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.