STUDIO: Dreamworks Video
RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes
• Deleted Scenes
• Sigourney Weaver Raps
• Theatrical Trailer/Previews
Dean Parisot, David Howard, and Robert Gordon perform a minor miracle by making Tim Allen funny and watchable.
Cast: Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shaloub
Director: Dean Parisot
Writers: David Howard and Robert Gordon
Wringing the last few precious drops of stardom from his days as captain of TV’s NSEA Protector, Galaxy Quest star Jason Nesmith and his aging, jaded castmates take on convention gigs, store openings, and even private appearances as part of their increasingly irrelevant careers. When a group of disguised aliens approach Nesmith with a request to save their species, he convinces the team to beam up to the bridge of the real NSEA protector, where they face down extraterrestrial aggressors, mutant space pigs, and Star Trek V’s forgotten Rock Monster.
The Star Trek marketing synergy machine pushed out a ton of product this year. From Blu-Ray releases of the original series to restorations of the movies, Trek got a lot of love. Some were great (Blu-Ray Kahn), but others were clearly cash-ins (The abysmal “Best Of” Trek compilations). Not wanting to miss out on the action, DreamWorks rereleased a ‘Deluxe Edition’ of their 1999 Trek spoof Galaxy Quest, and while there might not be enough meat on this version to justify a double dip, it’s certainly a trip worth revisiting.
Galaxy Quest‘s biggest miracle is that it succeeds as both a clever homage to Trek and a surprisingly funny comedy without devolving into mindless parody. Effects films have a notoriously difficult time balancing big-budget visuals and comedy, with Ghostbusters being the notable exception; I’m sure there’s a lonely landfill full of unopened copies of Ivan Reitman’s Evolution somewhere that proves this point spectacularly. GQ blends interesting and funny characters into a matrix of subtle Trek jokes and genuinely funny beats in a way that’s both charming and oddly engaging. While the story itself fits nicely within the boundaries of sci-fi comedy, it’s the characters – specifically Rickman’s proud Alexander Dane and Shaloub’s Fred Kwan – that make the shenanigans onboard the NSEA really fun and rewatchable. Sigourney Weaver’s Gwen DeMarco looks great and steals several scenes.
It’s also worth nothing that Galaxy Quest is the only Tim Allen vehicle worth a damn.
For Trek fans, Galaxy Quest is rife with clever and subtle callbacks to the original series. Recognizing these callbacks is part of the fun, and that fun is scalable depending on how much you know about Star Trek. For example, everybody knows that Trek’s redshirts die on away missions, so Sam Rockwell’s Guy character is an easy reference for the audience, but far fewer people will get the reference to the original series’ Arena episode when Guy tells Nesmith to “build a weapon” during the rock monster fight. Being in on the joke is fun, and although there’s plenty of Trekkie-deprecating humor going on here, there’s no mistaking how fond GQ is of its target.
All of that would be incidental had the movie not been really, genuinely funny. Which it is. Watching Rickman suffer yet another humiliating setback and Shaloub casually marvel at an alien device is just about as funny as anything in Ghostbusters, and even Tim Allen casts a really effective aura of waning, desperate charm over Nesmith.
That’s not to say Galaxy Quest is perfect. Daryl Mitchell’s Laredo isn’t given much funny to do or say, and I still feel like Rickman and Shaloub deserved more screen time, but all complaints are minor. Galaxy Quest was the best Trek film of the ’90s. Yes, up to and including The Undiscovered Country, if only for Shakespeare-quoting douchebaggery.
For a SD DVD, Galaxy Quest looks terrific when upscaled, and has a perfectly serviceable 3/2.1 audio mix. The extras from the first DVD release are all here (like the gloriously absurd Thermian audio track and the Omega 13 button) in addition to some new featurettes and deleted scenes. There’s also an awkward video of Sigourney Weaver rapping a birthday song to her agent for some reason. No idea why.