Galaxy Quest appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though not without its positive aspects, the transfer seemed mediocre as a whole.
Sharpness was one of the up and down elements. While much of the film appeared acceptably defined and concise, bouts of softness materialized as well. Some of this stemmed from the mild edge enhancement I saw at times; that contributed to a lack of clarity in more than a few shots. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but source flaws were a bit of an issue. I noticed examples of specks and grit. Though these never became heavy, they cropped up regularly throughout the film. Grain also seemed more prominent than usual and made the picture look somewhat messy.
Colors were acceptable, though the image’s general murkiness affected them. The hues went with a moderately metallic look and seemed decent, though the grain muted their impact. Blacks were reasonably dark and deep, while shadows looked okay; again, the muddiness of the presentation made them a bit lackluster. Overall, this was a watchable transfer but no better than that.
One comment about the visuals: the DVD 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 DVD 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 DVD 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 DTS 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.
So how does the DTS soundtrack compare to the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the ”standard” DVD? Pretty closely, though I'd give the DTS track the slight edge. I feel the picture quality of both DVDs seems identical, and though the DTS track sounds a bit better defined and presents slightly stronger bass, these changes are very minor. While I prefer the DTS track, both sound pretty similar.
Quest includes a few minor supplements. One odd bonus is 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. On Location In Space offers a 10-minute and six-second promotional featurette. The piece sticks to the light and fluffy side, but it provides some fun information and packs in enough interesting details to merit a look. A more comprehensive documentary would have been nice, but this program seems entertaining.
"From the Cutting Room Floor" supplies seven deleted scenes. These run a total of nine minutes, 47 seconds and include “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), and “The Crew Vs. Sarris” (0:47). These generally offer expanded versions of existing segments. None are terrific but they 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. Lots of times, deleted clips are pretty useless, but these are quite strong.
The Cast and Crew area provides pretty solid biographies for 12 actors and six crewmembers. Additionally, the segments for actors Allen, Weaver, Rickman, Shalhoub, Daryl Mitchell, and Sam Rockwell and crew members Dean Parsiot, Mark Johnson, Charles Newirth, Stan Winston feature interview clips if you select the small icon at the top of the screen. All of these are quite brief except for those from Allen and Parsiot; the latter snippets last at least a minute or two, whereas the others top out at maybe 30 seconds at most (and some, like Winston's, end after about five seconds.)
Additionally, we find the theatrical trailer for Quest plus "Sneak Preview Trailers" for fellow DreamWorks offerings Chicken Run, Road to El Dorado, and Road Trip. The DVD finishes with a few text screens worth of production notes. These are pretty brief but they provide a nice look at the creation of the movie.
Actually, I missed one supplemental feature: "Omega 13". I won't comment on what exactly this piece is, because it may spoil the ending of the film, but suffice it to say it's a really dopey extra, especially because you have to watch the whole film to access it. The DVD won't let you select it unless you've gone through the movie. If you're impatient, just fast forward through the picture. Don't be surprised if "Omega 13" isn't worth the effort, though.
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 DVD offers mediocre picture quality, very good audio, and a few decent supplements. I’m not wild about this DVD, but I like the movie enough to recommend it.
To rate this film visit the Deluxe Edition review of GALAXY QUEST