I have always been a huge fan of sci-fi films. I am not talking about scary space movies such as ALIEN or PREDATOR. I don’t enjoy the fearful moments when the hideous monster will appear and make me scream with fright. I don’t believe in “dilly-dallying.” Get in… get out. Destroy the bad one as quickly as possible. My kind of horror sci-fi would be about thirty minutes or less. Honestly. This is all I can handle. For me, I am into all the possibilities that space exploration has to offer. “Discovering new worlds and going where no man has gone before.” Yes, I am a “Trekkie” and a fan of STAR WARS, but I am also totally “hooked” on the classic GALAXY QUEST. I could watch GQ a hundred times (I probably have) and never tire of the bravado, sarcastic humor, courage, and just pure entertainment. It never fails to make me laugh out loud or smile. This week, I thoroughly had a blast revisiting one of my all-time favorites.
GALAXY QUEST plays homage and is a parody of the STAR TREK television series and the STAR TREK movie franchise. All the main characters are a takeoff of the original STAR TREK cast. Tim Allen plays Captain Jason Nesmith. He was modeled after William Shatner as Captain Kirk. Tim’s mannerisms as he sits in the captain’s chair, staring off thinking is “so Kirk.” The taking his shirt off as he fights the rock monster is a jab at how often William Shatner battles the enemy shirtless. Another rip is aimed at Leonard Nimoy’s character Spock. Mocking, disdainful eyes are the cornerstone to GQ’s Dr Lazarus. Gwen (Sigourney Weaver) mirrors every computer command just as Uhura. Cracks me up every time. The role of Guy played by Sam Rockwell, was copied from one of the many ST crew members, who inevitably was killed within the first few minutes of an episode. (Red shirts always die.)
Here are a few more similarities between GQ to ST and other “borrowed screen bits.”
- Sigourney’s line, “why are there always ducts?” An ALIEN question and answer.
- William Shatner always wanted to battle a rock monster.
- Leonard Nimoy usually held his communication devices upside down or backward, just like Alan Rickman.
- “It’s all about getting the boobs in the space suit.” Need I say more…ask Sigourney.
- The first letters of the identifying symbols across the GQ ship were NTE which stood for “Not The Enterprise.”
GALAXY QUEST’s plot is all about the actors from a highly successful TV show. The sitcom kept a huge following long after the series was canceled. Fans dress up and meet their old heroes at a GQ convention every year. Years have passed, and they all feel washed up and not important anymore until Captain Nesmith accepts a “gig” from Mathesar (Enrico Colantoni) and the Thermian people. Life will never be the same again as fiction becomes a reality in space. And the “actors” from a tv show become real, live astronauts who must fight against the evil Sarris (Robin Sachs). The Omega 13 saves the day along with Brandon (Justin Long) and his cohorts. “Don’t forget the recycling.”
GALAXY QUEST opened in December 1999. It was not a huge box office success, but over the last 24 years, it has gained a monstrous following and continues to be fresh, funny, poignant, and smart. It is fast-paced, with tons of action. It contains both slapstick and satirical humor. The characters have depth and grow in ways I had not imagined. “By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Worvan, you shall be avenged.” This always makes me cry as I raise a fist to my heart in a salute.
GALAXY QUEST has always been about the fans in real life, and this wonderful, highly imaginative film. It possesses that magical formula mixing comedy with sci-fi to create a cult classic of extraordinary delight for people of all ages. It is packed with hope and optimism for our future in space. In my soul, “I will never give up… never surrender.”
GALAXY QUEST is available to stream on STARZ.