Galaxy Quest (1999)

Galaxy-Quest

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Best Star Trek

As you know, I have been reviewing movies in the Star Trek franchise, which is why today, I review Galaxy Quest. No, Galaxy Quest is not technically in the franchise, but there are actually quite a bit of Trekkies that include it as a respected member of the series, even though it makes fun of the series throughout. They include this film to keep the Star Trek curse alive. As I’ve said before, the “curse” basically says the evenly-numbered films in the franchise were received better than the odd-numbered films. This changed, of course, with Nemesis, which was also rated pretty badly. To fix this mistake, they fit in Galaxy Quest right before Nemesis to make the 10th film…really the 11th film. Which makes JJ’s Star Trek the 12th, and Into Darkness 13, and the curse lives on. It’s a cheat…but it works!

“Galaxy Quest” was a popular science fiction show that many still adore. The cast, including Jason (Tim Allen), Gwen (Sigourney Weaver), Alexander (Alan Rickman), Fred (Tony Shalhoub), Guy (Sam Rockwell), and Tommy (Daryl Mitchell) regularly go to the show’s annual convention and play a part in small gigs to make a living. Jason, of course, is the most loved actor in the series, and he is approached by actual aliens, thinking his show was real, asked him for help. He agreed, thinking it was simply a gig, and the crew of the fake TV show head off to outer space to battle Sarris (Robin Sachs) before he eliminates the Thermian race.

This is one of the only modern parodies that I can think of that that actually makes fun of something while still maintaining a level of respect toward it as well. You see clear examples in the film where the actors are making fun of something stupid that happens regularly on the TV show, but it is done is such a way that is respectful. To be clearer, it was like this, “Yeah, the show is stupid now and then, but the impact it made on our generation is unforgettable”. Seriously, notice how much focus was put towards the fans of the TV show, and the magic in their eyes when approached about the show. The show has been off for nearly twenty years, longer than a lot of the crowd’s ages, but it still regularly impacts them. This was a huge impact, and the cast of both Star Trek series had positive things to say about it, including:

          “I had originally not wanted to see Galaxy Quest because I heard that it was making fun of Star Trek, and then Jonathon Frakes rang me up and said ‘You must not miss this movie! See it on a Saturday night in a full theater.’ And I did, and of course I found it was brilliant. Brilliant. No one laughed louder or longer in the cinema than I did, but the idea that the ship was saved and all of our heroes in that movie were saved simply by the fact that there were fans who did understand the scientific principles on which the ship worked was absolutely wonderful. And it was both funny and also touching in that it paid tribute to the dedication of these fans” – Patrick Stewart

And funny it was! I am not exaggerating when I say that this movie had some of the best and memorable one-liners I have ever seen. People still quote this movie all over the place. It’s one of those movies that has the ability to make you laugh till you cry, and knowing how many times I’ve actually seen Galaxy Quest, I’m impressed at how effective the jokes still are today.

Visually, this is (at the time that it came out) the best looking Star Trek movie out there (not that it’s a Star Trek movie). You watch all of the films from 1979 to 1999, and a lot of the visual effects haven’t really changed all that much. Then Galaxy Quest comes around and looks amazing. Obviously, it’s no match to ten years later with J.J. Abram’s Star Trek, but for 1999, it was pretty darn decent. I wouldn’t say the characters in this film are as good as either Star Trek series, but they are built well enough to love, and are distinct enough to make independent and important strides to complete the film. In short, they all play their part well.

You don’t even have to be a Trekkie to love Galaxy Quest. It is a hilarious film that knows exactly where it’s going. It knew the messages it was going for, and it knew the humor that the movie needed. It was done, as Patrick Stewart said, brilliantly. It is definitely worth checking out if you have the time.

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3 thoughts on “Galaxy Quest (1999)

  1. This is perhaps the only film I can think of where I’m eternally disappointed we never got a sequel. Who knows, maybe we’ll get Galaxy Quest 2 for the Next Generation era? A man can dream.

    For everything I thought I knew about this movie, I did not know that Patrick Stewart enjoyed it.

    As you noted, the respect and reverence the film had for its source material set it apart from other crass parodies. Let this be a lesson for any would-be upstarts seeking to mock tradition: if you want to take your toys apart, make sure you don’t try to break them in the process.

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