Monday, 3 June 2013

Galaxy Quest



Galaxy Quest is a loving homage to Star Trek and its associated fandom. Tim Allen stars as an actor famous for his portrayal of a ship’s captain in a formerly popular TV sci-fi series. He and his crew of actors travel from city to city appearing at various conventions, signings and store openings, events which some of the cast find demeaning. When Jason Naismith (Allen) is approached for a role playing gig with some super-fans, he discovers to his surprise that the ‘fans’ are in fact aliens who are at war with alien warlord and require Naismith’s help, believing the TV show to be a historical document and the actors to be real life heroes.

I saw a few minutes of Galaxy Quest a couple of months ago and thought that it looked like an interesting idea. A friend lent me the DVD last week and I was excited about watching it. Unfortunately I didn’t feel like the film lived up to its promising premise. There are some nice Star Trek references and the idea isn’t without intelligence but I failed to laugh once and felt that once the initial reveal had occurred that there was very little left of interest to me.

I quite like the original Star Trek TV series. While I’d never go out of my way to watch it, I used to watch it if it was on when I was young. The same goes for The Next Generation. Like most satires or parodies, I think that this film would work better for a hardcore fan. Even as someone who knows a little about the Star Trek universe though, I was able to appreciate some of the in-jokes, even if they didn’t actually make me laugh. There were small things like how the Kirk character ended up shirtless for no reason and how the female character was purely in the film as a bit of totty for the mainly male audience. The Spock like character was fed up of being defined by this one role and there is even a ‘Redshirt’ character that spends the whole movie fearful that he’s going to die at any moment. The film also explores some of the illogical plot devices and ideas from the show. Things like this were loving and clever and worked well as a pastiche but I had problems with the plot in general.

One of the issues I had with the film is that I didn’t really care much about the characters. Tim Allen’s character was a bit of a dick and I didn’t feel like his redemption fully worked. Alan Rickman was excellent but I got bored of his frequent moaning. Sigourney Weaver was also fine but her character wasn’t that far removed from the character she was meant to be playing and parodying. The idea of actors being stuck in a rut because of a role they once played and not being able to leave it behind due to financial restraint is at least something of interest but it gets muddled in the off world elements. I really enjoyed the alien species who come to Earth for help though. They are octopus type creatures who morph into human form only they haven’t quite got it right. As a result their walk and speech is a little off. It was one of my favourite things about the movie.

The effects are a little mixed. I was hoping for some obviously bad effects to mirror the cheap work in the series the film is parodying but it feels more like they went all out to make them look good. Sometimes this is successful but there are many scenes in which the CGI looks dated. The practical effects look very goof though. Overall I wasn’t overly impressed with Galaxy Quest but I thought it had some nice ideas and was a loving parody of Star Trek. My main problem is that it wasn’t funny enough and I also wasn’t particularly interested in the character and plot. It isn’t a film completely without merit though and I can understand its appeal to hardcore Trekkies.     

5/10

Titbits

  • The shape of the ship is based on a Star Trek coms badge.
  • The film was intended to be much darker but was re-cut for a PG certificate after failing to impress test audiences. 
  • This was the d├ębut film for both Justin Long and Rainn Wilson.  

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