Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rewatch: Galaxy Quest

1999, Dean Parisot (Master of Sex, Justified) -- Netflix

This movie has a fonder place in my brain than in my reality. In my mind's eye, it's a perfect movie, a playup on fandom and classic science fiction TV series that may or may not age well. In reality, it also hasn't aged so well. But damn, it is still a lot of fun.

So, Galaxy Quest was a TV show in the late 70s, early 80s science fiction show about the crew of the NSEA Protector. No, not really, but in the movie. Eighteen years later, the cast travels the Cons peddling their fading fame to the fans. Most of the cast hates it, having done nothing significant since. Tim Allen, who played the Kirkian captain, seems to have done well for himself (based on his house) but is as much seated in the past as the fans. And then the Thermians show up; real aliens in need of real help, but without a comprehension of fiction. Thus they assume Galaxy Quest was historical information and the crew just needs a new ship to save the Thermians from an evil reptilian enemy.

I guess the Thermians are also not very observative or they might have noticed Earth's technology level ain't that hot. But the ones on the fake ship made real are the last of their race, so maybe they aren't very focused. Among the aliens is Enrico Collantoni, pre-Person of Interest, Missi Pyle and Jedd Rees, who is distracting me in the trailers for Deadpool, as I expect him to have his weird alien accent.

The cast/crew includes Sigourney Weaver (forgive me, but I don't buy her as the hot blonde female lead; just because she ruled as Ripley doesn't make her this show's Tasha Yar), Alan Rickman (who spends much of the movie sealed under his alien prosthesis head piece), Tony Shalhoub (never sure if he was a stoner or just heavily on antidepressants) and Sam Rockwell (token redshirt).

For some reason Tim Allen never gets around to explaining to the Thermians that he is a fictional character, until it becomes far too late. Once the Thermians realize their naive mistake, they are lost. So, as in all great Hollywood traditions, the crew decides to step up and play the charade for real. The villain is in on the joke, knowing the Thermians made a grand mistake, and is just as surprised when these washed up actors go up against him.

Like many comedies based on miscommunication, you are supposed to go along with the ideas, ignoring the plot holes. Multiple viewings lends to noticing them more. But I still love the execution of the story, from the playup on Star Trek -- Tim Allen's shirt doesn't take long to be torn off and the encounter happens on a planet full of "Star Trek rocks", to the frustration of the cast -- Sigourney's character only lines always repeat whatever the computer is saying, and Alan Rickman,  the Spock analog, just hates hates hates the fans. Amusingly enough, the movie is old enough that the special effects look as dated as the show they are referencing back to.