Film Review – Galaxy Quest (1999)

This guy...

This guy…

Galaxy Quest

Directed by Dean Parisot

Starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman

Review by Jordan

John Landis did it in 1986 with Three Amigos! and more recently Bruce Campbell in 2007 with My Name is Bruce, but it seems that when done well, the comedic premise of actors finding themselves under threat in a real life situation that mimics their on-screen escapades never fails to entertain; and entertain it does in Dean Parisot’s much-loved Star Trek homage Galaxy Quest.

Seventeen years have passed since the titular show last aired, and its washed-up stars are now stuck on the panel and signing circuit, constantly spouting catchphrases and sporting their outfits for their rabid fans. There is Jason Nesmith who starred as the Commander of intergalactic spaceship NSEA Protector and remains the only actor passionate about the show,  Gwen DeMarco (sexy communications officer Lt. Tawny Madison), Alexander Dane (alien Dr. Lazarus) Fred Kwan (engineer Tech Sgt. Chen), Tommy Webber (gunner/pilot Laredo) and Guy Fleegman (extra who will most likely die), all respectively played by Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Daryl Mitchell and a hilariously distressed Sam Rockwell. When an army of under-siege aliens invites Nesmith aboard their ship, believing Galaxy Quest to be a “historical document,” to help in their fight against the evil Sarris, the entire cast must channel their inner hero’s in order to save the day… or, more than likely, wreak havoc.

Galaxy Quest may start a little shaky, with tedium setting in as we watch the cast members bicker and sulk, but once we leave Earth and the proper story begins, by Grabthar’s hammer and by the sons of Worvan does it get funny. Everyone, from Enrico Colantoni as alien Mathesar, to Justin Long as mega-fan Brandon and of course the entire crew of the NSEA Protector judge their comedic timing superbly; the two standouts being Mitchell and Rockwell, who’s characters could’ve so easily taken back seat to those of Allen, Weaver and Rickman but instead get all the best lines and deliver them perfectly. Rockwell’s character Guy Fleegman (named Guy because he wasn’t worth naming at all) died halfway through episode 81 of Galaxy Quest as an un-named extra, and remains in constant fear of being offed now that life is imitating art:

Guy Fleegman: I changed my mind. I wanna go back.

Sir Alexander Dane: After the fuss you made about getting left behind?

Guy Fleegman: Yeah, but that’s when I thought I was the crewman that stays on the ship, and something is up there, and it kills me. But now I’m thinking I’m the guy who gets killed by some monster five minutes after we land on the planet.

Jason Nesmith: You’re not gonna die on the planet, Guy.

Guy Fleegman: I’m not? Then what’s my last name?

Jason Nesmith: It’s, uh, uh – -I don’t know.

Guy Fleegman: Nobody knows. Do you know why? Because my character isn’t important enough for a last name, because I’m gonna die five minutes in.

Gwen DeMarco: Guy, you have a last name.

Guy Fleegman: DO I? DO I? For all you know, I’m “Crewman Number Six”! Mommy… mommy…

Sir Alexander Dane: Are we there yet?

I don’t need to convince anyone that Sam Rockwell is a terrific actor, so I shouldn’t need to convince anyone just how funny scenes such as the one quoted above really are… the frequency of jokes here isn’t at the same level as other spoofs Airplane! or Spaceballs, nor are they particularly nuanced, but if you’re looking for some escapism that will capture your interest and imagination whilst tickling your funny bone, Galaxy Quest comes highly recommended (in fact after recently seeing Star Trek into Darkness I would definitely advise re-visiting this instead). Seeing Tim Allen play lead ahead of Rockwell, Rickman and even Rainn Wilson (he has the smallest of roles here) is actually a curious sight now, but there is no doubting his charisma and playful machismo once the action gets underway, just as there is no doubting how awesomely late 90’s Justin Long’s gelled hair is.

Ultimately, and unfortunately, Galaxy Quest is no classic, but the laughs here are well earned and often hilarious, leaving little wonder why a devoted audience still exists almost 15 years from take-off.

3.5 prosthetic alien scalps out of 5 

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21 responses to “Film Review – Galaxy Quest (1999)

  1. This movie is hylarious.
    I think i saw it 6 or 7 times and i still love it.
    It was the first movie i saw Alan Rickman in and i started to follow his career.
    Maybe i will watch it again this weekend…..i’ve allready got a larg bag of popcorn……hey that’s an idea!

  2. Just rewatched this a few months ago when I picked up the blu-Ray super cheap. It’s such a fun movie, I think they did a wonderful job of spoofing Star Trek and other genre shows without slipping too far into Spaceballs zone (and I love Spaceballs). And omg watching now there are just so many actors I have grown to love! You’re right, it’s not perfect but when it comes to this kind of movie, I rank it very high :). Thanks for making me want to watch it again.

    • I must say, I re-watched Spaceballs (bought in on blu-ray) recently and found the humour hasn’t held up quite as well as I hoped it would… much to my dismay. Its the characters in Galaxy Quest that generate the laughs, not solely the situations, which helps generate its charm. In my opinion, ha. Enjoy watching it again!
      Jordan

      • As much as I love spaceballs, you are right, much of the humor is very dated. But there are still cons and fanboys and bitter actors so Galaxy Quest is timeless 😉

  3. As far as spoof films going, I find galaxy quest doesn’t lower itself to cheap laughs. While there are a lot of clichés, I still found a majority of the humor clever.

    Great movie – agree with your review and the fact it isnt quite a classic.. but can’t put my finger on what makes it not a classic?

    Good cast, originalish story, spoof but not ‘scary movie’ dumb comedy low, and an overall good time.

    Seems like the makings for a classic, but it just doesn’t quite get there. With that said its still a film most people will find enjoyment in even if its mostly forgettable.

    Spot on with the review jordan

  4. Man, I haven’t seen this movie in so long – when I last saw it I didn’t even know who Sam Rockwell was! A timely reminder to dust this off 🙂

  5. One of the best spoofs ever. I watched it a lot when it first came out on video. I own it, but have not watched it at least four years so I really should view it some time soon.

  6. I saw “Galaxy Quest” at the movie theater (back when I actually went to movie theaters), and later bought it on DVD. It’s on my shelf betgween all the “Star Trek” films and “Free Enterprise.” This is one of those films that you can watch regularly because it’s always entertaining. Thanks for the review. I enjoyed it!

  7. great review.
    Being a sci-fi fan, I really enjoyed this movie’s premise. The true parody of trekkers is awesome.
    Gotta re-watch it one of these days.
    Thanks for the reminder

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