Twenty years ago, the TV show "Galaxy Quest" was a hit; cancelled after three years, it has lived on in memory and now has huge cult following of geeks donning homemade costumes and turning out in droves to conventions to see the alumni cast repeat a few key lines - "Never give up! Never surrender!" - and sign autographs. As the erstwhile crew of the spaceship NSEA Protector bound onto stage in costume the fans burst into cheers, but inside the actors are cringing at what their careers have become. So begins this amusing 1999 movie.
The crew were led by Commander Peter Quincy Taggart, played by Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen); thankfully he has lost his mullet, but otherwise he remains a self-centred man basking in the adoration of his fans and oblivious to how much his former castmates hate him. Lt. Tawny Madison was played by Gwen DeMarco (Sigourney Weaver in a hilarious long blond wig); her role on the show involved supplying cleavage and repeating everything the computer said. The chief advisor to the commander was Dr. Lazarus, a Tev'Meck alien with a finned purple head played by Alexander Dane (Alan Rickman); a former Shakespearean actor, he can't believe how low he's fallen, and reserves his dirtiest looks for fans who approach him with his signature line "By Grabthor's hammer!" Tech Sergeant Chen was played by Fred Kwan (Tony Shalhoub, in yellow face as Chen); all the technobabble he used to spout seems to have disappeared in a haze of marijuana smoke. Finally, young Lt. Laredo, the pilot, was played by boy actor Tommy Webber (Daryl Mitchell), now fully grown and wondering where his career went. Joining them in signing autographs is Guy Fleegman (Sam Rockwell), an obscure character who got killed off in episode 83.
At the Galaxy Quest convention Nesmith is approached by a gaggle of geeks in shiny black jumpsuits who launch into what could become a complicated story about being from the planet Thermia and requiring the crew's assistance, but Nesmith assumes they want to speak to him about a photo shoot he has agreed to which does not include his former crew, so he cuts them off and tells them to pick him up the next day in a limousine. Which they do, but they use it to whisk him off to a spaceship. Addled by a wicked hangover, he assumes it's a set, until they cover him in jelly and shoot him through a wormhole, at which point he begins to see this as really cool fun. The alien Thermians warn him that the evil General Sarris wants to kill them, but he doesn't understand the gravity of the threat and contents himself with firing torpedoes at Sarris' ship and insisting that he can't work without his crew. So the remaining actors are lifted from the parking lot of an electronics store that they are opening (at which Dane must say, "By Grabthor's hammer, what a savings." Oh! the ignobility!) and the real space adventure begins.
It transpires that the gullible Thermians had mistaken the TV series for historical documents, and built a ship to save their species based on watching the movements of the crew. Without a script the humans have no idea what to do, but they fake it for a while: Webber manages to get the ship out of the space dock with only minor damage, DeMarco repeats everything the computer says, and Kwan mumbles something about power. But when Sarris - a six foot tall reptile who as a result of those torpedoes has a bolted-on eyepatch and a very bad temper - disables their engines with a few well-aimed shots, they are forced to rise to the occasion. They must overcome their animosity for each other as they work desperately to save the innocent Thermians - last surviving members of their species, and given to reverting to giant squid who communicate with piercing shrieks when they forget to turn on their holoprojectors - from certain destruction. The plot involves a desert planet inhabited by cute purple Teletubbies with razor-sharp teeth and a giant rampaging rock monster, the mysterious Omega 13 particle, and four nerdy earth-bound teenagers who can call up the ship's schematics on their computers and guide our heroes to their goals.
It's all pretty silly, but great fun, and not mean-spirited in the least. The cast are really good, and are obviously enjoying themselves - Weaver in particular seems to revel in the wig and the way her jumpsuit zipper raises and lowers, exposing more and more cleavage as the action heats up. When you want an amusing movie that you will enjoy as much as the kids (kids optional), try this one. The DVD has a Thermian soundtrack for those who take things too far, and an "Omega 13" feature that changes depending on when you activate it.
This film was written by David Howard and directed by Dean Parisot, and was nominated for no Academy Awards.