In this enormously entertaining send-up of the Star Trek universe, a bunch of washed-up actors from an old cult sci-fi TV show called Galaxy Quest are mistaken for the real thing and recruited to defend a dying alien race.
Almost 20 years after the cancellation of their TV show, the actor crew of the spaceship Protector encounters a strange group of fans at a convention.
They turn out to be Thermians: real-life aliens who – unaware of the difference between fact and fiction – believe that only the crew of the Protector can save their home, the Klaatu Nebula, from the hideous Godzilla-like Sarris (Robin Sachs), a ruthless warmonger.
It’s an inspired premise, fired into orbit by a fantastic script, sublime visual effects and an absolutely perfect cast.
Egotistical Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen) is known to his fans as Commander Peter Quincy Taggart, the main man of the Protector. Allen does not mimic William Shatner but he projects the same sort of bluff absurdity and puffed-up air of command.
Bimbo Gwen De Marco (Sigourney Weaver) had played Lt Tawny Madison in the series, although she worried over the limitations of Tawny’s duties and was well aware that her chief asset happened to be her bust size. She is both Nesmith’s chief detractor and a nascent love interest.
But the most resentful member of the veteran Galaxy Questers is grumpy classical English actor Alexander Dane (Alan Rickman, pictured below) who hated his half-reptilian character from the planet Tev Meck, Dr Lazarus.
The three fallen stars are reunited with two old supporting cast members from Galaxy Quest, the serious and amiable Fred Kwan (Tony Shalhoub) who played Tech Sgt Chen, and lively Tommy Webber (Daryl Mitchell) who played Laredo – a young boy at the time the series was filmed. Also floating about is eager Guy Fleegman (Sam Rockwell), a bit player/hanger-on who had been killed off in an early Galaxy Quest episode.
The former cast find themselves aboard an actual Thermian space ship, commanded by the gentle Mathesar (the hilarious Enrico Colantoni) in the midst of an intergalactic battle for survival.
The story is so cleverly executed and the characters so beautifully fleshed-out that it not only succeeds as a Trek spoof, a satire on the acting profession and a parody of science-fiction fans but also as an engaging, original space saga in its own right.
Jason Nesmith/Commander Peter Quincy Taggart
Gwen De Marco/Lt Tawny Madison
Alexander Dane/Dr Lazarus
Fred Kwan/Tech Sgt Chen