When Galaxy Quest aired eighteen years ago,
A number of fans became hooked on the show.
The fandom began to progressively grow
Till it now has conventions galore.
Although this old sci-fi’s been long off the air,
Surprisingly people still watch it and care.
The actors, however, are filled with despair
That they’ve no other prospects in store.
The cool Jason Nesmith was known as Commander;
His Spock-like advisor was Dane, Alexander;
The hot Gwen DeMarco’s role couldn’t be blander;
The chief engineer was Fred Kwan;
The pilot was young Tommy Webber, who’s grown;
There’s also a redshirt named Guy, who’s unknown
But won’t leave the more famous main cast alone.
Their friendship is pretty much gone.
They show up wherever they might be employed.
Jason loves the spotlight, which he doesn’t avoid
Till the others, especially Dane, are annoyed.
But Galaxy Quest is their life.
One day, Jason’s met by the Thermian race,
Who look kinda normal but live up in space.
They say they have need of this space-faring ace
To somehow protect them from strife.
Not knowing these Thermians really are real,
He treats their foe Sarris as not a big deal.
His trip back to Earth through the stars makes him feel
That maybe they did speak the truth.
In shock, Jason tells all his “friends” of his task
And takes them all back when the Thermians ask.
They blanch when they see their hosts lacking a mask
And their ruthless foe lacking a ruth.
The Thermians picked up the show’s syndication
And thought it historical documentation.
It helped to inspire their civilization
And made them rebuild what they could.
Believing the actors are those on the show,
The Thermians’ knowledge of fiction is slow.
So Jason and friends cannot really say no
And do as their characters would.
Their encounter with Sarris goes badly, I fear,
And leaves their ship crippled, but one planet’s near
And might have a brand new beryllium sphere
To power their ship once again.
While Guy is in terror that somehow he’ll die,
They go down and bring back a sphere, or they try.
Though aliens threaten them all, they get by
Till they’re boarded by Sarris’s men.
Once Sarris has Jason admit that they lied,
He orders that they get some space – but outside!
They free themselves, yelling about Jason’s pride,
And save all their Thermian pals.
The credit is Jason’s, while Dane has a dearth,
But Jason gets help from some nerds back on Earth,
Who prove that their watching the show does have worth,
Improving their flagging morales.
As each actor starts to grow into their role,
The starship Protector’s back in their control.
They blast the foe’s ship and fly through a black hole
On their journey back home, having won.
But Sarris survived (well, that’s quite unforeseen)
And shoots everyone except Guy that’s on-screen.
So Jason turns on the Omega 13,
Which lets him undo what’s been done.
They fly down to Earth (with fans’ help, did I mention?),
And draw some applause and excited attention
By crashing a Galaxy Quest fan convention,
And Jason starts sharing the praise.
The show soon reboots, and there’s even a place
For a Thermian Fred fell in love with in space,
And Guy too, who has a last name just in case.
They’re now out of sci-fi clichés.

Many Star Trek fans were wary of Galaxy Quest when it was first released since it seemed like a potential excuse to mock Trekkies left and right. Yet the film manages to miraculously pay homage to the show that so many love (my family and me included), while also poking fun at its themes and fandom and earned praise from several Star Trek actors. Yes, it shows “Questerians” as often chubby geeks who obsess about the show and don’t get out much, but their love of the show isn’t just a cheap joke but an integral part of the plot by the end. The fans save the day, and anyone who is part of a fandom can appreciate that ingenious idea.

The actors are obvious parodies of the cast members of the original Star Trek series. Tim Allen has Shatner’s cocky bravado down pat, and Alan Rickman is a clear counterpart to Nimoy’s Mr. Spock, bemoaning the way he’s been typecast with that undying line “By Grabthar’s hammer, you shall be avenged!” Not as easily reused as “Live long and prosper,” but it’s not bad. Sigourney Weaver as Gwen DeMarco as Tawny Madison is more Janice Rand than Lieutenant Uhura, and Daryl Mitchell is akin to Next Gen’s Wesley Crusher, the stereotypical whiz kid aboard. The funniest of the group are Tony Shalhoub as Fred Kwan, who seems strangely distant, perhaps stoned, as all this weirdness washes over him, and Sam Rockwell as Guy, who constantly worries he’s the expendable redshirt. Each actor so embodies their character embodying their role on Galaxy Quest that I would have liked to see an actual spinoff, perhaps tying into the Star Trek universe. All Trekkers know there are countless different universes out there, after all.

The special effects are actually pretty impressive, the villain Sarris is extremely – uh – villainous, and the Thermians are hilarious, especially Enrico Colantoni as Mathesar, whose erratic laughter ranges from gasps to gagging noises. It even ekes out some moments of pathos, such as Jason’s confession to Mathesar and Dane’s finally getting over his self-inflicted ignominy for the sake of a fallen comrade. Except for an early profanity, the film is also pretty kid-friendly, though in one scene it looks like Sigourney Weaver said the F-bomb, which was dubbed over with a milder word. There are also a few mildly violent and gross parts that may warrant caution for young viewers, but overall Galaxy Quest is a great sci-fi parody that may not be as laugh-out-loud funny as, say, Spaceballs, but it’s a must for both Star Trek fans and anyone who’s ever known someone who’s thought of watching Star Trek.

Best line: (Gwen, after seeing some cannibalistic aliens and thinking that Guy is the only disposable one) “Let’s get out of here before one of those things kills Guy.”

VC’s best line: (convention announcer, introducing Rickman’s Alexander Dane) “Give him a hand; he’s British.”

Artistry: 4
Characters/Actors: 7
Entertainment: 8
Visual Effects: 7
Originality: 8
Watchability: 7
Other (brief language and violence): -5
TOTAL: 36 out of 60

Next: #259 – Spy Kids

© 2014 S. G. Liput

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