Take a really bad fictional sci-fi TV show.
Not to say that any of the truly bad TV shows are actually real. Only
the good ones are based in reality, such as Battlestar Galactica, Space
1999 and Earth 2.
Anyway, take the bad show, add a troupe of disgruntled TV actors,
resentful at forever being adored by pre-teen geek freaks while never
being taken seriously in their craft. Add a desperate group of aliens
who have modeled their society after the aforementioned bad sci-fi TV
What you get is, surprisingly, a very funny movie.
Galaxy Quest zoomed into the theaters this Holiday season with all the
promise of another installment of The Phantom. (Slam Evil!) It stars
Tim Allen. Yuck. Its trailer made it seem less intelligent than an
episode of Beavis and Butthead. Lame. Truth told, you looked at it,
and decided to go see Deuce Bigalow for the third time.
Well you woulda made mistake, because Galaxy Quest is hysterical.
I'm not quite sure how it happened. All the elements for a total flop
are there. sci-fi humor has historically had as much success as movies
about cheese. Movies about TV shows have recently been the dregs of the
movie-going season. (Mod Squad anyone?) Tim Allen is still Tim Allen.
And yet the magic is there. Tim Allen plays a pompous, untalented hack
actor. So he's really well cast. Alan Rickman plays the Shakespearean
actor whose career has been lowered forever by playing roles beneath his
ability. So he's perfectly cast. (Robin Hood: Prince of Surfers
anyone?) Sigourney Weaver plays the buxom blond sex object, so
she's...wait. When did Sigourney get breasts? I've watched every
Aliens movie frame by frame and don't remember ever seeing so much as a
minor bump on her bosom.
Well, the movie is a special effects extravaganza.
The story is simple. The cast of the cancelled 80's sci-fi show, Galaxy
Quest, is enlisted to help an alien race which has completely modeled
their existence on episodes from the series. And while that's fun in
and of itself, it is the interplay between the cast members and the
reality of sci-fi television that makes this movie the jewel that it is.
As one cast member is about to walk blindly into an unknown situation on
an alien world: "Are you crazy! Did you ever watch the show?"
As one cast member survives a dangerous battle during which his clothes
are ripped to shreds and is welcomed back to the ship. "I see you
managed to take your shirt off."
The entire pulse of the film is embodied in one character, an actor who
was killed in the first fifteen minutes of the only episode he ever
appeared in who accidentally joins the rest of the cast in space. He
knows that he's the extra, doomed to die in every situation they come
across. It's brilliant.
Now, I am a Star Trek fan. I've seen most of the episodes (of Star Trek
and The Next Generation, I can't bothered with Deep Space 9 or that
Voyager thing) so I got a lot of jokes that others might not get. But
with me in the theater were two people who aren't any more a Star Trek
fan than anyone else, and they also loved the movie.
See, if you think sci-fi TV is lame, then this movie joyfully ridicules
every ridiculous thing about them you can think of. And if you love
Deep Space 9, Babylon 5, Blake's 7 and anything else with a number in
the title, then this movie serves as a celebration of sorts with the
pure joy that you can only get from sci-fi TV. It works on both
levels. It takes the world of sci-fi fandom, spins it around, chews it
up, twists it into knots, and spits it back out. And it gets it right.
If you would like to laugh, I would heartily recommend that you go see
Galaxy Quest. Trust me, I'm the Critic, and I'm telling you to go. I
told you to go see Babe, and I was right. I told you to go see The
Blair Witch Project, and I was right. I told you to go see Free Willy
3, and I plead the fifth.
Galaxy Quest gets 4 2/5 Babylons. I simply laughed harder than I've
laughed at a movie in a long time.
I had a conversation with the SMC after this movie about Sigourney
Weaver's breasts. I had several theories--WonderBra, Water Bra,
external gel implants. Having a conversation with the SMC about various
types of women's undergarments is like talking to my pastor about Limp
Directed By: Dean Parisot
Starring: Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam
Rockwell and the ghosts of William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and anyone
else who's ever boldly gone where far too many people have gone before.
A FEW MATTERS
Quick stuff to clear up and start the new Millennium fresh.
- The fake Pokemon was Bolbat.
- Tom Cruise is married to Nicole Kidman.
- The Babylon Ratings scale goes from 1 (bad) to 5 (great).
- There were 48 episodes of Space: 1999.
- The world is going to end on May 5th, 2000.
- You need more zinc in your diet.
Thank you for your attention.