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"Galaxy Quest"

Directed by Dean Parisot.
Written by David Howard and Robert Gordon.
Starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Tony Shalhoub and Alan Rickman. 
Release Year:  1999 
Review Date:  1/30/00 


As all of you know, I am far from perfect.  And, for the first time in the history of the SMRs/Bellview, I am changing my mind about a movie.  After becoming well read on the subject since the movie came out and reading a few e-mails directed my way about how the movie treats its individual characters--most notably the Canadians, who I am still unsure of in terms of their involvement--I am taking a mulligan and demoting "The Hurricane" to a Matinee.  Denzel is still bad-ass, but the plot has more holes than the Redskins defense.  I hope to never make a mistake this big in movie reviews ever again!

Since I was a little behind with my flicks and I was in the mood to catch something this weekend, I flew solo over to my local theater to catch "Galaxy Quest," on the recommendation of the assistant coach of the UVA DC-area alumni softball and football teams, Tara Wheeler.  And, after watching "Trekkies" last week on DVD, I figured this would be a good way to transition to sci-fi comedy.  And, Tara:  good call!

"Galaxy Quest" is a "Star Trek"-esque fake TV show that has been off the air for 18 years, and its stars--Tim Allen, Alan Rickman, and Sigourney Weaver among them—have been relegated to traveling to science fiction conventions where fans of the old TV show pay exorbitant fees just to hear their TV idols say lines from the old show.  Eighteen years is a lot of conventions, and the stars have become sick of the ridiculous routine and are about to reach their boiling point.  Then, a funny thing happens:  the commander of the ship on the TV show (Allen) is abducted by REAL aliens and taken to their ship...which happens to be an exact replica of the TV show ship, complete with its enemies, technology and stories from the TV show.  Once Allen comes back to earth, he recruits his disbelieving old cast members to help him defeat an alien enemy back in outer space.

If you know anything about "Star Trek" and its characters, this movie is an $8.25.  Tony Shalhoub ("The Siege," among other things) plays the Scotty role here, and his nonchalance during the space battle sequences is absolutely hilarious; Sam Rockwell plays an extra from one episode of the TV show and is brought into outer space with the five-person regular cast team, and there is a scene where his character, Guy, wonders if he will die in space because the conflict mirrors the one episode that he appeared in...and was killed.

Rockwell:  I'm just Guy, man, I'm just Guy...I don't even have a last name!!
Allen:  Sure you do, Guy!
Rockwell:  What is it then, huh?  What?!!
Allen:  It's, uh, umm...
Rockwell:  See, no one knows!!  That's because I'm the prototypical TV extra!  I'm just “Crew member #6!!”

Maybe you just had to be there, but that last part made me think about all of the actors out there that just play meaningless roles on bad TV shows, or when directors stick minorities in their movies and say, "when you look for your name in the credits, you'll be called 'Man on plane.'"  Got to suck!

Every "Star Trek" ripoff is here though, and all are played well.  Sigourney Weaver's Uhura-esque communications officer--complete with over-exposed bosom--and Rickman's Spock-and-McCoy combo are both perfect.  However, if you are not a Star Trek fan (or are not knowledgeable about some of the other characters on the show), this won't be as enjoyable in terms of the inside jokes.  While all of the performances are spot-on, the last half-hour of the movie was a bit too silly for me, as it tried to really BE a sci-fi action movie, and there weren't as many laughs after the midway point.  The special effects are serviceable and its PG rating means that it is acceptable for everyone.  But, I kind of hoped for more comedy at the end and it didn't come.  Oh well, a great matinee and highly underrated from what I've seen in the press.

Rating:  $8.25 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09