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With the arrival of the documentary TREKKIES, the world of STAR TREK had entered the realm of self-parody, which I though was the final stage. However, GALAXY QUEST ($27) proves that there is still plenty of room for folks to take more pot shots at the STAR TREK phenomenon from the outside.

GALAXY QUEST is not only the movies title, but also the title of a fictional television series that establishes an enormous fan base after it goes off the air (just like STAR TREK). Tim Allen stars in GALAXY QUEST as actor Jason Nesmith, the heroic commander of the Galaxy Quest television series. While Nesmith is a fan favorite, the actor has a serious ego problem and is universally disliked by his fellow cast mates (a rather obvious parody of William Shatner). Sigourney Weaver seems to be having a great time portraying Gwen DeMarco, the TV show’s resident blonde bimbo with a nice rack (something that gets quite a bit of play in the movie). Alan Rickman never disappoints, especially with his sharp comic turn as Alexander Dane, a once great British stage actor, who can no longer get legitimate work because of starring role as an alien on Galaxy Quest.

GALAXY QUEST opens about twenty years after the television series has gone off the air, with all of the former stars of the show now forced into appearing at the fan conventions to eke out a living. The actors’ fortunes take an unexpected turn, when they are offered a job by a group of typically strange "fans" at the most recent convention. However, instead of making the expected public appearance, the cast of Galaxy Quest find themselves in outer space on an exact replica of their spaceship from the television series, except for one major difference- this spaceship is real. Somehow, a race of beings known as the Thermian have confused the Galaxy Quest television broadcasts with reality, thus having recreated all of the show’s technology for its troop of space heroes. Without a chance to clarify the situation, our band has-been actors find themselves in the midst of a real space battle- without a clue as to what to do. GALAXY QUEST is a genuinely funny movie that owes a debt of gratitude to STAR TREK. Of course, even non-Trekkies will appreciate the film’s goofy humor. The cast of GALAXY QUEST also features Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, Daryl Mitchell, Enrico Colantoni, Robin Sachs, Patrick Breen and Missi Pyle.

Dreamworks Home Entertainment has done their usually wonderful job with the DVD edition of GALAXY QUEST. The film is framed at 2.35:1 and the DVD features the anamorphic enhancement for playback on 16:9 displays. Image quality on the DVD is absolutely first rate. Everything is sharp, crystal clear and highly detailed. Colors are vibrant and the flesh tones are very appealing. There are no signs of chroma noise or bleeding, even amongst the most intense hues. Blacks are faithfully rendered, plus the image boast excellent shadow detail and very even contrast. This smartly authored DVD utilizes dual layers to keep digital compression artifacts from becoming noticeable.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a solid mix that delivers crisp, intelligible dialogue and deep, full bass. Sound effects are well placed, with the forward soundstage being more aggressively utilized than the rear. Surround deployment delivers a good deal of ambient sound to make the mix more naturalistic than showy. An English Dolby Surround soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English subtitles.

GALAXY QUEST includes some really cool interactive menus that take advantage of full motion video, animation and sound. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection (with full motion previews) and set up features, plus a few really nice extras. Extras include "On Location In Space," which is a 10 minute production featurette; plus there are deleted scenes, a Thermian language track (ha, ha), theatrical trailers, production notes and cast biographies/filmographies.

GALAXY QUEST is a whole lot of fun to watch and a great looking DVD to boot. This DVD is definitely worth acquiring for anybody who enjoys a good sci-fi parody.




DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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