RogerBW's Blog

Galaxy Quest 16 December 2018

1999 science fiction comedy, dir. Dean Parisot, Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver; IMDb / allmovie. Galaxy Quest was a big SF show in the early 1980s, but by the present day the cast are reduced to convention appearances and store openings. Then some particularly odd fans turn out to be rather more into the show than anyone expected… Spoilers.

By now the story is familiar: these fans are aliens, they've built their culture round the "historical documents" i.e. the original show, and now they need the help of the original crew to deal with an interstellar conflict. The cast have to decide what to do about this, on a ship that's an exact copy of the sets they used to know inside-out… only this set works. And of course the cast have to do some growing up too.

The concept obviously owes something to Harry Turtledove's 1990 short Half the Battle, but it's played effectively, and this is mostly the humans' story; Allen manages the tricky job of making a very unlikeable character at least somewhat sympathetic, Weaver gets a remarkable amount of mileage out of being the person who repeats what the computer says, and Alan Rickman is, well, Alan Rickman, managing to parody himself, Leonard Nimoy and Patrick Stewart all at once. It's all very campy but never quite descends to the level of hating its source material; sure, one might say, the original Galaxy Quest series (and by extension the original Star Trek series) was often very bad, but look at the inspiration it gave people. (Even if this is based on the 1990s Trek orthodoxy of "tomcat" Kirk and constant redshirt deaths, which an analysis of the show itself rather than commentary on it doesn't really support.)

Similarly, although there's a Hollywood conception of the fans (most of them are in costume, most are socially awkward, quite a few seem to have trouble telling reality from fiction), they have substantial sang-froid and, indeed, turn out to be vitally helpful. (Contrast Sharyn McCrumb's Bimbos of the Death Sun from 1988, which uses its fans primarily as objects of comedy and contempt.)

There are certainly clunky bits of storytelling even in the parts that are supposed to work (I'm thinking particularly of Rickman's transformative moment), but overall this is a solid film… and, in retrospect, I suspect that without this we wouldn't have had The Orville.

Trailer here.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech base commerce battletech beer boardgaming bookmonth chain of command children chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 existential risk falklands war fandom fantasy film firefly first world war flash point food garmin drive gazebo geodata gin gurps gurps 101 harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life kickstarter learn to play leaving earth linux mecha museum mystery naval non-fiction one for the brow opera perl photography podcast politics powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha quantum rail ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1