Julien Neaves, Sci Fi Head Writer
This week it was announced that English actor/producer Simon Pegg (the Cornetto Trilogy, Scotty in the Star Trek reboot films) was reportedly developing a TV series based on 1999 Sci Fi comedy Galaxy Quest. Now this is some exciting news for me as I am a huge fan of the film. And the development is also a great excuse for me to do a retro review of Galaxy Quest.
If you haven’t seen it (and if that’s you, I am judging you hard right now) the film is a parody of sci fi films and television series, mostly Star Trek and the Trek fandom. It centres on the cast of the titular defunct Sci Fi television series who become embroiled in a real-life space adventure when an alien race that modeled their society on the show (they thought it was “historical records”) comes to them seeking aid from a vicious foe. With a rock monster-sized SPOILER ALERT let us retro review Galaxy Quest in four blasts:
Blast 1: Never Give Up
This has to be one of the best casts ever assembled for a comedy film. There are so many top-notch performances and hilarious characters it is ridiculous. Tim Allen may be best known for Home Improvement and the Santa Clause trilogy but his portrayal as egotistical Captain Kirk/William Shatner parody Jason Nesmith is my absolute favourite. The late great Alan Rickman is endlessly entertaining as grumpy Alexander Dane, who is like an anti-Leonard Nimoy/Spock. The always dependable Sigourney Weaver has a lot of fun as Gwen DeMarco whose Lt Tawny Madison was part Uhura and part generally sexed-up Sci Fi female characters.
Monk himself Tony Shalhoub delivers a few laughs as phlegmatic Fred Kwan and Sam Rockwell is a riot as the terrified “Red Shirt” guy Guy. All of the Thermian actors are so funny with Enrico Colantoni and Missi Pyle being highlights. And look out for future Office star Rainn Wilson as a Thermian in his debut film role. Darryl Mitchell, Justin Long and Robin Sachs round off this truly stellar cast, pun very much intended.
Blast 2: By Grabthar’s Hammer!
Galaxy Quest is part parody and part homage and one of the things it nails is Sci Fi fandom and particularly Star Trek fandom. As a Trekkie myself I fully recognised the Galaxy Quest fans’ devotion to a show and the obsession over minutiae. But instead of only painting fans as basement-dwelling nerds (which they do a bit of) they also give them a chance to use their trivial knowledge to save the day and become heroes themselves. Sure it’s pure fantasy and escapism but that’s part of the fun of being a Sci Fi fan.
The show is also a surprisingly clever deconstruction of Sci Fi films and television. No trope is safe here and everything from ignoring science to inexplicable ship designs to overly simplistic ship features to last minute countdowns are skewered. They even take a poke at deus ex machina devices. And while casual fans will find many morsels to laugh at Sci Fi fans will have a veritable banquet of belly laughs.
Blast 3: Is there air? You don’t know
And speaking of humour there are enough gut-busting scenes here to make up two different lists. There’s the classic, “Is there air?” and sight gags like the scratching of the ship. One of my favourite scenes is when they “beam up” the alien inside out and it exploded. That made me explode with laughter.
There’s also Gwen quarrelling about the guy who wrote death traps in the ship in an episode and now they have to face the death traps in real life. I really could go on and on. Oh, and don’t forget the awkwardly hilarious sex scene between Fred and Laliari. That’s a memorable one, especially with the horrified look on Guy’s face.
Blast 4: Never Surrender
Galaxy Quest may be a comedy but it also stands up well as a classic Sci Fi adventure. There’s some cool action, both on the ship and man-to-alien and alien-to-alien, romance and even some pretty dark torture scenes. And I even found myself tearing up with the death scene of Quellek in Alexander’s arms. There is so much to love here.
So what else can I say? I love this movie a whole lot and I am excited to revisit this fantastical world whether on the small screen or the big screen. Because by Grabthar’s hammer this is one franchise that should never give up and never surrender.
Editor Jules’ Score: 10 out of 10
So are you a fan of Galaxy Quest? What’s your favourite part? You can check more great sci fi comedy content below:
Top 10 Most Ludicrous Spaceballs Moments
Revisiting Sci Fi Comedy Horror Cult Classic Attack the Block
Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”.