Any geek can proclaim “Live Long and Prosper.” An even lesser geek will require you to “Use the force.” A truly hardened, experienced, and involved geek however will tell you “Never give up, and never surrender.”
Director Dean Parisot and writer David Howard are those types of geeks, crafting a comedy based around classic TV sci-fi (Star Trek most obviously) and loving every minute of it.
This is film that does not just use subtle references to appease the fan base, but takes a bath and coats itself with them. In Galaxy Quest, Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen) fights off a rock monster, a tribute of sorts to William Shatner who wanted an encounter with such a creature in Star Trek V, but the budget prevented it. It doesn’t come any geekier than that.
Of course, Jason Nesmith has no idea what to do with a giant rock monster because he only played a hero on the TV show version of Galaxy Quest. That’s the gag, putting an entire crew of the fictional ship onto the real thing, crafted to perfectly replicate the sets by a group of aliens who think the TV show was a historical record.
Stan Winston creates multiple superb suits for the enemy alien race, led by Sarris (Robin Sachs), ensuring the film will not fall into the unfortunate budget constraints of the TV shows its trying to embrace. The friendly aliens who recruit the Galaxy Quest crew are sold by the actors (including Enrico Colantoni), speaking with a bizarre tonal drawl that makes them seem utterly helpless, as well as clueless.
David Howard’s script also works thanks to its developed characters, each with specific personalities. Alan Rickman is perfectly cast as a depressed secondary character who longs for the spotlight, and Sigourney Weaver is great as cleavage… err, the female cast only for her sex appeal.
If any of the above wasn’t geeky enough, there could be a subtle homage to Godzilla vs. Gigan in the film when Tim Allen states the aliens are “sort of like cockroaches.” In that Japanese non-classic, aliens were giant cockroaches that took on a human form when they came to Earth, not unlike the Thermians in Galaxy Quest. It takes a true geek to make that connection, and that same type of person to fully appreciate the subtle nuances and references contained within this hilarious spoof. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Movie]
For its Blu-ray debut, Paramount delivers a fine AVC encode. The rather drab color palette does not hinder the stable (and solid) black levels or generally fine detail. The costumes are well defined, with visible stitching. Facial texture is strong if a bit inconsistent.
The transfer is free of edge enhancement or any artificial tampering. A small bit of noticeable source damage is easily passed over. Somewhat soft, Galaxy Quest can look slightly flat at times, with random drops in definition that seem to go along with the visual effect shots. The grain is unobtrusive and handled flawlessly by the encode. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Video]
A TrueHD effort from Paramount is a success here, notably for its bass. The rock monster assault is spectacular, as each step from the creature loads the subwoofer with crisp, clean bass. Explosions are certainly beefy, and the roar of spaceship engines is satisfying.
There is little separation in the front channels, and the rear channels handle most of the directional audio. When a ship is hit by a mine or missile, the interior of the ship comes alive with powerful, forceful echoes resonating in the rears. A lively score by David Newman bleeds into all channels, and dialogue is always audible. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Extras]
Extras are pulled from a DVD Special Edition, which Galaxy Quest was certainly deserving of. Historical Document is a fine 18-minute retrospective on how the film came together. Never Give Up, Never Surrender focuses on the actors and casting.
Three featurettes focus on the special effects, the alien Thermians, and how the cast played actors on-screen. A Sigourney Weaver rap (really) was done as a birthday gift to her agent, and a proper piece considering the nature of the movie. Eight deleted scenes are followed by a trailer. Also of note is a Galactopedia, which details every little technical spec about the items in the movie, staying true to geekdom, as the movie plays.
Finally, for the ultimate and somewhat insane geek, you can watch the entire film in the scratchy, irritating dialect of the Thermians. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Extras]