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SPACEBALLS: THE SUBJECTIVE TROPES PAGE


  • Adorkable: When frightened, Barf's actually quite adorable.
  • 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.
  • 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%.
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  • Crosses the Line Twice: The two black Spaceballs are combing the desert with an afro comb.
  • 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.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • "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.
  • 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.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
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    • 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.
    • Some behind-the-scenes video of Star Wars as it was being filmed reveals that David Prowse, Darth Vader's body actor, has a voice very similar to Rick Moranis. Hear Prowse as Vader for yourself Here.
    • 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?
      • The black Spaceball combing the desert has been compared to Finn the Stormtroper in the desert of Jakku in the The Force Awakens trailer. The same actor went on to play Tuvok. Yes, just try picturing the stoic Vulcan telling Janeway "we ain't found shit!"
      • 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.
      • And of course, Rick Moranis as a Nerd in Evil's Helmet Darth Vader Clone 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.
      • Even Rogue One: A Star Wars Story isn't safe, what with the idea of easily opened space-doors being assaulted by a large capital ship
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    • Only an idiot would have 1-2-3-4-5 as their password!
    • Lone Starr's line, "Did I miss something? When did we get to Disneyland?", becomes even funnier when Lucasfilm was bought by Disney, and Disneyland would open a Star Wars-themed area in 2019. (However, Star Tours already opened a few months before Spaceballs premiered.)
    • And speaking of Disney, the cold never bothered Lone Starr.
    • And, of course, when they actually do watch the movie, they end up watching themselves watching themselves watching themselves ad infinitum. Cue "We have to go deeper!" jokes.
    • The fact that there is an item used in the film called Space Jam.
    • Canned air is now a real thing in China.
    • Lone Starr's coat has a brownish hue... along with a few other Mal Reynolds-ish traits.
    • The idea of selling flamethrowers as merchandise also became a reality in January 2018, thanks to Elon Musk.
    • 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 Transformers made several Darth Vader Transformers.
    • One DVD feature allows the viewer to watch the movie at Ludicrous Speed (e.g., sped up beyond comprehension). Movies played 1000% faster have since become a YouTube meme.
    • The singing alien parody at the end apparently got a job in Aliens: Colonial Marines.
    • Vinnie's robot makeup bears a striking resemblance to The Spine.
    • 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.
    • Lone Starr could probably teach Hayato Kanzaki a thing or two about being a Composite Character of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo.
    • The climactic Schwarz battle between Lone Starr and Dark Helmet is even more hilarious in the 2020's now that there's a commercial run by a Dr. Schwarz regarding Erectile Disfunction treatments!
    • Vespa going full Rambo after she's shot in the hair with a laser becomes even more amusing when someone sees JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, as it is highly reminiscent to any of Josuke's rampages whenever someone insults his hair.
    • Not quite "instant cassettes" out "before the movie is finished," but the idea of releasing major films into homes and bypassing theaters completely became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 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 to the "Hello my baby"'s notes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Lone Starr and Vespa share a heart-to-heart in the desert. Vespa admits that, even if they make it back to her kingdom, she'll be forced to marry someone she doesn't love. Lone Starr sympathizes and tells her that his parents left him to be raised by monks, so he doesn't know who he is. He shows her his Orphan's Plot Trinket, a necklace with writing no one can read, and says it's the only thing his family left with him.
    • The scene where King Roland says goodbye to a picture of his daughter as he suffocates is played surprisingly straight.
    • After Lone Starr and Barf return Vespa to her kingdom and stop Dark Helmet's plot, they are both in Heroic BSoD. Lone Starr loves Vespa but can't marry her since he's a space ruffian, while Vespa believes he just rescued her for the money. Her dad then tells her Lone Starr refused the reward he demanded as compensation for her rescue, took a smaller amount for gas and food, and asked him not to tell the princess of his change of heart. Vespa has a My God, What Have I Done? expression for having judged Lone Starr so poorly.
    • Happy tears at the end: Lone Starr finds out from Yoghurt that he is a prince, and uses liquid Schwartz to turn his ship around and go to marry Vespa. He dresses in a nice suit, interrupts the ceremony, and tells her of his royal status. When the priest agrees to marry them and rushes through the vows, they both look teary-eyed before going for The Big Damn Kiss.
  • 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.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: By far the biggest criticism the film faced at the time of its release was that Mel Brooks took too long to catch up with the sci-fi trend that Star Wars had started in the late 70s/early 80s and that he was now more interested in keeping up with the zeitgeist than simply making funny movies like he had in the past. (This became somewhat Hilarious in Hindsight, as Star Wars as a cultural phenomenon ended up lasting a lot longer than the early 80s, meaning Spaceballs has aged pretty well—at the time, the franchise was largely dormant, and wouldn't start to return until The Thrawn Trilogy.)
  • 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".
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