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Non-Review Review: Galaxy Quest

Caught this playing this afternoon on Sky HD, so I figured it was worth a look in High Def. I’ll be honest, I was very impressed. It’s a humourous light-hearted look at the Star Trek phenomenon, which manages to avoid feeling vindictive or mean. It’s anchored in a fantastic cast and with top notch special effects, there’s really no reason why anyone with any interest in the fringe of popular culture shouldn’t check it out.

Remind you of anything?

Remind you of anything?

The movie looks stunning in High Definition, with the alien planets, the space ships, the battle scenes and the freakish opponents. The concept isn’t particular fresh or new, but it’s done in such a way that it doesn’t really matter. The plot sees the washed up stars of a science fiction franchise (and a hanger-on who got killed in one episode) picked up by a bunch of aliens looking for some heroes to save their race from an oppressive reptile. It’s ridiculous, but works in the context.

The core cast do very well playing actors in various states of washed-up-ness. Tim Allen in particular nails an embodiment of William Shatner (which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone whose heard him in Toy Story) that doesn’t rely on direct impersonation (which… would be… very… easy), instead managed to seem both thoroughly egomaniacal and really likeable. Sigourney Weaver is as good as ever, and it’s nice to see Alan Rickman jump on board as a parody of a Shakespearean actor now tied to a dead franchise. The performances are great.

A lot of the humour does rely on a casual awareness of the show it parodies – but I mean very casual. My brother and my extended family love the movie, digging most of the references. Perhaps it’s because Star Trek has permeated popular culture that concepts like a Red Shirt and Jefferies Tubes are familiar to them. Still, there should be enough beyond that to entertain most viewers – think of it as a bonus.

The movie has a clear affection for its source material, which means it avoids feeling mean spirited. In fact, it embraces the clichés gleefully as much as it derides them. The final showdowncould have been lifted from a Star Trek film (done to Allen’s brilliant one-liner), but is done with a grin on its face. In fact, the unfortunate truth is that the movie ends up being more fun than many of the movies that it parodies, reminding us of what went missing in the later incarnations of the franchise.

All-in-all, if pop culture and science fiction is even remotely interesting to you, this is well worth a look. One of the better genre comedies of the last decade.

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Galaxy Quest is directed by Dean Parisot and stars Tim Allen (Toy Story, Home Improvement), Sigourney Weaver (Aliens, Gorillas in the Mist), Allen Rickman (Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), Sam Rockwell (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Frost/Nixon), Tony Shalhoub (Monk, Gattaca), Justin long (Live Free and Die Hard, Zack and Miri Make a Porno) and Daryl Mitchell (10 Things I Hate About You, Veronica’s Closet). It was released on Christmas Day 1999 in the United States, but us in the UK and Ireland had to wait until 20th April 2000 to see it.

4 Responses

  1. […] Caught this playing this afternoon on Sky HD, so I figured it was worth a look in High Def. I'll be honest, I was very impressed. It's a humourous light-hearted look at the Star Trek phenomenon, which manages to avoid feeling vindictive or mean. The rest is here: Non-Review Review: Galaxy Quest […]

  2. […] planet with a weird population. Allen manages to go through pretty much the same arc as he does in Galaxy Quest, from cocky and self-assured to self-doubting and beyond. At times Allen seems to be intentionally […]

  3. I was wondering if you reviewed this one. We’ll see if (so far, painfully generic looking) The Orville will have half of this movie’s charm.

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