I was gonna review Jurassic Park 3 here. But I watched this one with my family the other day, which was a far more pleasant experience. So I’m gonna do this one first.
When I was a kid, there were some movies that I just watched over and over again, much to the annoyance of my poor parents. There were the obvious ones that most kids like me watched, like Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. But then there were the more specific movies, like the Iron Giant, which I reviewed a while back, and the subject of today’s review: Galaxy Quest.
All the substance of which completely flew over my head. But now I’m an adult and I know what it’s trying to say.
This movie is a wonderful little satirical take on everything Star Trek. From the show itself to the community around it, this movie takes a serious look at all of it. Not just to laugh at it, but to look at the positive (and negative) things it can do to everyone involved. And on top of that, it delivers a genuinely compelling and enjoyable sci-fi flick!
This movie focuses on the in-universe sci-fi hit TV show, Galaxy Quest. Among all the stars is Jason Nesmith, who’s ego has developed to the size of a planet due to being the show’s beloved main character. One day, he’s approached by a group of real aliens, who think he’s really a commander on a starship, to help them save their race from Seras, who seeks their total extermination, as well as the in-show, mysterious superweapon: the Omega 13. Now, Jason and his fellow cast mates must step into their roles and become true galactic heroes. Also, Guy is there. Will he piss himself? Probably.
Even if you remove all the Star Trek satire, this is a rock solid sci-fi flick. It hits all the genre beats. Cool spaceships? Check. A variety of aliens? Check. A desert planet? Check. Even if you ignore the satirical subtext, you can still enjoy this as a regular sci-fi comedy.
The most impressive thing for me are the characters. Not only is each member of the cast entirely distinct, memorable, and hilarious, but they even have pretty compelling character arcs! Alexander’s is my personal favorite; watching him get over his hatred of his character’s iconic line and fully embracing the role after a great loss.
Now, I keep mentioning how this show satirizes Star Trek. How, exactly, does it do that? Well, there are a few pretty obvious ones. The costumes, set designs, cinematography, and writing of the in-universe show Galaxy Quest are all practically lifted directly out of an episode of a more intense Star Trek episode. The con at the beginning and end of the movie, along with certain characters, are a clear parody of similar cons from the nineties, cheap costume and all.
That last one hasn’t aged especially well. Cosplayers nowadays are crazy fucking skilled. Wouldn’t be surprised if one of them figured out how to make a god damn functioning jet-pack by COVID blows over.
What makes this satire so interesting isn’t just the comedy of it. Rather, it’s what the story uses that satire to say. It presents both the positive and negative effects of this kind of fandom. How it can drain actors of their passion and how that can be reignited, how the extreme dedication of the fans can be both a good or bad thing depending on the situation, and even how, so on and so forth. It’s all very interesting, compelling, and, at times, hilarious. There’s a surprising amount of intelligence put behind this movie’s script!
Still, I do have a few gripes. The villains are all either one-dimensional evil machines or just straight-up emotionless rocks. While the scene where Jason admits the truth to Mathesar is compelling, it is undercut by Mathesar’s subsequent denial of the truth in his next scene; him and his people accepting the truth and moving on with it instead of ignoring it would’ve been much more satisfying. I’m also not super hot on the character of Gwen DeMarco; they lean a little too hard on the gag that she doesn’t do anything, since she literally doesn’t do anything of significance in the entire story. Giving her some kind of defining moment like the rest of the cast gets would’ve been nice.
Issues aside, Galaxy Quest is still a really compelling and funny sci-fi movie. It still holds up today, even with a few dated aspects. If you haven’t seen it, then I’d highly recommend giving it a watch. Especially if you’re a fan of the older (better) Star Trek shows.
I should really get around to reviewing those, shouldn’t I? If only to worsen the pain given to me by the new ones.