GALAXY QUEST did modestly well in 1999 (29th place), drawing laughter from appreciative fans of the sci-fi tropes familiar from big & small screens, and kidding the geeky adulation that trails the cosmic paths blazed by space ranging heroes who usurped cowboys and cops as cinematic saviors. As much affectionate homage as spiffy sendup, with a choice cast it even managed to self-appropriate, generating its own slice of cult status.
“By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Worvan, you shall be avenged.”
The cast of a venerated 80’s sci-fi TV hit make post-series due by trekking into fan conventions. They’re all tired of the schtick, and irritated by the self-serving showboating of ‘Jason Nesbith’ (Tim Allen) who played their commander on the show. Redemption arrives when actual aliens visit, beseeching Nesbith and “his crew” to aid them in their battle with an interstellar warlord. The sweet-natured ‘Thermians’ believe that ‘Commander Peter Quincey Taggart’ (Nesbith’s character) is the real deal. Now he must live up to his legend. His vaunted team are covered with élan by Sigourney Weaver (er, enhanced version), Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell and Daryl Mitchell.
“I see you’ve managed to get your shirt off.”
The Thermians are delightfully embodied by Enrico Colantani, Missi Pyle (yes!), Patrick Breen, Jed Rees and Rainn Wilson (32, feature debut). Under lizardish makeup, Robin Sachs is the chief evildoer and among the Earthbound fans Justin Long (20, feature debut) leads loyalist humans.
“Self control? That’s funny coming from the guy that slept with every Terrakian slave girl and Moon Princess on the show.”
A few of the gags dud out, but many score smiles and chuckles; the clued-in cast clicks and the special effects are amusing. An expended $45,000,000 was narrowly evened out by returning $71,584,000 in the States, with another $19,100,000 captured elsewhere. Written by David Howard and Robert Gordon, directed by Dean Parisot. A good time for 104 minutes.
* Better or worse, take your pick: Dark Star, Spaceballs, Mars Attacks!, Paul, The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai, Men In Black (and sequels), Strange Invaders, Barbarella, They Live.