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DREAMWORKS

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Dean Parisot
Cast:
Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, Daryl Mitchell, Enrico Colantoni, Robin Sachs
Writing Credits:
David Howard (and story), Robert Gordon

Tagline:
The show has been cancelled ... but the adventure is just beginning.

Synopsis:
For four years, the courageous crew of the NSEA Protector - "Commander Peter Qunicy Taggart" (Tim Allen), "Lt. Tawny Madison" (Sigourney Weaver), and "Dr. Lazarus" (Alan Rickman) - set off on thrilling and often dangerous missions in space ... and then their series was cancelled!

Now, twenty years later, aliens under attack have mistaken the Galaxy Quest television transmissions for "historical documents" and beamed up the crew of has-been actors to save the universe. With no script, no director, and no clue, the actors must turn in the performances of their lives in this hilarious adventure Jeffrey Lyons (NBC-TV) calls "The funniest, wittiest comedy of the year."

Box Office:
Budget
$45 million.
Opening Weekend
$7.012 million on 2412 screens.
Domestic Gross
$71.423 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 102 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 5/12/2009

Bonus:
• “Historical Documents: The Story of Galaxy Quest” Featurette
• “Never Give Up, Never Surrender: The Intrepid Crew of the NSEA Protector” Featurette
• “By Grabthar’s Hammer, What Amazing Effects” Featurete
• “Alien School: Creating the Thermian Race” Featurette
• “Actors in Space” Featurette
• “Sigourney Weaver Raps”
• 7 Deleted Scenes
• Thermian Language Audio Track
• Trailer
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Galaxy Quest: Deluxe Edition (1999)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 7, 2009)

Does Internet buzz ever get anything right? I suppose it happens on occasion, but usually the know-it-alls who spout off pre-opinions in various locations don't have the slightest clue about what they're speaking.

For example, take the extremely negative advance word generated for 2000's Galaxy Quest. Through the newsgroups I visited, I heard over and over how terrible this movie would be and how DreamWorks would take a bath on this fairly expensive release. Quest was to be a complete flop that would also be universally panned by critics and provide a blemish on the résumés of its participants.

Or maybe not. As it happens, Quest opened last to uniformly positive reviews, good word of mouth and a decent little box office gross of $71 million. Okay, the latter didn't set any records, but it certainly disqualified the film from earning any status as a "bomb". Quest stands as a modest success, but it can be seen as a success nonetheless.

And it turned out be a fun little movie as well. The plot essentially views the continuing popularity of a Star Trek-like TV show called (surprise!) Galaxy Quest and the less-than-scintillating lives led by its stars. They still make their livings through various promotional appearances tied to the show; none of them seem to have careers that are on the fast track. Other than Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen), who played "Captain Taggart" on the program, they appear pretty tired of this lifestyle.

The twist comes when some oddballs who initially seem to be just the usual obsessed fans show up on the scene. It turns out they're from the planet "Thermia" and have followed the TV show from afar. All believe it to be real and entreat Nesmith and crew to help out with their battle against a reptilian baddie named Sarris (Robin Sachs).

The results are honestly fairly predictable. Each crewmember has to deal with their fears and preset attitudes, but there's little doubt any of them will fail to come through in the end. Face it - this isn't the kind of movie that doesn't let the good guys win, and the path the characters follow to get there offers virtually no surprises.

This isn't a criticism. After all, most movies provide pretty predictable plots. I mean, it's not like we think there's any chance James Bond or Batman will be killed, and although we knew exactly how Apollo 13 would end, it remained very suspenseful and tense. As such, though Quest winds its way toward its conclusion in a fairly easily anticipated manner, the movie nonetheless provides a tremendous amount of fun.

Few phenomena are as ripe for lampooning than the popularity of Star Trek and some of its more - ahem - unusual fans, but that aspect of Quest takes a backseat to the movie's fun take on some of the typical aspects of the show. I think general audiences will find a lot to like in Quest, but it clearly adds to the pleasure if you know much about "Star Trek" episodes and some of their clichés; Quest pokes affectionate fun at these.

One reason Quest works as well as it does comes from its terrific cast. I never would have imagined Allen as a Shatner-esque hero, but he does a fine job in the role; he pulls off the comic parts of the role and the action scenes with equal aplomb. Sigourney Weaver returns to space as Gwen DeMarco, the actress who plays sultry - but redundant - Lieutenant Tawny Madison. Weaver doesn't get as much to do as I'd like, but she seems to have a lot of fun in the role, and she looks so good it's hard to believe she was 50 at the time; maybe blondes do have more fun!

As much as I enjoyed the performances of Weaver and Allen, two other actors make Quest the delight it is: Alan Rickman and Tony Shalhoub. No matter what these two are in, they always add spark and life to the films. I've been in the bag for Shalhoub since his small role as the cab driver in 1990's Quick Change, and his laid-back line readings here are consistently the funniest parts of the movie.

As for Rickman, no one does acerbic like he does, and his nasty attitude as Sir Alexander Dane, a "serious actor" forever trapped in an absurd role, also makes his parts of the movie tremendously enjoyable. Rickman's one of those actors who can do more with a small facial expression than most performers can muster with every ounce of their beings, and his presence here adds greatly to the film's success.

I won't call Galaxy Quest a classic, but it certainly provides a fun and exciting experience. This sort of semi-parody could easily fall flat, but it's done with enough affection and wit that it works quite well. Add to that the presence of a tremendously strong cast and you have a definite winner.


The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

Galaxy Quest appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The film featured a good but erratic transfer.

Sharpness was one of the up and down elements. While much of the film appeared nicely defined and concise, bouts of softness materialized as well. Some of this stemmed from the mild edge enhancement I saw at times; that contributed to a lack of clarity in wider shots. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but source flaws were a bit of an issue. I noticed occasional examples of specks and grit. Though these never became heavy, they cropped up more often than I’d like.

Colors were pretty positive. The movie went with a somewhat metallic palette, and the DVD brought the hues to life in a satisfying manner. Actually, the deep greens of Sarris and his people looked best of all, but the other colors also were solid. Blacks seemed dense and tight, while shadows were clear and smooth. Because of the occasional softness and the print flaws, this ended up as a “B-“ presentation.

One comment about the visuals: the DVD didn’t display the theatrical aspect ratio at all times. Although the movie was 2.35:1 the majority of the time, it started as 1.33:1 and then went to 1.85:1 before it eventually settled at 2.35:1.

The DVD featured the original 1.33:1 shots – windowboxed inside the frame – but ignored the 1.85:1 elements. Theatrically, those persisted until Nesmith ended up on the Thermian ship; instead, the DVD leapt to 2.35:1 after the brief 1.33:1 piece.

I don't understand why the 1.85:1 segment was altered to match 2.35:1. Admittedly, the TV doesn't offer the same impression as a movie screen, where we took in a strong impression of the growth in scope of the projection. On a TV, the effect could be similar - there's no reason that 1.85:1 couldn't have been "windowboxed" ala the 1.33:1 image - but it loses the grandeur. Nonetheless, I wish they'd used the 1.85:1 windowboxing and delivered Quest in exactly the same presentation as seen on movie screens. The 1.85:1 segments don't last that long, and it seems silly to use it theatrically but deem it unimportant on the smaller screen.

I felt pleased with the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Quest, though it wasn’t quite as dynamic as one might expect from a movie with so many action elements. On occasion, those brought the mix to life in a satisfying way. Space battles and Nesmith’s fight against the rock monster worked best, as those created a good sense of scope and involvement.

Otherwise, the track concentrated on environmental information. Those elements added a good sense of ambience and created a fine feel for the material. Music also showed positive stereo imaging.

Sound quality appeared good. At times, dialogue revealed a little bit of edginess, but most of the time speech seemed clear and natural. Music was smooth and dynamic, with bright highs and solid lows. Effects sounded clear and packed some punch as well. While the activity level could have been a bit stronger, overall Quest provided an audio experience that seemed reasonably fulfilling.

How did the picture and sound of this “Deluxe Edition” of Galaxy Quest compare with those of the original 2000 DVD? Sonically, the two seemed to be clones, but the 2009 disc offered a new transfer that moderately surpassed its predecessor. The DE was somewhat sharper, and it lacked as much grain. The DE also came with brighter colors and fewer source flaws. Since the DE still had its own concerns, it didn’t blow away the 2000 DVD’s visuals, but it did offer general improvements.

The DE also provides a few new extras. I’ll mark DE exclusives with an asterisk. If you fail to see a star, that means the component showed up on the old disc as well.

Quest doesn't qualify as a full-fledged special edition, but it does include a few nice supplements. One odd bonus is the Thermian soundtrack that can be selected from the audio setup menu. This track replaces the normal English dialogue with the strange chattering uttered by the Thermians when they are without their translators. It makes for a rather different experience – and one that gets old before too long. Still, it’s a clever and briefly amusing addition.

More normal extras can be found as well, most in the form of featurettes. *Historical Documents: The Story of Galaxy Quest goes for 18 minutes, 14 seconds and features notes from director Dean Parisot, screenwriters David Howard and Bob Gordon, producer Mark Johnson, Star Trek writer/director Nicholas Meyer, and actors Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Sam Rockwell, Enrico Colantoni, Missi Pyle, Daryl “Chill” Mitchell, Tony Shalhoub, Justin Long, and Alan Rickman. The show looks at the flick’s roots and development, aspects of the script and story, the movie’s tone and Parisot’s work on the set, and reactions to it.

It’s great to find all the major cast members on display here, and we also learn a few decent notes about the film’s origins. However, much of “Documents” really stays in self-congratulatory mode, as it mostly tells us how much everyone loves the movie. Some good tidbits emerge along the way, but there’s way too much praise for this to become a satisfying program.

For the 23-minute and 25-second *Never Give Up, Never Surrender: The Intrepid Crew of the NSEA Protector, we hear from Allen, Gordon, Parisot, Pyle, Rockwell, Weaver, Rickman, Colantoni, Mitchell, Johnson, Shalhoub, and Long. “Crew” examines cast, characters and performances. While we still get plenty of happy talk here, at least some interesting notes come along as well. In particular, the thoughts the actors provide about inspirations and influences prove to be compelling. It’s not a great piece, but it moves quickly and gives us enough good material to succeed.

Visuals come to the fore with *By Grabthar’s Hammer, What Amazing Effects. In this seven-minute, three-second piece, we get comments from Gordon, Parisot, Allen, Johnson, Weaver, Colantoni, Mitchell, Shalhoub, makeup effects creator Stan Winston (from 1999), and actor Robin Sachs (from 1999). This program looks at elements like the spaceship set, bringing Sarris to life, and creating the “old” Galaxy Quest TV footage. “Hammer” includes some useful facts, especially when we look at the methods used to make cheesy old TV episodes. However, it sticks with an oddly limited scope, as it avoids the vast majority of the effects featured in the film; you’ll get nothing about the CG effects or anything else. What we hear is useful, but the absence of other material makes this a frustrating piece.

*Alien School: Creating the Thermian Race lasts five minutes, 23 seconds and includes remarks from Gordon, Parisot, Colantoni, Allen, Pyle, Rockwell, Rickman, Shalhoub, Weaver and Long. We learn a bit about the acting choices made for the Thermians – and that’s it. There’s no info about the design of the characters in their humanoid or squid-like state; we just get a few notes about the performances. And those are interesting, but they mean that the program lacks the scope one would expect and feels truncated.

Next comes the six-minute, 11-second *Actors in Space. It provides statements from Parisot, Gordon, Rickman, Weaver, Colantoni, Long, Mitchell, Pyle, Meyer, Allen, and Rockwell. The featurette gives us a few thoughts about stereotyped actors, but it mostly just offers more praise. This ensures another watchable but frustrating experience.

Something unusual arrives with *Sigourney Weaver Raps. During this one-minute. 59-second clip, Weaver and Mitchell offer a lead-in to the amateur music video created as a birthday treat for her agent. Rockwell and Mitchell rap along with Weaver while Pyle and Patrick Breen cavort in the background. It’s odd – and pretty funny.

Eight deleted scenes run a total of 10 minutes, four seconds. We find “Tech Talk with Sergeant Chen” (2:15), “Alex Tours His ‘Personalized’ Quarters” (1:47), “A Running Spat Between Old Flames” (0:40), “Guy Gets Attacked” (0:51), “Alex’s Motivational Speech” (2:02), “Gwen Saves the Day” (1:30), “The Crew Vs. Sarris” (0:47) and “*Sweet Serenity at Last: The Director’s Cut” (0:12). These generally offer expanded versions of existing segments. None are terrific but most seemed pretty good. A case easily could have been made to keep all of them, especially one that gives Weaver more of a tough side. Only “Serenity” – which is nothing more than an existing snippet with an added subtitle – lacks much entertainment value.

Two scenes also come with intros: and “Quarters” (0:54) and “Serenity” (0:53). For “Quarters”, we hear from Parisot, Gordon, Allen and Rickman, while “Serenity” provides notes from Parisot and Gordon. They help give us a little info about those scenes. In particular, the note for “Serenity” allows us to understand the motivation of the altered sequence.

The disc opens with some ads. We get promos for the Star Trek movie, Star Trek: The Original Series Season One Blu-ray, and a few other Trek products. These appear in the Previews area as well. You’ll also find the trailer for Quest here.

Does the DE lose anything from the 2000 DVD? Yes, but not much. It drops some cast and crew biographies, text production notes, and a featurette called “On Location in Space”.

Galaxy Quest offers a tremendous amount of fun that benefits from the presence of a stellar cast. I suppose it's possible for a film that features Sigourney Weaver, Tony Shalhoub and Alan Rickman to stink, but it seems unlikely. The DVD offers erratic but acceptable picture quality, very good audio, and a mixed bag of supplements.

I definitely recommend Galaxy Quest, and with a list price of $14.98, the Deluxe Edition is a bargain. Although it doesn’t blow away the picture quality or extras found on the original disc, the fact it sells for so little money makes it a worthwhile upgrade.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.375 Stars Number of Votes: 8
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main