SPACEBALLS: THE SUBJECTIVE TROPES PAGE
- Adorkable: When frightened, Barf's actually quite adorable.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: The spaceballs who responded to Helmet's inquiry of how many Assholes were onboard Spaceball One: Actual relatives of the Asshole Familynote or just general jerkasses and/or incompetents?
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: The Spare to the Throne often was sent to a monastery in Real Life.
- Awesome Music:
- "Spaceballs", courtesy of the Spinners, which plays over the Megamaid evacuation scene.
- Bon Jovi’s “Raise Your Hands” also deserves a mention.
- The main theme by John Morris is wonderfully evocative of John Williams' Star Wars score while also being rousing and majestic in its own way.
- The music when Spaceball One transforms into Mega Maid (complete with Dramatic Timpani) is appropriately bombastic and would be just as suitable for a more serious drama.
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The Alien Shout-Out where a xenomorph bursts out of John Hurt's chest and performs a lively rendition of "Hello, My Baby."
- Critical Dissonance: The film has a mixed reception among critics, currently standing at 55% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, it has a much more respectable audience score of 83%. This is largely due to most of those critical reviews having come from its original release, where it was seen as a major misstep in Mel Brooks's career.
- Crosses the Line Twice: The two black Spaceballs are combing the desert with an afro pick.
- Evil Is Cool: Lone Starr and company are fun but let's face it, Dark Helmet, Sandurz, and Skroob are the ones who carry the film. There's also the hilarious radar guy, played by the great Michael Winslow, who only appears in one scene. Mel Brooks probably knew this, considering the villains are given both the film's title and most of its top-billed actors.
- Genius Bonus: Just before the Spaceball One transforms into Mega Maid, Dark Helmet orders, "Get ready for Metamorphosis!" Then, he asks under his breath, "Ready, Kafka?" It's a reference to Franz Kafka's short story The Metamorphosis, in which a young man wakes up to find that he's turned into a giant vermin.
- Harsher in Hindsight:
- "God willing, we'll all meet again in Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money." The closest it ever got was a not-very-well-received cartoon, which only saw a few of the movie's cast reprise their roles. Rumors of another movie did start going around after The Force Awakens, but some of the original actors had already passed away by then.
- Speaking of the cartoon, one episode deals with an Ebola outbreak. Not so funny now that Ebola has made it to the US.
- When Dark Helmet spits out his coffee, going "Too hot!" McDonald's was sued for exactly that.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- Yes, you can buy Boost Oxygen branded canned air.
- Yogurt says that, "God willing, we'll all meet again in Spaceballs 2: Da Soich for More Money". And they do indeed meet again... In Spaceballs: The Animated Series.
- Several plot points and characters from Spaceballs are similar to those from later Star Wars movies:
- Space heroes rescue space royalty from bad guys. While the good guys are escaping, they drain their spacecraft's energy and have to land on a desert planet, where they find a powerful being. Sound familiar?
- Several of the characters seem like they could be parodies of Star Wars Legends characters from works that came out after Spaceballs, e.g. Prince Valium maps pretty well to Prince Isolder and Commanderette Zircon could easily be Admiral Daala. The same also applies to the Prequels, for example Druidia looks like a parody of Naboo in retrospect with its opulent Renaissance style clothing and architecture, while Princess Vespa's Mercedes spaceship evokes Padmé's various royal yachts a lot more than Leia's relatively no-nonsense Rebel Blockade Runner.
- Similarly, the Spaceballs are oddly "corporate" for a straight-up parody of the purely totalitarian, militaristic Empire, but it meshes nicely with the corporate capitalist parodies that made up the villains of the Prequel trilogy.
- Spaceballs parodies the Mos Eisley Cantina with a stereotypical diner IN SPACE! Come Attack of the Clones, we have an actual 50's-esque diner in the Star Wars universe with Dex's.
- Rick Moranis as a Nerd in Evil's Helmet is downright prescient in light of the whiny, emo Anakin shown in the prequel trilogy and whiny deranged Vader fanboy Kylo Ren introduced in the sequel trilogy.
- Some have noted similarities with several elements of the sequel trilogy, including villains Kylo Ren and Dark Helmet. Both wear masks that they periodically remove, both talk to inanimate objects when alone, both prone to whiny outbursts, etc. The connection becomes even more hilarious after a big plot twist of The Last Jedi. Dark Helmet, in an anticlimactic subversion of the "I am your father" twist, revealed that he was Lone Starr's "father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate," which essentially meant their relationship was "Absolutely nothing." Kylo Ren would similarly dismiss the idea that Rey had any special relation to the other main characters by revealing that her parents were absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. On top of that, with The Rise of Skywalker, we have the revelation that Lone Starr is the long-lost son of royal parents paralleling the revelation that Rey is actually the long-lost granddaughter of the former Emperor of the galaxy.
- Mel Brooks had to kneel to portray the diminutive Yoda expy Yogurt; decades later, Lupita Nyong'o had to do the same thing to portray her diminutive Yoda expy Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens.
- In Spaceballs, a pair of Spaceball troopers try to arrest Lone Starr and Barf for illegal parking. In The Last Jedi, Finn and Rose are placed under arrest for a parking violation.
- At 60 KM from wingtip to wingtip, the First Order flagship Supremacy in The Last Jedi may actually be bigger than the ludicrously-oversized Spaceball One.
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story also had a planet surrounded by an impenetrable barrier like Druidia, that eventually is assaulted by a large capital ship.
- The imprisonment of Princess Vespa loosely parodies Leia's captivity in A New Hope, but the overall sequence of events can feel like a direct parody of events in The Force Awakens which was made later: in both, the female lead is captured by the helmeted evil Force/Schwartz user while the heroes are in the haven of a Force/Schwartz-sensitive mentor figure, and said mentor quickly hands off a laser sword weapon, shown shortly before, to the male lead when the group goes to rescue the female lead.
- The Spaceballs are shown to use handprint scanners in this film. Rogue One later on would reveal that the Imperials do as well. Ironically, Rogue One is the film that uses the handprint scanner for a comedic moment, not this one.
- The Yoda-inspired Yogurt demonstrates a talking doll of a smaller, "adorable" version of himself, which now seems like an unofficial predecessor of "Baby Yoda".
- The announced Rocky Five...Thousand review is somewhat funnier since an actual Rocky V was made (there were four Rocky films when Spaceballs came out), but even funnier since Rocky returned again a lot later in Rocky Balboa, and yet again in Creed and Creed II.
- The Spaceballs One ship transforming into a giant maid robot becomes this after the Darth Vader versions of Transformers.
- On the 30th anniversary of the film's release, Bill Pullman revealed that he hadn't seen any of the Star Wars films at the time it was filmed.
- The Warner Home Video FBI Warning screen at the time is depicted as the one being used by MGM/UA Home Video in-universe. A few years later, MGM/UA would use that warning screen for real on a promotional laser videodisc.
- Memetic Mutation
- "They've gone to plaid!" and the idea of Ludicrous Speed in general.
- "I knew it! I'm surrounded by assholes!"
- SPACEBALLS: THE [Insert Anything Here]
- "What?! You went over my helmet?!"
- "Even in the future, nothing works!"
- "No, go past this part! In fact... never play this again."
- "We ain't found SHIT!"
- Nausea Fuel: It's advised that you not be eating pizza during the Pizza the Hutt sequence. Or anything, for that matter.
- Nightmare Retardant: Pretty much the whole point of Dark Helmet, who is a deliberate subversion of cool bad guys like Darth Vader. Any menace the man could have is lost once he pulls that helmet up, if his comically oversized helmet afforded him any in the first place.
- Deliberately done as well with the dancing Xenomorph. At first it looks like it's aggressive and fearsome just like its original counterparts...then he starts joyfully singing and dancing like Michigan J. Frog.
- One-Scene Wonder:
- The hilarious radio operator, played by the peerless Michael Winslow, also known as the Man of 10,000 Sound Effects.
- John Hurt for his "Oh no, not again!" Chest Burster scene.
- Pizza The Hut!
- The "we ain't found SHIT!" guy.
- The singing little Xenomorph.
- "I'm the Bearded Lady. What are you, one of the freaks?!" Played by retired female professional wrestler, Dee Booher, AKA Matilda the Hun.
- Retroactive Recognition:
- That's Tim Russ, aka Tuvok, as the black Spaceball who says "We ain't found shit!" No, really.
- And before him, both the Spaceball in that scene who calls out "Not a thing sir!" and the one who helps Dark Helmet up after the Ludicrous Speed meltdown are played by Rob Paulsen, in a rare live-action role.
- The beautiful nurse aiding Dark Helmet's plastic surgeon is future Desperate Housewives/Supergirl/Dallas star Brenda Strong.
- Sequelitis: More a case of Follow-Upitis, but Spaceballs: The Animated Series, an adult animated series follow-up to the movie that aired for 13 episodes in 2008. Most of the main cast returned and Mel Brooks not only voices Yogurt and President Skroob, but also executive produced! What could go wrong? Well, try animation that wouldn't look out of place on Newgrounds, the returning cast members not including Bill Pullman, John Candy, or Rick Moranis (though Candy had passed away in 1994), Barf being turned into a walking fart-burp-vomit joke, Dark Helmet being given an unsettling character design and being made short enough to make Rick Moranis look like Shaq by comparison as well as killing the entire "people fear this annoying little nerd" joke, trying way too hard to appeal to a modern audience by putting characters from a Star Wars parody into episodes that parody Harry Potter, American Idol, Lord of the Rings, and Grand Theft Auto which works as well as stopping a flash flood with a kitchen sponge, humor that would only appeal to those too young to be watching, horrible puns (instead of Darth Maul, we have Outlet Maul), alongside the type of jokes, humor, and parody-style that you'd expect from a Seltzer-berg movie instead of a TV series helmed by one of the biggest comedy legends of all time.
- Shallow Parody: While most fans would agree the film mostly averts this brilliantly, Princess Vespa initially seems more like a parody of fictional princesses in general than of Leia in particular, at least until her Character Development after the hair dryer scene.
- Signature Scene: "Ludicrous Speed", and the revolving moments involving said Ludicrous Speed
- Special Effects Failure: You probably don't need any help finding the mirror propping up Dark Helmet's "floating" Volkswagen. On open-matte prints, the track underneath the chestburster puppet during the dinner scene also becomes obvious. In fact, given the film's nature this could just be deliberate. Hell, there's even a feature on the DVD where they point out all of the failed effects.
- Vindicated by History: When the movie was released in 1987, it underperformed at the box office and received mixed reviews, even being named Worst Picture at the 1987 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards; common criticisms included being deemed inferior to Mel Brooks' earlier works and Star Wars no longer being culturally relevant enough to work as a parody (Spaceballs primarily spoofs A New Hope, which was released a decade prior; following the 1983 release of Return of the Jedi there was little new Star Wars content released until Heir to the Empire was published in 1991). Over the decades, though, Spaceballs came to be regarded far more warmly, especially given Star Wars' return to the limelight and long-lasting impact on pop culture. Particularly following the Sequel Trilogy's release (which resulted in many aspects of Spaceballs becoming Hilarious in Hindsight), the movie is now seen as a Cult Classic.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The film has a PG rating on the DVD cover and was shown on the Disney Channel for a while, despite the sex references, constant bad language and occasional fantastically racist remarks. Just because it's called "Spaceballs" doesn't mean it's about playing baseball in space.
- Woolseyism: Due to the extensive use of puns in the film, some jokes were changed in foreign dubs:
- In the Latin American dub, the "Druish Princess" line was changed (due to the fact the Latin American audiences maybe didn't catch the joke about the Jewish sect) was changed to Princesa Druidosa (Noisy Druish Princess, when Druidosa is a portmanteau of Druida (Druish) and Ruidosa (Noisy girl)
- Also in the Latin American dub, Major Asshole was renamed as Mayor Idiota (Major Idiot, as a pun of "The Greatest Idiot"). In the Castilian Spanish version, his name is Mayor Estúpido (Major Stupid)
- The "We ain't found shit!" line was translated a number of ways:
- In the Spanish dubbed version as ¡No este jodiendo, por favor! (Stop fuckin' us, Sir!) and in the subbed version as ¡No encontramos ni madres! (A more or less literal translation of the line, except that line is used normally in Mexican Spanish)
- In order to keep the Precision F-Strike in, the German dub changed it to "Here ain't even shit, Sir!"
- The French dub replaces the line with "Pas même un pou!" (Not even a louse!).
- In the Russian VHS dub, Barf's race is translated as "chelobaka" (man-dog), which has an added bonus of sounding like "Chewbacca".
- In the Castilian version, the Schwartz was translated as "la Suerte" (the Luck), thus giving us the idea that dumb luck harnessed is more powerful than the Force.
- The Schwartz in French was translated as "l'Ashtuce", a mispronunciation of "l'astuce" meaning some kind of tip/advice, or cleverness or trick.
- Once again with the French dub, the pun regarding the radar being jammed is replaced with the radar being "en pleine déconfiture" ("in full déconfiture"), with "déconfiture" meaning utterly failing or collapsing, while also sounding identical to "des confitures", meaning "some/several jams".
- Colonel Sandurz in the French dub is called Colonel Saint-Cyr, Saint-Cyr being a famous French military academy (the equivalent of West Point).
- A brilliant gem of the French dub, when passing to Ludicrous Speed, Colonel Sandurz suggests Dark Helmet should buckle up. "Buckle up" ("Bouclez-la") in French is often used a way of saying "Shut up", so Dark Helmet replies in kind "No you buckle up!".