I was surprised by “Galaxy Quest.” I expected this movie to be overly cheesy, especially after deciding it was dumb without giving it a chance when forced to watch it as a teenager But there is a lot of genius hiding in this script. While the obvious draw to this film is its parodying of the science fiction genre, particularly “Star Trek,” I was really drawn to the underlying themes of discontentment, inadequacy, and obsessive fandom. It is a comedy (and a very funny one at that), but there are strong messages hidden beneath the jokes and comedic circumstances. When I think of a sci-fi parody, I don’t really expect to see quality acting. I love “Space Balls” and the over-the-top acting perfectly supports the jokes, but “Galaxy Quest’s” incredible cast creates a lot of its humor through character development and exploiting each character’s personality instead of relying heavily on slapstick humor. Of course Tim Allen is the representative from the comedy genre and Sigourney Weaver is the representative from the sci-fi genre, but then you add in Alan Rickman as the trained actor who resents his role, Tony Shalhoub as the detached actor that goes with the flow, and Sam Rockwell as the actor featured in one episode and consequently fearing the imminent demise of characters like his. Even more important is that each actor plays two characters – the character that they played on the tv series and the actor trying to make ends meet now that the show has ended. Each side of their role contains different emotions and motivations, making for a fascinating story. I also love Enrico Colantoni’s performance as Mathesar, the alien leader who believes the Galaxy Quest television show to be historical documents of a real crew. His acting will have you convinced that he is actually an alien. For fans of “The Office,” you will have an opportunity to see Rainn Wilson (a.k.a. Dwight Schrute) in an early role as an alien. The special effects could be better (considering that this was the same year that “The Matrix” came out), but you will surely be impressed by the depth of this plot and the quality of the acting. “Galaxy Quest” is a lot more than your standard sci-fi parody.
[Pictured: How did they pull together a cast like this for a sci-fi parody!?!?]