GALAXY QUEST

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Galaxy QuestGALAXY QUEST - 1999
USA Release: Dec. 25, 1999
Gran Via Productions, DreamWorks Pictures
Rating: USA: PG-13

Once in the early 1980s, there was a really cool TV show about an intrepid crew aboard an amazing spaceship and each week they went on adventures and saved the galaxy!

But then it got cancelled. But the Questie fans were so hardcore over it, that though they couldn't get it back on the air, they had kids, watched it with them, and they all threw mega-conventions to the point where the actors in the TV show were set for life!

Of course they were forever typecast with the cancelled show and never got another acting job again.

They weren't happy about that at all. Well, except for one guy, the main actor who played the Commander and perennial hero, actor Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen). Jason played Commander Peter Quincy Taggert and he just loves being the hero that all the fans fawn over at each and every convention. The old TV show, Galaxy Quest isn't just his life, it's the only life he's ever wanted.

The same cannot be said for his fellow actors like Gwen DeMarco (Sigourney Weaver: ALIEN [all], GHOSTBUSTERS [all]), AVATAR, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS), whose role in the show was pointless, but it was a big break early in her career - which then went nowhere.

Alexander Dane (Alan Rickman: DOGMA, HARRY POTTER [all], ALICE IN WONDERLAND [2010]) a Shakespearean trained actor who tragically knows - only in retrospect - exactly how much a quick grab at easy money cost him.

The other actors in the series, Fred Kwan (Tony Shalhoub: ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES, MEN IN BLACK [all], IMPOSTOR, 1408) and then child star Tommy Webber (Child: Corbin Bleu, Adult: Daryl Mitchell: INSIDE MAN), never had an acting career to speak of before the show, so they're fine with their lives, if only they didn't have to put up with Alexander's whiny panic attacks before every panel.

At this particular Galaxy Quest convention, however, as they go about their well-worn routine, they are joined by Guy Fleegman (Sam Rockwell: THE GREEN MILE, IRON MAN 2). Guy is an ingratiating character actor who was in one episode of GALAXY QUEST in the old days, apparently hasn't done much since, and shyly asks if he can sit in on the autograph signing.

We soon see what it is about Jason that irritates Gwen and Alexander. These conventions pay, but they also place everyone in their parts, servile to Jason, as nobody ranks among the fans as high as "Commander Taggert". Jason is the only member of the cast who is fully knowledgeable about all the episodes and can match the most hardcore fan, scene for scene and line for line. He can answer every Byzantine question thrown at him down to the most trivial minutia. He seems to live his role and the fans adore him for it.

Convention Glare

Gwen: "You've gotta admit, they really do love him."
Tommy: "Yeah, almost as much as he loves himself."

A small group of people, apparently dressed in cos play, approach Jason with an offer. Jason doesn't know what they're talking about, isn't inclined to listen to anyone but himself, but assumes it's an acting offer and doesn't want to talk about it in front of the others. "Mum's the word."

However, when Jason becomes momentarily infatuated with the fan's adoration, Gwen DeMarco pops his bubble. So much so that he's down to earth enough to listen when he overhears a couple of convention goers laughing and mocking him behind his back.

The rest of the day doesn't go well for Jason and at one point he explodes at a fan before stalking off in humiliation.

This surprises his co-stars, and later that night we see how Jason lives in the Hollywood Hills. He has a massive, expensive, but empty house, not so much as a pet. Alone at night, he gets drunk and watches videos of the old show, always drilling all the trivia into his head for the next convention, right down to imitating the original inflection the much younger Jason once used.

The next day he's supposed to show up for the grand opening of a new store, but instead he's sleeping off his bender. It's at that moment the small group of cos players come to his house and wake him. Groggily alarmed at the intrusive fans, then remembering that they were offering some kind of gig, Jason pulls himself together and goes with them in their limousine.

Mum's the word

What happens next blows his mind. Suffice to say, the small group of fans weren't offering an acting gig and they aren't cos players.

Giddy with excitement and adrenalin, Jason shows up late at the grand opening as the last of the straggling shoppers get their autographs. His enthusiasm isn't contagious however, as he tells his co-stars that he "really" went into space with real outer space aliens.

Missing a gig, hung over, unshaven, unwashed, and raving like a lunatic, his co-stars have enough and get in the van to return to the convention without him. The fact that Jason leaves with a small group of cos players doesn't sway them.

Then Fred Kwan says, "I think we should've taken him up on it. Who knows when he'll offer us another gig."

Is that what Jason was talking about through all of that babble? Was he talking about an acting job?

As one they all haul out of the van, run after Jason, and they find themselves in the store's break room with the last of the cos players. They tell her that they all work together or not at all, she's fine with it, and they all get the surprise of their lives.

The aliens, known as Thermians from the Klatu Nebula, have spent years receiving and interpreting the TV show. Only they don't know from fictional narrative and falsely believe they are watching reality in the form of historical documents. As Malthasar (Enrico Colantoni: STIGMATA, CONTAGION), leader of the the Thermians explains, they desperately need galaxy saving heroes like the GALAXY QUEST crew of the N.S.E.A. Protector, as they are being hunted to extinction by the barbaric hordes of Sarris (Robin Sachs: VAMPIRE CIRCUS, THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK, RAVAGER, MEGALODON). A sort of anthropoid Dragon - fantastically created by the late Stan Winston - Sarris seems bent on the destruction of the Thermians for no other reason but that he cannot tolerate sharing a universe with them.

Going strictly by the "Historical Archives", the Thermians have recreated the TV show spaceship with everything the original N.S.E.A. Protector had. The Omega 13? Check. Transporter? Not quite sure how that's supposed to do its job, but Check. A hallway full of crunching smashing machines? No idea what purpose that serves, but if it was in the show, the earthlings must know why it's there, so Check!

What little is left of the Thermian homeworld

The actors had no idea of the gravity of the situation and clearly aren't up for it. Yet the untimely arrival of a brutally demanding Sarris, who will slaughter anyone who attempts escape, forces the crew of actors into their fake roles, with of course, an unnerved Jason as their leader.

They know they're wearing costumes! They know they're not equipped to fight such a deadly battle and an irresponsible nitwit like Jason is no leader. But they have no choice. How much worse would things be if the bloodthirsty Sarris realized that he wasn't facing the most cunning adventurers in the galaxy? He's up against Commander Taggert, after all! THE Commander Taggert of the Historical Archives who has never lost a battle!

When GALAXY QUEST was released in 1999 it was clearly created to be a fun What If? for the STAR TREK phenomenon of Trekkies world-wide. Yet by 2004, it served the FIREFLY audience of Browncoats as well.

Directed by Dean Parisot, working off the only screen credit scriptwriter David Howard ever had, GALAXY QUEST is a smashing good time that stays entertaining with repeated viewing and, for me, is the best movie Tim Allen has ever made.

Hilarious and heartfelt, GALAXY QUEST gets all five Shriek Girls.

Shriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek GirlsShriek Girls
This review copyright 2017 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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