Well ol' Father Geek received the following report from our favorite blackmarketeer Harry Lime today. Its a report on GALAXY QUEST and Father Geek hopes all sci-fi fandom types go and see this wonderful film. I 1st read the script over a year ago and commented to Harry that I felt it had alot of potential if Dreamworks handled it right. Well, they have, it is hard to have more fun in a theater than you will at this flick geeks. In Austin they are even having a costume contest screening. Coooooooool!!! Here's Lime's thoughts on the film... BEWARE... He may give a little too much away for some tastes... so read on at your own risk... You've been warned!
GALAXY QUEST is a science fiction comedy about a group of actors who get a chance to live out their TV roles for real. It's directed by Dean Parisot, who debuted last year with the Drew Barrymore film HOME FRIES, and written by first-timer David Howard. It's kind of like STAR TREK meets THREE AMIGOS. Although I'm definitely more of a STAR WARS man, I've always found the original STAR TREK television series and 1980's motion pictures quite enjoyable. Now, I'm not gluing crap to my head and going to conventions in uniform (not that there's anything wrong with that), but I'd be a liar if I said there was nothing worthwhile about TREK. It's definitely got a lot of intentionally funny material to be mined for satire.
The film explores the question: What if a group of persecuted aliens searching for heroes accidentally mistook the cast of a popular sci-fi TV show for true space travelers? The aliens in the film are a race called Thermians, octopus looking creatures who for the most part take humanoid shape. Oppressed and on the verge of being completely killed off, they receive a transmission from earth: the broadcasts of the TV show "Galaxy Quest," which they mistake for historical documents. Impressed by the ideals of GQ, they rebuild their society to exactly match every aspect of the show. Their final move to ensure their survival is to acquire the brave crew of the show to help them fight their deadly adversary, Sarris, a cartoonishly bad dude and insane makeup effect by Stan Winston. The concept is brilliant and the overall execution is effective.
Tim Allen stars as the Shatneresque actor Jason Nesmith, who in the film played a Captain Kirk-like character named Commander Peter Quincy Taggart on the popular science fiction television show "Galaxy Quest." Allen, whose big screen legacy is so far limited to the god awful THE SANTA CLAUSE and his skillful voice work as Buzz Lightyear in the TOY STORY movies (since JUNGLE 2 JUNGLE doesn't exist, right... RIGHT?!), turns in a nice bit of character acting here. Although he does use Shatner as a jumping off point, he manages to assert his own characterization pretty early on. Since the cancellation of "Galaxy Quest," Nesmith and the other stars of the show have chosen to do appearances at conventions to sign autographs and answer show related questions for the show's rabid fans to pay the bills. Well before Allen appears on screen, it's obvious that Nesmith isn't well liked by his co-stars. In the beginning he's soured by being the butt of jokes, but quickly changes gears and is overcome by a childlike innocents when he learns he gets to be Commander Peter Quincy Taggart for real. Aside for Buzz Lightyear, I've never really cared for Allen, but there's a real vulnerable, human side he displays here as the beaten TV actor who gets a second chance at being a star.
Alan Rickman co-stars as Alexander Dane, a prissy British actor who plays the Mr. Spock-like Dr. Lazarus. He's on the verge of a mental breakdown at the beginning of the film when Nesmith is an hour late for their appearance. He rambles on pathetically about being a classically trained actor who once played Hamlet, but is now typecast as the half-humanoid, half-reptilian sidekick. Rickman, who was pretty damn funny in DOGMA, works here as a splendid punchline on a number of levels. His performance is dedicated and the change his character goes through marks one of the film's more dramatic moments.
No stranger to sci-fi settings and slimy aliens, Sigourney Weaver reminds us that she is indeed funny when she chooses to be. Correct me if I'm wrong (and I'm sure you will), but I don't think she's done a comedy since the second GHOSTBUSTERS movie. Her role here as Gwen DeMarco/Lt. Tawny Madison is quite a surprise. It's almost impossible to believe that the same actress who played the tough Ellen Ripley in the ALIEN films is the same big breasted blonde space babe in GALAXY QUEST. The first time I saw the poster I was taken aback. I confided in Moriarty that I really wanted to get busy with Sigourney, as perplexing as that sounds. Don't get me wrong, Ms. Weaver is a fine actress. I just don't want to get busy with her… or do I? Overall, I had a very good reaction to her.
Personally, I think Tony Shalhoub should be in every movie made. And if you don't agree with me, then you can go to hell. Tony Shalhoub is a national treasure. There should be a shrine to Tony. Tony is a god. Ever since I first saw him as the cab driver in the ill-fated QUICK CHANGE and as the fast talking studio exec in the Coen's brilliant BARTON FINK, I've been a hardcore Shalhoub fan. Perhaps his greatest mark in cinema was made in the masterpiece BIG NIGHT. If you haven't seen it, go rent it right now then come back and read the rest of this review. In short, Tony's the man. Here he plays kind of the Scotty character. He had me on the floor. I don't want to give away any of his bit because you just have to see them for yourself.
The rest of the supporting cast also does wonderful work. Daryl Mitchell has some funny moments and is probably a big fan of Chris Tucker in THE FIFTH ELEMENT. Justin Long, in his big screen debut as a young fan of the show, gives a natural performance and will no doubt be popping up in future films. Enrico Colantoni, who plays the Frank Darabont lookin' dude on NBC's "Just Shoot Me," is the main Thermian who makes first contact with Nesmith during the film's opening scenes. His work here is exceptionally risky. It's the kind of performance that either endears an audience or makes them want to hurl. I admire his guts for trying to pull such a role off. And what episode of STAR TREK would be complete without the crewmember who we've never seen before who beams down to the planet surface only to be killed? Sam Rockwell plays Guy, a seedy out of work actor (who may or may not have a last name) who played that crewmember on one episode of "Galaxy Quest" and is now serving as host at conventions. As luck would have it, he gets taken along for the adventure and fears that he'll be "written out" of the episode at every turn. Everyone works well as an ensemble and gives each other room to shine.
I had a pretty good reaction to the film overall. It reminded me of Mel Brooks when he was funny. There's also a built-in familiarity that makes it easy to get into. One of the coolest things about the film is the level of special effects. This is ILM's Bill George (THE PHANTOM MENACE) and Stan Winston doing a comedy. In the past, it seemed that great special effects were only afforded to "serious" sci-fi films. It's great to see this kind of work now used in comedies and smaller independent films like CITY OF LOST CHILDREN. Another great thing about it is that it's a family film. I think kids are gonna dig the broad comedy and visual punches while parents laugh at the comic references and subtle work by the stars. As a genre picture, it's easily better than the last STAR TREK fiasco (Paramount better get their asses in gear) and could either fail like the immensely underrated THE FRIGHTNERS and THE FIFTH ELEMENT or hit like GHOSTBUSTERS and MEN IN BLACK.
Well, I have to end this thing so I can finally go see THE GREEN MILE. Would you believe I still haven't seen it? You'll have to excuse me if I seem to be avoiding movie theaters as of late. Having just spent over twenty-four hours in an ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE theater seat at the mercy of Harry Knowles and his electrified tennis rackets at BUTT-NUMB-A-THON in Austin, I feel a lot like Frank Sinatra in THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. I'm sure I'll recover, but it'll be a long road.