Never give up, never surrender!
The very first thing on this new disc was a lengthy trailer for the new Star Trek movie, followed by an ad for the original series Season 1 on Blu-ray for the first time (with new special effects and audio tracks) and the movie collection set on Blu-ray. So you know now why Galaxy Quest is getting a Deluxe Edition release with new special features. Well, and it’s the 10th anniversary of the film, which is the best science fiction comedy ever.
It manages to make fun of so many aspects of science fiction fandom — the pompous actor who’s done nothing but the show, the depressed thespian who wanted to do more but was typecast, the aliens that still look pretty darn human, the magic-like technology that doesn’t make any design sense, even the way crewwomen are treated as bimbos based on their looks — but in a way that shares the love instead of being mean or snarky.
In case you’ve never seen it (and you really should), the group of main actors from a SF TV show called Galaxy Quest have been assembled at a fan convention. They are:
* Tim Allen as the Captain, loving the attention and treating his former co-workers like dirt.
* Sigourney Weaver as the female crew member, judged on her boobs. Her job on the show was “repeating the computer”, which she acknowledges is stupid, but it won’t take commands from anyone else.
* Alan Rickman (love him!) as the alien with prosthetic headpiece.
* Tony Shalhoub as the slightly spacy engineering expert.
* Daryl Mitchell as the former child star/ship pilot.
The writers clearly know their stuff. For instance, Allen’s bubble gets popped when he overhears in the men’s room what people really think of him and his show. But then the real aliens (led by Enrico Colantoni, with a terrifically odd speech pattern) show up… They’ve based their culture on the show, and they’ve come to get the crew to lead them when faced by a Big Bad. The crew thinks that this is just another promotional publicity stunt — after all, they’ve seen plenty of people wanting to meet them while dressed like characters for the show — until they’re beamed into outer space.
Once the adventure becomes real, Sam Rockwell’s character, a redshirt who’s made a career out of fan signings based on the one episode he appeared on, is hilarious, because he knows exactly what happens to him if the show turns out to be true. Justin Long makes his film debut as a young fan who helps save the day, as does Rainn Wilson as one of the aliens. The Thermians are charming in their naivete — they don’t understand acting because they don’t understand lying, and they always mean well. It’s kind of impressive that they made the goofy concepts on this TV show come true.
The movie is very funny, redemptively heroic, has both great one-liners (“Did you guys ever *watch* the show?”) and true emotion (as Dr. Lazarus ponders revenge), and with surprisingly good special effects for a comedy. End result? Best convention appearance entrance *ever*.
Brought over from the original DVD release are the Thermian-language audio track — funny as a concept, not so much as an experience — deleted scenes, and the movie’s trailer. New to this edition are the following featurettes:
“Historical Documents: The Story of Galaxy Quest” — the director, screenwriters, producer, and some of the cast talk about how much people like the movie in current-day interviews. Plus, Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek writer/director of the good ones) praises it. (18 min.)
“Never Give Up, Never Surrender: The Intrepid Crew of the NSEA Protector” — talk about why the actors were cast, how they interacted, and the choices they made in their portrayals. Tim Allen tells of speaking with William Shatner about his role as captain. (23 min.)
“By Grabthar’s Hammer. What Amazing Effects” — Stan Winston discusses the creation of the impressive villain Sarris (played by Robin Sachs). (7 min.)
“Alien School: Creating the Thermian Race” — How the language, the walk, and other elements of the alien behavior were created. (5 min.)
“Actors in Space” — Discussing the types of people who are similar to the personalities of the film’s characters. (6 min.)
“Sigourney Weaver Raps” — I don’t have to explain this one, assisted by Daryl Mitchell and Sam Rockwell.
Missing from the previous release are the animated menu footage and Omega 13 button; the text cast & crew bios and production notes (which have gone out of fashion on most DVDs today); and the “On Location in Space” featurette, which was a promotional piece (like what they run on HBO First Look or the like) explaining the movie’s premise with clips. None of these are particularly missed.
By playing with the multiple levels of what this show means to us, Galaxy Quest may just be the best Star Trek movie ever. This re-release, out May 12 at a very reasonable price, is worth your attention.