Listen to our Galaxy Quest episode on:
- Google Play
- Player FM
- Pocket Casts
Even by the standards of Nerd culture, Star Trek parodies could generally be considered to be the lowest hanging of fruits. The costumes, the catchphrases, the shonky special effects – all rich pickings for satirists looking for an easy win. What separates Dean Parisot’s Galaxy Quest from the pack – and distinguishes it as one of the few truly great Sci-Fi parodies – is the clear respect and affection it has for the source material.
Which is not to say Galaxy Quest pulls its punches. The movie hilariously skewers everything from the theatrical pretensions of certain cast members to its tendency to place its female characters in less than dynamic job roles. But it also builds these jokes around characters with real personalities and motivations, rather than two-dimensional punchline machines, and shows a surprising willingness to wear its heart on its sleeve from time to time.
If the writing wasn’t already superior, the calibre of the acting alone would go a long way towards elevating Galaxy Quest above generic parody movie fare. As egocentric leading man Jason Nesmeth aka Commander Peter Quincy Taggart, Tim Allen nails William Shatner’s signature tics, Sam Rockwell chews scenery with gleeful abandon as terrified ‘redshirt’ Guy Fleegman, and Sigourney Weaver relishes a rare showcase for her undervalued comic chops as exasperated ‘token female’ Gwen DeMarco.
But it’s the late, great Alan Rickman who undeniably walks away with the picture as Alexander Dane, a self-important thespian haunted by his nonsensical catchphrase. In many ways this was the perfect role for Rickman, who not only nails the acerbic comedy of his character, but also brings genuine gravitas to a short redemptive scene when a tragedy forces him to make peace with his hated tagline.
A modest box office success on release in 1999, Galaxy Quest has nevertheless built up a sizeable cult following over the years, winning the approval of hardened Star Trek fans – who voted the movie the 7th best Star Trek film of all time in an unofficial 2013 poll – and former cast members, most notably George Takei, who described Galaxy Quest as ‘a chillingly accurate documentary’.
Rumours of a sequel had swirled for years, until Rickman’s tragic death in 2016 appeared to put a permanent full stop on the idea. In this week’s episode of Beyond The Box Set, we challenged each other to imagine what a second Galaxy Quest movie might look like in an era when nerd culture has taken over the world. How would the cast deal with the younger, flashier generation of A-List sci-fi stars – and would the franchise still be going strong eighteen years after the reboot?
Find out by tuning into this week’s episode on all good Podcasting platforms, using the links at the top of this blog. You can also subscribe for a weekly dose of sequel-related buffoonery, and leave us a nice review on iTunes if you really want to help spread the word about the show.
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