By Grabthar's Hammer, never mind Marvel - 15 years ago another unlikely, squabbling team saved the galaxy with wit, astounding visual effects and a prolific science fiction actress on board.
(*fan of fictional science fiction series Galaxy Quest)
Marvel films continued their seemingly unassailable multi-squillion dollar grip on the box office this year with an adaptation of a title even most comic fans hadn't heard of. Astute use of a retro soundtrack and a wise-cracking raccoon has made Guardians of the Galaxy yet another hit for Stan Lee's Empire.
It was fun, but as memories of exactly what I saw, and in what order, fade, I found myself buying a recently-released Blu Ray of another film which once delivered that most rare of events - a genuine, laugh-out-loud great time at the movies. "Oh, Galaxy Quest", said the assistant as I handed over my money, "we had a real rush on these when the Blu Ray came out!"
Obviously others were caught up in the same flood of nostalgia that I was, but this was a film I saw one-and-a-half decades ago. And to be honest, hasn't really been talked about since. What if my memory was not only deceiving me, but going back proved to be such a disappointing experience that my happy remembrance would be blown to tiny pieces by a blast of cold hard reality?
Well, if my definition of courage has become daring to put on a movie then I'm in a worse state than I thought. "Never give up, never surrender" as the crew of the NSEA Protector would have it; so the play button was duly punched.
|The NTE in the Protector's designation apparently stands for 'Not The Enterprise'|
|Dream Weaver: Sigourney finally gets a flattering film hairstyle.|
But another of Galaxy Quest's achievements is that despite a large cast, every character has his or her moment to shine. One of Sigourney Weaver's involves an instance of the most obvious over-dubbing of the 'F-bomb' in film history, which has become rightfully legendary.
The conceit of the film is well known: the cast of a defunct science fiction television series unwittingly recruited by a beseiged alien race who believe the episodes to be true accounts and the actors capable of saving them. And this means that we get to enjoy Galaxy Quest's cast in what are essentially double roles: their on and off-screen personas which shift and merge in fun ways as the story progresses.
|Alan Rickman, as Alexander Dane, as 'Dr Lazarus'.|
The Star Trek allusions are multitudinous, multi-layered but never laboured and not essential to the enjoyment of the film. I love the fact that in a commentary for his wonderful Star Trek revival, JJ Abrams calls Galaxy Quest "...one of the best Star Trek films ever made". Trekkies themselves have rated Quest above some of the genuine Trek films in order of preference.