Weekly Trek – January 25-31, 2016

I was going to save this week’s Weekly Trek selection for later in the year, but with the recent death of Alan Rickman, it seemed appropriate to discuss the closest he ever got to appearing in Star Trek: the 1999 film Galaxy Quest.

Galaxy Quest is the story of the cast of a Star Trek-like television series that gets pulled into an actual interstellar crisis when a group of aliens mistakenly believes that the episodes of the TV series are actually historical documents chronicling the crew’s heroic exploits.  It stars Tim Allen as the Shatner-esque Jason Nesmith, Sigourney Weaver as Gwen DeMarco (Her job on the show was basically to repeat the ship’s computer), and Alan Rickman as Alexander Dane.  Rickman is fantastic as a Shakespearean-trained actor who has been typecast after appearing as Dr. Lazarus, the alien member of the ship’s crew.  It also has early film appearances of Justin Long, Sam Rockwell, Rainn Wilson, and Tony Shalhoub.

Ok, so Galaxy Quest isn’t actually Star Trek.  It is, however, both a loving homage to the franchise and to its fans.  Also in the minds of many Trek fans, it is one of the best Trek movies ever made.  I’m not kidding.  At the 2013 Creation Entertainment Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, the largest Trek convention of each year, the fans in attendance voted on the rankings of the twelve Star Trek films that had been released up until that point as well as Galaxy Quest.  Out of those 13 films, Galaxy Quest came in 7th, placing it higher than 3 of the 4 films featuring the crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation and 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness

(In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I had major problems with that ranking, which I wrote about at length HERE and HERE.)

The film is very funny, while also telling a solid story with great characters.  It takes a few digs at Star Trek, but none of them are mean-spirited.  It’s a fun movie that doesn’t require any Trek knowledge to enjoy, but if you are familiar with particularly the original Star Trek series, you will catch some additional gags.  And getting back to what led me here in the first place, Rickman is fantastic.  The whole cast (Yes, even including Tim Allen) is great, but Rickman in particular stands out. 

Galaxy Quest is currently streaming on Netflix, so check it out.  And next week we will return to Star Trek proper.

- Alan Decker

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