"A chillingly realistic documentary."
In 1982, Galaxy Quest
, a series very much like Star Trek
, was cancelled. Eighteen years later, its washed-up stars are fixtures on the fan circuit
, though most of them despise the show, its fans, and each other. Only Jason Nesmith (played by Tim Allen
), the egomaniac actor who played The Captain
, is still enjoying himself — and the rest of the cast think he's a total jerk (again, very much like Star Trek
One day, a hungover Jason is approached by what he believes to be a group of fans who want him to star in an amateur film. Only when the "film" is over does he realize that it was all real
. He had been abducted by real aliens, and taken to a real spaceship, a perfect copy of the show's Protector
, where he'd fought a real space battle.
When the aliens ask him to pay a return visit, Jason ropes in the rest of the main cast, plus one Red Shirt
, for what Jason believes will be more ego-boosting fun. Instead, the actors find that they are the last hope of the Thermians, a race of naïve aliens fighting a losing war, who mistakenly believe that Galaxy Quest was actually a documentary
. They now have to play their roles for real, defeating an alien warlord with nothing more than mediocre acting skills.
This brilliant, loving parody
of Star Trek
(with spects of
the film ¡Three Amigos!
) hangs a lampshade
on most of its tropes. The film won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, and the writers accepted the award almost in tears because they were so pleased that the Sci-Fi community "got it" — that the film was a valentine
, not a sneer
. And some fans consider it an honorary Star Trek
film to begin with (especially because including it in the timeline helps keep the Star Trek Movie Curse
- Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: The Thermians are not very good at imitating human speech-patterns.
- Accidental Misnaming: At one point Jason calls the Thermians termites.
- Actor/Role Confusion: The Thermians' mistake. It didn't help that their culture had no concept of fiction.
- Affectionate Parody: Notably manages to avoid the typical pitfalls of the genre and keeps up both the affection and the parody straight through the end credits.
- Sir Patrick Stewart reported being skeptical about the film, assuming it was going to make fun of the franchise, but saw it and loved it after getting a call from Jonathan Frakes giving it a glowing recommendation. Many other Star Trek actors have said the same, as can be seen by the page quote above.
- In what's a sort of real life CMOH, apparently one of the reasons Patrick Stewart didn't want to see the film was that he'd heard it made fun of the fans.
- Wil Wheaton said that the only problem he had with the film was that he wasn't in it, playing a fan rabid with anger for the snotty teen genius character.
- That reception wasn't limited to Trek alumni: virtually any actor in the sci-fi biz treats it like Citizen Kane. For instance, Galaxy Quest comes up during a commentary track for Farscape; the bit that almost made Claudia Black die of laughter was the ship computer. ("No, there is no beryllium sphere onboard.")
- It also makes it onto the DVD commentary for Babylon 5 ... Claudia Christian makes a comment to the effect of "didn't you watch Galaxy Quest? fans think it's real."
- Air-Vent Passageway: Big enough for humans to crawl through.
- Alien Blood: Poor Quellek is spitting blue Blood from the Mouth.
- Alien Lunch: "Are you enjoying your Kep-mok blood ticks, Dr. Lazarus?" He picks one up with his spoon, then it jumps back down into the bowl.
- Aliens Steal Cable: Half of the movie's whole premise (the other half being And You Thought It Was a Game).
- All Myths Are True: Jason's assumption about the purpose of the Omega 13 turns out to be correct.
- All Part of the Show: Inverted with the Thermians, who believe the show is a historical record of real events, but played straight with the cast members (especially Jason at first) who thinks that he is participating a fanfilm or photoshoot. Played straight at the end, when the shuttle crashes into the fan convention and Sarris is finally defeated, and the fans look very grateful for the big show put on for them.
- All Planets Are Earth-Like: Lampshaded.
(alarmed at shuttle door being opened): Don't open that! It's an alien planet! Is there air!? You don't know!!! *frantically gasps and holds a breath* Fred
: *sniff sniff* Seems okay
- All There in the Manual:
- The Blu-Ray has a feature called the Galactopedia, which expands upon the universe of Galaxy Quest, much like—and written by the writers of—the Star Trek Encyclopedia, including backstory for the planets and characters, explanations of the Techno Babble, and references to things that happened during the production of the show.
- The in-universe manual is a key plot point in the film, as the young fans must refer to a map of the ship to help the main characters.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Sarris and his men invade the ship.
- Almost Out of Oxygen: The Big Bad orders to suck the air out of the ship's residential area. The crew manages to reverse the effect just in time before everybody dies.
- Always Second Best: After Alexander frees the suffocating Thermians.
Thermians: COMMANDER TAGGART HAS SAVED US!
Alexander: (resigned sigh) It just isn't fair.
- Animal Reaction Shot: The dog who gets confused when the limousine is beamed up into space.
- And You Thought It Was a Game: Jason thinks the negotiation with Sarris is just an acting gig.
- Arc Words: "Never give up! Never surrender!"
- Are We There Yet?: In a variation, this is Dane's response to someone else being annoying.
- Artistic License – Chemistry: The beryllium sphere. Doubles as a Mythology Gag—the Enterprise uses "dilithium crystals," which were originally called "lithium crystals" until someone remembered that lithium is a real element.
- Ascended Extra: Guy, in-universe. He played a Red Shirt on one episode of the show. At the end, when the show is re-launched, he makes the opening credits.
- Ascended Fanboy: Brandon the mega nerd is called for help by Jason, who is on the real ship and needs his information right now to save the day. This involves sending an emergency message to his fellow mega nerds and making a runaway for landing.
- Asshole Victim: Nobody sympathizes with the pig lizard getting turned inside out and explode during Fred's testing of the Digital Conveyor.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Discussed.
Tommy Webber: Go for the eyes, like in episode 22!
Jason Nesmith: It doesn't have any eyes, Tommy!
Tommy Webber: Well go for the mouth, then; the throat, its vulnerable spots!
Jason Nesmith: It's a rock! It doesn't have any vulnerable spots!
- Bad Bad Acting:
It's a core meltdown! It can't be stopped!
- Bad News in a Good Way: "Heeey, guys.... Listen, they're telling me the, uhh, the generators can't take it. Ship's breaking up and all that. Just FYI."
- Bamboo Technology: Lampshaded. ("I know! You can make a weapon! Look around you, can you construct some sort of rudimentary lathe?" "A lathe?!? Get off the line, Guy!") From the original Star Trek episode "Arena," in which Kirk made a cannon out of bamboo and gunpowder out of coal and sulfur and whatnot that were lying around the arena.
- Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: Jason overhears himself badmouthed as a delusional hack, which shocks and demoralizes him so badly that he lashes out at his fans and gets very drunk. note
- Beauty Equals Goodness:
- Subverted with the Thermians, who the cast and audience are lead to believe are pale but handsome humanoids that are also friendly, helpful, and generally benign. They're actually Starfish Aliens covered in tentacles who use "appearance generators", and are less human than Sarris and his crew, but still nicer.
- The inhabitants of the planet they visit, who appear childlike and cute until the fangs come out. Lampshaded (like most of the film) by Guy.
Guy: In a minute they're going to get mean, and they're going to get ugly somehow, and there's going to be a million more of them.
- Becoming the Mask: Over the course of their adventure, the actors become real heroes. Lampshaded by Gwen: "Gosh, I'm doing it. I'm repeating the darn computer."
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Jason and Gwen. The fangirls Squee at their bickering at the convention, so apparently it was also on the show and the fangirls are enjoying every moment of their Will They or Won't They?. By the end of the movie their Big Damn Kiss makes them an Official Couple and causes one of the fangirls to faint.
- Bellisario's Maxim: Used in-universe. At the convention when Brandon confronts Jason with an inconsistency in the ship's design, Jason cuts him off by saying it is just a show.
- Big Bad: Sarris is The Leader of the evil aliens and the reason that Thermians called the main cast to help them.
- Big Damn Kiss: Between Fred and Laliari after they saved the Thermian crew from suffocation.
- Big Fancy House: Jason owns one, overlooking the Hollywood Hills.
- Bigger on the Inside: Mathesar protests Jason's description of the NSCA Protector as a model only this big.
- Billions of Buttons: The bridge of the original Protector features lots of blinking buttons.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Alexander's room on the Protector contains a toilet designed for his character's biology: it looks like a confusing mess of tubes. The toilet also involves some spikes. The bed consists mostly of spikes that rise out of a block or hard, smooth material. Since bathrooms are one of the things the Show Within a Show never went into, the plumbing is probably standard for Thermians.
- Bizarre Alien Psychology: The Thermians have only recently been exposed to the idea of dishonesty. They cannot imagine any reason to say something that is not the absolute truth, and therefore have no concept of fiction in storytelling, leading them to confuse the cast of a Star Trek-like TV show for real-life spacefaring heroes.
- Bold Explorer: Commander Peter Quincy Taggart, the bold Captain Kirk Expy from the titular Show Within a Show.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: A classic example. Once Sarris has captured everyone, instead of just shooting them, he orders them to be thrown out of an airlock by two guards, enabling their escape.
- Book Ends: The movie opens and closes with the Galaxy Quest theme — Starting with the end of the last episode, and ending with the title theme of the renewed series.
- Watch Gwen's mouth when she sees the chompers and exclaims "Well screw that!" Clearly the filmmakers had a different second word in mind, which got altered after filming.
- When Tommy tells Jason "You are so full of 'it', man!".
- To get a lower rating, the filmmakers cut a minor scene which explains Fred and Guy's behavior throughout the movie. It works better for Fred, as his calm demeanor is a better lampshade for Scotty's frantic behavior.
- Break the Cutie: Sarris forces Jason to do this to Mathesar by revealing that Galaxy Quest is fiction. This is also part of the backstory. The Thermians were about as peaceful a people as you could imagine, not even aware of the concept of intentionally speaking falsehood. And then they met Sarris.
- Brick Joke:
- Bet you forgot about the alien shot out of the airlock.
- Brandon needs to take out the trash.
- The rock monster. ("It's the simple things in life you treasure.")
- Bridge Bunny: Gwen, as a parody. All she does is repeat what the computer says.
- Brutal Honesty: In a CMOF, one of the Thermians describes the pig-lizard's teleporter mishap very matter-of-factly. Much to Jason's dismay, since the teleporter is his only way off the planet.
Thermian: But the animal is inside out—
—And it exploded.
- Buffy Speak: Happens during the first fight against Sarris when Guy talks about "the red thingies heading toward the green thingies."
- Cane Fu: Mathesar taking out Sarris with his crutch.
- Cannot Tell a Lie: The Thermians have no concept of lying or fiction in their culture. They don't even have acting. The protagonists learn this the hard way. It gets even worse in that they're beginning to learn about malicious lying from Sarris, but still have no concept of benign fiction not intended to deceive.
- Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: The Thermians have this as one of their hats. They lament the plight of the castaways in Gilligan's Island.
- Captain Obvious: Gwen's only job on the ship was to repeat what the computer says. Lampshaded.
Tommy: You know, that is getting REALLY annoying!
Gwen: I have one job on this lousy ship—it's stupid, but I'm going to do it, OK?!
- Cargo Cult: the Thermians are an inversion of real-life cargo cults: they produce real, working technology based on nonfunctional, for-show templates.
- Casual Danger Dialog: Fred calls up to the bridge when Tommy holds the turbo button down too long. While the ship is tearing itself to pieces all around him he manages to sound bored.
Fred: Hi guys. Listen, they're...they're telling me the uh...the generators won't take it. The ship is breaking apart and all that. Just FYI.
- "Never give up, never surrender!"
- "By Grabthar's Hammer!" (now hugely despised by its original user, especially since fans constantly repeat it to him.)
- Catchphrase Interruptus: Alex can't stand his own catchphrase, and interrupts Quelleck quoting it.
- Car Meets House: In the final scene, a space shuttle crashes into a convention center, injuring no one.
- Ceiling Cling: Quelleck uses this in combination with the Mak'tar stealth haze to hide from the Mooks.
- Charge-into-Combat Cut: The camera cuts away just as Alexander starts his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The Omega-13.
- The communicators that Brandon and Jason switch early on.
- And the Tothian minefield.
- Also, the appearance generators.
- The Rock Monster.
- Mathesar's crutch
- A gun taken from Sarris himself
- Chekhov's Gunman: The rock monster comes back in the climax.
- Chekhov's Skill: Midway through the film, Jason decides to practice his forward-roll maneuver (just like he did on the show) when the crew first lands on the rock planet. It comes in handy at the end, when he rolls out of the way to shoot Sarris.
- Classically Trained Extra: Alexander Dane. He's not quite an "extra", but he still held a very low opinion of his role. The credits list him as "Sir Alexander Dane", which makes his appearances at Department Store grand openings all the more demeaning. (He once played Richard III, you know. There were five curtain calls.) Alexander himself is played by Alan Rickman, a former Shakespearean actor.
- Cliffhanger: The opening Two-Part Episode ends with Cmdr. Quincy Taggart ordering the activation of the Omega-13 device. Then the scene fades to white. Unfortunately, we never get to see the second part of the episode (the nerds aren't sure either, implying the show was Cut Short).
- Clothing Damage:
- Gwen's costume gradually disintegrates over the course of the movie.
- Jason tears his shirt just like William Shatner often did (which is lampshaded by Alexander).
- Alexander Dane's facial appliances gradually deteriorate.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: "When I grow weary of the noises you make, you shall die."-Sarris to the former commander of the Thermians.
- Command Roster: Done in classic tradition, with the actors slowly becoming these roles for real.
- The Captain: Jason Nesmith sits in the big chair and give orders.
- Number Two / The Medic: Alexander Dane. "You're my adviser; advise me!"
- Ace Pilot: Tommy Webber. "Pedal to the metal, commander!"
- Bridge Bunny / Communications Officer: Gwen DeMarco "I repeat everything the computer says."
- Mr. Fixit: Fred Kwan. He's the one handling the engine.
- Red Shirt / (later) Chief Security: Guy Fleegman. He's convinced his only role is to die but gets a lot of action.
- Coming In Hot: The Protector arriving at the convention.
- Continuous Decompression:
- When Sarris orders the living quarters to be decompressed as a form of torture.
- Downplayed during the Thrown Out the Airlock scene.
- Conversational Troping: Constantly. It's part of the point of the movie to talk about Star Trek tropes.
- Conveniently Empty Building: The parking lot at the end was empty because otherwise a lot of people would be squished by the falling space ship.
- Cool Guns: Averted. Sarris' mooks' guns look like submarine sandwiches.
- Cool Starship: The Protector, obviously. Its design is also a Fridge Brilliance reference to the Enterprise: instead of a disk-like primary hull and a cylindrical secondary hull, it has a cylindrical primary hull and a disk-like design for its secondary hull(s).
- Cowardly Lion: The main cast, with the exception of Jason. Everyone complains that they're simply actors and not up to the job, but manage to brave on anyway.
- Crazy-Prepared: Years of meticulous Fan Wank means Brandon and his friends know everything about the Protector, right down to the timing of the Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom.
- Cut Short: In-Universe example. The final episode of Galaxy Quest set up for the upcoming season (Taggart stating when ambushed that they have to activate the Omega 13), but that was the last episode.
- Darkest Hour: Sarris' army has taken over the NSCA Protector, the Thermians in their living quarters are Almost Out of Oxygen, the ship's core is set to detonate shortly, our crew is about to be Thrown Out the Airlock. All hope seems lost... Then Jason has an idea.
- Daydream Believer: An in-universe example. Brandon and is friends believe the Galaxy Quest missions to be real. So do the Thermians.
- Deadpan Snarker: Alexander's every scene is dry, snarky and bitter.
- Death Course: Again, lampshaded and parodied. Jason and Gwen have to navigate a death course complete with jets of fire, giant crushers, and tiny air vents, despite the fact that there is no rational reason for any of those things to be there. Why are they there? Because they were on the original TV show, so the Thermians have replicated them.
- Death Is Dramatic: All strings are being pulled with the death of Quellek: First he is taking a moment to catch his death, followed by a Major Injury Underreaction: "I'm ... I'm shot." Alexander tries to assure him that it was Just A Flesh Wound, but already there is Blood from the Mouth. Quellek then breaks into an It Has Been an Honor speech. Alexander is deeply moved and wants him to die happy, so he delivers a heartfelt rendition of his Catch Phrase. Now Quellek goes out with a smile in Alexander's arms with his eyes wide open. Cue the Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Defictionalization: In-Universe example (essentially the whole main plot of the movie is a sci-fi show brought to real-life).
- Deconstructive Parody: You don't watch Star Trek with the same eyes again.
- Defensive Feint Trap: In the opening Galaxy Quest episode, Jason suspects something fishy when the enemy forces retreat too easily. He turns out to be right.
- Department of Redundancy Department
Computer, is there a replacement beryllium sphere onboard? Gwen:
Computer, is there a replacement beryllium sphere onboard? Computer: Negative. No reserve beryllium sphere exists onboard. Gwen:
No, we have no extra beryllium sphere onboard
- The show's main catchphrase: "Never give up, never surrender!"
- Doom Doors: Yes, they go "Whoosh" when they close.
- Dull Surprise: The Thermians, constantly. it's intentional since they're merely imitating humans and have only the vaguest idea of how to act.
- Dumb Blonde: Gwen in the show itself. (Sigourney Weaver stated that her IQ dropped significantly every time she put on the wig...)
- Electric Torture: Sarris' favorite communication technique.
- Endless Corridor: Twice inside the spaceship. First when the bridge crew visits the seemingly endless living quarters and again when Jason and Gwen head down an extremely long stretch of corridor.
- Ethereal Choir: A dominant part of the soundtrack consists of angelic voices chanting.
- Excessive Steam Syndrome: Wall of steam coming from the ship when it crashes into the convention center.
- Eye Awaken: Not Quite Dead Sarris, waking from the Tap on the Head he received from Mathesar.
- Eye Open: Close-up on Jason's eye followed by a Close-Up on Head zoom-out, upon his first return from the Klaatu-Nebula.
- Eyepatch of Power: Sarris wears one after surviving the first attack. At least he's doing better than his first officer...
- The Face: Parodied like everything else in the movie. The fact that Gwen has no technical specialty is lampshaded: Her 'social skills' amount to "repeating everything the computer says."
- Fainting: Finally meeting Sarris in person is too much for Guy and he passes out.
- The convention attendees (convention duh) and the Thermians (built real life and functioning counterparts of the show).
- "Travis Latke", the creator of the Galaxy Quest fan site.
- Fan Convention: The film starts and ends with them.
- Faux Action Girl: Gwen, in-universe. She is shown kicking ass in the Galaxy Quest intro, but her role on the show is to recite what the computer says.
- Feigning Intelligence
Tommy: You were holding it upside down.
Alexander: Shut up.
Tommy: You know, with all that makeup and stuff, I actually thought you were SMART for a second.
Alexander: Do you wanna try it, Laredo?!
- Fictional Counterpart
- Alan Rickman covers several bases: his character is a mix of Spock and Worf, and Alexander's inspired by Patrick Stewart as a classically trained stage actor (though he never resented his time as Captain Picard or took it as seriously as Dane, and continues to be successful in the theater, including William Shakespeare) and Leonard Nimoy's resentment that Spock hung over him for the rest of his career.
- Gwen Demarco is definitely Counselor Troi and Commander Uhura. Other female leads had more active roles and this was before Linda Park. The bit about the interview references a real interview with Jeri Ryan, the actress playing Seven of Nine.
- Fred Kwan was easily the most laid back of the group and seemed to just go with everything. Much like James Doohan who not only enjoyed being recognized as Scotty, but definitely enjoyed meeting fans and going to conventions. His only real problem with Star Trek was William Shatner.
- The big one: The Captain is all Kirk and Jason Nesmith is all Shatner. The relationship between Nesmith and the rest of the crew and the arc it follows in this series mirrors Shatner's relationship with the original series actors and his eventual reconciliation with them. William Shatner reportedly had no idea who Tim Allen's character was supposed to be a parody of.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: The Thermians in their natural form are pink, squid-like entities. However, with "appearance generator" technology, they are able to change their appearance to appear less foreign to the humans.
- Freak Out: Alexander's panic attack at every convention. You can set your watch by it.
- Gallows Humor
Jason: Hey Sarris, how're you doing?
Sarris: (Shows the head of his lieutenant mounted on a stick) Better than my lieutenant!
- Game Face: Played for laughs, where the crew encounters some weird baby-looking aliens on a desert planet. One of the cute aliens gets hurt, and the others crowd around it as if to help it get water... only to reveal demonic faces with terrifyingly sharp teeth and devour the thing alive.
- Genre Blindness: Everyone except Guy has no idea what to expect in this kind of story.
- Sarris defeated the Thermians soundly in the backstory because of it, which he uses to hurt them again in the Break the Cutie moment.
- By contrast Sarris' own defeats tend to come because he has zero chance of knowing something (Omega-13, or that the Thermians had based their beliefs on another culture's entertainment), or because he's an actual military leader, not merely pretending ( and thus didn't expect a deft maneuver that'd be suicide for any but the best pilots, from a pilot who nearly crashed the ship as they disembarked. Plus said maneuver was Crazy Enough to Work but would never be tried in real life; the actors did it because that would be the TV method of doing it).
- Genre Savvy:
- Guy Fleegman berates the others for their Genre Blindness, especially about the miners. Ironically, the only thing he is Wrong Genre Savvy about is his status as a Red Shirt. He is the only character who is not mortally wounded before Jason activates the Omega-13.
Guy: Didn't you guys ever watch the show?!
- Once shown the "historical documents" Sarris is the only nonhuman character who realizes that he is dealing with actors who have been mistaken for real explorers. This implies that unlike the Thermians, his own race produces entertainment.
Sarris: How adorable. The actors are going to play war with me!
- Glory Days: Jason Nesmith hasn't done anything since Galaxy Quest. Alexander Dane bemoans that he was a 'proper' Shakespearean Actor before Galaxy Quest.
- Godzilla Threshold:
- What's that? Sarris is killing your crew, your ship is on a collision course with Earth, and the only thing that could stop him is a device that could possibly destroy the universe? Turn it on!
- On a slightly more minor level, teleporting the rock monster on board the ship had to count because it could have wrecked the ship.
- Going Critical: During the attack in the opening episode of Galaxy Quest, Tech Sgt. Chen reports a core meltdown that can't be stopped.
- Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight: Alexander Dane, played to perfection by Alan Rickman. You can feel the self-loathing as he has to say "that stupid line". However, he's ready to bask in adulation for saving the Thermians - until they all yell joyously that "Commander Taggart has saved us!"
Dane: (sighing) It's just not fair.
- Head-Tiltingly Kinky: "OH, THAT'S NOT RIGHT!"
- Hellish Pupils: Sarris's eyes are yellowish-green with dual pupils (one large one and a smaller one next to it).
- Heroic Sacrifice: Guy suggests doing this to deal with some of Sarris's mooks, reasoning that if he's going to die anyway it might as well be a worthwhile death. Fred talks him out of it.
- Human Aliens: Subverted when it turns out that the cephalopod-like Thermians use "appearance generators" to put the visiting Earthlings at ease (and presumably, to man the Protector II prior to their arrival); much to Fred's delight and Guy's dismay.
- Humorless Aliens: The Thermians have no sense of humor, until the end where they laugh at the "trick" Jason pulled off on Sarris. "The ship was a model! Only this big!"
- Hyperspeed Escape: When Jason realizes what big trouble they've really gotten themselves into, he tells Laredo to press the "Turbo" button and keep it held down. Since the Turbo feature was only designed for short bursts of speed, Hilarity Ensues.
- I Kiss Your Hand: When being introduced, Mathesar does this to Gwen.
- I Knew It: In-universe, this is Brandon's reaction when Jason tells him it's all real.
- I Know Mortal Kombat: Tommy Webber at the helm and Fred Kwan on the Digital Conveyor. They are both justified because the controls were designed by the Thermians replicating them from the "Historical Documents".
- In Weber's case, he had worked out in his head what the controls did and applied that consistently throughout the original television show. Also a Shout-Out to Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher, as he did the same thing on the set of Next Generation.
- Inverted with digital conveyor. Teb's line saying the conveyor is more "art than science" implies that Fred didn't try to put any consistency in his movements.
- I Need a Freaking Drink:
Gwen: "Where are you going?"
Alex: "To see if there's a pub!"
- In the next scene Alex has an empty glass with a twisty straw.
- I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: "We're actors, not astronauts!"
- Innocent Aliens: The Thermians. For example, the concept of deception is so completely foreign to them they don't know what actors are.
- Interspecies Romance: Fred and Laliari, who decides to go to Earth with her new hubby and star in the reboot under the name "Jane Doe".
- Inventional Wisdom: The Chompers. Gwen lampshades how ridiculous it is that there is a Death Course in the middle of the ship.
- Immediate Self-Contradiction: Brandon tells Jason that he knew Galaxy Quest was fiction all along. Jason disagrees which prompts Brandon to take a 180° turn on his previous statement.
- Ironic Echo: Alan Rickman's character hates his Catchphrase, but says it with real feeling for the first time in decades after Quellek is shot.
- Guy spends the whole movie complaining about being a Red Shirt. When Sarris sneaks on board the bridge of the ship and starts shooting everyone, Guy is the only person he doesn't hit.
- The two guys who paid to go to a convention to mock everyone there for having no life.
- Is This Thing Still On?: Jason makes a "cut transmission" gesture to Gwen, then turns around and describes Sarris as being "as stupid as he is ugly", and trying to think of a way to trick him. Unfortunately, Gwen misunderstood the gesture to mean "we're dead," and the transmission kept running (even had she interpreted the instruction correctly, she still wouldn't have known how to follow it).
- Jerkass: Some guys Jason heard talking negatively about the show in the restroom. It' further emphasized when you realize they paid money to go to a convention just to mock the show, the cast and the fans.
- Just in Time: Deconstructed. On the show, bombs only ever stopped when the timer was at 1, so the self-destruct device on the new ship is designed to only stop with one second left no matter when the emergency stop button is pressed.
- Kid Hero All Grown Up: Tommy Weber (Daryl Mitchell) played Lt. Laredo on the show, a parody of kid prodigies like Star Trek: The Next Generation's Wesley Crusher. At the time of the movie, he's 20 years older, and being put in the position of being that prodigy he played on the series two decades earlier.
- Killer Rabbits: The beryllium miners. While the rest of the crew is Squeeing about how adorable the child-like alien miners are, the very Genre Savvy Guy worries, "Oh, sure, they're cute now. But they're going to get mean. And they're going to get ugly somehow. And there's going to be thousands of them." Seconds later, he's proved right.
- Knight of Cerebus: Sarris is an extremely disturbing villain for a PG-rated movie. A genocidal sadistic torturer who not only guns down most of the main characters but beheads his second-in-command, and, to top it all off, he has a horror-worthy design.
- Lampshade Hanging. All over the place. A very weird sort of Lampshade Hanging, because most of the tropes lampshaded are ones used in the Show Within a Show and this being the movie that it is, the Show Within a Show tropes get used in the movie's plotline anyway, so it's a Zig-Zagging Trope.
- Large Ham:
- Last Villain Stand: Sarris, after his army has been destroyed, takes on the crew himself.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Alexander, after the death of Quellek. He truly brings out "Grabthar's hammer".
- Lonely Piano Piece: At the convention, after his traumatic Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults event Jason is signing autographs on autopilot, underscored by a depressing piano tune.
- Magic Countdown: After the self-destruct has been stopped, the timer keeps going until it hits one second left.
- In a straight example, the Omega Thirteen's time reversal was much longer than thirteen seconds, even taking the slow-motion camera into account.
- Magnificent Seven: A spoof on the idea of a handful of people recruited to save the peaceful villager people from invaders IN SPACE!
- Major Injury Underreaction: "I'm shot."
- Mandatory Line: It's implied that this is all Tawny Madison did on the show, besides squeeze into a tight costume and be the only girl.
- Mauve Shirt: Guy Fleegman (for laughs) and Quellek (for tears).
- The Mean Brit: Sir Alexander Dane, of the Jerk with a Heart of Gold variety.
- Meaningful Echo: Alexander finally says his catchphrase and means it near the end of the film, when a Thermian who idolized him is killed.
- Meaningful Name: Guy's first name is a generic term for a male - which was his role in the show.
- Jason Nesmith shares a last name with Mike Nesmith of The Monkees. Despite being a major talent in his own right (he won the first Grammy for a music video, has written famous songs and produced popular movies), he's still most recognized for being in a boy band, lip synching, and not playing his own instruments.
- Men Act, Women Are: Parodied and exaggerated by Gwen. In the show, her character's only job on the ship is to make redundant statements to the computer. The Thermians designed the computer specifically to interface with Gwen, programmed with her emotions and tonal ranges in mind, so this trope is not the case on the real ship. It only gives Jason a Mathematician's Answer, but tells Gwen exactly what she wants to know.
- Misfit Mobilization Moment: After the crew escape from Sarris' attempt to blow them out of an airlock.
- Misplaced-Names Poster: This movie poster swaps Tim Allen and Alan Rickman.
- Missing Mission Control: Discussed. Guy only tags along on the planet drop at first because he doesn't want to be "the guy who stays on the ship and gets killed", before realizing he could still be "the guy who lands on the planet and gets killed after five minutes".
- Monster Munch: Played with. In the original TV show, Guy Fleegman played a One-Scene Wonder Red Shirt who "got eaten by a lava monster before the first commercial." Because of this, he spends most of the movie freaking out that this is precisely what's going to happen to him (especially given that no one seems to know his last name). By the end, though, he's willing to make a Heroic Sacrifice to save the ship and the Thermians, and Fred points out that maybe he was really the Plucky Comic Relief all along. In the end, not only does he survive, but when the show is uncancelled, he's recast as the Security Chief.
- Mood Whiplash: At least two scenes go from happy to stern in a matter of seconds:
- When the crew is dining and the footage of Sarris' Cold-Blooded Torture to the former commander comes on screen.
- When it is revealed that the Thermians cannot go back to their home planet as they are the last of their kind.
- Ms. Fanservice: Gwen DeMarco, and she's well aware of it.
- Worth mentioning: when TV Guide interviewed Jeri Ryan about playing Seven of Nine, a good chunk of the article was about her costume and how exactly she filled it out. Clearly, the writers did the research...
- Multi-Part Episode: In his opening narration, Guy mentions the lost Galaxy Quest episode 92 to be a two-parter, because it was aired in 1982.
- Narrating the Obvious: Gwen's "It's a trap!" line in the opening scene.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: "You broke the ship, you broke the bloody ship!"
- Nitro Boost
Sir Alexander Dane: You don't hold the turbo down, it's for quick boosts!
Jason Nesmith: Oh, like you know!
- No Biochemical Barriers: We see species from at least four planets (humans, the Thermians, Sarris's people and the inhabitants of the mining planet) all coexisting comfortably in each other's environments.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Most of the humor if not the entire premise of Galaxy Quest is lost if you don't realize that Tim Allen is William Shatner (although really, the entire cast qualifies).
- No Endor Holocaust: The ship at the end crashes into a parking lot and into a crowded convention center. No one being hurt in the process is brought up. Tropes Are Tools for the Rule of Cool.
- No Name Given: Guy was one of these in the show, identified only as "Crew Member #6". His panic over the fact that this was not unconnected to his Redshirt status leads to him freaking out and apparently forgetting that he actually has a name in real life:
Gwen: "Guy, you have a last name."
- If you listen carefully though, you will hear Jason addressing him as "Fleegman" once when they're on the desert planet.
- No OSHA Compliance: Naturally Lampshaded, to the point where Gwen wants to kill the writers.
- Nobody Here But Us Birds: While the crew is gathering beryllium on the exotic alien planet, Guy suggests to use this as a signal when they're about to split into two groups (one to distract the aliens, one to fly the landing craft).
- Nominal Importance: Guy freaks out when he realizes that nobody knows his last name.
- Not Now, Kiddo: "Not now, Gwen!". Hilarity Ensues.
- Not Quite Dead: Sarris is a die-hard.
- Not So Different: Humans and Sarris's race share the concepts of lying and acting. It's a huge shock to the Thermians.
- Not So Final Confession: As the core detonation timer counts down to 0, Jason has a last-second confession to make: "Gwen, I've always...". He doesn't finish the sentence but it's written all over the screen. It becomes an Aborted Declaration of Love when the countdown stops at 1 and Jason rushes away.
- Off-the-Shelf FX: Jason explains that the set was just made of plywood, the ship is actually about an inch big, with set pieces made of Christmas tree lights and wire with plastic around it.
- Oh, Crap:
- Right after the line "And what you fail to realize is that my ship is dragging mines!"
- Played straight the first time the cast is transported aboard ship. Except Fred, who just smiles and goes with it.
- Gwen upon realizing that the Thermians are for real and they are about to be transported across space.
- Jason when he realizes Gwen didn't turn off the communication link with Sarris after gesturing to her.
: Perhaps I'm not as stupid as I am ugly, Commander! Jason
: *looks up in Oh, Crap
mode*...I gave you the "kill" gesture. Gwen
: Yeah, no, you gave me the "we're dead" signal; I was agreeing with you. Like I know where the hold button is.
- Also, Jason when he sees the rock monster.
- Perpetual Smiler: The Thermians always have some sort of smile on their faces, even when being tortured
- Plucky Comic Relief: The Trope Namer. Guy is told that he can survive because he might be this instead of a Redshirt.
- Post-Historical Trauma: When Jason tells Mathesar that they're actors while he's on the torture table, Mathesar is distraught. Their culture doesn't understand acting or fiction and are only able to equate it to lying (which itself was a concept foreign to their culture before Sarris came along). However, after the crew is successful, Mathesar is convinced they really are the crew, and that Jason was lying to Sarris. Some fan theories say that Mathesar knew the truth and was lying for the benefit of his crew.
- The Power of Acting: Although they end up using their character's skills for real, their acting does come into play a few times. For example, Jason and Alex are able to overpower the guards by reenacting one of their scenes: "You're starting to act like you did in episode 17, you scene-stealing hack."
- The Power of Love: Fred refuses to use the digital conveyor on Jason ... until Laliari enters the room. Cue confidence boost and Big Damn Rescue.
- Precision F-Strike: Gwen's aghast reaction to the crushy-chompy things - "Fuck that!" - was dubbed to get a PG rating.
- Pretty Boy: Each of the Thermians... or should we say, their holographic disguises.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Guy, who formerly played a Redshirt on the canceled Show Within a Show, plays the chief of security on the relaunched series.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Dane, in the minefield. "Could you possibly try Not. To Hit. Every. Single. One?"
- Race Against the Clock:
- Ramming Always Works: Reconstructed. Taggart sends the Protector flying at full speed toward Sarris, who mocks him by pointing out that with their "photon armor" almost entirely stripped away, it would be his own ship that survives a collision. Then Taggart reveals his REAL tactic... his ship is dragging homing mines.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: The Thermians invoke this with their appearance generators. Their study of "historical documents" obviously indicated that this was a pleasing image for humans.
- Reaction Shot: Facial shots of all crew members reacting to the squeaking noise the ship makes when scratching along the dock's wall.
- Recycled In Space: Actors mistaken for real heroes recruited to fight real villains? It's ¡Three Amigos! IN SPACE!
- Red Shirt: Guy spends most of the film terrified that he will die since it was his only role on show. Inverted, in that when Sarris goes on a killing spree, Guy is the only character not killed or mortally wounded. He gets upgraded to a supporting character when the show relaunches, even getting name-dropped on the new show's title screen. Although it should be noted that he becomes the security chief, a position held by the late Tasha Yar...
- Refuge in Audacity: During their Darkest Hour, when the crew is about to be Thrown Out the Airlock, Jason picks a fight with Alex (as in episode 17) in an attempt to overcome the guards. The Power of Acting prevails.
- Reliably Unreliable Guns: The mook that shoots Quelleck has his gun jammed right after, which he cannot resolve, giving Alex the chance to come for him.
- Reset Button: The Omega 13 is a very limited Reset Button as it could turn time back only thirteen seconds. Just barely enough time to fix a major mistake. Fortunately, it wasn't a plot Reset Button. The movie was way too good to try that.
- Right Behind Me: The Captain insults Sarris after mistakenly thinking the viewscreen connection was turned off.
- Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: After Jason Nesmith activates the Omega 13 device, time turns back 13 seconds into the past. Jason alone remains aware of the fact that the person who is about enter the bridge is not really Tech Sergeant Chen but actually Sarris in disguise.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Quellek's death prompts Dane to go on one of these.
- Rock Monster: Jason Nesmith has to fight a rock monster, providing the page quote and image. It's then teleported up to the ship and begins destroying Sarris's army.
- Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Doctor Lazarus is a literal rubber forehead alien. In fact, Alexander Dane is never seen without the prosthetic during the entire film, including at home, and even when it's half torn.
- Rule of Cool: Since the original show was cancelled before they showed the Omega 13 in action, Brandon and his fellow hardcore fans have a few different theories as to what the Omega 13 does — some of which are of mere academic interest, and one of which is scarily awesome. Guess which one turns out to be right?