Review: “Galaxy Quest”

If “Galaxy Quest” resembles any film its the recent superhero satire “Mystery Men”, but thank god its ten times better than that flick and a few times better than some of the sci-fi movies it makes fun of. The slick and flashy direction is combined with a good concept and lots of subtle gags which sci-fi nuts, especially Trekkers, will love (regular audiences though will still find lots of laughs).

This is certainly the best film Tim Allen has been in, while Weaver does the bombshell and Rickman the disgruntled alien comic relief character perfectly. Tony Shaloub’s engineering character feels a little underwritten, but that’s compensated by others such as ‘Guy’ who played a crewman on the show that died in the first five minutes of that episode – and thus has a severe fear-of-death complex when the situation becomes real.

One welcome change in this flick is the special effects. Most recent sci-fi flicks have been plagued by some quite cartoonish-looking awful CG animation (eg. “Lost in Space”, “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace”). Not here as the FX are simply dazzling and practically flawless, with the space shots in particular being breathtaking beautiful – better than many of the shots in “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” (funny considering both SW1 and GQ were handled by FX house ILM). In fact what few FX do look ‘CG-ish’ are deliberatly meant to look cheesy (eg. the rock creature).

The only real problem with the film is that it suffers from that same problem which plagues American mainstream comedies (eg. “American Pie”, “Bowfinger”) – a need to be a moral and relatively clean flick intended for a family audience. The characters would’ve been better if they had more edge to them. Its fun seeing Tim Allen go from being a slightly egotistical washed up actor to a proud do-gooding commander, but it would’ve been funnier if he’d been a completely egotistical, alcoholic, womanising, washed up actor in the first place (much like the way William Shatner portrayed himself in “Free Enterprise”).

In the end though any sci-fi fan should certainly check this out. The pace is fast, the production value superb and the comedy flying thick and fast. In a time where the only other cinema fare is 3 hour-plus melodramas, this 100-minute flick is a welcome breath of fresh air. Not to mention the writers currently handling the Trek franchise could learn some lessons from this.