GALAXY QUEST
by Lovell Mahan-Moutaw

On an episode of "Saturday Night Live," William Shatner admonished the rabid fans of the first "Star Trek" television show, "It's just a TV show, get a life!" or something to that effect. What dorks they are that they get so involved in these television shows that they live and breathe them, know everything down to the lowest, most menial character or creature or even the names of the different models of guns or ships or how to speak various fictitious languages.

Those dorks are known and loved by all of us. Everyone either knows someone or is someone who becomes over-involved in a television fantasy. For instance, personally I have wished upon many stars that I would be transported to Cicely, Alaska so I could live with Chris-in-the-Morning (outside of Fox Mulder, the most sexy man in television history). In a couple of weeks, I shall fly to Los Angeles to attend, with my boyfriend, the Xena/Hercules Convention. I am a "Northern Exposure", "The X-Files", "Xena", and "La Femme Nikita" dork. I'm not embarrassed to admit it.Action, adventure, fantasy - if the world were just slightly magical, well hell, we wouldn't need television - or movies, for that matter.

Whoever came up with the idea for Galaxy Quest (presumably Robert Gordon and David Howard, the credited writers) gets a hats off from me.

The premise of the movie is that more than a decade after it was cancelled, the actors who were on a show called "Galaxy Quest" are still in high demand by the Galaxy Quest dorks who live and breathe the show. The cast attends conventions and do chiphead store openings.

The show's commander, Peter Quincy Taggart (real name, Jason Nesmith, real, real name, Tim Allen), loves this stuff, lives for it actually, and makes a decent living from it. The rest of the crew (including a chesty, blonde Lt. Tawny Madison (real name Gwen DeMarco, real, real name Sigourney Weaver) and Dr. Lazarus of Tev'Mek (real name Alexander Dane, real, real name Alan Rickman)) are embarrassed by it and bored with it, but it's a gig, and they tag along for the money.

However, at a Galaxy Quest Convention, Jason gets a rude awakening when he hears some kids making fun of him, the crew and the fans. He begins to see the ridiculousness of the situation.

While Jason is reeling over the news that he may not be as cool as he has convinced himself he is, in walk some real aliens who have built an entire system of space ships, communicators, weapons, technology, etc. around the "science" of the "historical documents" they received via transmissions from Earth. These aliens think "Gilligan's Island" is sad because they believe it to be real. They also believe that Jason (or rather, Commander Peter Quincy Taggart) and his crew can save them from an evil General who wants to kill off their population and take over their planet.

Wanting to believe he's more than a washed up television star, Jason gets his crew to go with him and fight the evil General.

What happens next is hilarious - downright, laugh-out-loud, goofy-as-shit, hilarious. It pokes fun at TV dorks even as it makes them heroes. It is better than just funny, it is clever, well-written and interesting.

Tim Allen is great as a William Shatner-esque Commander who always ends up with his shirt off. Sigourney Weaver has some of the most hilarious lines (including and especially, "Let's get out of here before they kill Guy!") and plays the babe beautifully - the sweetest, smartest bimbo I've ever seen. Alan Rickman, who has so far done no wrong in my book, is fabulous. Tony Shalhoub as a Scotty-esque Tech Sergeant is, as always, hilarious.

Stealing the show is Sam Rockwell as Guy Fleegman, an accidental addition to the crew and an old extra from one of the episodes (essentially what is known in "Star Trek" lore as a "red shirt"). Constantly running around thinking he is the one who is going to get killed because he's expendable or not a regular cast member, Guy is in state of paranoia that is hilarious to watch. Rockwell is the guy who played Billy the Kid in The Green Mile. He is outstanding in both films, and especially in Galaxy Quest, where he steals every scene he is in.

I saw this movie with my two nieces (4 and 6 years of age), as the paper told us it was okay for children. Surprisingly, the 6-year-old became very scared, yet the 4-year-old sat through it without any problem (but even though she didn't take her eyes from the screen, I don't believe she understood or enjoyed the film completely). I would suggest the movie is meant for children over 6 years of age, because it can be frightening and has some curse words. However, it's only a little bit gory, and they obviously did make an effort for it to be child-friendly.

For everyone else, I'd recommend it as it is smart, sweet, original and loads of fun.




CineScene, 2000