Spaceballs gets a second life at Blu-ray thanks to Kino Lober Studio Classics. Mel Brook's comedy classic may not be his greatest comedy, but it's certainly a top-five effort and remains a hilarious sendup of the sci-fi genre with pointed shots a couple of franchises that refuse to die. If we can't get The Search For More Money we at least get a great new Blu-ray release that offers a terrific new 1080p transfer that easily bests previous releases with an excellent assortment of archival bonus features. If you're not planning to move onto 4K or don't have Spaceballs in the collection, this disc is worth grabbing. Recommended.
[Excerpt from our 4K UHD Blu-ray Review]
"As a kid, it took a long time for my mom to let me see Spaceballs. As an adult I can understand how she'd be worried about all of the sexual innuendoes - the size and shape of Dark Helmet isn't just a knock on Darth Vader - but I was way too little to pick up on that. As with Young Frankenstein or Robin Hood Men In Tights - I just thought Spaceballs was a funny movie. And I still think it's a damn funny movie. But as an adult, there are a lot of jokes that get funnier once you hit a few age milestones.
One of the best gags to me is the Merchandising sketch with Mel Brooks golden sage Yogurt. "Spaceballs the flamethrower! And Spaceballs the doll - me" With Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm, we just finished a new trilogy of Star Wars movies of varying quality overstuffed with merchandising from cereals to lunch boxes to action figures that cost half your paycheck. Now with The Mandalorian, folks can buy their own life-sized figure of The Child for their home. We haven't gotten a Mandalorian Flamethrower yet… but I admit I'd want one should it come available!
With this latest viewing, the gag that dropped me was the Mr. Rental Instant Cassette. "They're out in stores before the movie is finished!" Living through the long long ago of the way back when you used to actually have to wait upwards of a year for a movie you saw in theaters to make it to the rental store. Today, we have HBOMax and their day-and-date streaming availability with theaters. With other studios signaling an intention to follow that model or a version of it and the marketing of new releases starting long before a film has actually even been filmed - we're practically there."
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Spaceballs conquers 1080p Blu-ray once again in a single-disc release from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. Pressed on a Region A BD-50 disc, the disc is housed in a standard case and loads to a static image main menu with traditional navigation options.
For 1080p, this is an obvious upgrade over the previous Blu-ray and DVD releases of Spaceballs. For starters, this transfer is in much better shape. I don't know the exact vintage of this restoration but it's free of the nicks and speckling and overall dirty appearance of the 2009 Blu-ray. The brightness levels have been fixed here as well so we don't have the same hot whites and crushed blacks. There are a couple of remaining optical effects where black levels are a little iffy, but that's a cooked-in issue.
Colors also look healthier all around. Skin tones in particular give the cast a more lifelike appearance without looking quite so pasty. Primaries are bold with plenty of pop. Film grain is in better shape giving the image a more organic appearance without signs of edge enhancement or smoothing. All around this is a much better-looking Blu-ray and had KLSC left it at that, we'd still have a disc worth purchasing. However, if you're rocking 4K UHD, that is absolutely the way to go. This is very good, but the extra resolution coupled with HDR just makes for a more richly rewarding image presentation.
This release of Spaceballs arrives with what sounds like the same DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix that was used for the previous Blu-ray. Flipping between all three discs, the old Blu-ray, the new Blu-ray, and the 4K disc - I didn't notice any differences. The more notable upgrade comes with the updated DTS-HD MA 2.0 track that sounds much more present and stronger overall than the previous Dolby Digital 2.0 track - it feels like there's more oomph to the sound effects and a little more life in the dialog. Dialog for both tracks is on point. That's the main focus of the film. Sound effects are decent enough and there's still some good surround activity, but most of the time this movie is front/center focused and that's where the bulk of the channel activity remains. You can't go wrong with either mix really. They're both great and do their jobs.
None of these bonus features are new. Everything that is here has been available on previous DVD and Blu-ray releases.
There are people out there who don't like Mel Brooks. There are people out there who don't like Spaceballs. I've never met them, but I heard they exist and they scare me more than any Star Wars fan raging about The Last Jedi. Mel Brooks is a great reminder that you shouldn't take everything so damn seriously and Spaceballs is a fitting sendup of a franchise and a genre that can get a little too chuffed with itself.
Not only is the world getting a terrific 4K UHD Blu-ray, but for those who aren't inclined to upgrade their home theater rigs again - Kino Lober Studio Classics is delivering an excellent new 1080p Blu-ray remaster. It's not as good as the 4K disc, if you're rolling 4K Blu-ray, that is the best way to go, but this disc is no slouch easily blasting past previous home video releases with an excellent picture upgrade, solid audio, and all of the archival bonus features. Recommended.