Galaxy Quest appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film featured a good but erratic transfer.
Sharpness was one of the up and down elements. While much of the film appeared nicely defined and concise, bouts of softness materialized as well. This was mainly evident in wider shots, and overall definition was inconsistent. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but source flaws were a bit of an issue. I noticed occasional examples of specks and grit. Though these never became heavy, they cropped up more often than I’d like.
Colors were pretty positive. The movie went with a somewhat metallic palette, and the disc brought the hues to life in a satisfying manner. Actually, the deep greens of Sarris and his people looked best of all, but the other colors also were solid. Blacks seemed dense and tight, while shadows were clear and smooth. Because of the occasional softness and the print flaws, this ended up as a “B-“ presentation.
One comment about the visuals: the Blu-ray didn’t display the theatrical aspect ratio at all times. Although the movie was 2.35:1 the majority of the time, it started as 1.33:1 and then went to 1.85:1 before it eventually settled at 2.35:1.
The Blu-ray featured the original 1.33:1 shots – windowboxed inside the frame – but ignored the 1.85:1 elements. Theatrically, those persisted until Nesmith ended up on the Thermian ship; instead, the Blu-ray leapt to 2.35:1 after the brief 1.33:1 piece.
I don't understand why the 1.85:1 segment was altered to match
2.35:1. Admittedly, the TV doesn't offer the same impression as a movie screen, where we took in a strong impression of the growth in scope of the projection. On a TV, the effect could be similar - there's no reason that 1.85:1 couldn't have been "windowboxed" ala the 1.33:1 image - but it loses the grandeur. Nonetheless, I wish they'd used the 1.85:1 windowboxing and delivered Quest in exactly the same presentation as seen on movie screens. The 1.85:1 segments don't last that long, and it seems silly to use it theatrically but deem it unimportant on the smaller screen.
I felt pleased with the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Quest, though it wasn’t quite as dynamic as one might expect from a movie with so many action elements. On occasion, those brought the mix to life in a satisfying way. Space battles and Nesmith’s fight against the rock monster worked best, as those created a good sense of scope and involvement.
Otherwise, the track concentrated on environmental information. Those elements added a good sense of ambience and created a fine feel for the material. Music also showed positive stereo imaging.
Sound quality appeared good. At times, dialogue revealed a little bit of edginess, but most of the time speech seemed clear and natural. Music was smooth and dynamic, with bright highs and solid lows. Effects sounded clear and packed some punch as well. While the activity level could have been a bit stronger, overall Quest provided an audio experience that seemed reasonably fulfilling.
How do the picture and sound of this Galaxy Quest Blu-ray compare with those of the 2009 Deluxe Edition DVD? It provides some improvements in terms of visuals but it doesn’t blow away the DVD. Both are erratic, though the highs found on the Blu-ray definitely surpass those of the DVD. The lossless Blu-ray audio is a smidgen better than the DVD’s standard Dolby Digital track, but it doesn’t seem substantially stronger.
The Blu-ray combines the same supplements from the DE plus one new one: the Galactopedia. Compiled by Star Trek experts Michael and Denise Okuda, this feature closely echoes the “Library Computer” from the Trek movie Blu-rays.
The “Galactopedia” allows you to learn about various elements that crop up throughout the movie. It gives us notes about characters, technical pieces, and other connected tidbits. Because of the changing circumstances of the film’s world, some of the same subjects arise multiple times; for instance, new information about Nesmith comes up as story elements affect him.
All of these come via links; the title of a subject appears, and you select “enter” to read about it. You can examine these in two different ways. If desired, you can have the links crop up at the appropriate times during the movie. You still have to hit “enter” – there’s no option to let them play without viewer input – but this shows the notes in tandem with the onscreen material.
The “Galactopedia” also presents an “index”. This posts the links in alphabetical order. This is a more efficient option if you want to watch the movie without interruption, but it’s less connected to the story.
We find one major difference between the “Galactopedia” and the Trek “Library Computer”: the former is much more tongue in cheek. It attempts to create a mythical history for a non-existent TV series. In some ways, this makes it more interesting than the “Computer” since it creates so many goofy “facts”. It’s quite entertaining.
One odd bonus comes from the Thermian soundtrack that can be selected from the audio setup menu. This track replaces the normal English dialogue with the strange chattering uttered by the Thermians when they are without their translators. It makes for a rather different experience – and one that gets old before too long. Still, it’s a clever and briefly amusing addition.
More normal extras can be found as well, most in the form of featurettes. Historical Documents: The Story of Galaxy Quest goes for 18 minutes, 14 seconds and features notes from director Dean Parisot, screenwriters David Howard and Bob Gordon, producer Mark Johnson, Star Trek writer/director Nicholas Meyer, and actors Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Sam Rockwell, Enrico Colantoni, Missi Pyle, Daryl “Chill” Mitchell, Tony Shalhoub, Justin Long, and Alan Rickman. The show looks at the flick’s roots and development, aspects of the script and story, the movie’s tone and Parisot’s work on the set, and reactions to it.
It’s great to find all the major cast members on display here, and we also learn a few decent notes about the film’s origins. However, much of “Documents” really stays in self-congratulatory mode, as it mostly tells us how much everyone loves the movie. Some good tidbits emerge along the way, but there’s way too much praise for this to become a satisfying program.
For the 23-minute and 25-second Never Give Up, Never Surrender: The Intrepid Crew of the NSEA Protector, we hear from Allen, Gordon, Parisot, Pyle, Rockwell, Weaver, Rickman, Colantoni, Mitchell, Johnson, Shalhoub, and Long. “Crew” examines cast, characters and performances. While we still get plenty of happy talk here, at least some interesting notes come along as well. In particular, the thoughts the actors provide about inspirations and influences prove to be compelling. It’s not a great piece, but it moves quickly and gives us enough good material to succeed.
Visuals come to the fore with By Grabthar’s Hammer, What Amazing Effects. In this seven-minute, three-second piece, we get comments from Gordon, Parisot, Allen, Johnson, Weaver, Colantoni, Mitchell, Shalhoub, makeup effects creator Stan Winston (from 1999), and actor Robin Sachs (from 1999). This program looks at elements like the spaceship set, bringing Sarris to life, and creating the “old” Galaxy Quest TV footage. “Hammer” includes some useful facts, especially when we look at the methods used to make cheesy old TV episodes. However, it sticks with an oddly limited scope, as it avoids the vast majority of the effects featured in the film; you’ll get nothing about the CG effects or anything else. What we hear is useful, but the absence of other material makes this a frustrating piece.
Alien School: Creating the Thermian Race lasts five minutes, 23 seconds and includes remarks from Gordon, Parisot, Colantoni, Allen, Pyle, Rockwell, Rickman, Shalhoub, Weaver and Long. We learn a bit about the acting choices made for the Thermians – and that’s it. There’s no info about the design of the characters in their humanoid or squid-like state; we just get a few notes about the performances. And those are interesting, but they mean that the program lacks the scope one would expect and feels truncated.
Next comes the six-minute, 11-second Actors in Space. It provides statements from Parisot, Gordon, Rickman, Weaver, Colantoni, Long, Mitchell, Pyle, Meyer, Allen, and Rockwell. The featurette gives us a few thoughts about stereotyped actors, but it mostly just offers more praise. This ensures another watchable but frustrating experience.
Something unusual arrives with Sigourney Weaver Raps. During this one-minute. 59-second clip, Weaver and Mitchell offer a lead-in to the amateur music video created as a birthday treat for her agent. Rockwell and Mitchell rap along with Weaver while Pyle and Patrick Breen cavort in the background. It’s odd – and pretty funny.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find eight deleted scenes. These run a total of 10 minutes, four seconds. We get “Tech Talk with Sergeant Chen” (2:15), “Alex Tours His ‘Personalized’ Quarters” (1:47), “A Running Spat Between Old Flames” (0:40), “Guy Gets Attacked” (0:51), “Alex’s Motivational Speech” (2:02), “Gwen Saves the Day” (1:30), “The Crew Vs. Sarris” (0:47) and “*Sweet Serenity at Last: The Director’s Cut” (0:12). These generally offer expanded versions of existing segments. None are terrific but most seemed pretty good. A case easily could have been made to keep all of them, especially one that gives Weaver more of a tough side. Only “Serenity” – which is nothing more than an existing snippet with an added subtitle – lacks much entertainment value.
Two scenes also come with intros: and “Quarters” (0:54) and “Serenity” (0:53). For “Quarters”, we hear from Parisot, Gordon, Allen and Rickman, while “Serenity” provides notes from Parisot and Gordon. They help give us a little info about those scenes. In particular, the note for “Serenity” allows us to understand the motivation of the altered sequence.
Galaxy Quest offers a tremendous amount of fun that benefits from the presence of a stellar cast. I suppose it's possible for a film that features Sigourney Weaver, Tony Shalhoub and Alan Rickman to stink, but it seems unlikely. The Blu-ray offers erratic but acceptable picture quality, very good audio, and a mixed bag of supplements.
If you never grabbed the Deluxe Edition DVD, the Blu-ray is the way to go. It’s not a tremendous quality increase over the Deluxe Edition DVD, but it offers improvements in visuals and audio as well as one good new supplement. If you did buy the DE, though, I find it harder to advocate a purchase of the Blu-ray; it’s nice but it’s not a consistent step up from the DVD.
To rate this film, visit the Deluxe Edition review of GALAXY QUEST