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They're not astronauts... they only played them on TV. For four seasons, from 1979 to 1982, the crew of the N.S.E.A. Protector donned their uniforms and set out on thrilling and often dangerous missions in space--then their series was canceled. Nearly twenty years later, the five stars of the classic sci-fi series "Galaxy Quest" are still in costume, making appearances at science fiction conventions for legions of faithful fans...but some of those fans have a little too much faith. The Thermians, a race of aliens from Klatu Nebula, have mistaken intercepted television transmissions of the show for historical "documents." Arriving on earth, they wisk "Commander Peter Quincy Taggart" and his crew into space to help them defeat an all-too-real and very deadly adversary. With no script, no director and no clue about real space travel, the actors have to turn in the performances of their lives to become the heroes the Thermians believe them to be.
For more about Galaxy Quest and the Galaxy Quest Blu-ray release, see Galaxy Quest Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on November 19, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, Daryl Mitchell (I)
Director: Dean Parisot
» See full cast & crew
Galaxy Quest Blu-ray Review
Never give up, never surrender -- at least until this Blu-ray is in your collection!
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, November 19, 2009
We're actors, not astronauts.
"Star Trek" is practically a genre unto itself. Though cemented firmly in the realm of Science Fiction, the show has created a wonderfully diverse universe inhabited by almost countless races and dozens of primary characters, the result hundreds upon hundreds of hours worth of source material across several television shows and almost a dozen feature-length films from which to cull a collection of the best material suitable for implementation into a carefully-orchestrated, laugh-out-loud funny, and completely spot-on parody of Gene Roddenberry's classic series and satire of the real-world people, places, and things that exist as a result of the series' enormous following. Suffice it to say, no garden-variety parody would do for a series that has lived long and prospered for over 40 years, and David Howard's Galaxy Quest screenplay positively nails the material. From the wonderfully-crafted characters that embody the best "Star Trek" has to offer to the implementation of rabid fans and conventions as a crucial element to the plot, Galaxy Quest boldly embodies not only the world of "Trek" but the entire universe surrounding it in a film that's both parody and satire, each perfectly executed.
The cast of the 1980s fictional Science Fiction television show "Galaxy Quest" -- Jason Nesmith as Commander Peter Quincy Taggart (Tim Allen, Wild Hogs); Alexander Dane as Dr. Lazarus (Alan Rickman, Die Hard); Gwen DeMarco as Lieutenant Tawny Madison (Sigourney Weaver, Ghostbusters); Fred Kwan as Tech Sergeant Chen (Tony Shalhoub, 1408); Tommy Webber as Lieutenant Laredo (Daryl Mitchell, "Veronica's Closet"); and Guy Fleegman as an expendable crewman (Sam Rockwell, Moon) -- are once again reunited not on the bridge of the NSEA Protector but on the stage at another convention, surrounded by adoring fans ("Questies" or "Questers"?) that take their "Galaxy Quest" just a bit too seriously. Unfortunately, the cast -- save for Nesmith -- is washed up, showing up just for the paycheck and fed up with the fame the show has engendered in their lives. Soon enough, Nesmith meets up with several oddball beings whom he mistakes for individuals wanting to hire him for another gig. He soon discovers that they're not of this world; they're the last of a race known as Thermians, and the evil Sarris (Robin Sachs) is out to eliminate the remainder of the species. As a desperate last-ditch effort to save themselves, the Thermians have created a full-sized working replica of the Protector based on the "historical documents" (television shows) depicting the heroics of the ship and its intrepid crew. Soon enough, the entire primary cast of "Galaxy Quest" -- along with a random character that appeared and promptly died in a single episode -- find themselves aboard the very real Protector, millions of miles from home, and facing off with a deadly and experienced foe.
Simply put, Galaxy Quest gets it. It doesn't just understand its source material and the world it has forged, it lives and breathes it, and the result is a pitch-perfect parody of the "Star Trek" universe and a hilarious satire of the real world fans that surround it. Galaxy Quest's greatest asset, however, lies in its ability to so perfectly draw on various characters that have appeared throughout the "Star Trek" universe and integrate them into the story. All that's missing, really, is a chief medical officer, but otherwise, the film's take on Trek's best is spot-on through and through. Commander Taggart is the easiest character to dissect; he's Captain James T. Kirk through and through, and while the script creates the shell of the character, Actor Tim Allen provides him his soul. Allen's performance is uncanny, perhaps the best of its kind. He has William Shatner's mannerisms and speech patterns down to a science, and it seems almost second nature; this is easily Allen's best role and finest performance. Dr. Lazarus is clearly the Spock equivalent; the character is sufficiently different from Nimoy's and the Vulcan's way of doing things, but it's the closest parallel of the character, though an argument could be made that he also incorporates a touch of the Klingon Lieutenant Worf if only through his catchphrase that mentions an ancient's hammer and the quest for vengeance. Tawny Madison is best described as a combination of the original series' communications officer Lieutenant Uhura and "The Next Generation's" Counselor Deanna Troi as evidenced by the character's role as something of a communicator with the ship's computer and tight-fitting outfit. Tech Officer Chen is the chief engineer, the Scotty/Geordi/O'Brien/Torres/Tucker character that plays a crucial role but sometimes seems to fade into the background while spewing random technical jargon meant not necessarily to coincide with the way things do and may work on some future starship but instead to set up an escape clause to allow the ship and crew to live another day. Laredo is clearly a take on "The Next Generation's" boy wonder Wesley Crusher, though Galaxy Quest takes the character a step further and makes him a pre-teen rather than a slightly older teenager (at least at the time the fictional show originally aired). Finally, the film's most engaging character is the random individual who epitomizes the Original Series' infamous "Red Shirt" crewman who was nothing more than fodder to die on an away mission, a character and actor living on 15 minutes of fame as embodied in an eternal television program that's loved the world over. Even the film's villain, Sarris, recalls the Klingon General Chang from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country while the Thermians, in name anyway, are almost analogous to the most famous of Science Fiction instruments, the Theremin.
Aside from the obvious character parallels, Galaxy Quest's take on the entirety of the "Star Trek" universe is uncanny, but it also does an outstanding job of creating its own universe and back story that parallels "Star Trek" but never becomes "Star Trek." Galaxy Quest certainly enjoys its own identity that stems from Gene Roddenberry's creation, but certain aspects almost seem to pay homage to the series and its fans just as much as it parodies and satirizes them. The film never forgets that it has its own story to tell, an original tale that even "Star Trek" never fully realized in its various episodes that place the characters out of sync with their own universe and/or time. Galaxy Quest paints its heroes as everyday people first and foremost, and it's the film's ability to make them positively not who they play on television that ultimately sells the story as they slowly but surely come to understand that only embracing their make-believe counterparts and not simply mimicking then out of contractual duty will save not only their lives but those of their new Thermian friends. In between the laughs and the action, and in the third act in particular, Galaxy Quest frames its story around several emotionally-charged scenes that are extraordinarily effective in both meaning to the story and delivery by the actors. Of course, it's fitting that fans of the show -- those that really make it all possible -- are painted as heroes by film's end, and their dedication to "Galaxy Quest" not only saves the day but proves that there's truly no such thing as a bad hobby or extreme fandom.
Galaxy Quest Blu-ray, Video Quality
Galaxy Quest launches onto Blu-ray with a strong but visually dull 1080p, 2.35:1-framed transfer. After a window-boxed introductory that's meant to recapture the small-screen feel of the "Galaxy Quest" television show, the image opens up to a scope presentation for the remainder of the film. The scenes inside the "Galaxy Quest" convention take on a slightly hazy appearance, but subsequent material impresses a great deal more. Various shots that take place before the action switches to outer space often take on a crisp, deep, colorful, and sharp appearance that make for a solid, but not snazzy, image quality across the board. The bulk of the film, however, takes place inside the Protector where smooth metallic surfaces and a bland gray color scheme take away any opportunity for the film to visually impress. Combined with the plain gray, purple, and maroon crew uniforms, Galaxy Quest makes for one of the most visually uninteresting pictures in quite some time. Nevertheless, the transfer struts its stuff when it has the chance; the green aliens, led by Sarris, appear wonderfully detailed and textured; whether slime and sweat on their faces or various protrusions from both their clothing and their bodies, the enemy aliens make for the film's most impressive collection of visuals. Black levels are solid throughout, and flesh tones retain a neutral shade, save for the deliberately ghastly pale Thermians. Rounded out by a slight layer of natural film grain that's retained over the image, Galaxy Quest represents another high quality transfer from DreamWorks.
Galaxy Quest Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Galaxy Quest warps onto Blu-ray with an engaging Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Though the track is disappointingly front-heavy during the opening convention sequence, it doesn't take long for it to engage "warp speed" and evolve into a well-above-average listen. The track does well to mix powerful sound effects, fine directionality, and aggressive bass throughout the outer space sequences; weapons fire penetrates the listening area, ships swoop from front to back, and various explosions pack a hefty wallop. One of the film's signature scenes -- the "chompers" that famously represent lazy writing that serves not to further the technical realities of a fictional universe but instead create a situation for false but dramatic effect -- creates a sense of panic in the listening area as the thuds of each metallic collision seem to crush the entire soundstage while the sounds of hydraulics are heard moving all about the listening area. Additional and far more subtle effects -- the consistent hum of the Protector's engines in the calmer scenes, for instance -- often do well to create a decent sense of atmosphere throughout. David Newman's (The Spirit) excellent score enjoys a fine clarity through the entire range, and dialogue reproduction never falters throughout. Galaxy Quest doesn't feature the most robust or crystal-clear soundtrack out there, but it does make for a solid all-around listen.
Galaxy Quest Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Galaxy Quest beams up a nice collection of extras for this highly-anticipated Blu-ray release. Galactopedia is first, a feature that allows viewers to access information on various aspects of the film during playback. The "Galactopedia" was created by Michael and Denise Okuda of "Star Trek" fame. Historical Documents: The Story of 'Galaxy Quest' (480p, 18:13) features cast and crew speaking about the film's place in Science Fiction lore, the themes and tone of the film, the "Star Trek" and science fiction influences -- both in reality and in filmed entertainment -- that helped shape the film, the differences between "parody" and "homage," and more. Never Give Up, Never Surrender: The Intrepid Crew of the NSEA 'Protector' (480p, 23:27) features extensive cast and crew interview segments that examine both the performances of the actors and the characters they portray. By Grabthar's Hammer, What Amazing Effects (480p, 7:02) takes an all-too-brief look at the making of the film's makeup, sets, and special effects. Alien School: Creating the Thermian Race (480p, 5:22) is another short piece that looks at the role of the Thermians and the actors that portrayed them. Next up is Actors in Space (480p, 6:09), a fun supplement that looks at the performances of the cast and their portrayal of stereotypical actors identifiable for a singular role in Galaxy Quest. Sigourney Weaver Raps (480p, 1:59) features the actress performing a rap song with a couple of her Galaxy Quest co-stars. Also included are a collection of eight deleted scenes (480p, varied runtimes), a Thermian language audio track, and the film's theatrical trailer (1080p, 1:55).
Galaxy Quest Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Galaxy Quest is sheer perfection in its ability to both engender its own identity while at the same time playing with the vast "Star Trek" universe -- both on-screen and in the real world -- in its creation of the ultimate parody of the series and satire on the fans behind the obsession. Painting the cast, the characters they play, and their most ardent fans as heroes, Galaxy Quest betters the admittedly fun Trekkies by giving the fans their rightful due and painting them as perhaps slightly off-kilter but nevertheless worthwhile in their pursuit of knowledge in a world that exists only in media. As a Parody, they don't come any better, and the effort is headlined by a remarkable performance by Tim Allen that captures the very essence of "Star Trek" icon William Shatner to uncanny perfection. DreamWorks' Blu-ray release of this gem sports a superb technical presentation and a decent collection of extras. By Grabthar's hammer, Galaxy Quest comes highly recommended.
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Galaxy Quest Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Galaxy Quest Blu-ray for November - August 24, 2009
Tying in with the more serious science fiction of 'Star Trek', Paramount Home Entertainment has announced the Blu-ray release of the Trek spoof 'Galaxy Quest', starring Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver, for November 17. The bonus features list reproduces that ...
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