The cast of the hit 80s show Galaxy Quest don’t have much of a career anymore. Going to conventions and doing promotions in character is the only way they can make money. When an alien race called the Thermians mistake the show as “historical documents” and seeks the crew’s help to save their people, the cast of Galaxy Quest must pretend to be the heroes the aliens believe them to be.
Whenever I think about my favorite parodies, one of the first ones that come to mind is Galaxy Quest. This is one of those comedies were everything just seems to pull together perfectly. All the jokes are funny without being forced, every character gets their chance to have their laugh, even the serious ones you don’t expect, and the cast just works.
It is very obvious that the cast of Galaxy Quest was having a good time. Even with such a large, eclectic group of actors, the chemistry between them is great. I don’t know how they did it but Dreamworks managed to assemble one of the best casts in any film ever. Each character has their own unique personality. They all resemble the different types of actors that are no longer in their prime. From the attention seeker to the drama queen, they are all here.
Tim Allen has no problem portraying the self-centered “leader” of the group who feeds off of the audience’s fondness for him. He brings his signature wit and comedic timing. I’m a big fan of Allen and although this may not be my favorite role of his, he is still very enjoyable to watch.
Sigourney Weaver could not be any more perfect for her role. In the film’s TV show, she is a stereotypical science-fiction female character, not really providing much value except for eye-candy and but dammit will she do her best. This is perfect for her given one of her earliest and best roles was one of the most badass females in science-fiction, or even cinema for that matter.
Alan Rickman plays a British actor who longs to be back on the stage but instead is stuck in this role repeating a catch phrase he is getting tired of repeating. He plays the down-on-his-luck Shakespearean actor part so believably. Some of my favorite moments are in the beginning when he is at conventions and this fans say his catch phrase to him. I laugh every time he begrudgingly signs his autograph. However, this moment is probably my favorite for the character (it’s a little hard to set up with words so you’ll just have to watch it yourself).
Tony Shalhoub is the most deadpan of everyone in the group. He doesn’t seem phased when the crew first gets teleported to the Thermian ship, he’s in no rush when delivering vital news about damaged systems and he doesn’t think twice about opening the hatch when landing on an alien planet. Shalhoub delivers every line with the perfect tone and attitude.
Sam Rockwell is the biggest surprise of the bunch. He plays an extra who appeared for a few minutes on one episode before being killed off and is starstruck being around the show’s other actors. It’s hard to say he is the comedic relief with every character offering so many comedic moments but he made me laugh the hardest.
There are so many more excellent characters but I don’t want to get into everybody because then we would be here for a while. I have talked a lot about the cast because they are really why this film works so well. However, what helped them is the fantastic script. Even with a cast so large, no one feels like they are getting shafted on time. They each have their shining moments. It is very difficult to pick a favorite moment for each character because they all have so many. Best of all, every character has a completed arc by the end of the film. That’s quite a feat given a) it’s an ensemble and b) that doesn’t happen in comedies very often.
This film is often viewed as a parody about science-fiction shows, such as Star Trek, but it parodies more than that: it parodies the fandom. Conventions are a huge part of the film, it is where we meet the characters after all. There is this subtle show of affection towards fans. People who, like myself, get completely engrossed in a show or movie, whether they are called Trekkies, Brown Coats, Potterheads or what have you. It’s not poking fun at them as much as it is celebrating the idea of being part of a fandom.
I thought Galaxy Quest was GREAT :-D. It is often an overlooked gem of a movie. The casting is spot on and the script is brilliantly written. This film both pokes fun and pays homage to the classic science-fiction shows and, more than that, their fans. Few parodies can deliver such reverence and humor at the same time that Galaxy Quest manages to.
Guy: I changed my mind. I want to go back.
Alexander: After the fuss you made about getting left behind?
Guy: Yeah, but that’s when I thought I was the crewman that stays on the ship and something is up there and it kills me. But now I’m thinking I’m the guy who gets killed by some monster five minutes after we land on the planet.
Jason: You’re not gonna die on the planet, Guy.
Guy: I’m not? Then what’s my last name?
Jason: It’s, uh, um, uh… I don’t know.
Guy: Nobody knows. You know why? Because my character isn’t important enough for a last name because I’m gonna die five minutes in!
Gwen: Guy, you have a last name.
Guy: Do I!? Do I!? For all you know I’m just Crewman #6!
Cast & Crew
Dean Parisot – Director
David Howard – Story / Screenplay
Robert Gordon – Screenplay
David Newman – Composer
Tim Allen – Jason Nesmith
Sigourney Weaver – Gwen DeMarco
Alan Rickman – Alexander Dane
Tony Shalhoub – Fred Kwan
Sam Rockwell – Guy Fleegman
Daryl Mitchell – Tommy Webber
Enrico Colantoni – Mathesar
Robin Sachs – Sarris
Patrick Breen – Quellek
Missi Pyle – Laliari
Jed Rees – Teb
Justin Long – Brandon
Jeremy Howard – Kyle
Johnathan Feyer – Hollister