at the soft, easily deluded civilians and celebrated the male-bonded esprit de corps of his futuristic Mobile Infantry — Green Berets of the future who dropped, paratrooper-style, onto enemy planets in powered suits, kept to tight formations, rained destruction on their foes and returned to their spaceships, all in a matter of minutes. Verhoeven’s contempt draws no such distinctions; everyone in the movie is kind of dumb — not least the Mobile Infantry themselves. Far from an elite, they come off as hapless, ill-disciplined grunts who can’t wait for the battle to end so they can discard their machine-guns-on-steroids, roll out some beers and hop in the sack with their svelte comrades. (For a far more imaginative vision of a gender-blind military, see “Aliens.”)

                  Most likely, Verhoeven and his team blanched at the proto-fascist sheen of “Starship Troopers” and felt a need to distance themselves from it with the kind of tongue-in-cheek humor that has marked his previous science-fiction films, “Robocop” and “Total Recall.” And there’s some wit in their parody of an interactive TV system of the future, the Federal Network, which ends every broadcast with the same teaser: “Join up now! Would you like to know more?” “Execution broadcast live on all channels. Would you like to know more?”

                  There’s nothing wrong with good satire — but it’s self-defeatingly stupid to inject it into any story that expects us to care what happens to the characters. The creators of successful latter-day space operas, from “Star Wars” to “Independence Day,” have always understood this. Nothing in “Starship Troopers” carries the conviction of the Force or even “Independence Day’s” rah-rah-for-mankind idealism; the movie can’t commit to the militarism it inherited from Heinlein, and it never finds a different ideal to substitute.

                  Except, maybe, a belief in special effects. There are some good ones here: When Rico’s starship gets bisected by enemy fire, you see its levels in cutaway as its contents spill terrifyingly into cold space. The Bugs swarm impressively — their warriors have heavy, scimitarlike legs that can mutilate the human form in a trice; there are also pterodactyl-like flying Bugs and tanklike giants with flame-thrower mouths.

                  Bug-fighting gets monotonous fast, though. Even with their broad spectrum of depredations, from limb-hacking to decapitation to brain-sucking, there are too many Bugs on screen with too little personality. And Verhoeven stages the battles with more attention to epic scale and grandeur than to psychology and moment-by-moment suspense.

                  In the film’s final section, the M.I. fulfill their mission of capturing a Brain Bug, which looks like the pulsating posterior of an elephantine warthog. When a psychic officer touches this captive brain and reports that the monster is “afraid,” there’s no sympathy for the vanquished; instead, cheers go up from the ranks. Then, I guess, it’s time to tap a keg for a tailgate party.

                  Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” — a science-fiction classic that is in part a rebuttal to “Starship Troopers” — envisioned a war of extermination against another bug race, and ended with a similar breakthrough of psychological contact with the inhuman enemy. In “Ender’s Game,” it’s a moment of colossally tragic empathy, and it transforms the hero’s (and the reader’s) understanding of all the preceding slaughter.

                  Such a humane insight never takes place in Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers,” of course, thanks to its distasteful but at least rigorous rejection of humanism. You won’t find such a moment in Verhoeven’s “Starship Troopers,” either — but this time it’s the simple result of incoherence.

          • quantaman says:

            Re: parts better than the whole.

            Starship Troopers, which seemed to glorify war in complete opposition to the entire point of the source material

            I have to agree with y42 about Starship Troopers, I felt that the movie was much more critical of war then the book. It’s been a long time but the book portrayed the war as a somewhat necessary thing (defending human race against absurdly overwhelmingly numbered enemy) with a very high value based on individuals, both in the franchise that allowed them to vote due to the service they’d shown to their country but also the battle armor and the fact that there were so many more bugs that they couldn’t afford to needlessly waste people.

            The movie on the other hand was showed how the soldiers were wasted without remorse and a farcical recruitment campain which made the soldiers look more like lemmings then heros with expensive armored suits protecting them.

            • fiziko says:

              Re: parts better than the whole.

              I have to agree with y42 about Starship Troopers, I
              felt that the movie was much more critical of war then the
              book…

              Maybe I’ll watch it again some day. I admit that I wasn’t
              in the mood to pick up on subtlety the first (and only)
              time I watched it. (I had just been dumped by a girl who
              treated me pretty much the same way Denise Richards’
              character treated Casper van Dien’s character.)

              • y42 says:

                Now THAT is emotional response…

                I have to agree with y42 about Starship Troopers, I
                felt that the movie was much more critical of war then the
                book…

                Maybe I’ll watch it again some day. I admit that I wasn’t
                in the mood to pick up on subtlety the first (and only)
                time I watched it. (I had just been dumped by a girl who
                treated me pretty much the same way Denise Richards’
                character treated Casper van Dien’s character.)

                Just happened to me. Sucks huh?

                The dirty slut…

                • fiziko says:

                  Re: Now THAT is emotional response…

                  Just happened to me. Sucks huh?

                  The dirty slut…

                  Pretty much. This is also why the much requested review
                  of The Fifth Element hasn’t been done yet. We
                  saw it on our first date, so I can’t watch the movie with
                  enough detachment to accurately review it anymore. Too
                  bad, actually. I remember it being quite good.

    • y42 says:

      Re: parts better than the whole.

      There are four kinds of movies.

      1. Good movies, quotable. Princess
        Bride.
      2. Good movies, not quotable. Sky Captain.
      3. Bad movies, not
        quotable. Underworld.
      4. Bad movies, quotable. Spaceballs

      Now you’ve upset me. I need some milk of magnesia…

      • SteveMB says:

        Re: parts better than the whole.

        There are four kinds of movies.

        1. Good movies, quotable. Princess
          Bride.
        2. Good movies, not quotable. Sky Captain.
        3. Bad movies, not
          quotable. Underworld.
        4. Bad movies, quotable. Spaceballs

        Now you’ve upset me. I need some milk of magnesia…

        Just this once, can’t we die without bickering?

        • AceCaseOR says:

          Re: parts better than the whole.

          There are four kinds of movies.

          1. Good movies, quotable. Princess
            Bride.
          2. Good movies, not quotable. Sky Captain.
          3. Bad movies, not
            quotable. Underworld.
          4. Bad movies, quotable. Spaceballs

          Now you’ve upset me. I need some milk of magnesia…

          Just this once, can’t we die without bickering?

          Let’s not forget… “Lens cap”.

          • mbourgon says:

            Re: parts better than the whole.

            Let’s not forget… “Lens cap”.

            Good one… and the second time I watched, I noticed that the cap was _off_. Heh heh heh. Funny either way.

  3. pdavis says:

    Didn’t get it
    Can’t say that I enjoyed Spaceballs very much. Though there is an anime with a similar title that I have been meaning to pick up… At any rate I will have to agree that Mel’s movies for me are hit or miss. Now a good space comedy is “Ice Pirates”, though I have not seen it for a while so it could turn out like “Space Ship” (a.k.a. “Naked Space”) which I *thought* was funny the first time I saw it at a young age but wasn’t nearly as funny when I showed it to a group of friends years later. Imagine my embarrassment.

    • Timeshredder says:

      Re: Didn’t get it

      There are four kinds of movies.

      I really like Young Frankenstein, but Spaceballs suggests that fifth category: bad movie, unwatchable.

    • Alexius says:

      Re: Didn’t get it

      Now a good space comedy is “Ice Pirates”, though I have not seen it for a while …

      I Haven’t Seen That In Ages, Either, But I Always Loved It. I’ve Been Keeping My Eyes Open For A DVD Release Of It, But Haven’t Seen It Yet.

  4. tgreco says:

    The REALLY REALLY BIG QUESTION IS:
    now that John Candy is dead, who will play Barf
    I mean, not just anybody can play a mawg

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