Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Galaxy Quest

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Neil Middlemiss, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    Galaxy Quest
     
    Studio: Paramount Pictures
    Year: 1999
    US Rating: Rated PG - For Some Action Violence, Mild Language and Sensuality
    Film Length: 101 Mins
    Aspect Ratio: 1080p High Definition - 2.35:1
    Audio: English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, Spanish 5.1, Thermian 2.0
    Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
     
    Release Date: November 17, 2009
    Review Date: November 5, 2009
     
     
    The Film: 4 out of 5
     
    "I'm not even supposed to be here. I'm just "Crewman Number Six." I'm expendable. I'm the guy in the episode who dies to prove how serious the situation is. I've gotta get outta here"

    It has been almost 10 years since the perfectly-pitched parody of Star Trek premiered in theaters. Boasting a healthy $45MM budget, a solid cast and visual and make-up effects from the best in the industry, it was warmly received by critics and audiences alike, finishing its run with a respectable $90MM worldwide gross. With the resurgence of Star Trek, and the phenomenal success of Paramount's J.J. Abrams led reboot, Galaxy Quest should garner some new fans, and some newfound appreciation of its pure-bred fun.

    Relegated to the rotation of sci-fi conventions and gimmicky celebrity appearances, the cast of the long-since cancelled television show ‘Galaxy Quest’ have seen better days. Since their weekly science-fiction show was taken off the air, the popularity of the show has stayed alive thanks to the dedication of legions of fans who gather at conventions, dressed as their favorite characters and live happily in the minutia of the show’s canon. During a convention appearance, Jason Nesmith – one of the cast members who portrayed the rough and tumble, handsome captain Taggart is approached by what he believes is a small band of dedicated fans, but what is in actual fact representatives of an alien race, the “Thermians”, led by Mathesar (Enrico Colantoni). This misunderstanding of who these beings are lead all the actors from the old TV show, in full costumer, to end up on a full size, working replica of the space ship from their show. The Thermians had built the ship based on “historical archives’ beamed to their planet (the TV episodes), and have now reached out to the heroic crew to help them defeat the evil Sarris (Robin Sachs), a reptilian baddie bent on the destruction of the ‘simple’ Thermion people. Needless to say, this mix up has some humorous consequences.

    Galaxy Quest is a glorious spoof of the Star Trek premise and legacy – affectionately mocking the onscreen ham and off-screen reports of in-fighting, line stealing and general dynamics from Gene Rodenberry’s classic adventures to “where no man has gone before”. It ingeniously finds humorous material aplenty in the science-fiction ideas propped by a now defunct television sci-fi property while excelling at space adventure of high order. Galaxy Quest triumphs as entertainment. It captures the cardboard set and traditional parameters of the Star Trek confines, complete with ‘Irwin Allen rock and roll’ and the prescient and attuned captain bravely saving the day, while appreciating and celebrating such sci-fi.

    But the real core gem at the center of this entertaining universe is the cast. Serving as the William Shatner/Captain Kirk larger than life, ego-hound Jason Nesmith (Commander Peter Quincy Taggart) is Tim Allen. Allen manages to find the excess of ego and actor bravado that has been sewn as myth and reality into Shatner’s legacy, and pulls off the ‘over-acting’ balanced with the somewhat washed-up actor, turned real hero brilliantly. Alan Rickman as Sir Alexander Dane (Dr. Lazarus of Tev'Meck) is delightfully wry and very funny as the ‘Spock’ spoof. The rest of the cast are more than equal to the task of affectionately ribbing the Trek personnel icons.

    Sigourney Weaver as Gwen DeMarco (Lt. Tawny Madison) is excellent, Tony Shalhoub as Fred Kwan (Tech Sergeant Chen) is weirdly un-phased by the out-of-this-world circumstance, and is hilarious doing it. Daryl Mitchell as Tommy Webber (Lt. Laredo) is suitably freaked out by the whole experience and finally, Sam Rockwell as Guy Fleegman (Crewman # 6) is simply excellent – portraying the ‘redshirt’ of the Galaxy Quest universe with the pride, followed by the panic, wonderfully.

    Galaxy Quest was written by David Howard and Robert Gordon and directed by Dean Parisot – and it hits the mark in almost every respect. Bolstered by superb special effects from the Gods of visual magic, Industrial Light & Magic, and special make-up effects from the legendary Stan Winston Studios, the production quality is better than some of the films from the Star Trek franchise that the film lovingly sends up (with the clear exception of the Star Trek reboot). Non-Trek fans will have plenty to enjoy in the original story, excellent cast and top-notch effects and Trek fans will lap up the nods and winks that appear in every corner of the film. Great stuff!
     
     
     
    The Video: 4 out of 5
     
    Galaxy Quest arrives on Blu-Ray for the first time in a solid 1080p High Definition transfer (created for the 10th anniversary, and used on the Deluxe Edition DVD release earlier this year). It is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, opening with the windowboxed scene from the ‘television show’, and opening up to the full 2.35:1 as the film transitions to the convention.

    The digitally remastered treatment on blu-ray looks great. The print, aside from some specks here and there, is clean (compared to the original Dreamworks DVD release, this version is immaculate). The color balance is good, though it doesn’t ‘pop’ quite as I was expecting, but that is not a knock against the image. The look of this disc is wonderfully retentive of the proper film like quality, with pleasing contrast and wonderful details throughout. A quick comparison between this blu-ray edition and the Deluxe DVD release from earlier in the year reveals how terrific the detail level is on this release. It isn’t slick or glossy, but the new amount of detail that you will see; the prosthetic on Alan Rickman, the few stray hairs on Sigourney Weaver’s head, the dust and small rocks that tumble from the rock monster, particularly just after it has been transported into the room with the bad-guys aboard ship. The DVD appears to be brighter, but the blu-ray is by far superior.
     
    As with the DVD, the effects show the very best clarity of this entire presentation.  A must own for fans.
     
     
    The Sound: 4 out of 5
     
    The inclusion of a Dolby TrueHD audio track is welcome, and it provides and pleasing, engaging audio performance. David Newman’s terrific score sounds rich and heroic, and the ship ambience and thrusters give the woofer a good rumble. The action sequences; the ship to ship battles, the rock monster rampage, and the journey to the center of the ship (which is very funny) all sound great, rich in audio detail and quite active in the surrounds, and the dialogue is clear in the center channel. Excellent sound design delivered solidly.


     
    The Extras: 3.5 out of 4
     
    Galactopedia: I like special features like this – when done right, they can augment the entertainment on a movie that you have seen many times before. Exclusive to the blu-ray release, topics appear onscreen through the movie, and you can navigate through an encyclopedia of fun facts. Jumping from the Galactopedia track and normal view takes a good 15 -20 seconds, so be prepared for a delay if you choose to opt in or out of this track while watching the film.
     
    Historical Documents: The Story of Galaxy Quest – (18:13) – Interviews with the writer, director and others discussing the fun of the spoof and effort of making the film.

    Never Give Up, Never Surrender: The Intrepid Crew of the NSEA Protector: (23:24) A look at the cast of the film and the fun of embodying/parodying the crew from Star Trek the original series. Tim Allen is relaxed, fun and open talking about himself and the film.

    By Grabthar’s Hammer, What Amazing Effects: (7:03) A quick look at Industrial Light & Magic’s superb visual effects and other special and make-up effects. Using new and old interview footage to cover the ground.

    Alien School: Creating the Thermian Race: (5:23) This is fun stuff as they discuss Enrico Colantoni’s idea of how the Thermian recruitment leader, Mathesar, and the Thermain race, should sound and act.

    Actors in Space: (6:10) A look at the has-been actors that found themselves thrust into an interstellar adventure and how that ‘pathetic’ life is a very real thing in and around Hollywood. You will find Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek II, VI director) here and the actors discuss being thought of as the characters they have played.

    Sigourney Weaver Raps: I kid you not. Ms. Weaver (along with Sam Rockwell, Daryll “Chill” Mitchell and others) taped a rap for her agent’s birthday – encouraged by Daryl “Chill” Mitchell

    Deleted Scenes: Eight deleted scenes. Some good stuff here, especially the scene with Tony Shaloub trying to avoid having to answer a tough technical question.

    Thermian Audio Track: This was interesting for about three seconds before it became grating.

    Theatrical Trailer: (1:54) – Original theatrical trailer available in HD (the only special feature available in high def).

    Previews
     
     
    Final Thoughts
    Galaxy Quest ten years later remains highly entertaining and fun from start to finish. A perfect cast, stellar visual effects, imaginative make-up and a romp of an adventure to boot. The supporting cast sports some familiar faces, with Missi Pyle (numerous TV appearances, Boston Legal in particular) as Laliari and Rainn Wilson (NBC’s The Office) as Lahnk – both awkward, goofy Thermians. Justin Long seems to have begun his ascent into geekdom here, playing a young nerd/fan of the show who is rejected by a salty Jason Nesmith, only later to be relied upon to help save the day. He now continues to appear as the ‘Mac’ guy in the Mac computer commercials, and has played John McClane’s tech wizard sidekick in Live Free and Die Hard.

    At the end of the day, Galaxy Quest is a loving, faithful and extremely fun and funny spoof of Star Trek. And this blu-ray is absolutely the best way to enjoy it. Recommended!
    Overall Score 4 out of 5

    Neil Middlemiss
    Kernersville, NC
     
  2. ATimson

    ATimson Second Unit

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    Technically, the original theatrical aspect ratio was 1.85:1 for the first twenty minutes or so (until Taggart leaves the Protector for the first time), then it opened up to 2.35:1. But (a) I don't remember if the 1.85 material was matted at the sides or the 2.35 material matted at the top/bottom; and (b) I don't think any home video presentation has maintained that, for good reason (it loses a lot of its effect when it's so obviously windowboxed).
     
  3. cafink

    cafink Producer

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    In theaters, the 1.85:1 portion was matted on the sides.

    I wish they'd have used branching to at least give us the option of watching the multi-ratio version.
    Nevertheless, this is a hilarious movie, well worth owning.
     
  4. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    Andrew - you are correct about the theatrical opening. I don't think I was as clear as I meant to be in the description of the opening, but you are right that the home video presentation of the film has never replicated exactly the transition from 'show' to 'movie'.
     
  5. SilverWook

    SilverWook Cinematographer

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    Too bad about the multiple aspect ratio thing. It's not like somebody is going to be watching this on an old analog tv!

    Is it just coincidence that this is coming out the same day as Star Trek?
     
  6. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Can't wait to add this to my collection! An all-time favorite, but I still have the original (non-deluxe-version) DVD. Looking forward to the upgrade. Thanks for the review! :)
     
  7. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    "HEY! Don't open that! It's an alien planet! Is there air? You don't know! "

    By Grabthar's Hammer... I will be getting this on Blu. Thanks for the review.

    Shame it's still only the PG version, Sigourney Weaver yelling "Well fuck that!" at one point redubbed to "Well screw that!" for cinema release.
     
  8. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

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    I absolutely love this film. I really can't believe that it's 10 years old already. I still remember watching it in the theatre like it was just yesterday.
     
  9. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    Total coincidence! :D

    I just pre-ordered mine this morning. Love love love this movie and I was heartbroken when the BD didn't hit with the DVD earlier this year.
     
  10. ATimson

    ATimson Second Unit

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    Originally Posted by cafink Though I would have been even more amused by the counterpoint provided by the original release date, day-and-date with TOS Season 2 on Blu-ray.
     
  11. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Glad to hear this one looks (and sounds) great -- yeah, would've been nice to have the option for the original VAR, but I guess that may never happen now. Was a little reluctant to preorder this given Paramount's iffy track record for catalog titles (even though this one is not that old) -- otherwise, might've already ordered it to go w/ the new Star Trek BD.

    And thanks for the review, Neil.

    _Man_
     
  12. Paul_Warren

    Paul_Warren Second Unit

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    Forgot about this as no UK release date announced yet so guess I need to import the US BD. Great movie, still a terrific DVD and the best non cannon ST movie since ST6!
     
  13. Scott D S

    Scott D S Supporting Actor

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  14. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    I recall, either via the commentary or a documentary on the DVD, a discussion on this. They made the movie and thought, we've got a movie kids can go see except for this one word. Sigourney understood and agreed to the redub. Why make a movie like this that kids can't see just for one word?

    This movie is just so right-on in it's loving parody of Star Trek that I can imagine the original ST cast enjoying it too.
     
  15. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    I have a copy on preorder. I don't expect it to look appreciably better than my D-Theater tape but it should sound better and I'll get extras. The review sounds encouraging.
     
  16. Brian Borst

    Brian Borst Screenwriter

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    Well, technically you can use the word 'f&ck' once in a PG-13 movie, if it's not used for the 'deed' itself. But the way I heard it was that it was substantially darker, but was toned down after preview audiences thought it was too dark. So they made it more suitable for younger audiences.
     
  17. Keith I

    Keith I FoS

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    I vividly remember seeing this in theaters and know it was matted on the sides at 1.85:1 because when the ship's space doors opened up - whoosh! - the aspect ratio opened up to 2.35:1 with the doors and the effect was jarring in a good way! It was like being right there with Taggart since I saw this in a really-BIG screened theater!

    I wonder if the effect would still be cool if the Blu-ray windowboxed the 1.33:1 parts to the 1.78:1 screen, then opened up to the 1.85:1 part to fill the screen, and then when the space doors open up, the aspect ratio would change drastically to 2.35:1? I know it wouldn't be the same as a 1.85:1 windowbox opening up to 2.35:1 but this might appease the windowbox-haters.

    It's too bad the 1.33:1 goes straight to 2.35:1. Oh well, just glad to have it on Blu-ray.
     
  18. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Thanks for the review! Look forward to this one too!

    This is of course, in some circles, considered the other official Star Trek film because it is a very warm and sweet gift to the Star Trek fans, and not a parody.

    Great that this is coming out on the same day that JJ Abrams' Star Trek is coming out, now that is a counterpoint! It's as if they planned it this way.
     
  19. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    How can you say it's not a parody? Que?
     
  20. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    It may be a friendly embracing parady, but it's definitely a parody.
     

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