Release Date: December 25, 1999
Starring: Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver,
Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub,
Daryl Mitchell, & Sam Rockwell
Genre: Science fiction comedy
Audience: Older children & adults
Runtime: 102 minutes
Distributor: DreamWorks SKG
Director: Dean Parisot
Producer: Suzan Ellis, Mark Johnson &
Writer: Robert Gordon & David Howard
Address Comments To:Jeffrey Katzenberg & Steven Spielberg
100 Universal Plaza, Bldg. 10
Universal City, CA 91608-1085
The movie starts off at a sci-fi convention, which the production team researched so well that it plays like the real thing. An old TV show called GALAXY QUEST is the star of the convention, and it starts showing one of the old episodes, silly and cheesy with tacky special effects. The show has been off the air for nearly 20 years, and the actors have survived by signing autographs.
Most of the crew is very disgruntled by their fall from fame.
A brilliant Sigourney Weaver plays actress Gwen DeMarco who was Communications Officer Lt. Tawny Madison on the TV show. Since the program was made before women’s lib, her sole purpose was as a “Barbie doll” window dressing and to repeat the words of the commander.
Slightly over the top, in a role that deserves this treatment, is Alan Rickman who plays Alexander Dane, purportedly a Shakespearean actor down on his luck, who played the half humanoid/half alien Dr. Lazarus on the show. Alex is now constantly depressed by his demotion from Shakespeare to cheesy American science fiction. He also begrudges the Commander’s success and fame.
The Commander is none other than Tim Allen, who plays actor Jason Nesmith, who plays Commander Peter Quincy Taggart on the series. Jason is the only one who likes doing these horrific conventions. He still gets off on his fame, fleeting as it was, and actually believes that he was a commander.
Several other characters round out the crew, including Fred Kwan (Tony Shalhoub), Tommy Webber (Daryl Mitchell) and Guy Fleegman (Sam Rockwell). Each is embarrassed by what they have become.
Jason happens into the men’s room during the convention and hears a couple of young smart aleck teenagers talk about what a big blowhard he is. With this revelation, Jason goes home to drink himself into oblivion. The next day, four of the weirdest looking fans show up at his home and ask Jason to go into space to save their race. He thinks it is another convention, but finds himself really in space facing a tremendous threat. The Thermians are being annihilated by their arch-enemy, the evil Sarris of Fatu-Krey.
Jason goes back to Earth to solicit the aid of the crew. They come along thinking that it is another gig, and it may be their last. The space battle begins with the actors suddenly trying to learn how to be the space cadets they never really were.
Humor abounds in GALAXY QUEST. Excellent jabs at TV series like STAR TREK grace the screen. One of the funniest is Tony Shalhoub’s deadpan delivery as the spaceship’s “engineer.” The story also includes many funny situations based on the characters and the obstacles they face. Even so, the movie has lots of exciting adventure, plot twists and space battles. In fact, Tim Allen displays some real-looking action heroics reminiscent of William Shatner’s Captain Kirk persona _ with a humorous twist.
Furthermore, there are some key moral points about honesty and pride in GALAXY QUEST. Jason has to get over his ego, humble himself and learn how to love others. The Thermians have been intercepting the TV broadcast of the program, but don’t understand drama or acting. They are told by the evil alien Sarris (Robin Sachs) that acting is lying. This shakes them to the core and raises some very interesting issues. In fact, the movie abounds with interesting moral issues like this. Many of them, however, are left unresolved. Make no mistake, GALAXY QUEST is out to entertain first and foremost.
However, there are some lewd comments and jokes, and there are some mild profanities and obscenities, and one strong profanity.. By the end of the battle, Gwen’s cleavage is clearly exposed. Tech Sargent Chen falls in love with an alien, and it is implied that they have a physical relationship. At the same time, this relationship is rebuked, and it is sort of a commentary on the original STAR TREK series, where there was often an alien romantic interest.
On the other hand, the aliens also spend some time thanking God and talking about people being blessed, but there is no connection made to the God of the Bible.
In a really wonderful insight into computer games and the mass media’s confusion of fantasy with reality, some of the earthbound teenagers at the science fiction convention also get a chance to become heroes. Their obsession with the TV series and computers actually helps out the crew in a desperate time of need.
It is actually surprising that all of this comes off as well as it does. Even so, however, a couple of the action sequences don’t work all that well. They stretch credulity and detract from the impact of the story’s buildup to the climax, which otherwise is very good. Also, as in other science fiction movies and programs, there are several scientific and technological gimmicks that don’t make sense. For instance, the Thermians are able to build a functioning spaceship simply by watching how the actors operated the controls on the TV ship. It may have been funnier if some of those controls didn’t work like they should have.
Still, GALAXY QUEST continues to provide plenty of surprises all the way up to the end. It delights in good writing and creating good characters. It even manages successfully to mix comedy with action in a way that is somewhat family friendly. This is a difficult feat indeed, especially when you think of all the lewd sex comedies and dark action movies that Hollywood has been foisting on the public these days.
Humor abounds in GALAXY QUEST. Excellent jabs at TV series like STAR TREK grace the screen. The story also includes many funny situations based on the characters and the obstacles they face. Also, the movie has lots of adventure and space battles to enjoy. And, there are some key moral points about honesty and pride in GALAXY QUEST. Jason has to get over his ego, humble himself and learn how to love others. Only a few mild off-color bits, some foul language and story glitches spoil the fun. Thus, GALAXY QUEST deserves a mild caution for family and Christian audiences, especially those with young children.