Galaxy Quest (1999)
It's Sci-Fi Tim, But Not as We Know It
I watched "Galaxy Quest" a few years after it first came out and whilst amusing it left no real lasting impression but on re-watching it more recently I was surprised by how brilliant it is, yes you did hear me use the word brilliant with a movie which stars Tim Allen. Now what I mean by brilliant is that for what it is it is the best it can be, a fun, imaginative and clever spoof inspired by Star Trek and the fan base which still love the sci-fi series. That doesn't mean that "Galaxy Quest" ranks up there with cinematic greats but is one of the best sci-fi spoofs you are likely to ever watch which even if you are not a fan of Star Trek will pick up on much of the humour.
18 years after sci-fi show Galaxy Quest ended the principle actors lead by Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen - Jungle 2 Jungle) who played Commander Peter Quincy Taggert are still hugely popular with fans who turn out for Galaxy Quest conventions. But whilst Nesmith loves it all the rest of the cast which includes Gwen DeMarco (Sigourney Weaver - Alien: Resurrection), Alexander Dane (Alan Rickman), Fred Kwan (Tony Shalhoub) and Tommy Webber (Daryl Mitchell) are less than happy having been unable to move on thanks to their most famous roles. But everything is about to change when Jason thinks he is being taken to do a personal appearance only to find himself on a real version of the shows intergalactic spaceship NSEA Protector and in space with a race called the Thermians who having watched the show believe he and his fellow actors are real space adventurers. Before long the rest of the crew are with him and having to fly a spaceship they don't know how to whilst doing battle with the evil Sarris (Robin Sachs).
You don't realise when you first watch "Galaxy Quest" how truly clever it is because on first glance it seems like a simple spoof of Star Trek and the popularity with fans who turn out for conventions dressed in outfits. The whole opening where we watch Nesmith show up late and full of himself for a convention is so obviously inspired by William Shatner whilst the rest of the actors are less than infused as their famous characters have prevented them from doing other acting jobs. It is all so very believable and many of the scenes are based on real events which occurred with actors who starred in sci-fi shows. Plus you have the whole convention side of things with fans who are so into the show have worked out the technology of the fictional spaceship.
But whilst all this is great it nicely and amusingly evolves as are actors find themselves at the controls of the real spaceship and not having a clue how any of it works. It is amusing and clever especially when they find themselves in difficulty and use old storylines from the show to help them escape some of which are directly related to episodes of Star Trek. The good thing is that you don't need to be a Star Trek fan to understand all this and the fun of it works on a simple level whilst there is a deeper level of connection and in-jokes for those who know the series more closely.
The thing about "Galaxy Quest" is that it isn't some cheaply made movie, there has been an incredible amount of thought gone in to the writing and production so that there are times where it feels like it has come right out of an old episode of Star Trek but updated slightly and just with the right amount of falseness so that it is funny. In fact the visual effects all round are surprisingly good and you don't really notice them the first time you watch.
And to be honest there is so much you don't notice when you watch "Galaxy Quest" only the once a lot of which comes from the brilliantly played characters. Tim Allen is perfect as a William Shatner style character but then so is Sigourney Weaver as Gwen DeMarco and the fact she only repeats what the computer say is surprisingly amusing as is the fact her top gradually unzips by the time the drama comes. Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell and Daryl Mitchell are just as good and Rockwell's character having no surname is amusingly inspired. But it is also the actors who play the Thermians who are great especially Enrico Colantoni as Mathesar as he is full of so many quirks that you can't help but laugh.
What this all boils down to is that "Galaxy Quest" is a movie which you need to watch more than once because it is a movie which has so much going on that you can miss some of the cleverness and wit the first time around. In fact for what it is trying to be which is a spoof of old sci-fi shows it is the best it can be.
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