The Cinefessions crew loves sharing their opinions on films, but not every movie can get the attention it deserves with a full review. Enter the Cinefessions’ Capsule Reviews. These capsule reviews cover five of the most important aspects of a film, which allow the crew to deliver their opinions on any movie clearly, decisively, and with brevity. These are not our full thoughts on any film, just a highlighting of the major pros and/or cons.
Story & Script
Decades after the success of the sci-fi series Galaxy Quest, the show’s washed-up lead star, Jason Nesmith, is unwittingly recruited by the Thermians, actual peaceful aliens, to pull off an intergalactic negotiation with a hostile alien force led by an overlord named Sarris. Not realizing what he’s involved with until he’s sparked off further conflict with Sarris, Jason ends up going back to get the rest of the stars from the show to come back with him to the real ship and ends up going off on an actual adventure while trying to save their hides and stop Sarris from wiping out the Thermians who believed that the Galaxy Quest TV show was real. This is how you do satire. When you can pull off a script that not only parodies the show you’re basing it off of, but also what the actual actors from said shows go through after the fact, and every single one of them enjoys it, you know you’ve done a great job. Yes, most of the Star Trek cast, from the original series to all the spin-offs, have seen this and love it. It’s a great script that manages to spoof all the best elements from the show and it’s actually got some character growth for a number of them in the film as well.
The acting in this is fantastic. Sarris is played brilliantly by the late Robin Sachs, who also voiced my favorite grumpy mercenary, Zaed, in Mass Effect 2 and 3. He plays a great villain, and nails it in every scene. While Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman are equally great in their roles as actors turned sci-fi heroes, Tony Shalhoub and Sam Rockwell steal every damn scene they’re in. Tony Shalhoub as Fred Kwan has this great atmosphere of just kind soaking it all in throughout most of what he has to do, and has this great knowing smirk on his face through most of the film while he’s delivering some of the best lines. Sam Rockwell as Guy Fleegman, though, a fan who starred in an episode as an extra who happened to be a red shirt for the show and got killed, is hysterical. He’s the one that’s almost always freaking out about this or that, and the expressions on his face along with his delivery kills me every single time I watch this film.
Originally this film was going to be much darker but it didn’t test well so they cut the hell out of it, and went for comedy instead. They even over-dubbed some of the lines, badly, as you can tell in a number of places what they really said, however, they managed to get the comedy so on point with this one that it works oh so very well in that regard. Dean Parisot manages to eke out every bit of what makes a scene click in this, and he had some great actors to help him pull that off. They play around a lot with various sci-fi themes and spoofs, and it just works.
I mentioned earlier that this is how you do satire, and I meant it. The film is so close in tone and set-up to Trek, the films and TV shows it’s satirizing, that most Trek fans include this as an unofficial Star Trek film. There’s a lot of love in here from the ship design, to the crew selections, and even the convention events that happen to the characters. This just succeeds not only by being a bit of satire, but also by being a great film on top of that.
It’s highly quotable, extremely funny, has great effects, great actors and it’s just a blast overall. I can’t honestly tell you how many times I’ve watched this over the years. It was one of the first DVDs I bought when we got a PS2 to use as a DVD player and game console, and it’s one of the more watched ones in my household because just about everyone loves it.
When you create a parody that rings true to the source material, both fans and creators of the show will flock to it and love it, and if you go a step further, even general audiences will get into it and appreciate it. Every member of the extensive Trek cast, from TOS through Enterprise, who’s seen this film loves it, and it should come as no surprise that I love it too. The film plays with all the tropes in the classic sci-fi shows, particularly Trek, but also has some great characters, effects, and is really quite funny. Like other Trek fans, I consider this an unofficial film in the Trek franchise because it was made with a bit of love for that, while still making one hell of a comedy.