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Galaxy Quest (1999)

A 1999 science fiction movie directed by Dean Parisot.

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A very funny & well-conceived spoof!

  • Mar 8, 2010
Rating:
+3
I recently re-watched GALAXY QUEST after a roughly decade long hiatus. I think it may have gotten even better with time. If you wanted to make a movie spoofing the original STAR TREK series and the cultural phenomenon it has become...you simply couldn't do better than this film. It pokes fun of the genre, the cast, the fans, the cheesiness and the conventions. Often, rather pointed jabs. But it's infused with real affection, and it even tells a pretty exciting and moving story of its own.

"Galaxy Quest" was the name of a `60s TV series that looks an awful lot like STAR TREK, the original series. You've got the handsome, womanizing captain whose shirt is often ripped off to expose a glistening bare torso (Tim Allen), you've got the token woman working on the bridge, whose only job is to repeat the things the computer is saying outloud already (Sigourney Weaver), the alien with the serious demeanor and no sense of humor (Alan Rickman), and even the guy without a name who always beams down to the planet and gets killed in the opening few minutes (Sam Rockwell). And while Engineer Scotty isn't directly spoofed, you've got Tony Shaloub as the blissed-out, mellow actor who once filled that role.

Twenty years later, these actors have little to do but make paid appearances at conventions, in costume. Some absolutely hate it (Rickman), others tolerate it and for Allen, it's the highlight of his life...although at home, he's a hopeless lush. These old cast members can barely stand each other, and lord knows they are pretty sick of never getting to do anything else.

Turns out, though, that the broadcasts of their shows have traveled through space and been intercepted by an alien race on a distant planet. These aliens, however, think the broadcasts are "historical documents" and they create the science needed to perfectly replicate what they see on the show. And now these gentle aliens are in trouble and so travel to earth to enlist the help of their old heroes...the cast of "Galaxy Quest."

I won't say much about the plot, except to note that it plays out much like a Star Trek episode...it's a legitimate adventure story, coupled with a great spoof. Will our weary cast members rise to the challenge? Will they find redemption? Can you guess the answer? And because you can guess...your enjoyment should actually be enhanced, because the film finds delightful ways to surprise you throughout.

The script is very good. The jokes aren't exactly Oscar quality...but neither are they cheap. The film takes the time to develop real characters...and is careful to make the aliens quite unique themselves. These aren't just cookie-cutter aliens designed to fill the needs of the plot. We can actually see how these actors might actually take a liking to these aliens.

And if the script is good, the cast is GREAT. This is a modest film, overall (even though the special effect still look pretty good even today)...but these actors are clearly fully engaged in what they're doing. Weaver is hilarious, really spoofing both Star Trek and Ellen Ripley. Often, I find Weaver to be a bit tight as an actress...very good, but lacking a breezy quality. In GALAXY QUEST, she's relaxed and having great fun. Shaloub is a delight, stealing most of the scenes he's in. Sam Rockwell takes his manic energy and puts it to perfect use...he's convinced that he's destined to be "that guy who dies on that planet." Rickman is droll and understated. At first, his character is seething with resentment at having to wear that awful makeup and say those stupid lines. Watching his gradual growth is a subtle pleasure of the film. And Tim Allen (outside of his great voicework in the TOY STORY films) may actually give his most credible film performance here. He's not a great actor, nor even a particularly adept comic...but this role is almost custom-fitted to him. He only has to be "serious" a little bit, and he can handle it. He is called on to be glib and self-mocking...and is able to muster than quite readily.

GALAXY QUEST was a real treat to revisit, and I heartily recommend it for either a repeat viewing or a first time adventure...particularly if you're familiar with what it is spoofing!

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More Galaxy Quest reviews
review by . September 08, 2010
Never Retreat, Never Surrender!
Galaxy Quest.  Weird to admit that the first time I saw this movie was just last night when it came out in 1999. To be fair 1999 gave us incredible movies like The Matrix and Fight Club, so perhaps my mind was elsewhere. This movie was not high on my radar when it was new.      The source that even made me remember this movie existed was from my Directing 1 professor. If he liked there must be something good about it. So, while going to Wal-Mart looking a new DVD set out …
Quick Tip by . October 22, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This is another sleeper/ensemble piece. I had to watch it in pieces because I kept laughing to hard to catch the next funny bit. Seeing the link, I think it's time I see the movie again.
review by . April 29, 2009
Having attended some of the conventions for old television series (Star Trek, Dark Shadows), I could really relate to this movie.  The atmosphere and the attitude of the fans at some of these conventions are captured exactly by the director.    In this movie, the actors from on old television series very much like Star Trek, attend a convention.  They are harangued by the fans and peppered with questions about the science in some of the more obscure episodes.  Tim Allen …
review by . November 01, 2008
Galaxy Quest
This is the best satire comedy on the market, making fun of the old Star Trek show and all the conventions and Trekkies that followed the show.     The aging actors of the Galaxy Quest show still attend conventions, signing autographs for money, and no other acting career left because of the previous popularity of their show. Commander Peter Quincy Taggert is just Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen), a has been actor with a big ego. He's in dutch with his fellow cast members for taking …
review by . October 13, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Having attended some of the conventions for old television series (Star Trek, Dark Shadows), I could really relate to this movie. The atmosphere and the attitude of the fans at some of these conventions are captured exactly by the director.     In this movie, the actors from on old television series very much like Star Trek, attend a convention. They are harangued by the fans and peppered with questions about the science in some of the more obscure episodes. Tim Allen is the …
review by . January 28, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
"Galaxy Quest" gives sci-fi lovers a swift, but soft and loving, kick in the pants. It is dead-on with its parody of sci-fi television, the actors involved, and the herds of loving fans who, admittedly, do take their science fiction just a little too seriously. If your a fan of shows such as "Star Trek," "Farscape," or "Doctor Who," you'll definitely identify with this movie.What makes this movie so unique, however, is the fact that it uses the sometimes fanatic behavior of sci-fi fans who take …
review by . October 21, 2001
posted in Movie Hype
Sometimes when I write a review and give five stars I pause. After all 5 stars makes a picture equal to THE GODFATHER or GONE WITH THE WIND, and BEN HUR etc. Thus when you have a light film such as GALAXY QUEST I think, "Can I really make this movie equal to them?"The answer is easy: Most people don't watch movies for artistic merrits (Stop fainting you cultured ones) we watch it to be entertained. This movie is entertaining, in fact if you are not a SCIFI fan you will find it even funnier.The plot …
review by . December 19, 2000
Pros: Very funny; Great cast; Hysterical script; Excellent direction; Lots of fun     Cons: Honestly, I can't think of anything at all.     What do you get when you have six defunct sci-fi actors, countless Trekkie-esque groupies and a planet in major trouble? Why, Galaxy Quest, of course! Add a great cast, hysterical script, excellent writer and terrific costumes, and you've got yourself a fabulous movie.      Galaxy Quest is about the …
review by . January 10, 2000
Pros: Amusing send off of Star Trek and their fans     Cons: A little too nerdy at times.     I knew I was in for something weird when I noticed that everyone in the theater was a fan of Star Trek. How could I tell? The tee shirts, the head gear, the Star Trek jokes, etc... It became pretty obvious that I was either at a Trek convention or something close.       While I am not a major fan of Star Trek, I could follow along with all the …
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I've got my own site, www.afilmcritic.com, on which I'm posting my reviews. I am 46 years old, married 25 years, two kids (23 & 18) and currently work in accounting/finance. I spent 15 years … more
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You don't have to be aStar Trekfan to enjoyGalaxy Quest, but it certainly helps. A knowingly affectionate tribute toTrekand any other science fiction TV series of the 1960s and beyond, this crowd-pleasing comedy offers in-jokes at warp speed, hitting the bull's-eye for anyone who knows that (1) the starship captain always removes his shirt to display his manly physique; (2) any crew member not in the regular cast is dead meat; and (3) the heroes always stop the doomsday clock with one second to spare. So it is with Commander Taggart (Tim Allen) and the stalwart crew of the NSEAProtector, whose intergalactic exploits on TV have now been reduced to a dreary cycle of fan conventions and promotional appearances. That's when the Thermians arrive, begging to be saved from Sarris, the reptilian villain who threatens to destroy their home planet.

Can actors rise to the challenge and play their roles for real? The Thermians are counting on it, having studied the "historical documents" of the Galaxy Quest TV show, and their hero worship (not to mention their taste for Monte Cristo sandwiches) is ultimately proven worthy, with the help of some Galaxy geeks on planet Earth. And while Galaxy Quest serves up great special effects and impressive Stan Winston creatures, director Dean Parisot (Home Fries) is never condescending, lending warm acceptance to this gentle send-up of sci-fi TV and the phenomenon of fandom. Best of all is the splendid cast, ...

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Details

Director: Dean Parisot
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Release Date: 1999
DVD Release Date: May 2, 2000
Runtime: 102 minutes
Studio: Dreamworks Video
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