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FAITH, FANTASY AND A SKEWERING OF SHATNER

Tim Allen on a trek/quest to discover his Buzz Lightyear roots? Nope, just another goofy sci-fi comedy that makes "Spaceballs" seem like "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Consider it Ripley and Tool Time Tim meets Commander James Tiberius Kirk in a hokey-jokey Star-Trek spoof that combines faith and fantasy while neatly skewering William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy.

From 1979 to 1982, the crew of the NSEA Protector set out on thrilling and often dangerous missions in space. Then their series was canceled. Nearly 20 years later, the five stars of the classic sci-fi series "Galaxy Quest" are still in costume, making appearances at science fiction conventions for legions of faithful fans . . . but some of those fans have a little too much faith.

The Thermians, a race of aliens from the Klatu Nebula, have mistakenly intercepted television transmissions of the show for "historical documents." Arriving on earth, they whisk Commander Peter Quincy Taggart and his crew into space to help them defeat a deadly adversary.

With special effects maker Stan Winston's creatures and more than 300 computer-generated shots, don't expect too much subtlety in this $60 million action comedy. Director Dean Parisot claims that "Galaxy Quest" is not parody. If he means it, he must be out of his Vulcan mind. This glorious spoof is a celebration of fans and unwavering faith.

To believe that a collection of egocentric, jealous, self-involved actors can save the universe is a hilarious premise. They rail over real dangers in pouty theatrical terms as if bad screenwriters concocted them.

Tim Allen plays the randy Commander Peter Quincy Taggart who, like a good Method actor, believes he can do anything, even take out a mountainous rock creature who threatens to pulverize him.

Alan Rickman is supremely condescending as Alexander Dane. A self-styled Shakespearean actor, Dane is forever identified with his series role as the half-humanoid, half-reptilian alien Dr. Lazarus from the planet Tev'Meck. Taggart constantly upstages him.

Sigourney Weaver is Gwen Demarco, who played the lovely communications officer Lieutenant Tawny Madison. It seems her sole purpose on board the NSEA Protector was to repeat the information given by the ship's computer.

The leader of the Thermians is Mathesar, played by Enrico Colantoni, who is completely original and outrageous. Imagine Carrey, Kaufman and Williams in one space suit.

REVIEW
Galaxy Quest
Rating: ***
Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver star in a comedy about an alien race who call upon has-been sci-fi TV stars to help get them out of danger.
Rated PG, playing at area theaters, 106 minutes.

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