Monday, February 15, 2010

Galaxy Quest: For the Geek in All of Us

In my efforts to stay clear of any kind of romantic stories yesterday, I started watching a lot of "Star Trek" movies.  So naturally, when I was deciding on what movie to write about today, I chose my favorite - "Galaxy Quest"!

Released Christmas Day 1999, this spoof of the "Star Trek" world was a hilarious present to all fanboys and Trekkies out there.  And thanks to my dad, I am a definite Trekkie.  (They might call themselves Trekkers now, but I still go with the original.)  Though I've only been to 2 conventions myself (Star Wars and Comic Con...yes, I'm that much of a geek sometimes, but a hot girlie one), I definitely understand this movie as it starts out at a fan convention.  It tells the story of a group of actors, forever stuck in the world of their cancelled sci-fi show, going from convention to lame gig and back to convention again.  When some aliens come down to Earth in need of their help, thinking the show is real, the actors get in way over their heads in the middle of a huge intergalactic space battle. 

"Galaxy Quest" hilariously spoofs the "Star Trek" world, actors and fans alike.  However, it's done so brilliantly that it never puts anyone down, or relies only on stupid jokes to just make fun of it.  Instead, it intelligently manages to joke about the world yet honor it all at the same time.  Even some "Star Trek" actors agree.  Patrick Stewart (sorry, I should say Sir Patrick Stewart now, heehee) said, "I had originally not wanted to see 'Galaxy Quest' because I heard that it was making fun of 'Star Trek' and then Jonathan Frakes rang me up and said 'You must not miss this movie! See it on a Saturday night in a full theatre.' And I did and of course I found it was brilliant. Brilliant. No one laughed louder or longer in the cinema than I was both funny and also touching in that it paid tribute to the dedication of these fans."

Starring Tim Allen as the William Shatner-esque Jason Nesmith, the screenwriter David Howard pulled not only from the "Star Trek" series, but also the actors' real lives.  The scene in which Nesmith, in the men's room, overhears a couple of guys discussing how lame they think he is actually resembles a similar experience Shatner had at a "Star Trek" convention.  The rest of the cast is brilliant at portraying the other Star-Trek-type actors.  Sigourney Weaver plays Gwen DeMarco, the only female on the show with no real job except repeating the ship's computer.  Alan Rickman plays Alexander Dane, a British Shakespearean actor, now forever in an alien-looking headpiece and repeating a single phrase said by his tv show character.  (We actually never see him without his headpiece through the entire film.)  There's even the "expendable crewman" played by Sam Rockwell, desperately trying not to become the dreaded "Star Trek redshirt" (the guys who died in every "Star Trek" episode). 

There are also many hidden tributes to "Star Trek" throughout the film.  The spaceship NSEA Protector's design is based on a "Star Trek" comm-badge.  And the Protector's serial number, NTE-3120?  NTE stands for "Not the Enterprise."  The rock monster is from Shatner's desire to have rock monsters in the finale of "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier."  Nesmith's unnecessary rolling in danger situations is from Shatner's unnecessary rolling in several "Star Trek" episodes.  And the evil Sarris' eye-patch is a tribute to Christopher Plummer's eye-patch in "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country."

Most importantly, the film pays tribute to the fans that made it what it is.  Yes, some might be a little odd, but in the end, the fans always save the day.  The satire not only brings redemption and growth to the actors, but to the fans as well.  So break out your inner fan-dom and check out "Galaxy Quest" this week. 

(Post-tidbit: There is also a special reason for me loving this movie - watching my good friend, Dan McLaughlin, as one of the aliens toward the end of the film.  Go Dan!!)

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