Quick Movie Review: Galaxy Quest (1999)

Galaxy Quest is another one of those movies that seems like it would have been directly in my wheelehouse. It’s about a bunch of washed up actors from a Star Trek-like sci-fi show who get caught up in real alien hijinks. It stars Tim Allen and Alan Rickman, two stars I really like. And Sigourney Weaver looks hot. So, why didn’t I see it when I was 16? No idea. Could have been working, my friends might not have been interested in going or I just didn’t care because I kind of hated Star Trek at the time (ah to be young and foolish). So, it just never happened.

I had a great time watching this movie, but I think it’s better that I watched it now that I have a deeper understanding of sci-fi fandom and the Star Trek universe in general. Allen’s clearly playing an analog for William Shatner while Rickman could be seen as a much-fictionalized version of Leonard Nimoy with Weaver, Tony Shalloub and others playing caricatures of other cast members. I don’t know much about the Star Trek folks’ real life dealings, so I can’t speak to that, but I’ve been to enough comic book conventions to understand what a washed up loser trying to milk his 15 minutes of fame looks like.

Aside from the jabs at nerdom, I also liked the film as a sci-fi romp. The aliens think the reruns of Galaxy Quest they’ve seen are video histories which have inspired their entire race to, basically, do good and avoid evil (a credo my friend’s dad used to always leave me with whenever he dropped us off at school). When their emotionally primitive but technologically advanced society came under fire, they did the only thing they could think of: get the Galaxy Quest crew to help them against some big bad aliens. Fun stuff!

But it’s not just a comedy either, GC offers great alien effects thanks to Stan Winston. I’m a big fan of the evil alien’s being done practically, they’ve got a great look, and the hero aliens’ octopus-like true forms. How great is it when a sci-fi movie makes aliens look this good? Plus, the action is solid. Galaxy Quest is one of those rare genre movies that I could easily recommend to a wide audience, which means, I would recommend it to my parents. I know my dad would like it, but mom has pretty specific tastes (nothing too violent or dark). I think she’d get a kick out of the movie and you would too if you’re reading this blog and haven’t seen it in a while.

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