For four years, the courageous crew of the NSEA Protector -- "Commander Peter Qunicy Taggart" (Tim Allen), "Lt. Tawny Madison" (Sigourney Weaver), and "Dr. Lazarus" (Alan Rickman) -- set off on thrilling and often dangerous missions in space...and then their series was canceled!
Now, twenty years later, aliens under attack have mistaken the Galaxy Quest television transmissions for "historical documents" and beamed up the crew of has-been actors to save the universe. With no script, no director, and no clue, the actors must turn in the performances of their lives in this hilarious adventure Jeffrey Lyons (NBC-TV) calls "The funniest, wittiest comedy of the year."
Back in the years when Star Trek was still a cult phenomenon (instead of a mainstream cash cow for Paramount Pictures), fan fiction was about the only way Trekkies could experience the latest exploits of their favorite characters. One of the more inventive examples of such writing was called "Visit to a Weird Planet Revisited" (by Ruth Berman). The premise underlying this story is that a transporter malfunction causes three Star Trek characters (from an alternate universe) to switch places with the actors playing them. Consequently, William Shatner finds himself in command of a very real starship out in space that is under attack by the nefarious Klingons. This same central conceit forms the basis of the movie Galaxy Quest, except that the TV show in question is only Star Trek in spirit, not in fact...The actors do solid jobs. Tim Allen, who is almost certainly on hand to broaden the film's appeal, doesn't attempt to mimic Shatner or Kirk, but there are times when certain mannerisms make it apparent that he has seen a few Star Trek episodes. Sigourney Weaver, trying to get as far away from Ripley as possible, goes through the film as a blonde who displays ample cleavage (she credits the costume designers with "supporting" her in this area). Alan Rickman is suitably dour and Tony Shalhoub has his moments. Meanwhile, Sam Rockwell is on hand as someone who had a walk-on part being killed off in a Galaxy Quest episode, and is now afraid the same thing is going to happen in real life...Galaxy Quest has a good time playing with different aspects of science fiction in general, and Star Trek in particular. And, although it isn't necessary to come armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of the original Star Trek TV series to enjoy this movie, the better you know Galaxy Quest's inspiration, the more you will get out of this picture.
One of my favorite moments in "Galaxy Quest" takes place as a Red Digital Readout is ticking off the second until a spaceship is blown to smithereens. The only person who can save it is a teenage science fiction fan far away on Earth--and he has just been ordered by his mother to take out the garbage. But then the ship is saved! How? I won't spoil the moment, except to say the ship is modeled in every possible respect on a ship that appears on a TV show, and that includes a digital readout that is also consistent with TV cliches..."Galaxy Quest" begins at a convention for the fans of a cult TV program not a million light years removed from "Star Trek." Anyone who has seen "Trekkies," the documentary about "Star Trek" fans, will recognize this world at once--a world of fanatics who take the show very seriously indeed, packing hotel ballrooms to screen classic episodes of the show and get autographs from its aging cast members...Backstage in a dressing room, Alexander Dane (Alan Rickman), who played an alien who was a doctor on the show, vows, "I won't say that stupid line one more time." Other cast members are enraged that the show's star is late as usual. He is Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen), who plays Cmdr. Peter Quincy Taggart and is not a million light years removed from William Shatner. The heroine is Gwen DeMarco (Sigourney Weaver), who plays Lt. Tawny Madison and complains that TV Guide only interviewed her about her boobs...The movie's humor works best when the illogic of the TV show gets in the way. There is on board, for example, a passageway blocked by alternating vertical and horizontal clappers that smash back and forth across the passageway. Negotiating it could be fatal. Why are they there? No reason. Just because they look good on TV.
DVD, Deluxe Edition, Slip Sleeve, No Longer Produced
Bob Stephens, San Francisco Examiner
An exceptionally funny science-fiction comedy.
Dennis Cunningham, WCBS-TV
Whip smart and loudly funny!
Jonathan Foreman, New York Post
An affectionate, often clever and unflaggingly funny satire.
Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
A fast, loose, and very funny parody that pulls off the not-so-simple feat of tweaking Trekkies and honoring them.
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
...a thoroughly satisfying comedy -- and a respectable space adventure, as well.
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