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Galaxy Quest (Deluxe Edition) by Dean Parisot (Director)
Review by Charles Mohapel
DreamWorks DVD  ISBN/ITEM#: B001S86J0I
Date: 17 May 2009 List Price $14.98 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: IMDB.com - Galaxy Quest / World Science Fiction Convention / Chicon 2000 Hugo Nominees / Boxofficemojo.com / Show Official Info /

It's hard to believe that it will be ten years ago on December 23rd that Galaxy Quest burst on the North American filmgoing public's consciousness, but that is indeed the case.

Having previously viewed Galaxy Quest in the theater with a group of fellow science fiction fans, we were delighted to see that while the story begins at a media convention that is a thinly disguised Star Trek convention, it is a gentle tongue-in-cheek homage to the fans, even the most rabid fanboys and fangirls. When a group of very unusual aliens known as Thermians show up, they don't really appear that strange when compared to the attendees at the convention. Having patterned their civilization on the long canceled Galaxy Quest TV series, they now come in search of the original cast, believing them to actually be heroes. And the adventures are only beginning...

Having attended 22 previous World Science Fiction Conventions in various cities across the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, and Holland, I can tell you that many times the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation is accepted by someone not actually associated with the film or TV series that had won. This was not the case at Chicon 2000, the 58th World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago, as the vast majority of those at the awards ceremony were simultaneously startled, amused, and gratified by the sight of Director Dean Parisot and Robert Gordon who co-wrote the screenplay rushing onto the stage like a pair of giddy teenagers to accept the award in person. As you can well imagine this was met with great enthusiasm and applause by the crowd. They beat out the likes of The Matrix, The Sixth Sense, The Iron Giant, and Being John Malkovich, so you know that the competition was no cakewalk.

The single disc contains:
Trailer for the new Star Trek movie by J.J. Abrams
Promos for Star Trek, The Original Series: Season 1 on Blu-ray, Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection (The Motion Picture / The Wrath of Khan / The Search for Spock / The Voyage Home / The Final Frontier / The Star Trek Captains Summit Bonus Disc), and the Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy (The Wrath of Khan / The Search for Spock / The Voyage Home).

Galaxy Quest 101 minutes

Special Features:
Historical Documents: The Story of Galaxy Quest (18:13)
Never Give Up, Never Surrender: The Intrepid Crew of the NSEA Protector (23:21)
By Grabthar's Hammer, What Amazing Effects (7:02)
Alien School: Creating the Thermian Race (5:22)
Actors in Space (6:10)
Sigourney Weaver Raps (1:58)
Deleted Scenes
Thermian Audio Track
Theatrical Trailer (1:53)

My favorite scenes in the film were of the attendees at the Galaxy Quest convention and of the individual teleportation pods.

Special Features:
Historical Documents: The Story of Galaxy Quest
We get to hear from Robert Gordon (Writer), Dean Parisot (Director), Tim Allen, Mark Johnson (Producer), Sigourney Weaver, David Howard (Writer), Sam Rockwell, Tony Shalhoub, Justin Long (now known as the Mac Guy), Nicholas Meyer (Director of Star Trek II and Star Trek VI, Writer of Star Trek IV and Star Trek VI), Alan Rickman, Enrico Colantoni, Missi Pyle, and Daryl "Chill" Mitchell.

Listening to the cast and crew, you quickly see which of them are science fiction fans and which ones aren't. Neither David Howard nor Mark Johnson are what many would call real fans since they call Star Trek fans "Trekkies", not "Trekkers", even though Howard calls himself a Star Trek fan. Nicholas Meyer owns the DVD calling it "a keeper", but he carefully points out that loyal Star Trek fans are "Trekkers", not "Trekkies". Even if he does not personally categorize himself as one or the other, he has enough respect for the serious fans to make the distinction. Robert Gordon, Dean Parisot, Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, and Justin Long love science fiction and are fans.

I enjoyed this featurette immensely from start to finish, beginning with the title since a key element of the film itself is the mistaken belief of the Thermians that episodes of the TV show that have reached them are actual historical documents.

Never Give Up, Never Surrender: The Intrepid Crew of the NSEA Protector
Here we learn that sci-fi fan and Trekker Tim Allen was the first actor cast and that the producers were pleasantly shocked when Alan Rickman accepted their offer. Director Dean Parisot cast dramatic actors and wanted to make a dramatic movie with comedic moments - and he succeeded. It was nice seeing brief clips from 1999 interspersed with the new ones, especially Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, and Alan Rickman, but all the way through you can see the love and respect they had for each other.

Initially the producers didn't want anybody who had played in any science fiction movies, particularly not Sigourney Weaver, but she pressed them to be part of the film. So much of the character of Tawny Madison came from Sigourney, particularly the long blonde wig, and she delighted in playing a female role who was the complete opposite of Ripley from Alien.

Speaking of polar opposites, Enrico Colantoni who can be seen as toughguy SWAT team member Sgt. Gregory Parker on Flashpoint plays Mathesar, leader of the Thermians.

Sam Rockwell laughs as he relates how he ripped off Bill Paxton's character from Aliens, the whiny neurotic Pvt. Hudson, even going so far as to speak to Sigourney Weaver about the movie.

I absolutely loved this featurette because it gives you so much insight into the making of Galaxy Quest that you feel like you were a special invited guest who was privileged enough to spend time with everyone involved.

By Grabthar's Hammer, What Amazing Effects
Seeing how the special effects are made is something I have always loved watching and this segment is short but great. The makeup effects such as Sarris were groundbreaking effects from the mind of the late Stan Winston and the visual special effects were created by Industrial Light & Magic. Robin Sachs speaks of wearing the Sarris costume with 30 pounds of servos to control all the nasty looking spikes on his head and back.

From spending money on topnotch special effects to having the bridge set on a giant gimbal, you can see that this production used their budget wisely and didn't cut corners.

Alien School: Creating the Thermian Race
While the Thermians were not one of the fully developed parts of the script at the beginning, their language and speech patterns came from a vocal exercise that Enrico Colantoni had learned at Yale. During the casting of the other Thermians, the casting director took the unusual action of showing Missi Pyle and others the footage of Enrico Colantoni's audition as Mathesar. Then Rainn Wilson, Patrick Breen, and Missi Pyle picked up on it and that matter was settled. Alan Rickman who is a classically trained British actor expresses his amazement at the discipline required for the Thermian walk.

Actors in Space
This brief featurette is charming as the actors talk about the different actor stereotypes they played in the bad TV series at the heart of the movie and how they have worked with and met many of those stereotypes in person.

Sigourney Weaver Raps
Personally I have zero love for Rap music, but this is the exception. When Sigourney Weaver's agent was having a big birthday party, she was unable to attend in person, but with the help of Daryl "Chill" Mitchell who wrote the music, Sigourney, Chill, Sam Rockwell, Missi Pyle, and Patrick Breen made a hilarious rap video for him.

Deleted Scenes

  • Tech Talk with Sergeant Chen (2:16) - no loss
  • Alex Tours His "Personalized" Quarters (Intro On/Off) (2:40) - should have been included since it look like a hi-tech torture chamber
  • A Running Spat Between Old Flames (0:39) - no major loss
  • Guy Gets Attacked (0:51) - no loss
  • Alex's Motivational Speech (2:02) - some rough animation; doesn't add anything to the film
  • Gwen Saves the day (1:29) - feminists won't like this scene since Gwen DeMarco uses her feminine wiles and best assets to outwit the poor dumb male soldiers of Sarris
  • The Crew vs. Sarris (0:46) - hilarious and reminded me of a fight choreographed by someone like the Three Stooges
  • Sweet Serenity At Last: The Director's Cut with Intro (1:04) - they should NEVER have cut this scene out

Thermian Audio Track
This takes you back to Set up where you find that the third audio option is listed as Thermian 2.0 Surround. I think this option contravenes both the Geneva and Hague Conventions.

Theatrical Trailer
Watching the original trailer made me want to see it again, a somewhat amusing response given that I have already watched it and the special features a good number of times already.

While I don't own the original DVD released in 2000, the new version has a big sticker saying that it is "Digitally Remastered" and has "New Special Features including Sigourney Weaver Raps". Whether you own the original DVD, but it's scratched and needs to be replaced, or you want a good laugh you can share with your family and friends, run out and buy a copy of the 2009 release of Galaxy Quest. Or order a copy online and have it delivered right to your door. And the lenticular cover rocks.

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