Galaxy Quest (DVD)

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Galaxy Quest (DVD)

GALAXY QUEST is a satirical comedy that pokes fun at the influence science fiction shows such as STAR TREK have had on their audience. The cast member...

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Review of "Galaxy Quest (DVD)"

published 01/09/2001 | Crazy-Christian
Member since : 02/08/2000
Reviews : 79
Members who trust : 75
About me :
Probably been away too long to remember how to do this thing. Hopefully it's just like riding a bike...
Excellent
Pro A rollercoaster ride to the stars!
Cons No commentary - boo!
very helpful
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"By Grabthar's Hammer you must buy this DVD"

I make no apologies for what I am going to rave about. Galaxy Quest is one of the funniest films ever made and I love it to bits.

If you are a fan of Science fiction in general, and Star Trek in particular, then you will love this movie. Even if you are not but just enjoy a good comedy then this is well worth a look as it works on many levels and will appeal to a wide audience. Barring the odd swear word it is a real family film.

Galaxy Quest, as its title suggests, is a rip-off of Star Trek. No, rip-off is too cynical. Spoof? No, it’s not silly enough to be a Naked Gun style spoof; it has a real plot and everything. A parody? An homage? I’m not sure what the correct term is but it is an affectionate rather than cruel send-up and it is so good-natured you can’t help but warm to it.

***THE 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 Sgt. Chen

Sam Rockwell .... Guy Fleegman/Security Officer 'Roc' Ingersol

Daryl Mitchell .... Tommy Webber/Laredo

Enrico Colantoni .... Mathesar

Robin Sachs .... Sarris

Patrick Breen .... Quellek

Missi Pyle .... Laliari/Jane Doe

Jed Rees .... Teb

Justin Long .... Brandon

***THE PLOT***

As usual, I would advise that you skip the next section regarding the plot and let yourself be surprised. For the remaining 99% who can’t help themselves, here’s what happens. It begins at a fan convention for the long-cancelled cult SF-TV show, Galaxy Quest. The enraptured audience is watching the last episode of the show on a giant screen. It ends on a major cliff-hanger, with the crew in a seemingly helpless position. Then, the Commander utters the ominous phrase, "Activate the Omega-13".

The appreciative crowd erupts, eager to meet their heroes who are about to be introduced on stage. But there is a delay, and we switch back-stage, where we see the weary bunch of actors, now out-of-work and reduced to eking out a living on the convention circuit and opening electrical stores. Their glorious leader, Jason Nesmith, is late again. British thespian Alexander Dane is disgusted at the level to which he has fallen, especially hating the catchphrases he has been lumbered with as part of his character’s alien heritage. Fred Kwan, who plays engineer Tech Sergeant Chen, appears to have a case of the munchies and is so laid-back that he just lets everything in life pass him by. Gwen DeMarco, the ageing but still attractive Communications Officer, is bemoaning the fact that her role consisted of repeating everything the computer said and thrusting out her breasts. Tommy Webber, the now grown-up child prodigy, Laredo, who piloted their spaceship, the NSEA Protector, points out that their leader has taken another solo job, apparently believing that he is the real star of the show and feels himself to be more important than everyone else.

This is not a happy crew as Nesmith breezes in, unconcerned that he’s kept them all waiting. They are introduced to the crowd and then settle down to sign some autographs. As Nesmith effortlessly jokes with his fans, the others comment that they seem to love him - "almost as much as he loves himself", one of them adds. However, whilst making a pit stop Nesmith overhears a couple of ‘fans’ making fun of the whole event and especially him. They find it hilarious that he is so completely in love with himself that he is oblivious to his fellow actors’ disdain for him. They label him ‘a loser’.

He is, therefore, in a pretty bad mood when he returns to sign some more autographs, and snaps at some kids who take the show a little too seriously and try to explain a technological error in one of the episodes, telling them that it is only a TV show. He meets a strange looking bunch, who he believes to be the organisers of his personal gig the next day. In fact, they are real aliens, called Thermians, who have come to ask Commander Taggart and his crew for help in defeating their evil enemy, Sarris.

Nesmith, feeling sorry for himself, is smashed the next morning when the aliens turn up with his requested limo. He goes along, still believing this to be an amateur video production. He is impressed when he is taken onto what he believes to be a set, and sees the reptilian Sarris on the view screen. Winging it, he tells the crew to fire at Sarris with everything they’ve got. Satisfied with his performance he says he has to go home. The aliens thank him and give him a communicator. They leave him on a transport bay where he stands, a little confused. Some sort of gel rushes up and cocoons his body and then the bay doors open. The view of outer space is breathtaking. Suddenly, the cocoon is shot through space at unbelievable speed and it lands right in front of his house!

Nesmith, rather understandably, is totally shocked by the experience, and rushes to an opening of a computer store where his fellow cast are now completely fed up with his no-show. In his excitement he collides with a group of young fans, the same ones he had a go at at the convention, and mixes up his communicator with a toy one. They all think he is insane when he tries to explain what’s happened and he can’t prove it with his toy communicator.

The aliens then contact him again. Their strike caught Sarris by surprise and they require Taggart’s help to negotiate a treaty of surrender. He agrees and tries to convince his crew who think he is drunk. Then it dawns on them that he may, in his own warped way, be offering them a job. They decide to take him up on it and are surprised to find themselves encased in gel and shot through space. They arrive at the spaceship and are met by the aliens in their real form - a kind of octopus, which freaks them out even more.

Nesmith arrives, pleased that they have joined them. He points out that this is the chance of a lifetime. The Thermians reveal that they have received transmissions of Galaxy Quest’s "Historical Documents" for years and have based their society on them. The crew realise that the aliens believe the TV show to be real! They have adapted their science to build actual spaceships, transporters, weapons, all based on the props from the show.

Sarris reveals that he is bluffing and threatens to take over the ship. He wants to get hold of the Omega-13 device, which the crew have to admit they got from an alien planet and are unsure of its purpose (which is what happened in the final episode.) The actors have to face the compelling question: do they have the courage to become real heroes?


***CONCLUSIONS***

This is a thrill-ride from first minute to last. It manages to rise above being merely a spoof, which, although periodically funny, rely too much on their sketchy nature. This film has a proper plot, full of drama and adventure. The fact that it is also hilarious is just a bonus. Whenever it could revert to plain silliness, suddenly a serious moment presents new challenges to both the crew and audience. When they try to go up against the bad guy again, they behave like the actors they are. The beating they and their ship receives reminds them, all too painfully, that this is real life, and it is not scripted so that they know they will ultimately win.

This introduces a real element of tension as the audience wonders how this bunch can believably pull together as a team and actually defeat Sarris. Thankfully, the writing, directing and acting are all top-notch and the story unfolds plausibly and naturally, culminating in a spectacular and pleasing climax.

All the cast make a good job of it. Tim Allen is a big Sci-Fi fan and his enthusiasm shines through. He plays the part of the egotistical, but ultimately decent and courageous Jason Nesmith, brilliantly. There are shades of William Shatner in his performance, but he doesn’t let that persona overwhelm him. This character has flaws but he learns a lot about himself and his friends during the course of their adventures.

Sigourney Weaver is fantastic as a rather different space heroine. Here, she is tough and sexy, but in a completely different way from the alien-battling Ripley. She plays the humour extremely well and bounces off Allen in a pleasing way. Alan Rickman has enormous fun as the English actor, Alexander Dane, dripping with sarcasm as he takes on the "Spock" role. Tony Shalhoub is also excellent as Tech Sergeant Chen, who rediscovers his professionalism and his enthusiasm for life. Daryl Mitchell is perhaps the only disappointment, his character being less interesting.

The "new" crew member, Guy, however, nearly steals the show. Sam Rockwell is so convincingly goofy in this part that I failed to realise it was the same actor who had played the manic part of sicko "Wild Bill Wharton" in The Green Mile, which I had only just seen. Originally the host of the convention, he joins in signing autographs as he once had a small part in one episode, an unnamed crewman who was killed by the monster early on. He manages to get hooked up with the crew but starts to panic as he believes that history will repeat itself and that he is only there to be killed off on the planet so that none of the regulars get hurt. He cheers up slightly when someone comments that perhaps he’s there as the plucky, comic relief!

The special effects and creature make-up help make the film so enjoyable. To make this more than a spoof the creatures had to be believable and a large part of the impressive budget must have gone to Stan Winston, who creates some of his finest aliens. Sarris is especially impressive, the articulated head allowing for a wide range of expressions and enabling Robin Sachs to create a real character.

There are many stand-out scenes which help to make this film so memorable. From the introduction of the ship to the stunned cast, the scenes on the planet with the ‘cute’ child miners, the fight between Nesmith and the rock creature, the confrontation with Sarris as he realises what the crew really are and forces them to explain to the alien leader, Malthasar. It is especially endearing to watch the crew gradually take on the roles they played on the show.

My favourite scene is where Nesmith and DeMarco are racing through the bowels of the ship to shut-off the auto-destruct system. They are unfamiliar with the geography of the ship, being mere stars of the show, but they know someone who will know what to do. Brandon, the nerdy computer geek who Nesmith put down at the convention. He uses his communicator to reach the bemused fan, whose first instinct is to point out that he realises it is only a TV show. When Nesmith tells him to forget it and that it is all real, Brandon’s exultant "I knew it!", captures the spirit of the movie. He then contacts his friends and uses their combined knowledge to guide them through the ship. This critical dramatic point is interspersed with hilarious scenes of Brandon’s parents forcing him to put out the garbage!

Another classic is the finale. (SPOILER HERE) When the ship crashes into the convention that the cast have failed to turn up for, which should be ludicrous and contrived, but works brilliantly, the crew are greeted by tumultuous applause as they stagger out onto the stage, the fans believing it to be a stunt! It’s even funnier after what happens to Sarris!

In many ways, Galaxy Quest is to Star Trek what Scream is to slasher movies. It copies the style accurately enough to remain true to the genre while adding an additional layer of ironic humour. Much of the appreciation of the audience will be due to their familiarity with the material, both its strengths and its weaknesses. It’s the attention to detail which helps lift the movie above the norm. Whether it’s the sets, the costumes, the music or the design of the spaceships, it all leads to a feeling of nostalgia interlinked with a freshness that Star Trek itself seems to struggle for, nowadays.

***THE EXTRAS***

Normally I would mark down a DVD that had as few extras as this. Apart from the obligatory trailer, subtitles and scene selection, there are only two bonus features which are worthy of the title on this disc. Luckily, they are both excellent.

The first is a short behind-the-scenes making-of featurette, "On Location In Space". All the main players, both before and behind the cameras, are interviewed and there is a lot of fascinating information. However, at only ten minutes it is far too short and leaves you wanting more. There is no commentary (the director, Dean Parisot’s views would have been enlightening) and so one feels that this has been a missed opportunity.

The second is the killer, though. These six deleted or extended scenes from the cutting room floor, totalling 9 minutes 36 seconds, are of exceptional quality and deserved to be in the film. The reason why they are not is obvious - in each case they would have slowed the pace. However, their inclusion would have been justified as each is as funny as anything in the movie. The best one actually solves a mistake from the final cut of the movie. If you watch very closely, and believe me, I have, in the scene where Nesmith and DeMarco race into the chamber to deactivate the self-destruct, Gwen’s suit is zipped-up revealing only a slight cleavage. Then suddenly it is wide-open, exposing much more of her cleavage and a rather fetching red bra. If you want to know how that happens - you’ll have to get the DVD!

***SUMMARY***

I could go on, as I’m sure you’re all too aware, but my mission is to convince each and every one of you to watch this movie. It really is that good. I could mention how the Omega-13 plot device neatly fits into the movie, about the moving relationship that develops between Dr. Lazarus and his biggest ‘fan’, Quellek, or the hilarious closing trailer featuring an all-new series of the show, "The Journey Continues", including a certain Guy Fleegman and Jane Doe in the credits. I could go on and on, but all you need to know is the following -

If you like action-packed, sci-fi, adventure, feel-good movies with plenty of laughs, then this is for you. It’s a fantastic fun-filled tribute to its imaginative predecessors.


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Comments on this review

  • andrew007 published 27/09/2002
    brilliant review, i saw this film when it came out and i thought i was very good and your review is the best ive ever read on the whole web site.
  • Staggly published 25/10/2001
    Superb Op. I don't know how anyone could NOT love this film. The commentary was much needed wasn't it..oh well!
  • debrini published 28/09/2001
    I loved this film. Great op. Thank you commander!!! Deb :0)
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Product Information : Galaxy Quest (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

GALAXY QUEST is a satirical comedy that pokes fun at the influence science fiction shows such as STAR TREK have had on their audience. The cast members of the cult sci-fi television series GALAXY QUEST now earn their livings appearing at conventions and grand openings, led by their bomastic captain Jason Nesmith, played by Tim Allen. When an alien race--the Thermians--arrives on earth, it appears that they have mistakenly appropriated the show's culture as their own, thinking the series was actual fact. Desperate for help in battling the evil General Sarris, they bring the actors with them into space to save their planet. A surprisingly smart and funny send-up of the science-fiction culture and the influence television has on the world at large, GALAXY QUEST is a comedy that even non-genre fans can enjoy, with terrific turns by Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, and Tony Shalhoub.

Release Details

DVD Region: DVD

Studio(s): PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT; TECHNICOLOR DISTRIBUTION SERVICES, DREAMWORKS HOME ENTERTAINMENT; UNIVERSAL MUSIC OPERATIONS

Release date: 19/06/2006, 26/03/2001

No of Discs: 1

Catalogue No: DSL 1297, 490 913 9

Composer: David Newman

Costume Designer: Albert Wolsky

Director of Photography: Jerzy Zielinski

Editor: Don Zimmerman

Executive Producer: Charles J. Newirth

Producer: Mark Johnson, Charles J. Newirth, Suzann Ellis

Production Designer: Linda DeScenna

Author: David Newman

Barcode: 5051188129736, 0678149091397

Screenwriter: Robert Gordon, David Newman, David Howard

Languages

Main Language: English

Dubbed Language: German

Subtitle Language: Dutch, Norwegian, Finnish, English, Danish, Swedish

Hearing Impaired Language: English

Technical Information

Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic Wide Screen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Dubbing Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English German

Special Features: On Location In Space, Cutting Room Floor, Theatrical Trailer

Professional Reviews

Review: "...This tightly scripted, lightning-paced laffer delightfully pulls all the elements together and builds to a giddy and gleeful climax..." (Box Office, p.57, 01/02/2000)<br><br>"...The expert cast is more than game. Extra points to [Rickman and Weaver]..." -- 3 out of 5 stars (Premiere, pp.100-1, 01/06/2000)<br><br>"...Genuinely imaginative special effects which manage to recognisably in the spirit of the cheesy originals..." (USA Today, p.48-9, 01/05/2000)<br><br>"...Mischievously clever..." (Variety, pp.57-62, 20/12/1999)<br><br>

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