You don't have to be a Star Trek fan to enjoy Galaxy Quest, but it certainly helps. A knowingly affectionate tribute to Trek and any other science fiction TV series of the 1960s and beyond, this crowd-pleasing comedy offers in-jokes at warp speed, hitting the bull's-eye for anyone who knows that (1) the starship captain always removes his shirt to display his manly physique; (2) any crew member not in the regular cast is dead meat; and (3) the heroes always stop the doomsday clock with one second to spare. So it is with Commander Taggart (Tim Allen) and the stalwart crew of the NSEA Protector, whose intergalactic exploits on TV have now been reduced to a dreary cycle of fan conventions and promotional appearances. That's when the Thermians arrive, begging to be saved from Sarris, the reptilian villain who threatens to destroy their home planet.
Can actors rise to the challenge and play their roles for real? The Thermians are counting on it, having studied the "historical documents" of the Galaxy Quest TV show, and their hero worship (not to mention their taste for Monte Cristo sandwiches) is ultimately proven worthy, with the help of some Galaxy geeks on planet Earth. And while Galaxy Quest serves up great special effects and impressive Stan Winston creatures, director Dean Parisot (Home Fries) is never condescending, lending warm acceptance to this gentle send-up of sci-fi TV and the phenomenon of fandom. Best of all is the splendid cast, including Sigourney Weaver as buxom blonde Gwen DeMarco; Alan Rickman as frustrated thespian Alexander Dane; Tony Shalhoub as dimwit Fred Kwan; Daryl Mitchell as former child-star Tommy Webber; and Enrico Colantoni as Thermian leader Mathesar, whose sing-song voice is a comedic coup de grâce. --Jeff Shannon