A gentle parody of "Star Trek", 1999's "Galaxy Quest" is a sci-fi comedy the follows the adventures of a cast of a "Trek"-like show who suddenly find themselves in an adventure quite similar to one from the show. The film opens with the cast - Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen), Alexander Dane (Alan Rickman), Gwen DeMarco (Sigourney Weaver), Fred Kwan (Tony Shalhoub), and Tommy Webber (Daryl Mitchell) - trying to helm a Q & A at one of the many "Galaxy Quest" conventions that have happened since the show's 1982 finale. The rabid fans (an amusing goof on Trekkies) quiz them about the scientific inaccuracies of the series, much to the dismay of some of the cast.
Meanwhile, in outer space, a group of friendly aliens have looked at the show as reality, and think that the crew can save their race. The group of actors are approached in the convention, but after the group has a bit of a falling out, they head off in different directions. Still, the aliens are persistent and before they know it, the crew of actors is assembled on an actual spaceship, blasting off into space.
Once there, the group finds that facing off against an actual space alien villain isn't as easy as Nesmith would believe. The picture offers up an enjoyable, light adventure, with effects that do a nice job of mixing modern technology with an old-fashioned "Trek" look.
As for the performances, I was never a huge fan of Tim Allen, but he gets the sort of William Shatner parody that the role is supposed to be perfectly. Weaver, Rickman and Tony Shalhoub make for a solid supporting cast as well. I didn't always laugh at the comedy, but director Dean Parisot ("Home Fries") has stepped up from the little comedy of "Fries" into a major FX film well, and has constructed an entertaining adventure.
VIDEO: The film is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen by Dreamworks Home Entertainment. Image quality is somewhat improved on this new release versus the original DVD edition. Sharpness and detail seem a bit better, as the picture appeared tighter and crisper than the prior release. Colors looked punched up a tad, too, looking more vibrant and well-saturated here. Still, some light edge enhancement was a distraction at times, as were a few minor specks on the print used. Overall, this transfer still showed some faults, but was an improvement over the prior edition.
SOUND: The film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Although the film starts off fairly calmly, one the action gets going, "Galaxy Quest" serves up a very impressive and agressive sci-fi soundtrack that includes solid and effective surround use, as well as some very strong bass. Extremely entertaining is the score by David Howard, which not only energizes the movie perfectly, but sounds remarkably dynamic on this DVD. Dialogue is crisp, clean and clear. As great as the video quality is, the audio is equally great.
New to this edition:
"Historical Documents" is a 14-minute documentary that offers interviews with members of the cast and crew. While we get some interesting insights about how the idea was developed and an overview of the production. Writer David Howard provides some of the most enjoyable tidbits, such as a discussion of the differences between the film and the first draft. Even "Star Trek II" director Nicholas Meyer provides his view on the film.
"Never Give Up, Never Surrender" is a 25-minute documentary that looks into characters and casting. Allen has an amusing story about his friendship with Shatner (and another about how "Galaxy Quest" has smoothed over - in the opinions of some - some of the less stellar roles Allen has taken on), but unfortunately the documentary can also be fairly praise-heavy at times. "Actors in Space" is a further discussion of the experiences of the cast.
"By Grabthar's Hammer" is a 7-minute look at the creation and inspiration behind some of the film's visual/practical FX. "Alien School" is a short look at the creation of the alien race seen in the film. Finally, "Sigorney Weaver Raps" is a short look at a rap the actress did on set as a birthday gift for her agent, since she couldn't be at the party. It's not something that's going to be viewed more than once, but it's pretty amusing.
On Location In Space: This 10 minute featurette is pretty much promotional in nature, with some behind-the-scenes clips and interviews pretty much telling the story of the movie which, in this case, we've just seen. There are some interesting sequences that take a look at the production and effects work, but it's a little late - I would have liked to have learned more about how the effects were done.
Cast and Crew Bios: A very nicely done and informative set of cast and crew bios, and some even offer clips with the actor talking about their role and the film in general.
From The Cutting Room Floor: 7 Deleted Scenes, all of which are pretty entertaining, and definitely more interesting than some of the deleted scenes that are offered on DVDs, which usually, deserve to be cut. These were probably cut out because of time, but most of them are pretty funny, and make for a very nice addition. It would have been nice if there was commentary telling us more details about the origin of the scenes and why they were cut.
Also: Production notes and an audio track recorded in the language of the friendly Thermian alien race. The alien language track is kinda funny once, but I'd rather have a commentary in that space, to be honest.
Final Thoughts: "Galaxy Quest" still stands out as a fun, light sci-fi adventure with a solid cast. The Deluxe Edition provides mildly improved video quality and a few new extras.
The Film B