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Overall Rating
4.06

Awesome: 26.43%
Worth A Look59.29%
Average: 10.71%
Pretty Bad: 0.71%
Total Crap: 2.86%

7 reviews, 98 user ratings


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Galaxy Quest
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by Rob Gonsalves

"It's good this has gained a bit of a cult in recent years."
5 stars

Combine the documentary 'Trekkies' with a particularly solid and action-packed 'Star Trek' movie and you've got 'Galaxy Quest,' an enormously entertaining pop-culture ride.

Not just an in-joke fest for Trekkies, it trades on our general awareness of the Star Trek cult and at least a passing familiarity with the show (mainly the original series) and movies. The premise, cooked up by writers Robert Gordon and David Howard, is so ingenious I'm surprised nobody thought of it before: What if a group of has-been TV actors were genuinely mistaken for the heroic starship crew they used to play, and were expected to know everything their characters used to know? This postmodern concept far outdoes Last Action Hero, and is a lot more satisfying. Galaxy Quest works as satire, parody, and straight adventure; it's a full package.

We meet our heroes at the latest of many fan conventions in honor of Galaxy Quest, the well-loved, long-dead sci-fi series. There's Gwen DeMarco (Sigourney Weaver), who used to play Lt. Tawny Madison, whose job was to talk to the computer and show off her pulchritude. There's Tommy Webber (Daryl Mitchell), who was a little boy when he played ship pilot Lt. Laredo and is now all grown up. (The movie could have had some fun by portraying the older Tommy as a skirt-chaser like Burt Ward; maybe it once did, but DreamWorks tidied up the film to secure a kid-friendly PG rating.) There's the disdainful Alexander Dane (Alan Rickman), a respected theater actor until he agreed to put alien latex on his head to play the Spock-like Dr. Lazarus; the role made him famous and killed his credibility in one shot. There's the lackadaisical Fred Kwan (Tony Shalhoub), forever stuck in the bowels of the ship as Tech Sgt. Chen. Finally, there's Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen), the prima-donnaish star of Galaxy Quest, who on some level still seems to believe he's Commander Peter Quincy Taggart. Nesmith is the only one who really gets anything out of the endless conventions, where he's idolized; everyone else in the cast looks out at the throngs of "Questerians" and sees the murderers of their careers.

The opening scene at the Galaxy Quest convention will probably frighten those who didn't see Trekkies; those who did will laugh heartily at how uncannily accurate the milieu is (the movie doesn't even try to satirize Trekkies, who are often so ludicrous as to be beyond satire). It's at this convention that Nesmith meets a quartet of very avid fans. They look and talk strange, and are extremely adamant about wanting "Commander Taggart" to accompany them so he can save their race. They're pretty much like anyone else you'd meet at a convention, and Nesmith blows them off until they come for him in a limo that turns out to be a spacecraft. The hung-over Nesmith wakes up in deep space among the Thermians, the friendly alien race who brought him there. The Thermians are on the brink of war with a band of ugly Stan Winston-designed critters -- the usual gang of bestial aliens who seem to exist only to go around dominating other races all day. Once Nesmith figures out the Thermians and this situation are real, he sends for his "crewmates" (a disposable crewman who appeared in one episode and got killed, played by Sam Rockwell, also tags along). So then we have a bunch of hack actors taking their old places on a ship designed by the Thermians in homage to the "historical documents" (i.e., Galaxy Quest) they picked up in transmissions.

Galaxy Quest is directed with a light, fast pace by Dean Parisot (Home Fries and the Oscar-winning short The Appointments of Dennis Jennings), who effectively delivers all the special-effects power and thrills of a real Star Trek movie, only without all the gassy moralizing and shallow moral conundrums. Here, the dilemma cuts closer to the bone: The Thermians look up to Nesmith and company as historical legends, which even the egotistical Nesmith knows they don't deserve. And there's a legitimately painful moment when Nesmith is forced to admit to the Thermian leader (Enrico Colantoni) that he and his crew are "liars" (since the Thermians have no concept of acting or performing). The movie blurs the line between actual belief and fanboy belief: There's not a lot of difference between the Thermians and the pimply geeks at conventions who ask Nesmith elaborate technical questions to settle some fanboy dispute. Yet in a pinch, when Nesmith and crew need tech support, those fanboys come in very handy.

Parisot has assembled a top-flight cast -- a lot more colorful, really, than the casts of any version of Star Trek. For those wary of Galaxy Quest because Tim Allen is the star, I can assure you this is probably the first good movie he's appeared in. He doesn't try to "do" William Shatner, but he nails Shatner's puffed-up arrogance and hyperdramatic line readings (but only when in character as Taggart on the show; as Nesmith, he delivers lines like an actual human being). It's nice to see Sigourney Weaver in a comedy again -- it reminds you that before she became a Serious Hollywood Actress, she goofed around in Christopher Durang plays. She's a great sport, and she obviously gets a kick out of playing Gwen the blonde bimbo who finally gets to prove herself. The others in the cast -- the hilariously withering Rickman, the bored-looking Shalhoub (he couldn't be more unlike the excitable ship engineer Scotty), the panicky Mitchell -- are equally fine, but it's Sam Rockwell who walks away with the movie, just as he stole The Green Mile as the chocolate-spewing Wild Bill. Here, as "Crewman Six," he lives in fear that he's expendable -- he goes into every new action sequence absolutely certain he's going to get killed. I do have one small quibble involving his character: He should've been the one to pull out a phaser and triumph at the very end -- not Nesmith, who hardly needs more audience applause.

In a weird way, Galaxy Quest also fits nicely into the current psychology of American movies. Being John Malkovich, Fight Club, American Beauty, Boys Don't Cry, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Man on the Moon -- they're all about wanting or pretending to be someone else. Since this is a Hollywood family movie, Galaxy Quest ends on a high note, with the pretenders learning to be the real McCoys (no pun intended). Granted, a darker comedy might have had the crew of has-been actors be so arrogant that they get the Thermians killed because they really don't know what they're doing. But this crew is so likable that we want them to succeed -- sort of like the Enterprise crew in the best Trek installments.

I just have two questions: Are we looking at DreamWorks' first-ever franchise here (that depends on how well this first movie does), and will there be action figures? I for one wouldn't pass up a Gwen DeMarco figure.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1779&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/02/07 13:27:54
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User Comments

11/02/14 dr.lao This movie is really fun to watch 5 stars
7/15/14 orencngsuth USA 3 stars
10/28/13 Sissy Gifford Had me laughing the whole time. Definitely worth watching. 4 stars
1/18/12 Marc DC Excellent Space/Sci-Fi comedy... 5 stars
8/12/11 Bobster Funny! 4 stars
6/09/10 Harvey Scott Fun, Fun, Fun. Space Balls for the 21st Century. 5 stars
12/19/09 Jeff Wilder Quite funny. The one worthwhile Tim Allen movie. 4 stars
11/22/09 kitfo1 I didnt think I could like anything with Tim Allen, but this was clever 4 stars
2/07/09 Gella Wicked. I watch it over and over and I alsways find other bits to laugh at 5 stars
7/28/08 The Dork Knight Funny and (sometimes) moving. Good movie 4 stars
5/17/08 PAUL SHORTT AN ENJOYABLE, CLEVER AND SLICKLY COMMERCIAL SCI-FI COMEDY 3 stars
2/06/08 mb Really Dumb 1 stars
8/15/07 mike g Brilliant. Made me laugh out very loud. A good, fun film for sci-fi fans. 5 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega Perfect, faithful parody. Fantastic in this or any galaxy. 4 stars
1/03/07 del I was surprised at how much I liked it. 4 stars
5/26/06 Kimberly Dull This movie is hilarous! But you do have to have an idea of this genre to get this movie. 5 stars
5/09/06 Anastasia Bishop Absolutely hilarious. One of my favorites. A little slow at first, but stellar as it goes 5 stars
3/03/06 Anthony Feor Tim Allens best movie! 4 stars
12/30/05 paolo enea after all the crap of star wars, etc., I realy enjoyed this movie 5 stars
12/30/05 tony If star wars and star trek were like this movie, i think i would watch them 4 stars
11/02/05 Phil M. Aficionado As a non-sci fi guy, I STILL enjoyed the humor & casting; cute story. See it for yuks. 4 stars
8/27/05 ES Tim Allen's best movie, good for a giggle everytime 4 stars
7/27/05 Indrid Cold Nifty idea and well done. Quite a ways from a classic though. 4 stars
5/02/05 sbpat21 very funny 4 stars
9/24/04 Aaron Smith Hugely entertaining, one of Tim's better films. 4 stars
7/12/04 X Thank God William Shatner wasn't in this movie 5 stars
2/10/04 White Eagle I renjoyed the film as it had so many of the needed cliches in it to make it funny. 5 stars
6/30/03 Ken Holds up well to repeated viewings. Funny and well acted! 4 stars
4/23/03 Mystique good 4 stars
4/16/03 Andrew Carden Good Special Effects, but Uneven Screenplay and Forced Performances. 3 stars
4/11/03 Jack Bourbon Pants-pissing jokes, good story, fun characters. Surprisingly, a really good flick. 5 stars
2/11/03 Ubu the Ripper This movie has everything. Even Allen couldn't ruin it. Worth a sequel. 5 stars
2/08/03 y2mckay George, fuck you very much for reading! Nice to have fans. 4 stars
1/06/03 George Overall a good movie, but Y2McKay - you're an idiot. 4 stars
1/01/03 Jack Sommersby As desperately unfunny as its leading man. Dreadful. 1 stars
11/08/02 R.W. Welch Nifty premise and some clever bits but generally overdone. 3 stars
6/19/02 Charles Tatum Great idea, no laughs 3 stars
5/22/02 Anne R. Key OK, but Improv King, I prefer leaving fuck ups heavy. 3 stars
2/25/02 Butterbean This movie is so cute! Show this to the kids 4 stars
2/20/02 Bertha Venation The sky is falling, I love a Tim Allen movie! I LOVE THIS MOVIE! 5 stars
1/26/02 murat Full of witty humor,dazzling action and mathesar! even more ;watch it. 5 stars
12/21/01 Andrew Carden Unfunny and Boring, but May Appeal To Fans Of Corny, Stupid Humor. 2 stars
11/25/01 Smoogles Clever flick, if you like Star Trek, you'll like this 4 stars
8/06/01 badfish This is one of the greatest movies ive ever seen.The whole cast was perfect! 5 stars
8/02/01 KC Au I hate Tim Allen! I laughed only ONCE through the whole film! Cheap parody of "Star Trek" 1 stars
5/12/01 The Moorhen I thought it was going to be utter shit, but it proved me wrong. 5 stars
4/11/01 Hawkeye The best sci-fi parody I've seen yet. If you're a Trekker, this is right up your alley. 5 stars
2/25/01 Jake What a treat! 5 stars
12/20/00 Elvisfan about 700 times better than i had expected it to be 4 stars
11/24/00 Shawna really really love it 5 stars
11/02/00 viking light years ahead of "Deep Space Nine" and "Voyager" !!! 4 stars
10/17/00 Jed Though it is not strictly for eggheads & such. It was a spaceballs for the intellectual. 4 stars
8/02/00 Delusia Very, very funny 5 stars
7/30/00 Digitalus Star Trek on ludes 4 stars
6/08/00 Monday Morning Sci-Fi on rye. Very funny 4 stars
5/26/00 Gremlin Star Trek SUCKS! This movie was good for making fun of it. 4 stars
5/21/00 Blackbird Combines Pretend-TV-Cheesyness and CG Reality well. Kept me laughing throughout the movie 5 stars
5/19/00 ntwrage this movie was outstanding, Tony Shalhoub is strait up comedy. 5 stars
5/13/00 Add A very funny film but a real gut buster if you like Star Trek at all. 4 stars
5/08/00 Jed Despite the storyline this is basically the "Spaceballs" of the 90s. 4 stars
5/07/00 The Bomb 69 great entertainment, very funny 5 stars
5/04/00 Matthew Bartley Yeah it's fairly funny. A bit sad at times as well 4 stars
5/03/00 TIGGER It was fabulous! Best movie eva! 1 stars
4/29/00 Pansy fun movie, great aliens and spaceships execpt Tim Allen's acting (ugh) 4 stars
4/28/00 G2 Loved it, funniest film i've seen!! 2 thumbs up! 5 stars
4/16/00 Frank Curigliano hilarious, moving 4 stars
4/16/00 Paul Great 4 stars
4/11/00 Pierce Lanson Very funny, Sigourney's gorgeous, effects are brilliant. 4 stars
4/08/00 Mic Successfully, though stereotypically, combined humour with sentiment. 4 stars
4/07/00 Daria Very funny, and surprisingly affectionate 5 stars
3/11/00 David Rogers Huge imrovement over the Santa Clause. Very, very funny. 4 stars
3/09/00 David Rogers Finally someone had the guts to make fun of Star Trek. 4 stars
2/21/00 bullit17 Eh. It had its moments. Nothing special. 3 stars
2/08/00 Porkdog Great satire. I was very pleasantly suprised. 4 stars
2/07/00 jenn "Blu Smrf" hilarious! great cast that keeps you laughing the entire time! 5 stars
2/02/00 mr. coffee Great spoofs! 4 stars
1/31/00 Crewman #5 Lots o' laughs, great adventures, and a wonderfully underrated cast 5 stars
1/24/00 Cibeus I'm going to see this movie again. 5 stars
1/24/00 Suzanne I loved this movie. 5 stars
1/17/00 Carl Take your 10+ kids to it, but don't expect great movie making. 4 stars
1/16/00 Zatoichi Trek dorks will love it. 4 stars
1/13/00 voyant The funniest movie of the year.. a must see for even the occasional Trek viewer. 5 stars
1/11/00 Ryan Philippe gets hit by a car and it rules!!! The one about the snowman that killed people was better 3 stars
1/10/00 Linda Much better than anticipated! 5 stars
1/07/00 Jo Hilarious! I was laughing the whole time! 4 stars
1/07/00 PhilmPhreak Very funny - the best special effect was Sigourney Weaver's cleavage! 4 stars
1/06/00 meg Wonderfully silly and good-hearted. 4 stars
1/05/00 ScottA2001 Great story but flat acting made it less funny than it should have been 4 stars
1/03/00 Richard Hendricks Funny as hell. Great for an ex-Trekkie, now B5'er 4 stars
1/02/00 Pope Gonzo XIII hell yeah you should see it! It's funny and will strike a chord with other actors. 4 stars
1/02/00 Adam Really funny. And someone convice Sigourney to take these kinds of roles more often. 4 stars
1/01/00 Lame-Oh Not your typical sci-fi flick, but some of the jokes can be irritating. 3 stars
1/01/00 sophia866 Go see Trekkies before this, but Weaver's bosom is worth a matinee. 4 stars
12/31/99 marmoset Good fun, consistently funny. 4 stars
12/29/99 Crystal Great Fun! Silly but not Stupid! 4 stars
12/28/99 RadarDan The audience I saw it with laughed uproariously. 4 stars
12/28/99 joechip I laughed the whole time 4 stars
12/27/99 Magyarpoet Good for a few laughs. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  25-Dec-1999

UK
  N/A

Australia
  06-Apr-2000




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