Eighteen years after their sci-fi adventure show "Galaxy Quest" was cancelled, actors Jason Nesmith, Gwen DeMarco, Alexander Dane, Tommy Webber, and Fred Kwan are making apperances at sci-fi conventions and store openings in costume and character. They're wallowing in despair and at each other's throats until aliens known as Thermians arrive and, having mistook the show for fact and consequently modeling their entire culture around it, take them into space to save them from the genocidal General Sarris and his armada.
Directed by: Dean Parisot
. Starring: Tim Allen
, Sigourney Weaver
, Alan Rickman
, Tony Shalhoub
, Sam Rockwell
, Daryl Mitchell
, Enrico Colantoni
, Robin Sachs
, Patrick Breen
, Missi Pyle
, Jed Rees
, Justin Long
, Jeremy Howard
. Music by: David Newman
Jason Nesmith lives a shell of a life structured around the prolonged exploitation of the notoriety he gained portraying Commander Peter Taggert in 1980's sci-fi TV show Galaxy Quest. As made clear to the audience in the film's opening few minutes, his former co-stars are fed up with his selfishness and the disrespect he consistently evinces toward all of them. A decisive moment occurs when he overhears two boys speak of him as a laughingstock, unaware even of the disdain that his co-stars feel for him -' thus, he is (quite unceremoniously) made to recognize that his attitude is the source of his loneliness, the source of the indifference, bordering on hostility, that characterizes Gwen's interaction with him...
And Nesmith desires Gwen, he desires the admiration of his co-stars -' he desires an escape from the life he leads. The catalyst for the fulfillment of these desires is Nesmith's suddenly being thrust into a tense interstellar conflict in which he must, effectively, becomes the figure around which his entire life is centered, yet who is largely invisible to him: Commander Peter Quincy Taggert.
Nesmith must overcome not just his own tendencies toward selfishness and arrogance, but a formidable alien overlord: Sarris. Mustering all his natural cunning and strength as a leader, while simultaneously embracing his co-stars as a team, each member worthwhile, each contributing to the fight, both Sarris and his race of evil aliens and Jason's own personal failings are overcome.
Existing parallel to the main thrust of the narrative are two romantic relationships: Nesmith and Gwen's, and Fred and Laliari's. Through these relationships, two major characters (Gwen and Fred) are given some kind of definition, an identity that meaningfully separates them from the film's other characters (essentially, this is the function of all the B-stories -' to further define the individual characters that make up the large ensemble). Additionally, Gwen and Nesmith's relationship complements and fulfills the protagonist's arc -' a useful function in and of itself -' symbolically cementing Nesmith's transformation from "jerk" to "hero". Fred and Laliari's relationship has the added benefit of setting up a couple choice punchlines: Laliari's semi-transformation into her more cephalopodic form during, as Roger Ebert put it, a "necking session"; the revelation of her being included on the new iteration of the Galaxy Quest show.
The film dazzlingly brings the world of the Thermians to life. The special effects stand up remarkably well considering their vintage. The illusion of a "real life" version of the Galaxy Quest universe is at all times in effect; the ship's design, its technical trappings, the evil-alien spaceship, which seems half organic, half machine, and the evil-aliens themselves are all rendered remarkably, and are powerfully effective in terms of immersion.
Having successfully navigated this space adventure, Nesmith's life of loneliness and moneyed squalor fades away and is replaced with a kind of real-world refraction of the ever-fascinating, idyllic pretend-world of Galaxy Quest -' a fusion in which values of love, friendship, and inclusion take primacy. The film dramatizes this merging of the pretend with the real in an unbelievable set piece in which their ship, en route to Earth, actually crashes into the Galaxy Quest convention itself. We end where we began, effectively, the cast of characterizes walking onto the convention stage -' only, everything has been transformed: the world of Galaxy Quest, previously thought to be entirely fictionalized, pretend, has ingratiated itself into the real world, the entire cast of characters benefiting from this shift. Nesmith, by the end, becomes a sympathetic figure with a real life -' a partner in Gwen, friends who care about him. He is loved reciprocally for who he is -' who he has becomes -' not just disinterestedly admired by fans for who he pretended to be. He's become a Taggart figure. Someone who can be relied upon. The film is not only narratively satisfying, but thematically and formally nuanced -' ultimately far more than a spoof, but a meta-commentary on the sci-fi genre, and the (wish-fulfilling) power of fictional storytelling at large.
Review by rangex from the Internet Movie Database.