Galaxy Quest (1999)
Main cast: Tim Allen (Jason Nesmith/Commander Peter Quincy Taggart), Sigourney Weaver (Gwen DeMarco/Lt. Tawny Madison), Alan Rickman (Alexander Dane/Dr. Lazarus), Tony Shalhoub (Fred Kwan/Tech Sergeant Chen), Daryl Mitchell (Tommy Weber/Lt. Laredo), Sam Rockwell (Guy Fleegman), Enrico Colantoni (Mathesar), Robin Sachs (Sarris), and Missi Pyle (Laliari)
Director: Dean Parisot
I must admit sometimes I go overboard in my fan antics. I have been known in engage in long, long and heated debates about the color of Mulder's (hopefully non-existent) underwear. I am a die-hard Star Wars fan, and if my work didn't tie me up that badly (and I need my paycheck), I may just have queued for hours for the crappy Episode 1 movie.
And I must say it is about time someone make fun of us sci-fi fans. Galaxy Quest pokes gentle fun at the whole campiness of conventions and the overzealous way fans sometimes react.
Jason Nesmith in his William Shatner role plays the charming captain of a spacecraft called NSEA Protector. There's a Couselor Troy-esque Tawny Madison played by Gwen, the token Mr Spock played by Alexander, the usual. Thing is, the show Galaxy Quest has long been cancelled and lives only in syndication. The actors are out of job and are reduced to attending conventions to eat.
And thing is, the other cast members can't stand Nesmith's self-absorbed and happy-go-lucky stance. But they can't do without Nesmith, star of the show. Hence, Gwen (aging sex symbol) gnashes her teeth with frustration - does anyone remember her role in the movie?, Alex swallows his bile and mouths his corny lines, and grown-up child actor Tommy rolls up his eyes in exasperation. Only cool and serene Fred keeps his calm.
They don't know it, but Galaxy Quest is also watched by aliens from another planet in another galaxy. The Thermians know no conception of lies, so they assume that Galaxy Quest is an accurate record of the history of humans. Hence, they enlist the actors to save them from the genocidal activities of the alien warlord Mathesar. The actors think it's just another job, and along with tagalong Guy who still basks in his ten seconds of fame as an extra, go along. Oh boy.
Lots of riotous fun ensue. I have a great time laughing and enjoying the campy rollercoaster ride that is GQ. Allen stretches the delight quotient of his role as a captain who doesn't know whether to believe in his self-created glory or not, and Alan Rickman is delightful as the acerbic and jaded Alexander. And Gwen is absolutely hilarious as the sensible one, while Tommy and Guy have some great lines. Poor Guy, who, upon realizing that this whole gig is real, starts to freak out. He died ten minutes down an episode, and the last thing he wants is that happening here! And Fred is calm and wonderfully funny as a man who seems content with his small role - he'll just go along for the ride, thanks.
The movie also infuses enough emotions to give it some depth. One could draw parallels of the Thermians' blind devotion to these fake heroes to the fans' loyalty to a group of fictitious characters, for one. The theme of loyalty and nobility in one's soul are handled adequately enough to make me tear in the eye once or twice, and the scenery is amazing. I am still gaping at the black hole and the Omega-13 - great digitized images. I want one of my own!
And there's enough parody of Star Trek - from an interplanetary romance to an ending that utilizes a well-worn and cheesy Star Trek plot convenience - to keep me chuckling.
GQ is a lot of fun. There's enough self-nudging - hey, that's so much like Star Trek! - to draw out some knowing laughs, and enough genuine heart to make it an event to remember.
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