Stuff I Like: “Galaxy Quest”

Justin Long and some of his fellow "Questies".

Trekkies, by virtue of their (sometimes feigned) intellect, use of constructed language and steadfast fanboyism, are an interesting breed. Star Trek alums, further, by virtue of being known by these fanboys only for the roles they were in, are generally has-beens.

Which is why the 1999 film Galaxy Quest is an incredibly well-done sci-fi comedy – lampooning Star Trek, its stars, and its fans, while still being a pretty damn good story on its own. 

The gist is this: at a convention of “Questerians” (led by Guy (Sam Rockwell), a fanatic and former redshirt), Jason Nesmith, the “Commander Peter Quincy Taggart” (Tim Allen), is recruited by an alien race, the Thermians (Mathesar, Teb, Laliari, and Quellek (Enrico Colantoni, Jed Rees, Missi Pyle, and Rainn Wilson later of The Office fame)) to defeat the evil Sarris (Robin Sachs), who believe that the now-long-cancelled Galaxy Quest was real, the television shows “historical documents”. After actually going into space, he is enthralled and tells his ‘crew’, “Dr. Lazarus” (played by Shakespearean actor Sir Alexander Dane, played by Alan Rickman), “Lieutenant Tawny Madison” (Gwen DeMarco, Sigourney Weaver), “Tech Sergeant Chen” (Fred Kwan, Tony Shalhoub), and a now-grown up whiz kid “Lieutenant Laredo” (Tommy Webber, Daryl Mitchell), who hate him, about the mission.

Within all of this, Brandon (Justin Long, in his first film role) has a run in with Nesmith, accidentally gets the communicator the Thermians gave him, and with his team of Questerians helps the crew navigate through the NSEA Protector and take on Sarris.

It’s absolutely hilarious how the characters hated their time on the show, yet came into their own as these characters; it’s moving how the Thermians try to understand that what the cast did was fiction; and it’s good how they prevail all the same, finding friendship (and in some cases love) in the process.


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