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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Now, twenty years later, aliens under attack have mistaken the Galaxy Quest television transmissions for "historical documents" and beamed up the crew of has-been actors to save the universe.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 DTS 5.1
English Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 102 min.
Price: $26.99
Release Date: 5/2/2000

Bonus:
• 7 Deleted Scenes
• “On Location in Space” Featurette
• Thermian Language Audio Track
• Trailer
• Cast and Filmmakers Biographies
• Production Notes


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: DTS (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 strong cast and you have a definite winner.


The DVD Grades: Picture C/ 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. Though not without its positive aspects, the transfer seemed mediocre as a whole.

Sharpness was one of the up and down elements. While much of the film appeared acceptably 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 more than a few shots. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but source flaws were a bit of an issue. I noticed examples of specks and grit. Though these never became heavy, they cropped up regularly throughout the film. Grain also seemed more prominent than usual and made the picture look somewhat messy.

Colors were acceptable, though the image’s general murkiness affected them. The hues went with a moderately metallic look and seemed decent, though the grain muted their impact. Blacks were reasonably dark and deep, while shadows looked okay; again, the muddiness of the presentation made them a bit lackluster. Overall, this was a watchable transfer but no better than that.

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 DTS 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.

So how does the DTS soundtrack compare to the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the ”standard” DVD? Pretty closely, though I'd give the DTS track the slight edge. I feel the picture quality of both DVDs seems identical, and though the DTS track sounds a bit better defined and presents slightly stronger bass, these changes are very minor. While I prefer the DTS track, both sound pretty similar.

Quest includes a few minor 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. On Location In Space offers a 10-minute and six-second promotional featurette. The piece sticks to the light and fluffy side, but it provides some fun information and packs in enough interesting details to merit a look. A more comprehensive documentary would have been nice, but this program seems entertaining.

"From the Cutting Room Floor" supplies seven deleted scenes. These run a total of nine minutes, 47 seconds and include “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), and “The Crew Vs. Sarris” (0:47). These generally offer expanded versions of existing segments. None are terrific but they 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. Lots of times, deleted clips are pretty useless, but these are quite strong.

The Cast and Crew area provides pretty solid biographies for 12 actors and six crewmembers. Additionally, the segments for actors Allen, Weaver, Rickman, Shalhoub, Daryl Mitchell, and Sam Rockwell and crew members Dean Parsiot, Mark Johnson, Charles Newirth, Stan Winston feature interview clips if you select the small icon at the top of the screen. All of these are quite brief except for those from Allen and Parsiot; the latter snippets last at least a minute or two, whereas the others top out at maybe 30 seconds at most (and some, like Winston's, end after about five seconds.)

Additionally, we find the theatrical trailer for Quest plus "Sneak Preview Trailers" for fellow DreamWorks offerings Chicken Run, Road to El Dorado, and Road Trip. The DVD finishes with a few text screens worth of production notes. These are pretty brief but they provide a nice look at the creation of the movie.

Actually, I missed one supplemental feature: "Omega 13". I won't comment on what exactly this piece is, because it may spoil the ending of the film, but suffice it to say it's a really dopey extra, especially because you have to watch the whole film to access it. The DVD won't let you select it unless you've gone through the movie. If you're impatient, just fast forward through the picture. Don't be surprised if "Omega 13" isn't worth the effort, though.

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 mediocre picture quality, very good audio, and a few decent supplements. I’m not wild about this DVD, but I like the movie enough to recommend it.

To rate this film visit the Deluxe Edition review of GALAXY QUEST

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