Studio: Paramount Pictures
US Rating: Rated PG - For Some Action Violence, Mild Language and Sensuality
Film Length: 101 Mins
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English Dolby Digital Surround 5.1, Spanish 5.1, Thermian 2.0
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Review Date: May 11, 2009
The Film - out of
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.
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 unphased 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!
This film is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and enhanced for widescreen televisions.
For the Deluxe Edition, Galaxy Quest receives the digitally remastered treatment and the results get a thumbs up. Owners of the previous, Dreamworks DVD release will immediately notice how clean it is. Whereas the original was teeming with speckles, dust and other debris, this new version is pretty spotless. The color balance is good, contrast is pleasing and details are better than ever. The effects show the very best clarity of this entire presentation but it isn’t perfect. However, overall, this is a great improvement over the previous release.
An active, engaging Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound accompanies this Deluxe Edition. Not dissimilar to the previous version, which too was rambunctious, rumbling and rich in the surrounds, this version delivers with clean dialogue in the center channel and solid use of the other speakers. Action comes alive with some solid directional effects and the benefits of a good sound design. A good, fun audio.
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 – (00:00) – 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.
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 Thermains. Justin Long seems to have begun his ascent into geekdom here, playing a young nerd/fan of the show that is rejected by a salty Jason Nesmith, only later to be relied upon to help save the day. He went on to appear as the ‘Mac’ guy in the Mac computer commercials and as 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. Recommended!