Monday, January 16, 2012

Galaxy Quest: An Ode To Trekkies, Nerds, and All Geekdom (Or If Star Trek Had Been Written By Stoners)

"It speaks to some basic human needs: that there is a tomorrow--that it's not all going to be over in a big flash and a bomb; that the human race is improving, and that we have things to be proud of as humans. No, ancient astronauts did not build the pyramids. Human beings built them because they're clever and they work hard. And 'Star Trek' is about those things." - Gene Roddenberry, the creator of 'Star Trek'.

If 'Star Trek' is about pointing out the potential that is the clever, hard-working ingenuity of man and a hopeful tomorrow, than Galaxy Quest is about what happens when that idea is applied quite literally. Except, y'know, without all the idealized characters running the show, but actual, flawed individuals with lives that are falling to pieces.

Galaxy Quest is a film that came out at the end of the century and on the cusp of the New Millennium. The year was 1999 and it was a good year to be a Science-Fiction nerd. Why? Because Galaxy Quest, with its star-studded cast and intelligent writing, was meant to be the mocking parody of 'Star Trek' on the grand stage: the silver screen. The film takes place eighteen years after their sci-fi adventure show "Galaxy Quest" is canceled. That means that actors Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen), Gwen DeMarco (Sigourney Weaver), Alexander Dane (Alan Rickman), Tommy Webber (Daryl Mitchell), Fred Kwan (Tony Shaloub) and Crewman #6 (Sam Rockwell) are making appearances at sci-fi conventions and store openings in costume and character. They're wallowing in despair and are constantly at each other's throats--that is until alien visitors known as Thermians arrive and, having mistaken the show for "historical documents" and consequently modeling their entire culture around it, take them into space to save them from the genocidal General Sarris and his armada.

"Never give up! Never surrender!"

What does this mean for the fictional crew of the fictional ship, the NSEA Protector? Well, it means they're in over they're heads--that's for sure. But they're actors. And if there's anything that actors do well, it's selling themselves as something they're not. So the cast of Galaxy Quest embarks on a journey through the stars to defeat the evil Sarris, and along the way, grow and develop into three-dimensional characters out of the two-dimensional stereotypes we first see them as. All the while maintaining a hilarious tongue in cheek assessment of the situation that takes sly, underhanded jabs at both Star Trek and the characters themselves while also managing to make the characters look sympathetic. A difficult task that the writers and actors actually manage to pull off, and pull off well. Who does it the best, you ask? Why, Guy Fleegman, of course. Better known as Crewman #6 to loyal Questarians. Okay, perhaps he's not the most sympathetic of characters. But he's certainly the most amusing.

And now...

The Breakdown
  • Ridiculousness: So. This film is a little ridiculous. Aliens come to Earth under the assumption that it, and the fictional crew of the NSEA Protector, are their only hope for salvation against an intergalactic warlord bent on the destruction of...well, just about everything. The great thing about this movie is it never loses its ability to poke fun at it self while still maintaining the gravity of the character's predicament. And that's a whole batch of ridiculousness that's too awesome for words. 4.5/5 Stars
  • Classiness: This film is very classy. Not in the traditional sense of classy, cool, suave characters who know what they're doing, but in the sense of consistency. The consistency of character throughout the film is superb. How do I know this? Because you can see a marked and natural change from every character in the film. And that's classy as fuck. 5/5 Stars
  • Cheesiness: This is a cheesy movie in every best possible sense of the word. Every character has a single thing they do or come back to. For Commander Taggert it's his inability to see how his vanity affects the others around him. For Gwen DeMarco it's creating an identity for herself beyond sex symbol and her job on the ship of "repeating what the computer says." For Guy/Crewman #6 it's his fear of death. And for actor Alexander Dane, it's this. Watch this and see the evolution from cheesy catchphrase to poignant pact made on a friend's deathbed. It's the sort've cheesy evolution that's the staple of good films everywhere. 3.5/5 Stars
  • Hilariousness: This film is fuckin' comedy gold. I laugh. Every. Single. Time. I'll repeat phrases from this film all the time, and it will STILL leave me cracking up. I can't even tell you how many times I'll turn to my roommate and say, "Look around you! Can you construct a rudimentary lathe?" to which he'll promptly respond, "A LATHE?! GET OFF THE LINE GUY!" Instantaneous recognition of a joke from a film? That's pretty much the definition of hilariousness. 4.5/5 Stars
  • Awesomeness: a Totally Awesome film. With an average rating of 4.375 Stars, it's quite clear that Galaxy Quest is one of the greatest Science-Fiction Action-Comedies of the last couple decades. Or at least for the 80's and 90's. Clearly.

    There you are Questarians. An intimate critique of the universe of Galaxy Quest as picked apart by yours truly. What's your favorite Sci-Fi action-comedy? Is it Galaxy Quest? Is it something else? Lemme know in the comments! And I leave you with this.

    - Duke

No comments:

Post a Comment