Browse Josh's Portfolio and the Comic, Reviews or Blog archive.

Josh Reviews Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary

November 30th, 2020

Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary is exactly what it sounds like — a feature-length look back at the making of 1999’s Galaxy Quest!  It makes me so happy that Galaxy Quest is now getting this type of love.  I love Galaxy Quest, and this documentary was a delight from start to finish.  It’s a joyous celebration of this terrific film.  Never Surrender is available to watch right now on Amazon Prime video!

I am not a late arrival to Galaxy Quest love.  Although the film didn’t make much of an impact at the box office when it was originally released, I saw it in theaters and immediately loved it.  I got it immediately, and long before others started describing it as the best Star Trek movie never made, I was saying that to anyone who would listen.  Galaxy Quest is a very funny comedy but it is also an exciting adventure films with real stakes, both physical and emotional.  It’s a spoof of Star Trek but it’s one done with love, not empty mockery, and in its second half the film transforms into a true, exciting Star Trek-style adventure!  These are very difficult balances to strike — that the film manages them so perfectly is the secret to its greatness.  Galaxy Quest is a film I have revisited regularly over the years, and I still find it as delightful now as I did back then.

It makes me so happy that director Jack Bennett and his team share this Galaxy Quest love!!  That love is on full display throughout every frame of this documentary.  Mr. Bennett was able to get the entire Galaxy Quest cast to participate: Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Justin Long, Sam Rockwell, Tony Shalhoub, Daryl Mitchell, Enrico Colantoni, Missi Pyle, Rainn Wilson, Patrick Breen, Jed Rees, and more.  I loved how extensively we got to hear from the dilm’s director, Dean Parisot, as well as writer Robert Gordon.  We also get to hear from many of the film’s other key behind-the-camera players, including producer Mark Johnson, executive producer Elizabeth Cantillon, set decorator Linda DeScenna, costume designer Albert Wolsky, visual effects artists Bill George, Shane Mahan, and Mark “Crash” McCreery, editor Don Zimmerman, composer David Newman (whose Galaxy Quest main theme is brilliant) and more.

It sure seems, from the film, that Galaxy Quest is held as dear by the film’s cast and crew as it is by the fans.  That is fun to see.

Speaking of the fans, the film shines a spotlight on several Galaxy Quest fans.  Many of them are famous names!  We get to hear from Star Trek stars Brent Spiner and Will Wheaton; writers/show-runners Damon Lindeloff (Lost, The Leftovers, Watchmen) and Greg Berlanti (overseer of the sprawling “Arrowverse” universe of DC TV shows), Paul Scheer (who for a time was overseeing the Galaxy Quest sequel TV series, a project that sadly went away following the unfortunate passing of Alan Rickman) and many more!  I love hearing their perspective on Galaxy Quest and why it’s so special.  We also hear from several not-famous fans, such as a group of Galaxy Quest cosplayers.  It’s fun to hear their perspectives, too.

There are lots of fascinating behind-the-scenes stories shared by the participants in the documentary.  I was particularly interested in the discussions of the fierce debates that unfolded during the film’s post-production.  I’d heard about this in the past, but didn’t know the details.  It turns out the film’s original cut was far more R-rated, but that all of the bad language was edited out of the theatrical version.  Several participants in the doc still lament that the studio was too fearful to release that version, and wow would I LOVE to see that version!!  But it’s a funny case where perhaps studio interference might have been to the film’s benefit.  Galaxy Quest has always felt like an adult, sophisticated story to me, but at the same time it’s a film that can work for family-members of all ages, and to me that’s always been part of its charm.  Still, it’s interesting to consider “what if”.  (This section of the doc also spends some time, to my great enjoyment, on the one example of the film’s original bad language that slipped into the released version: that would be the obvious way that Sigourney Weaver mouths “fuck” when she first glimpses the chompers.  Oh, a different word is dubbed over in the soundtrack, but Galaxy Quest fans have long been amused by how clearly Ms. Weaver was originally dropping an f-bomb.)

Never Surrender is a thoroughly enjoying salute to a wonderful — and still sometimes under-appreciated, despite the cult status it has achieved over the years — film.  For all the Galaxy Quest fans out there, this documentary is highly recommended!  And if you’re reading this and you’ve never before seen Galaxy Quest: I can’t possible encourage you strongly enough to remedy that immediately!!

Please support by clicking through one of our Amazon links the next time you need to shop!  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  That means I’ll receive a small percentage from any product you purchase from Amazon within 24 hours after clicking through.  Thank you!

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone