Galaxy Quest Movie Review
When revisiting an older release, I often revisit my original review in hopes of repurposing some material. Sadly, when I reviewed Galaxy Quest way back in 1999, I was 17 and my analysis included such lines as:
- “First off, the movie makes fun of Trekkies and Star Trek conventions.”
- Sam Rockwell’s character “is a perfect spoof of what sci-fi shows are really like.”
- “It has pretty cool graphics, which is rather surprising for a comedy.”
I summed up the review saying, “It is a true mockery of sci-fi conventions and its fans, but also has some cool sci-fi stuff.”
Many would argue my writing and certainly analysis haven’t significantly progressed in the 20 years since the Tim Allen/Signourey Weaver/Alan Rickman Star Trek spoof hit theaters, but here I am anyway, still writing, still watching, still pretending to analyze movies. And lo and behold, Galaxy Quest just was re-released in a new 20th Anniversary Blu-ray Steelbook.
The movie holds up surprisingly well. While sci-fi shows have advanced and evolved significantly since the era of “Star Trek,” which of course is the point of ridicule (and adoration) for Galaxy Quest, the foundation for most space-based fiction still aligns to the underpinnings of the classic show and its predecessors.
The movie’s parody of the genre isn’t quite as biting as I remember it, but Galaxy Quest is a fast-moving, entertaining, and smartly written comedy that takes jabs at Star Trek and its fans while simultaneously delivering a satisfying space fiction story. From the silliness of the Thermians (which includes a small appearance by a pre-Dwight Rainn Wilson) to commentary about some of the more ridiculous aspects of early sci-fi shows (such as a hallway being filled with a dangerous gauntlet of machinery and fire for no plausible reason), Galaxy Quest gleefully toys with the genre.
Galaxy Quest avoids the pitfalls that many action-comedies face; while it is a parody, it has enough respect for the genre to treat the underlying story seriously. The villain Sarris is a legitimate threat, and Galaxy Quest rarely makes too much light of its action. One thing that surprised me, 20 years on, is the special effects; they still look pretty damn good, and help reinforce how well the movie holds up.
After 20 years, Galaxy Quest could have easily felt dated, but it doesn’t. Funny and entertaining throughout, this is one film worth revisiting.
My original review:
Home Improvement is cancelled, but Tim Allen continues to bring out comedy. Galaxy Quest is a sci-fi half-mockery starring a good deal of stars, from Signourey Weaver to Alan Rickman.
First off, the movie makes fun of Trekkies and Star Trek conventions. Basically, Galaxy Quest is a mock of "Star Trek," and it shows the truth of the conferences. All of the characters are stars of the show, but it was cancelled a while ago and their entire lives are basically made up signing autographs and spouting out trite lines. The fans dress up like them and other alien species, and not a single one of them is normal. Galaxy Quest depicts the conventions perfectly.
The next mockery is played by Sam Rockwell. He is "accidentally" brought along on the ride, saying that he is part of the show. He is actually one of those extra characters that got killed off early in an episode. Since the main characters in sci-fi shows never die, and the extra characters always do, his character is a perfect spoof of what sci-fi shows are really like. And he's funny.
However, Galaxy Quest isn't all fun and games. It does have some serious (or at least half-serious) sci-fi action, which means some graphics. And it has pretty cool graphics, which is rather surprising for a comedy. Still, the graphics are quite exceptional. In addition to the graphics, the bad guys are pretty much serious, and they do some serious things. The writers thankfully left out cheesiness in the roll of the bad guys, which spared us from the usual comedic bad guy stereotype.
Galaxy Quest is hilarious. It is a true mockery of sci-fi conventions and its fans, but also has some cool sci-fi stuff.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.