RogerBW's Blog

Never Surrender 13 December 2020

2019 documentary, dir. Jack Bennett: IMDb / AllMovie.

The surviving cast and crew of Galaxy Quest discuss, twenty years later, the making and reception of the film.

It's very bitty; things are put roughly into chronological order, from the original spec script, through a few key changes and a lot of minor ones, and then into production and release. But very few people get to say more than a sentence or two at a time, and often they've clearly been cut off in mid-phrase. Still, there are some very interesting points made, especially by Elizabeth Cantillon (one of the executive producers): for example, in all the early versions of the story, the captain's actor hated having to be "The Captain" (in the style of Shatner on Saturday Night Live), and it was only when they got in a scriptwriter who could see beyond that cliché to the actor actually looking back on it fondly that the story could move beyond the broad comedy as which it had been pitched and commissioned. The idea of having "a comedy" as anything other than pratfalls and blatant jokes, or anything funny that isn't part of "a comedy", still strikes these Hollywood people as a weird and alien thing.

Tim Allen was, when cast, in the middle of the experience of having been the star of a popular series that had just ended.

Sigourney Weaver can see that, after Alien and Aliens, she might easily have ended up in a career-ending SF TV series rather than sticking with film and doing well if often in relatively minor roles.

Everybody is nice about Dead Alan Rickman, though while he was pleasant to individuals he apparently never hid his contempt for the story or the process of filmmaking. (They were surprised he could do comedy. Apparently they'd never seen him in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.)

There are frequent cutaways to, sigh, Wil Wheaton, to explain to the hard of thinking how science fiction works (one would have thought that people who weren't already interested probably wouldn't be watching this) and how, in the usual worn-out narrative, "twenty years ago the nerds were the misfits and now they're in charge". Well, now we have geekface like Big Bang Theory (in which Wheaton's acted extensively) and a nostalgia industry driven by appeal to manchildren. But that would be too much introspection.

And then at the last moment Rugrats came out and was a success, so the thing was recut to be a G-rated Christmas film for the kiddies. Really, it's remarkable that it did as well as it did.

The interviews are good but the sound mixing can be unfortunate; too often background music distracts from the interviews and even sometimes drowns out the words (and when it's chopped in and out with bits of the soundtrack composer's actual score, inserted to illustrated the point he was making, it's particularly distracting).

Lots of minor interest here; no great surprises, but it's more information about a remarkably good film.

See also:
Galaxy Quest

  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 12:21am on 16 December 2020

    So is the recut as a G-rated film what happened to Sigourney Weaver's zip near the end? The cut scene is on the DVD but they never explained why it got cut. And frankly having her jumpsuit zip one moment above her cleavage and the next moment below it with no explanation is more suggestive than the quite tame scene that was cut.

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