- Title: Galaxy Quest
- Director: Dean Parisot
- Date: 1999
- Studio: Dreamworks Pictures
- Genre: SF, Comedy
- Cast: Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, Robin Sachs
- Format: Color, Widescreen
- DVD Format: R1, NTSC
“For the past one hundred years our society had fallen into disarray, our goals, our values had become scattered, but since the transmission we have modeled every aspect of our society from your example and it has saved us. Your courage, and teamwork, and friendship through adversity. In fact, all you see around you has been taken from the lessons garnered from the historical documents.” — Mathezar
“Jason, we’re actors, not astronauts.” –Gwen
“Did you guys ever watch the show?” –Guy
“Ducts? Why is it always ducts?” –Gwen
Galaxy Quest is a great movie — it’s funny, it has an original plot, and the special effects and make-up still stand up twelve years later. Galaxy Quest is the story of a group of actors from a science fiction television series who suddenly find themselves on a real spaceship created by a group of aliens after watching their tv series, or “historical documents”. The film begins at a convention for the “Galaxy Quest” TV show which is filled with the cliches about costume-wearing fans. The actors don’t really like each other but are there because they are desperate for work. Jason Naismith (Allen) even over-hears a group of guys in the men’s room poking fun at him. He goes home, gets drunk, and the next morning goes to what he thinks is a gig with the Thurmians.
Later he discovers he really was on an alien ship – and he and his crew end up on the ship too. Before long they are involved in a war between the Thurmians and Sarris a bug-like alien who has been destroying their civilization because he can. Jason attacks Sarris’s ship but it’s a disaster, and the Protector is damaged. They go to an alien planet to get a replacement Beryllium sphere (engine part), and Jason fights a pig monster and a rock monster. But soon Sarris has the upper hand again, capturing Mathezar, the Thurmian leader, and trying to kill everyone on the ship. Jason explains about being actors, and Galaxy Quest being a tv show – then creates a distraction while the guards are taking them away. Everyone splits up with different tasks to do to rescue the dying Thurmians and get Sarris’s crew off the ship.
Finally, Jason has his third space battle with Sarris, and succeeds. But is it too easy?
After something I’m not going to spoil, because I loved it so — the Protector returns to Earth, and our “actors” make a triumphant appearance at the Galaxy Quest convention. Jason rescues the crowd from another of Sarris’ men – which the crowd assumes is a great special effect.
Jason also works with three of the Galaxy Quest fans via a transmitter – when he needs help sneaking around the ship.
Galaxy Quest, in a way, is a complex movie. Each of the actors, playing actors, had three roles to play – their characters in the 1982 TV show, themselves as typecast actors in the 1990s making ends meet by convention appearances and opening electronics stores, and the characters the Thurmians think they are – as all of the “actors” try to work things out in the science fiction plot of being on a space ship and fighting a war. It’s a bit to wrap your head around — but the film works well because everything in it feels real and true to the story. It’s not a nod-nod wink-wink breaking the fourth wall type of comedy at all – the story itself is a good science fiction story with a lot of action and a lot of comedy. There are also serious parts – such as the torturing of Mathezar, the death of Qualleg, and Jason’s growing realization that the entire mess is his fault – that are handled well.
The other question in this film is: “Who are the real fans?” And actually, the fans in the film aren’t the convention guests — but the Thurmians. These are a people who, first, are very innocent, child-like, and naive. Yet, at the same time, they had the vision and scientific skills to look at something on a TV show and actually build it and make it work. They also more or less abandoned their own culture to adapt that they saw in the “historical documents” – sort of anthropologists gone native to the extreme.
However, it is interesting that the fans at the convention are shown as stereotypical fans, buying tons of merchandise, wearing costumes, asking technical questions of the actors, or if “Commander Taggart and Lt. Madison had a thing.” But when the movie returns to the convention at the end — the fans in the audience are for the most part wearing T-shirts and jeans, in other words, dressed “normally”, and waiting for Jason and his crew to appear and speak. In the end, the film isn’t poking fun of science fiction and media fans – it’s celebrating them.
Recommendation: See it and own it!
Rating: 5 Stars
Next Film: Gaslight (1944)