Quest" on DVD
by Jim Bray
Galaxy Quest is the
best "Star Trek" parody to date and a definite "must see" for Trekkies,
sci fi, and comedy fans alike.
Tim Allen plays an
actor who performed the role of Commander Taggart, the "Captain Kirk"
of an "Enterprise-like" starship on a long since canceled weekly TV show.
Sigourney Weaver is his communications chief whose chief function on the
show is decorative, Alan Rickman is the ship's alien doctor, Tony Shalhoub
is the ship's (non-Scottish) chief engineer, and Daryl Mitchell is the
whiz kid helmsman - now grown up.
In the "reality" of
the film, however, they're a bunch of washed up actors who make most of
their livings these days by showing up at "Galaxy Quest" conventions and
tiredly going through the motions.
When a group of real
aliens shows up at a convention, asking Allen for his help in their desperate
conflict with a race of evil, crab/lizard-like aliens, they're written
off as just a few "GQ" fans from the more lunatic fringe. But no, these
aliens are Thermians, and they're for real and have come to Earth seeking
the Galaxy Quest crew's assistance.
You see, they've been
watching the show from space for years and think that, rather than being
a TV series, it's a collection of historical documents being broadcast
The TV crew is eventually
coaxed - or perhaps coerced is the right word - into space to fight the
good fight on a ship that was designed from the TV broadcasts but which,
fortunately, really works.
Naturally, the battle
is eventually won, but not before the audience is treated to a wonderful
set of jokes and situations that bring to mind the best - and the worst
- from the old Star Trek TV series. There's the bit player who knows he's
only along because he's expendable, like the "non-regulars" who beamed
down with Kirk every week. There's Sigourney Weaver's sexpot, whose dramatic
license (or, in this case, learner's permit) allows her only to speak
to the ship's computer, and relay its words to the rest of the cast.
You get the idea.
The characters' "real
life" personae don't really like each other too much and a lot of the
laughs come from the friction between them as they're forced to play their
dramatic (well, not too dramatic) parts in real life.
Other laughs come
from the situation itself, including a sequence in which Allen and Weaver,
on their way to deactivate the ship's self destruct sequence, are forced
to get through a ridiculous area of huge "sledgehammer-like" obstacles
that serve no apparent function but which are on the real life ship because
they happened to be featured in one particularly bad "Galaxy Quest" episode.
The actors are all
well cast and turn in good performances - a bit tongue in cheek but not
enough to make it look as if they're winking at the audience.
The screenplay was
obviously written by fans of the genre being lampooned, and the special
effects and production values are state of the art.
The DVD is in widescreen,
Dolby Digital and, though there isn't a lot of surround information from
the rear channels, the audio and video quality are first rate.
Dreamworks has also
stuffed plenty of extras onto the disc, includinga decent liner essay,
an "on location in space" featurette, deleted scenes, trailer, bios, production
notes and - get this - an alternate audio soundtrack in honest to goodness
Too bad no one speaks
Galaxy Quest, from
Dreamworks Home Video
102 minutes, Widescreen (2.35:1), Dolby Digital
Starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam
Rockwell, Daryl Mitchell
Produced by Mark Johnson, Charles Newirth, Screenplay by David Howard
and Robert Gordon
Directed by Dean Parisot.
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