During the height of the Star Wars prequels of the early 2000’s, it was inevitable that we’d eventually get a parody of the sci-fi genre in some form…although what we eventually got was a bit curious. Instead of something akin to Spaceballs, Galaxy Quest instead parodied the Star Trek series in a subtle (yet at times not) fashion and featured the original cast of a fabled sci-fi show playing the convention circuit with great disdain. Although you don’t hear much about it now, the film remains one of the more “cult” classics among the parody genre, if only because of the talent involved and the fact it managed to pile on a solid story on top of the humor.
Twenty years after cancellation, the stars of the Galaxy Quest television series cling to their careers appearing at sci-fi conventions and electronic store openings. When a distressed interstellar race mistakes the show for “historical documents,” Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen) and his crew of has-beens are unwittingly recruited to save them from a genocidal warlord. Galaxy Question: Deluxe Edition features brand-new bonus features and an all-star ensemble, including Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub and Sam Rockwell in this hilarious adventure that boldly goes where no comedy has gone before.
See that Star Trek joke in the synopsis on the back of this DVD release? Yeah, that’s as specific as the film ever gets to admitting what it is a parody of; in fact, since it was a newly minted synopsis, I daresay the film never even alluded to the series it pulled from. Sure, there was an undercurrent of it running throughout the film and if you knew about the stuff it was making fun of, then it was all that much of a richer experience. But strictly and flat-out speaking, as far as parodies go, this really isn’t as much of an in-your-face experience like Spaceballs (the closest we get is Alan Rickman’s “Spock” like role, which is really just vague enough to get away without being a direct clone…whereas Darth Helmet is another story entirely).
But those are just general observations about the film and nothing really about the quality of it which…really is surprisingly good. I watched this when I was a kid (well…I was 13 at the time, so I guess not a “kid,” per say) and I don’t know what was wrong with me then, but I really didn’t like it in the least. Perhaps because I was big into Trek and Wars and found the parody insulting or something…but whatever. Not that I don’t still enjoy those series, but I’ve long since graduated past the Boba Fett posters (although I do still have a pretty badass one…but that’s for another time) and can now appreciate this film for what it is: hilarious.
Some of the film doesn’t hold up (those CGI effects are particularly cheesy…but the alien outfits are as great looking as ever) and it feels a bit dated in terms of the visuals, but the most important thing still holds up…and that’s the comedy. Tim Allen is at top form in here as the captain, but even though he’s the star most known for comedy he really doesn’t bring much past the first twenty minutes of the film. Once he adjusts to the idea of the existence of aliens, it’s the supporting cast that forces the most laughter. Sigourney Weaver’s outburst over the mechanical bowels of the ship and how ridiculous they were designed is one of the highlights of the film (as is the censoring of the films only F-bomb…clipped due to the PG rating…yet still obvious if you watch her lips), although I have to say that Shalhoub’s performance throughout is just absolutely brilliant. His indifference to the majority of it had me in fits of laughter.
And really the rest of the film is of the same quality. Alan Rickman and Sam Rockwell are both hilarious in their own way, although Rickman is usually just the sardonic one of the group, he offers up a dynamic that the film would feel empty without. And Rockwell…well, he’s just funny anyway, so nothing much to add there. It’s not hard to see how this film has maintained a cult following as on top of being successful at the box office, the film has kept a solid fan base online. It helps if you know about the other sci-fi series it pulls from, but it’s certainly not required—it’s pretty universal in its appeal, but being a geek helps a tad bit for the jokes to pack that extra punch.
Overall if you haven’t seen the film by now, do yourself a favor. Whether it’s just seeing a ton of now-even-more-famous celebrities back in their younger days (check out the briefly seen Rainn Wilson) or simply watching a hilarious and rather low-profile movie (outside of it’s fanbase, if you ask a random person on the street about this film they probably wouldn’t give you an immediate response as to what it was) that you can further spread the word about, Galaxy Quest is just a good time all around. Recommended.
Paramount has deemed now the perfect time to release a Deluxe Edition of this film…and I can’t blame them. Star Trek is about to come back in a big way, after all, and this film was in dire need of a new release so now was the perfect time. I don’t own the previous release so I can’t compare it to anything, but this one includes all-new extras as well as the carry-over of some of the old ones (not all, however…at least not from what I can tell). The transfer is a solid affair, if it a bit grainy and hazy at times (although reading up on some old reviews of the DD/DTS editions of the film, you’d think it was a Blu-ray transfer…ahh, the early days of DVD), but overall nothing to scoff at. Sadly the DTS track doesn’t get carried over from the original release, but we get an adequate DD5.1 track in its place, alongside a Spanish 5.1 as well as a Thermian 2.0 track (yeah…the entire movie in Thermian). Also included are English, French and Spanish subtitles.
Starting off with the extras, they all appear to be newly recorded (and in anamorphic widescreen—woohoo!) and start off with Historical Documents: The Story of (18:14), a recollection with the cast and crew about how the film came to be. Never Give Up: Never Surrender: The Intrepid Crew of the NSEA Protector (23:25) focuses in on the stars of the film, By Grabthar’s Hammer: What Amazing Effects (7:03) while profiles the SFX in the film, but mostly the work done by Stan Winston’s studios. Alien School: Creating the Thermian Race (5:23) talks about the creation of the race, Actors in Space (6:11) discusses the harsh reality of typecasting and what the individual actors in the film have had to deal with in their careers. Sigourney Weaver Raps (1:59) is not as bad as it sounds and is quite hilarious and it’s basically her and two other stars of the movie rapping to one of her friends for their birthday. Finally we have a collection of Deleted Scenes (Eight total, some with intros by writer/director). As I said, I don’t own the previous release so I can’t say for certain what’s new and what wasn’t, but since the majority of it (aside from archive footage) is all in widescreen, it’s a fair bet that the featurettes weren’t ported over…although some of their contents may have been.
Overall it’s a solid package (arriving in a standard amaray case…but with a 3D lithograph cover!) and definitely worth picking up if you enjoyed the film. Even if you own the previous edition this is Recommended, mainly because it’s so damn cheap ($10.49 as of this writing on Amazon).
Galaxy Quest arrives on DVD on May 12th.