How would William Shatner and company react if forced into a real "Star Trek"
situation? This is the basic premise behind "Galaxy Quest", the new comic film
from Dreamworks. Such a premise could easily be turned into a single joke film
but "Galaxy Quest" manages to keep the laughs coming. With a great supporting
cast and a hilarious performance from Tim Allen, the film only drops the ball
once or twice when it tries to be a little too serious.
Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen) is an aging object of affection for thousands of
"trekkies"; only here, they're most likely known as Questers. Galaxy Quest may
have ended 20 years prior, but this hasn't stopped the original cast from
spending all their time appearing at conventions and supporting local business
openings. However, while Jason may be enjoying his lifestyle his fellow cast
members are more than a little tired of it. Alex (a hysterical Alan Rickman)
wants to be a dramatic actor again, and Gwen (Sigourney Weaver) is tired of all
her interviews consisting of questions about her breasts. So when an alien
race, led by the benevolent but incredibly naive Malthesar (Enrico Colantoni),
asks the cast for help (believing them to be real astronauts), they can hardly
refuse the chance for something different.
One thing a comedy like this needs is an actor who can act in a completely
serious fashion even when ridiculous events are unfolding around them. Rickman
and Weaver are both present for this precise reason. The two of them are
wonderful at looking dour and disapproving while their cohorts go through comic
antics. The more comical roles belong to Allen and the perfectly cast Tony
Shalhoub (Men in Black, The Siege) as the supposed chief engineer. Shalhoub's
character, Fred Kwan, is hilarious because he seems to have no problem
whatsoever with the situation he is in. While the other cast members appear
shocked by all they see, Kwan just gives a grin and says something like "That
was a hell of a ride".
A lesser film might have mocked trekkies and the show itself, and this isn't a
hard thing to forgive as both are so easy to mock. However, "Galaxy Quest" is
so completely good natured about the entire thing that one gets the impression
that they're laughing along with trekkies rather than at them. This is possibly
due to the fact that the cast is obviously having such a good time making this
film. One can almost imagine them doubled over with laughter between scenes
where they speak with the aliens who have grins constantly plastered on their
There are certainly a few flaws here, but they don't detract too much from the
experience. For one, Sam Rockwell's (Green Mile) character is rather
irritating. Known as Guy, or crewman number six, he spends the entire film
whining about how he's going to be killed because he was an extra on the show.
Things also get a bit too sentimental at parts in a film which should have
maintained its goofiness the whole way through. "Galaxy Quest" is basically
harmless fluff at it's worst, hilarious at it's best. It's a lot of fun, but it
won't stay with you for too long once it's over. The films runs 102 minutes,
which is just about perfect. I'd recommend catching a matinee if you can, but
do try and see this in theatres as some of the effects are really quite good. I
give "Galaxy Quest" a well earned four stars.
Feel free to e-mail with comments at: JABII@aol.com
* * * * * - One of the greatest movies ever made, see it now.
* * * * - Great flick. Try and catch this one.
* * * - Okay movie, hits and misses.
* * - Pretty bad. See it if you've got nothing better to do.
* - One of the worst movies ever. See it only if you enjoy pain.
Copyright © 2000 John Beachem