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“Never Give Up. Never Surrender.”
To hear the review
To hear the review
Galaxy Quest managed to be two things at once when it was released in 2000. Totally generic, and totally new. And the terrific balance between the two was what made it terrific. I really, really like Galaxy Quest. It’s generic in that it tells the story of people we’ve seen in movies many times before, every character is a cliche, the plot follows the same arc as almost every other movie ever made, and it involves Tim Allen. It’s new in that the generic nature of the characters and plot are done on purpose. And the casting of Tim Allen was actually a good idea. And showing Sigourney Weaver’s cleavage the whole movie is totally hot, but with a reason. Just about everything in this movie works.
Galaxy Quest has clearly been released, by Paramount Home Entertainment on May 12th, as part of Star Trek week. With the new movie doing crazy box office in the theatres, everything Star Trek-related will have a market. I hope Galaxy Quest gets a bump from this crowd, because it’s better than ANY of the Star Trek movies. Well, maybe Wrath of Khan. The idea is that Galaxy Quest is a TV show just like Star Trek. And it has a crazy, rabid, nerdy following of people who are obsessed with the minutiae of the show, just like Trekkies. And the actors who starred on the show have done nothing with their lives or careers since the show ended, and make their money attending the nerdy conventions. Just like…well, you get the picture.
The characters are fantastic – Tim Allen plays the Shatner role, the commander of the Starfleet, the Big Star everyone is waiting to see. Sure, he hasn’t worked in years, but he loves the fans and loves being adored, even though he’s a broken-down deluded old superstar outside the convention circuit. Sigourney Weaver was the big-boobed, all-cleavage eye candy on the show, although she had no role other than repeating what the computer said. She still looks spectacular years later. Alan Rickman might be the best character in the movie. His character on Galaxy Quest was an alien of some kind, with weird makeup and a funny head. And he is constantly bemoaning the fact that he was once a serious actor, and a GOOD actor, but now he’s reduced to this convention stuff which is so much beneath him.
Also solid are Tony Shalhoub as a stoner actor who goes to the conventions because he doesn’t care about anything, and Sam Rockwell as an actor who appeared in one episode of Galaxy Quest and was killed in the first two minutes. Like an ensign on Star Trek. Justin Long shows up in an early role as the Nerdiest Of The Nerds, the Biggest Galaxy Quest Fan In The World. Just as a spoof on “what might have happened to the cast of Star Trek” movie about the conventions and the actors who frequent them, this film would have worked. But instead they tell a story along the most generic arc of all – rock bottom, followed by a deception that lifts them out of the dumps, followed by a conflict they attempt to escape, followed by the revelation of their deception, and then of course their collective redemption.
This story arc comes courtesy of a group of ACTUAL aliens who have seen the old Galaxy Quest episodes which have somehow been beamed into outer space. They believe that the episodes they have seen are “historical documents” of this group of people on Earth, and they think this crew can save them from an evil menacing alien race of bug-looking creepy things. Which is basically the plot of Seven Samurai, or Magnificent Seven, or, more accurately, The Three Amigos. The actors at first have no idea what they’re getting themselves into, but once they realize that they are, really, in space, they decide to make the best of it.
It’s the little touches that make Galaxy Quest so good. Most of those touches come before the crew are actually in space. The scene where the cast are opening a shopping mall in front of a small gathering of loyal geeks is priceless. Tim Allen is (dare I say) actually good as a Shatner-esque actor in love with his own reflection, and the scenes involving Justin Long as the crazy nerd trying to figure out some tiny detail about the spaceship and the flux-filtration system (or whatever it is – I didn’t write it down) are where Allen really shines. And little things like Allen’s cheesy line from every Galaxy Quest episode - “Never give up. Never surrender.” – are what make this movie so clever. It SEEMS like a tough-guy, outer-space sci-fi type line, but really it’s redundant nonsense.
The deluxe edition of Galaxy Quest comes out May 12th from Paramount Home Entertainment, and includes several bonus features. Historical Documents: The Story Of ‘Galaxy Quest’, Never Give Up. Never Surrender: The Intrepid Crew of the NSEA Protector, By Grabthar’s Hammer What Amazing Effects, and some deleted scenes and actor features. It’s a movie that has been forgotten over the past ten years, but it remains as good as ever, maybe even better with time. Pick up Galaxy Quest, it’s certainly worth it.