#340: Villains We Love, Part 4: Dark Helmet

In this episode, we conclude our Villains we Love to Love arc, with Mel Brooks’ classic villain (of a sort), Dark Helmet.

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always a pleasure :slight_smile:

Lots of insightful stuff … plus Big Lebowski references! Bowling is the Zen of middle America.


I did have to skip past any (and all) Cloud Atlas references. I have found I tend to “trailer snarf” too much lately. Gonna try watching that one cold … old school, the less I know, the better. A couple of flix this past summer I think I over hyped internally in my noggin.

This time tabula rasa.

You mileage may vary.


For all of its faults Disney’s The Black Hole probably did the same if not more to me than ET, Star Wars, the original BSG, and Robotech to spur my interest in Science Fiction during my pre teen years. It was a somewhat realistic depiction of space travel that a little kid could see and internalize. These types of films are somewhat few and far between even today. Avatar comes to mind specifically but nothing else immediately jumps out at me. Am I just remembering a golden age of kid-appropriate Film SciFi that never really was? Am I short sighting today’s realistic SciFi films that are pre-teen kid appropriate? Or am I right and the available appropriate SciFi for kids just isn’t there today like it was in the late 70’s/early 80’s?

~Shooter Out

I totally know where you’re coming from. I was the perfect age when that movie came out, and it really shaped how I regarded other movies of the time. It just seemed so realistic, which is both amusing and telling of the types of movies available at the time.

We seem to be in a bit of a lull on Space SciFi movies right now. Comics, which I consider fantasy*, are all the rage. What Sci Fi we do have tends to be on Earth (Hunger Games), or primarily on another planet (Avatar). I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but the last movie I can think of where all the characters are flying around in a space ship is Serenity, which came out 7 years ago.

EDIT: I just thought of a couple, 4 minutes after posting. Star Trek and Prometheus. I forgot about the first and haven’t seen the second yet.

It’s possible that Video Games are taking the reins where movies are leaving off. Mass Effect has quite nicely filled the gap between 2005 and now, and while most of the action takes place on planets, it at least takes place on multiple planets that you get to via space ship.

*I am not down-talking Comic movies at all. I just don’t expect them to obey the laws of nature like I expect in Sci Fi.

Maybe I’m being paranoid, but studios seem to strain to avoid a PG rating, maybe 'cuz kids won’t think it’s cool. But no, it’s not just you: There’s not a lot of kick-[SorryBarb] PG-rated action-adventure-sci fi out there.

That’s a shame because that sort of IP is what creates future consumers of the genre and actively promotes innovative thinking for our best and brightest in government and industry.

~Shooter Out

Thinking on it now, I find it a bit amazing that The Black Hole could be considered ‘kid-friendly’. That’s perhaps one of the darkest, creepiest Disney films I’ve ever seen. Between crew members being turned into space zombies, other crew members getting buzz-sawed by killer robots, and that weird, not-much-explained ending (and everyone knows you can’t go ‘through’ a black hole!) it’s likely enough to give certain little kids some serious nightmares. (Although kids nowadays seem to show zero interest in any film if there isn’t action and violence in every shot…how times have changed.) At least they managed to give the good guys’ robot some serious chops (a witty British flying robot that not only has built-in laser pistols and is a dead shot? Sign me up for one, please!)

I also love the '90’s version of Lost in Space (another film that has a badass robot for the good guys side!) I doubt anyone could’ve done a better job than Gary Oldman at playing Dr. Smith.

the 90’s Lost in Space was a mess, although what made it awful was the amount of talent it wasted. Your point on Gary Oldman being a perfect Dr. Smith is correct. I hate movies that have the potential for greatness and then miss. LIS did not know what kind of movie it wanted to be. Rollicking space adventure? Campy? Scary? Aimed at kids? Dark and broody with subtexts on neglected kids?
Agree on the Black Hole. What a great film! The soundtrack and set designs. That was very creepy for a Disney film.

Collapsible armor ala Stargate and a double barrel modular gun wielded by Joey from friends? I think you meant to say 90s Lost in Space was a masterpiece =P

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