Galaxy Quest
The most marvelous thing about a gem like “Galaxy Quest” is how it manages to skewer – but gentle affection – science fiction conventions, a cheesy and long-canceled television science fiction show, the rabid fans of said show, the long-unemployed actors who played the leads in it, and yet at the same time tell a rather ripping-good yarn incorporating some genuinely moving moments. (And Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart and William Shatner have, at the very least, proved that they are jolly good sports about being ribbed so mercilessly.)

A lot of the comedy in Galaxy comes from the casting – and not just that there were top-flight acting talents in the lead roles – it is the actors, playing actors, who are playing characters who are so deliciously off-type from their actor-personas. For instance, Tony Shaloub plays Fred Kwan, (passive and suspiciously substance-addled) who is cast as TSgt Chen, supremely competent spaceship engineer. Alan Rickman is Alexander Dane, over-wrought Shakespearean, passionate about his “craft” – who apparently has hated every minute of being the lizardoid alien, Doctor Lazarus. Sigourney Weaver as Gwen DeMarco – grounded and rather level-headed – is the sexpot Lt. Madison, the communications officer who apparently went through episode after episode repeating whatever the computer told her. And Tim Allen is Jason Nesmith – self-centered, drunken and defiantly not the heroic type – is playing Captain Peter Quincy Taggart, of the NSEA Protector, who never gives up, and never abandons his crew. Along with Daryl Mitchell, as the grown-up kid actor Tommy Weber, once the helmsman Laredo, and Guy (Sam Rockwell), who had a bit part in a single episode, and “died” in true red-shirt Enterprise crewman fashion – all of them are transported into space, onto a ship which in every detail is the NSEA Protector. To their astonishment, they are being asked to be the characters they only played, on behalf of the Thermians. The Thermians are a race of aliens who have unfortunately run afoul of a particularly brutal enemy, Sarris and his evil minions. The NSEA Protector is their last, best hope – and alas, although technologically sophisticated, the poor Thermians know not of story-telling and entertainment. And that’s the plot – of the actors being given a chance to be what they only appeared to be, and the leader of the Thermians, Malthezar becoming what he wants to be – an inspiring leader. It’s a movie that bears watching again, and again.

Of the extras on this release, the funniest are the omitted scenes – Doctor Lazarus being given a tour of his quarters on board the Protector by the hospitable Thermians is hysterically funny. According to the commentary, some thought was given to showing the Thermian’s idea of the other characters’ quarters as well – which would have been also terrifically funny, but there are so many other comic scenes, lines and throw-away-bits that omission of that gag is hardly noticed. The other notable feature is a version of the movie entirely in the Thermian language. A little of that bit goes a very long way.

Galaxy Quest is available through Amazon.com and other retail outlets.

Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer and member of the Independent Authors Guild who lives in San Antonio and blogs at The Daily Brief. Her current book project, “The Adelsverein Trilogy” is also available at Amazon.com and selected local outlets. More about her books is at her website www.celiahayes.com.

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