Viking Night: Galaxy Quest
By Bruce Hall
December 8, 2015
Galaxy Quest is easily the best Star Trek movie since Wrath of Khan.
Is that a bold statement? Have I already forgotten JJ Abrams’ reclamation of the once proud franchise from the Gre’thor of sci-fi purgatory? Oh, crap. I went and dropped a reference to Klingon hell. I guess I should go full disclosure here, and drop any pretense of objectivity.
I am (feel free to skip this paragraph if I’ve mentioned this before) what you might call a Reformed Orthodox Trekkie. I’ve seen all three seasons of the original series about three dozen times, and at one point could tell you stories about everyone, from the actors to the writers to the guy who held the boom mic in episode 36 (that would be “Wolf in the Fold”- not a high point for the show). I endured the horrible first two seasons of The Next Generation, enjoyed the terrific middle three, and stuck it out for the last two.
I tolerated Deep Space nine for a while, and even hung on until about two seasons into Voyager. Then I abandoned ship, embracing the sweet release of death rather than watch something I loved struggle and die, a miserable shell of what it once was. Watching my grandfather die of cancer was less traumatic for me than watching Star Trek commit franchise suicide. At least my granddad was strong and lucid and proud all the way to the end.
And by the way - if you think that’s a reprehensible sentiment, I invite you to make it through three episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise without wanting to drink a gallon of bleach and set yourself on fire. And don’t even get me started on the Next Generation films. Years of painful electro shock therapy were utterly wasted when I accidentally ran across them on Amazon a few years ago. They’re not just bad - they’re “I’d rather sit through an Al Qaeda recruitment video” bad.
So yes, I was once a Star Trek superfan. But I was also smart enough to give up and move on once it started to suck.
But then, not long after drinking my way through Star Trek: Insurrection (my assumption that the fantastic new technology of DVD might make it a good movie was so very, horribly wrong), I saw Galaxy Quest. I’d heard it was a good-natured send up of Star Trek. And while my feelings toward my former Favorite Thing Ever were anything but good-natured, I dove in. And by the bat’leth of Kahless (sorry...it’s a habit), it was a movie made completely, specifically for people like me. It was like watching your house burn down to the foundation, only to discover that someone you didn’t know had built you an inferior, but lovingly crafted copy right down the street.
Someone who, like you, remembered the good old days.
But even better than that, what makes Galaxy Quest so much fun is that it plays around with the well-publicized fact that there was significant tension between the original Star Trek cast. At one point Spock hated being Spock, Uhura bitched about not getting enough lines, and William Shatner was the biggest ham in Hollywood before David Hasselhoff ever stepped in front of a camera. So can you imagine what would happen if someone built an actual starship Enterprise and put these people in charge of saving the universe - for real?