Friday, January 29, 2010

Galaxy Quest (1999)

Director: Dean Parisot
Writers: David Howard, Robert Gordon
Photography: Jerzy Zielinski
Production Design: Linda DeScenna
Cast: Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, Daryl Mitchell, Enrico Colantoni, Robin Sachs, Patrick Breen, Missi Pyle, Jed Rees

Even as a self-admitted fan of "Star Trek" I never understood what the attraction of this could be. Chalk that up to my internal resistance to Tim Allen, who has never remotely appealed to me. The premise: aliens from outer space who have been monitoring Earth television broadcasts show up at a nerdy convention of fans of the TV show "Galaxy Quest" in search of help for their imperiled civilization. I figured it for ham-handed, broad, and obvious parody by Leno-level haters (whereas I preferred the documentary Trekkies, released a couple of years earlier). Then I found it for a dollar as a VHS somewhere and kept it around for when I didn't have anything else to look at. Good thing I did. It's absolutely first-rate hilarious, with a terrific script that hits just as effectively as the documentary at all the things that make "Star Trek" so ridiculous, but never without a nice appreciation of the fan impulse. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It nails cold many of Roddenberry's various empty flourishes, as with Sigourney Weaver's Lt. Tawny Madison, half naked by the end of the adventure, whose duties are to repeat the words of the computer back and forth in discussions with the crew, even though the computer, the crew, and Madison are all speaking English. Weaver is great throughout, as are Rickman and Shalhoub, and the aliens take command of the screen with brilliant shtick every time they are on it, all of them. Even Tim Allen is good. Winner.

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