Almost a year ago to the day, readers Mickey and Mike called me out for never having seen Galaxy Quest. As a Star Trek fan it seemed only natural that I would have seen a movie that both pokes fun at and honors Gene Roddenberry’s wagon train to the stars. But when Galaxy Quest first came out in 1999 I was distancing myself from my nerdiness. So I never got around to seeing Galaxy Quest until this week.
I really enjoyed Galaxy Quest. The movie is 15 years old but it held up surprisingly well. Some of the special effects weren’t as mind blowing as current effects, but they were still serviceable. Galaxy Quest isn’t about the effects, though; it’s really about the relationships among the “crew” as they all traverse their own personal identity crises.
Tim Allen does an amazing job of channeling his inner Shatner and using his Space Rangeriest voice. Alan Rickman was tremendous as the reluctant second fiddle and Sigourney Weaver was great at portraying everything that Ellen Ripley was not.
I often found myself literally laughing out loud (LLOL) while watching Galaxy Quest, as it played up on so many of Star Trek’s tropes and pitfalls. Here are some other thoughts I had while watching Galaxy Quest.
I have no idea what it would be like to have people blur the lines between a role and real life. I appreciated that Galaxy Quest poked a little fun at fanboys and fangirls but ultimately elevated them. For Jason Nesmith and crew, their characters’ popularity led to an identity crisis. They weren’t known for who they were but for who others expected them to be. We all can wrestle with our identities and who we were created to be. Often it’s easier to succumb to the expectations of others than to do the hard work of pursuing Christ and finding our identity in him. If we can push through and find our identity in Christ, we’ll find a life more fulfilling and rewarding just like the crew of the Protector.
The Thermians were very likeable and not just because Dwight K. Schrute was counted among them. I appreciated the Thermians for their childlike faith. They simply accepted that the Galaxy Quest broadcasts were historical documentaries and patterned their entire society after what they saw. Their simple belief led them to amazing technological and societal advances. Even though they were childlike, they were able to build a spaceship that traveled the galaxy. Jesus encourages us to have a childlike faith, a faith that persists regardless of external circumstances. Like the Thermians, when we embrace a childlike faith there’s no telling what we can do. We probably won’t create a spaceship, but we might see God’s work accomplished both in us and through us like never before.
I have been doing student ministry for the past 15 years. During that time I have learned what it means to set an example for our students. I want to set a good example and that desire influences how I live my life. All Christians are setting an example. Even during Old Testament times, God called his people to be an example to those around them. Unbeknownst to them, Nesmith and his crew were setting an example for an entire society of people. We may not know it, but if we say that we’re Christians then people are going to be watching us. They are going to see the example we set and whether or not that example falls in line with Jesus. We’ll obviously never be perfect, but we can be mindful of the example we’re setting. I’d much rather be the courageous commander than the hungover actor.
I enjoyed Galaxy Quest and the mocking reverence it showed to Star Trek. I can’t imagine it would have reached its cult status without being embraced by Trekkies. Galaxy Quest points out a lot of the ridiculousness of Star Trek without being mean-spirited. And while I can laugh at Tim Allen’s shirt coming off in his fight with the rock monster, I can still totally buy that Kirk’s shirt needed to come off in his fight with the Gorn.
What do you think about Galaxy Quest?