Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Galaxy Quest


Here is one of my favorite … well, I was going to say little movies, but judging from the special effects it must have had a respectable budget. It is a send-up of SF TV shows in general, and of Star Trek in particular. William Shatner could probably sue for defamation, but he’s so conceited he probably thinks it’s an homage. What happens is, twenty years after their 4-year run, the five stars of a TV show are doing one more appearance in an endless convention circuit, since they can’t get jobs either from too much identification or lack of acting talent, or both. This is fine with James Nesmith (Tim Allen), who plays Captain Taggart, he just eats up the adulation. The others, not so much, particularly the Spock clone, Alexander Dane, who plays Dr. Lazarus of Tev’Meck (played by Alan Rickman, who for once brings his massive disdain to a comic part, and does very well with it). But some real aliens show up. These super-nerds have watched all the episodes and think it is real. They take the actors up to a real starship patterned on the one in the show, and ask them to help defeat the evil General Roth’h’ar Sarris, who has almost destroyed their race. Well, from there they proceed to destroy all the stupid clichés of movies and series like this. In the show, for instance, Sigourney Weaver’s character has nothing to do but repeat the things the ship’s computer says, much like Lieutenant Uhura in Star Trek … and that’s all she has to do in the real ship, too. She’s pissed. All through the movie she points out the idiocy of the situations they find themselves in, such as having to thread a deadly series of smashing steel hammers, called “The Chompers.” “What the hell is this in a ship for? Just to give us something to do!” It’s very much like a very stupid scene in The Rock, where the actors have to thread a deadly maze. I’m sure you can think of a dozen other equally stupid scenes. So it’s funny! In fact, pretty much everything in the movie works perfectly. There are good action scenes, and since it’s played for laughs, you can laugh genuinely, instead of in stupefied horror.