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Galaxy Quest

Galaxy Quest

What She said:

She

I see bits and pieces of Galaxy Quest on TV from time to time, but it had been a while since I had sat down and watched the entire thing through.  The He and I noticed last week that it went up free on Amazon Prime and decided to jump at the chance.  After all, it blends some of our favorite genres—sci-fi, comedy, fantasy—and has an all-star cast.  Believe me, we were not disappointed.

Galaxy Quest is about a group of aging actors who used to be hot shots on this very Star Trek-like science fiction show of the same name as the film.  Twenty years later, they’re all washed up, relegated to making money by attending trade shows and signing autographs.  They’re embarrassed by what they’ve become, but are willing to do nearly anything for money.  The only person who doesn’t seem to care about the situation is Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen), who played the Captain of the ship on the show, Peter Taggart.  He still basks in any attention he can get.  Counter to this, there is the classically trained British actor Alexander Dane (Alan Rickman), who feels like his life has been ruined by the typecasting he encounters because of his former role as Dr. Lazarus.  Rounding out the group, you’ve got former bombshell Gwen DeMarco (Sigourney Weaver), Fred Kwan (Tony Shalhoub) who sort of bumbles his way through every scene, and former child actor Tommy Webber (Daryl Mitchell).  And then there’s Guy Fleegman (Sam Rockwell), who unofficially joins the group, a completely unmemorable extra who appeared in and was killed off in just one episode of the show. 

Galaxy Quest

So, these guys are pretty pathetic.  After a particularly rough night, Nesmith ends up on a real alien ship, as he thinks he’s just agreeing to another appearance.  He soon realizes that he’s been pulled into a war between the meek Thermians and the viscous and reptilian Sarris.  You see, the Thermians have been watching old episodes of Galaxy Quest for years but believe that they are actually “historical documents,” from planet Earth and that the crew is real.  They’re hoping that Nesmith can help them negotiate peace with Sarris because he has so much experience.  Nesmith is simultaneously terrified and thrilled.  Finally, he’s able to feel relevant again.  He returns to Earth and attempts to recruit the rest of the group.  They think he’s just talking about another gig, and are eager to join.  But once everyone is thrown into the thick of it, they realize that there are very real lives at stake—including their own—and the future of the Termian race hangs in the balance.  Can they save the day?

My plot description kind of makes Galaxy Quest seem like an action-adventure.  In some ways it is, but first and foremost this is a total comedy.  And it’s really, really funny.  You’ve got some really talented actors playing great characters.  Alan Rickman, who is himself quite the thespian, is hilarious as Dane, constantly on the verge of a breakdown.  Also, Sam Rockwell’s character, Guy, is hilarious.  He’s an homage to the highly disposable “red shirts” from Star Trek, and the writers really have a lot of fun with his character. 

I truly have nothing bad to say about this film.  The acting is great; the plot is fun; dialogue is very well written; and the special effects are not bad considering this movie came out in 1999.  Galaxy Quest has really stood the test of time as far as its relevance is concerned.  It’s just as enjoyable today as it was 10 years ago.  Kudos to everyone involved with this film for making a well-done parody/satire.  As I was watching this movie, I could not help but think that I need to get my parents to watch it.  I think a broad audience will get a kick out of Galaxy Quest and recommend it for anyone above the age of 14, especially those who have a basic understanding of the phenomenon that was classic Star Trek.

Thumbs up.

Galaxy Quest

What He said:

He

I can’t tell you the last time I saw this movie. it’s been many years since I’ve seen this from start-to-finish. I know that I liked it, and even remembered parts of it, but when it recently became available on Amazon Prime I was psyched. I was looking forward to revisiting this sci fi-themed comedy.

The movie centers on a group of actors who were the stars of a television show called Galaxy Quest. Much like the franchise it spoofs – Star Trek –it has been off the air for years, but still has a huge following.  The stars of the show have had trouble finding other work and spend most of their time living off their past success. Conventions, ribbon cutting ceremonies, and other C-grade celebrity events are how they make their living. Most of them have a love/hate relationship with the show.

Galaxy Quest

Not Jason Nesmith though. Jason (Tim Allen) still thinks he’s the man. He played the show’s version of Captain Kirk – and much like William Shatner – he is very full of himself. He was the show’s star, so naturally he thinks he’s can do whatever he wants. He shows up to events late, inconveniences his colleagues, and bosses them around as if he really is their superior officer.

Gwen DeMarco (Sigourney Weaver) played the eye candy of the show. She was the ships “communications officer”, but was basically there to smile and show off her cleavage. There was a time where she looked at Jason in the same light as people do his show’s character, but as time goes on, she seems him for the self-involved guy that he is.
Alan Rickman plays Alexander Dane. He played the show’s version of Mr. Spock. He is the lone alien in the crew known for his advanced intelligence. Dane is a classically trained actor has come to resent the role and show despite the fact it is what made him famous. He feels it is a waste of his talent.

So anyway, it turns out that a group of actual aliens has been watching episodes of Galaxy Quest for years, but thinks they are “historical documents” of actual events. Believing Jason and the other members of the cast are actually a crew of a real starship, they fly to Earth and recruit them in their battle against an evil race of reptilian humanoids who have  destroyed their home planet. They are led by a particularly grumpy fella named Sarris (Robin Sachs). Sarris is a cruel tyrant hell-bent on destroying the Thermians (the aliens who recruit the crew of Galaxy Quest) and stealing their technology.

Galaxy Quest

This movie works on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin. First of all, it is extremely funny. It is an excellent parody of Star Trek. I love Star Trek, but there is plenty about it that can be made fun of. The jerky, overconfident, but somehow likeable captain is right at the front of it. We love Captain Kirk because he’s kind of a jerk, but the man at the same time. Tim Allen replicates that type of character wonderfully. Sigourney Weaver’s character is also hilarious. Though anybody can watch sci fi, it’s no secret the genre is for geeky man, so it’s not uncommon to throw a babe in to give the nerds something to look at. The Gwen character is well-written, has some great lines, and is mocked for the lack of depth her character brings to the story. Sigourney Weaver was a great choice for the role, because her role in Alien – arguably her most famous role ever – is known for the exact opposite. It was very funny watching her play something that was the antithesis of Ellen Ripley. There are a lot of great performances in this movie, and I can’t comment on each and every one of them, but Alan Rickman and Sam Rockwell were brilliant. Rickman was excellent as that bitter guy who resents the very thing that has defined his career. Sam Rockwell plays a background character who doesn’t even have a name and do they really have fun with that. If you know what a redshirt is, you’ll appreciate the character. He is absolutely hilarious.

Galaxy Quest also succeeds at being a viable adventure. The action is fun, there’s a little bit of romance, and some of the characters are actually very sympathetic. While you never forget this is a parody, the action is pretty damn entertaining at times. The action is engaging, the space battles ain’t half bad either, and the costumes are fantastic. The makeup for the bad guys is fantastic. The makeup for Sarris is as good as any legit science fiction, action, or adventure movie I’ve ever seen. They could have done the effects on the cheap because this is a comedy, but they didn’t, and it really pays off. You also really sympathize with the Thermians too. They’re loveable dopes and there are times you really feel bad for them, especially when they realize the crew of Galaxy Quest aren’t really a bunch of space explorers. Kudos to the cast and crew of this movie for making a comedy with a good story, legitimate performances, and quality effects. This is a very enjoyable movie.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on November 28, 2013.

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