Retro: Why Galaxy Quest is Awesome


GQ1

 “Never give up! Never surrender!”

Parodies are pretty common place in the film industry. Sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re, well, not. Occasionally, they’re freaking awesome. Mars Attacks, Not Another Teen Movie, pretty much anything by Mel Brooks.

For me, though, the greatest parody film of all time – and one of the my favourite ever comedies – is Galaxy Quest, the 1999 parody of Star Trek (the original series), which follows the cast of a long since cancelled sci-fi show as they are transported into space by an alien race who worship them and have built an exact working replica of their spaceship based on what they believe to be historical documents, and want their help defeating a hostile alien invader. Breath. And that’s about all you need to know, so go watch it!

No, but seriously. Absolutely everything about this film is a masterpiece, with all the story beats seamlessly spoofing all the Star Trek tropes and every single one of the cast putting in a stellar (Yep. I said it.) performance. In fact, I feel I need to talk about the characters individually to truly do them justice.

GQ2

Quick, while we’re on this alien planet, let’s get a cool photo for my Facebook banner!

Tim Allen plays Jason Nesmith/Commander Taggart, and is the Shatner/Kirk parody. He absolutely nails the cocky, arrogant actor who always takes the spotlight, and his performance of his performance as Taggart channels Kirk to a T.

Sigourney Weaver stars as Gwen DeMarco/Lt. Maddison, the only female cast member of the Galaxy Quest show who’s one-dimensional character’s sole purpose was to repeat what the computer says (something that’s a constant source of amusement in the film) and look good in a tight jumpsuit.

Alan Rickman is perfect as Sir Alexander Dane/Dr. Lazarus, the Spock parallel for the film. His deadpan delivery of the disillusioned actor is absolutely fantastic (and hilarious), and, like all of the others, has a slew of amazing one-liners. The rivalry between Alex and Jason is brilliantly portrayed by both Rickman and Tim Allen, and it really drives the film.

Tony Shaloub is a very close second for best performance for me (well, they’re all a close second really, it’s that hard to choose!), starring as Fred Kwan/Tech Sgt. Chen, the ships Scotty figure. His incredibly laid-back performance is a fantastic contrast to the rest of the cast freaking out at their situation, and his expressions and line deliveries are phenomenal.

GQ3

Nothing like some cheese dippers when you’re entering the atmosphere of an alien planet in a small shuttlecraft piloted by an actor

Daryl Mitchell plays the now grown up Tommy Webber/Gunner Laredo, the ships ace pilot. Whilst not given as much screen time as some of the others, he still manages to put in a memorable performance, and is the key component in what is quite possibly the greatest piece of physical comedy in the film, when the ship is first launched from the spaceport.

A quick special mention to some of the supporting cast members, Enrico Colantoli as the comical leader of the Thermians, the Thermians in general (including a minor appearance for The Office’s Rainn Wilson!), prosthetic veteran Robin Sachs in the surprisingly intimidating villain role, and a young Justin Long playing the awkward geek fan of the show that ends up (with his friends) being the real heroes in a lovely nod to the Trekkies whose show the film is parodying.

GQ4

Dwight Schrute, the early years.

Finally, though, I really need to discuss my personal standout performance – Sam Rockwell as Guy Fleegman, a man who’s only appearance on the Galaxy Quest show was as an extra in episode #81, where he was killed off in a redshirt moment (if you don’t know what redshirt means, then shame on you). He spends the entire film fully aware of his non-main-cast position and is terrified of dying to “prove how serious the situation is”. He absolutely steals every scene he’s in, and delivers a ridiculous amount of laugh out loud one liners. Without him, we wouldn’t have the funniest line in the film, Sigourney Weaver’s dead serious “We need to get out of here before one of those things kills Guy!”.

GQ5

“Don’t open that! Is there air!? You don’t know!”.

If you haven’t already, you should watch Galaxy Quest. You should watch it because of the fantastic plotting. You should watch it for the fantastic performances by all of the cast. But most of all, you should watch it because it’s ri-goddamn-diculously awesome!

Until next time, this has been Blacksmith, writing for the Awesome Update.

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