While every other site offers you reviews of the most current movies in theaters, someone needs to step in to review the movies that came out 10+ years ago. So hop on into the Wayback Machine with me, and let’s see what cinema has already offered…
With the new Star Trek movie blowing up the big screen, I thought it would be a good time to take a look back at the greatest Star Trek movie of all time: Galaxy Quest.
My friend Chris Larsen often says Galaxy Quest is a perfect film because it appeals to everybody: If you are a Star Trek fan, you’ll love this movie; if you like making fun of Star Trek fans, you’ll love this movie. That may be a bit of an oversimplification, but I think it definitely speaks to what works about the movie. Galaxy Quest is certainly a parody of Star Trek, but it’s not malicious or cynical – there is a genuine love of Star Trek evident at every turn. That said, you certainly don’t need any knowledge or backstory about Star Trek to enjoy the film; that’s what makes it work as well as it does.
The film is about the cast of a sci-fi show (the eponymous “Galaxy Quest”) who are stuck going from one convention appearance to another, with no real prospects past the next autograph table. But when real space aliens mistakenly believe the TV series to be “historical documents,” they recruit the “crew” to help them fight off a genuine evil… and hilarity ensues.
Every cast member is pitch-perfect. Tim Allen is terrific as the William Shatner-analogue. Alan Rickman is fantastic as the former respected theater actor now forced to wear a rubber fin on his head and repeat meaningless catchphrases for every sweaty fanboy. Sigourney Weaver is terrific as the only woman on the crew (whose character has absolutely no useful function on the series), Tony Shalhoub is wonderfully deadpan as his character takes everything in stride, and Sam Rockwell is an absolute delight as the expendable extra shipmate who is painfully aware of the dangers that await undeveloped characters like his own (a terrific send-up of Trek’s ill-fated “red-shirts”).
While the new Star Trek films are terrific spectacle, and some of the older ones like Wrath of Khan or First Contact are certainly classics, Galaxy Quest is maybe the most faithful adaptation of the Star Trek TV series itself, and finds not just the humor inherent in sci-fi fandom, but a great deal of heart as well.
Also, you’ll never again hear someone say “Never give up” without wanting to finish the slogan: “Never surrender.”