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'Quest' Intentions

GEORGE TAKEI TAKES IN THAT NEW SCI-FI COMEDY

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Going into the theater, I wasn’t sure what I’d think of Galaxy Quest. Would the spoof of Star Trek, science-fiction fan culture, and actors on the convention circuit hit too close to home, and just come across as mean-spirited? I needn’t have worried. The film was a complete hoot and was tremendously successful as a parody, a comedy, and even as a straight-ahead space adventure. And like the real Star Trek, it had a real heart.

The early part of the film, at the sci-fi convention, certainly rang true — all those fans in costumes and alien makeup. Some of the Klingons we see at conventions get so into their role, I sometimes wonder if they’re playacting at being human for their day jobs. I also thought Tim Allen was very funny, and his Shatner parody was airtight, especially when his uniform gets torn while he’s fighting an alien and Sigourney Weaver’s character remarks, ”Oh, his shirt’s off again.” Believe me, that was something that was said more than once on the Star Trek set. The other characters were on the money too, including the classically trained actor who complains about being typecast as an alien. (I can’t imagine who they based that on!)

But how would the real Star Trek cast fare if we were swept up by a Thermian-like race of aliens to fight an intergalactic battle? I’d like to think that all of us have that sense of adventure in real life. I was quite moved by how, when push came to shove, Allen’s character went from being selfish and cowardly to showing real leadership qualities. Honestly, I think Bill [Shatner] has those attributes as well, even if they’re often hidden under that famous sense of self-regard. And as in the film, we’d certainly end up relying on the expertise of the show’s fans. They invariably know more about the show than we actors do. (As told to Zack Stentz)