It’s hard to make a decent movie spoof for a beloved franchise, and being in the science fiction genre doesn’t make things any easier. The producers have to sell a fresh plot, quality special effects, and sparkling humor, while somehow keeping the fan base happy. You have to honor — while riffing– the base material. It’s a tight line to walk.
Two beloved science fiction spoofs not only stand out as Best in Genre full-length film satires, but have now have their own documentaries. That’s impressive for a parody.
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If you’re a Star Wars or Star Trek fan, you’ve probably heard about Spaceballs and GalaxyQuest. Join me in discussing the cameo-studded documentaries about these fabulous science fiction movie parodies.
Spoofing Star Wars: Spaceballs – The Documentary (30 minutes, 1987)
Lucasfilm actually did post-production for Spaceballs. Mel Brooks said George Lucas loved the screenplay, thankfully, since Brooks wasn’t going to go forward with Spaceballs if Lucas had a problem with it.
In the documentary, Brooks says, “to make a good spoof film, you have to love the genre.” Truth.
Not only did Brooks pull together a stellar cast for Spaceballs, the story was funny and reasonably sensible. Even better, there were film nods to other science fiction classics like Star Trek, Alien, Planet of the Apes, and even Superman. Spaceballs is a good romp.
Here’s the 1987 Spaceballs Documentary to get you back in the saddle for some silly Star Wars fun:
Spoofing Star Trek: Galaxy Quest (2019)
Ask any Trek fan to list their favorite Star Trek films and invariably Galaxy Quest comes up. Even the real Star Trek actors love it, and praise it to Klingon Heaven (aka Sto-Vo-Kor) in this documentary. When it comes to the best Star Trek films, Galaxy Quest is near the top for me. It also handles the fanbase with great esteem, letting ‘us’ help save the day (“It’s all real.” “I KNEW it!”)
Indeed, I loved the Galaxy Quest Documentary when it came out in a limited release in 2019. I laughed with all the other fans in a packed screening room, while we clued back into to why this…wacky spoof…was so good. It told a real story. And FELT like Star Trek. It had a coherent narrative, gave us all the feels, and reminded us how amazing Alan Rickman can be with even the goofiest lines (“By Grabthar’s Hammer, you shall be avenged.“)
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Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)
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