What Are Some Funny Science Fiction Movies?
“Spaceballs” is very likely one of the first, if not the first, title to pop into your head when you are asked to think of funny science fiction movies. That’s too bad…because “Spaceballs” just is not very funny. How could the man who gave the world “Young Frankenstein” and “Blazing Saddles” have gone so wrong when he tried to parody and satirize science fiction?
Easy. Because one look at those earlier films reveals a guy who loves monster movies and westerns. It’s quite clear that science fiction doesn’t hold the same place in Mel Brooks’ heart. “Young Frankenstein” and “Blazing Saddles” are heartfelt parodies, whereas “Spaceball” is a work of almost vile hatred. So forget “Spaceballs” and look elsewhere for funny sci-fi.
The Ginger or Mary Anne argument of the 1960s transformed into a different argument in the 1970s: Woody or Mel? Woody went on to overwhelmingly win the argument, but in the 70s it was a toss-up. One place where Woody Allen definitely beat out Mel is in making a funny science fiction movie. “Sleeper” is the precursor to Matt Groening’s other funny animated sitcom as it tells the story of a cryogenically frozen 20th century loser transported into the future. “Sleeper” is one of the last of Woody’s slapstick comedies and it’s one of his funniest. Whether he’s pretending to be a robot servant or slipping on giant banana peels or threatening the life of a nose, Woody was working at the height of his comic talent on this one.
The Ice Pirates
You may never have even heard of “The Ice Pirates.” Although Anjelica Huston and Ron Perlman appear in it, the stars are Robert Urich and Mary Crosby. (She shot J.R.!) It helps to have an appreciation of kitsch and camp when watching “The Ice Pirates” but anyone can enjoy the funniest part of the movie which is the one part of this sci-fi comedy that anybody who ever saw it remembers. This battle scene takes place in a time warp so that all the characters instantly age a little bit in the blink of an eye. It’s clever and very funny.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Some prefer the original British TV series, but how can resist a movie with Alan Rickman voicing a suicidal robot and Sam Rockwell as Zaphod Beeblebrox? Not to mention Zooey Deschanel at her most engaging and Bill Nighy at his disaffected peak? That’s not even to mention Stephen Fry as the voice of the Guide and the filmmaker’s brilliant decision to forego CGI for Muppet-like aliens. “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is not looked upon kindly by many fans of the novel…which is a shame since it features the same sense of humor that made Douglas Adams a household name.
Before he reinvented the horror film and made the greatest science fiction of all time, John Carpenter raised a few thousand dollars and set to work on a film that would act as their college thesis. That thesis turned into “Dark Star” which shows what a parody can be when when made by someone who loves the genre instead of despises it. The movie is both a satire of “2001: A Space Odyssey” and a sort of companion piece to it as both movies analyze the dehumanizing effects of long-term space travel. The budget is ridiculously low meaning the effects and the overall production value is directly antagonistic toward the Kubrick inspiration, but it’s a very fun film if you get into its mindset.