Galaxy Quest – Alan Rickman Week

Director: Dean Parisot

Cast: Tim Allen, Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver, Sam Rockwell, Justin Long

Synopsis: Follows the story of a group of washed up actors that starred in the science fiction series Galaxy Quest 20 years earlier, now languishing in careers spent touring the convention circuit.   Than is of course until they are recruited by a group of aliens that have modeled their lives and technology on the “historical documents” transmitted into space from Earth.   They hope their heroes can save them from an imminent threat.

A review by Film Nerd.

This is a film that was always destined to be reviewed here on Film Actually.   As if Alan Rickman week was not enough cause, the fact that this show lovingly lampoons my favourite original cast of Star Trek means it was always going to be on my “tobe  reviewed” list without question.   I say lovingly lampoons, as though the characters do appear obvious caricatures of Shatner, Nimoy, and co, it also has a level of depth to it as well, as we learn that they are all languishing in want of something more, something that is offered to them when they climb aboard the fully functional  NSEA Protector.

Though Allen’s career was somewhat languishing post Home Improvement, aside from his Buzz Lightyear voicing duties, his Jason Nesmith just screams Shatner.   He is a character of swagger, of self-importance, who almost truly believes he is the legendary starship commander he played on-screen.   He continuously upstages his cast mates and takes all glory for himself (as Shatner at the time was often reported to be guilty of, though in his Boston Legal years I am seeing two sides to that story now).   His confidence is shattered however when he overhears himself being mocked, and sees the walls he has built around himself.   So far, so sombre.   From that point on we hit space, and the true comedy starts.   The comedy mines every Trek cliché… the red-shirted crewman that is the expendable one sure to die on the planet, the captain losing his shirt in fight scenes, no one quite sure what the female on the bridge is doing, but she sure does look good, and the character actor now more well-known for the alien crewmember he played rather than his Shakespearean background.   All very obvious comedy points, but all delightfully portrayed here.

Aside from Allen, he is strongly supported by Rickman in the Nimoy-esque role, so frustrated with being typecast he refuses to repeat his character’s catch phrase.   It is a character full of bitterness, and Rickman has always had that skill to just spit out lines loaded with sarcasm, but also with the perfect comic timing.   Perfect casting then!!   When you add sci-fi veteran Sigourney Weaver playing a very un-Ripley role as the series sex object, the juxtaposition is ripe for comedy.    The smaller roles are also delightful, with the helmsman who has no idea how to fly a real ship, the engineer unable to operate a real transport beam system, and the always amazing Sam Rockwell as the red shirt… “Crewman Number 6”.   They maintain this gag so well, even his character’s real name is just “Guy”.

This is a funny movie in its own right, with the situational comedy enough to entertain all audiences.   But for complete Trek novices, I would give this a rating of 3 out of 5.   However, knowledge of Trek-dom really brings this film to life, and being a self-proclaimed expert in that respect myself, it deserves another star.    “By Grabthar’s Hammer… by the Sons of Warvan… you shall be… avenged!”

4 stars (out of a possible 5)

Galaxy Quest on IMDB

Galaxy Quest on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1ZUxZsUKuM]

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