The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

Galaxy Quest

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 show. Stir.

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.

Editor's Note:

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 Bizkit.

Galaxy Quest
Rated: PG
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.


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.

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