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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Mathesar at the end. When he says Jason's explanation of the show was "a very clever deception indeed," does he now accept the truth, or does he think it was something Jason made up to trick Sarris? Either way, it implies that Mathesar has at least learned deception isn't universally bad, something he seemed incapable of at the beginning of the film.
  • Awesome Music: The soundtrack by David Newman is very good, particularly as it emulates many of the Star Trek themes combined with the humor and witty feel of Henry Mancini's score to the Disney movie The Great Mouse Detective. The main theme of movie is a Suspiciously Similar Song towards Mancini's theme to the aforementioned Disney film.
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  • Complete Monster: General Roth'h'ar Sarris is a vile galactic warlord who seeks a powerful, mysterious device known as the Omega 13. Sarris launches a genocidal war against the peaceful Thermians, wiping out a massive chunk of their populace whilst subjecting many to inhumane fates of slavery and torture—torturing one of their commanders for days on end and only killing her when he "grew weary of the noises" she made—while killing even his own men for failure. Sarris takes a perverse glee in forcing the crew of Galaxy Quest to reveal to the Thermian leader Malthasar that they're just actors in order to completely break his spirit. After this, Sarris tries to throw the cast of Galaxy Quest out of an airlock, and failing this, attempts to suffocate the remaining Thermians to death while throwing away his remaining men, personally massacring his way through every last obstacle between him and the Omega 13 before he's finally stopped. Sarris is played utterly straight in naked contrast to everything else in the film, possessed of no humorous or likable traits to detract from his atrocities.
  • Creepy Cute: The Thermians human forms are a bunch of pale, black haired people who are constanty smiling, waving their arms at their sides, and speak with strange syntax, and they are just so naive and adorable, you can't help but love them.
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    • The aliens on the beryllium sphere planet are either this or Cute Is Evil.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The Teleporter Accident is so gross that it loops around to being funny again. If it was any less gross, it wouldn't be nearly as funny. It's had quite a few shout outs over the years as a result.
  • Cult Classic: The movie was oddly mis-marketed to children upon initial release (note all the obviously dubbed curse words), but wound up playing far better simply as the Affectionate Parody of Star Trek that it was, and it maintains a big following of sci-fi nerds to this day.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Alan Rickman plays Alexander with such seething self-loathing and bottomless Deadpan Snark that for many fans, he's the show-stealer.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • After Tommy is injured badly, he has to be carried out to the medical bay in a bit Played for Laughs. Daryl Mitchell, the actor playing Tommy, was in a motorcycle accident and was left paralyzed from the waist down because of it. Now watch the scene with this fact in mind...
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    • A running gag is Guy's worry about getting killed off. In Moon, his actor, Sam Rockwell, plays a character whose point is to get routinely cloned and killed off over and over.
  • Genius Bonus: One of the Thermians mentions their people being forced to produce gallium arsenide. It sounds like Technobabble, but it's a real chemical, used in the production of integrated circuits and laser diodes.
  • He Really Can Act: Enrico Colantoni was thought of as just a lightweight sitcom star at the time, and seems the same for much of this movie. Then comes his devastating performance when Mathasar learns the truth about the Galaxy Quest show.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • When Tony Shalhoub's character has to operate the digital conveyor, and he talks about the thing he did with his hands...
    • Similarly, the same character's rather out-of-nowhere remark on how impressively clean the floors are in the alien spaceship.
    • The year the movie was released also marked the debut of a show which, like the movie's titular Show Within a Show, was a Cult Classic space show that lasted four seasons and ended on a cliffhanger: Farscape.
    • Alan Rickman plays an actor admired mostly for his role in a large geek franchise. Two years later...
    • The transporter accident scene is this for Minecraft fans who are familiar with how the Creeper was created. Bonus points for exploding.
    • Rainn Wilson later joined Star Trek itself as Harry Mudd in Star Trek: Discovery.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Alexander Dane and Jason Nesmith, both come across as this at the beginning of the film, due to how the show that made them stars only killed their acting careers, as the embittered Alexander was a respected Shakespearian actor and Jason was trying to escape from the painful reality by trying to arrogantly embrace his fandom, only to suffer a Heroic BSoD after hearing the gossip about the Galaxy Quest negative impact on their careers and lives.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Never give up! NEVER surrender!" If you've seen this movie, you will quote this at least once or twice afterward.
  • Moral Event Horizon: While Sarris is established a monster throughout the movie, he truly shows how depraved he is when after finding out the truth about Galaxy Quest's cast, he forces Nesmith to admit the truth about Galaxy Quest being fiction to Mathesar just to torment them both... and then decides to self-destruct the Protector and kill everyone on it and then when questioned about the fate of the Thermians, he claims that a quick death is "too good" for them and orders them suffocated instead.
  • Narm Charm: The first time the "By Grabthar's hammer" line is spoken, it's amusing, the final time, it's both heartbreaking and awesome, thanks to the irreplaceable acting power of the late, great Alan Rickman.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Special Effect Failure: There's a glaring moment during the pig lizard scene where you can clearly see the completely undisguised, completely visible hand of an FX-guy holding the pig lizard. Considering the general tone of the movie, one could argue that it fits right in with all the classic sci-fi movie cheese.
  • Squick: the Teleporter Accident.
  • Uncanny Valley: The somewhat unnatural way the Thermians act when they have their "human appearance" generators activated. This might be owing to the fact that they are not really a Human Alien species... or that their reference on how to act human came from fictional TV shows. Or a combination of the two, really.
  • Values Dissonance: In-universe example: The thermians have no concept of fiction and thus think everything from the show is real. When Jason explains it's not real the thermians consider it to be lying.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • The marvelous alien effects, courtesy of Stan Winston in one of his few comedic efforts.
    • Unlike the real Star Trek, the film's bridge set was built on a gimbal so that it could actually be shaken around, to marvelously realistic effect.
  • The Woobie: The entire cast of the Galaxy Quest television series, due to after the show's cancellation, how its recognition negatively impacted the lives and careers of the actors. Gwen DeMarco, in particular, counts due to just being remembered as every fanboy's degrading Ms. Fanservice object of lust then a fellow skilled actress, much to her embarrassment. It's even sadder in real life when it's based on the real-life experience of the Star Trek cast. However, after experiencing the space adventure of their lives in this movie, their recognition becomes worthwhile in the eyes of the public and in turn made embracing their roles with complete sincerity.
    • The Thermians count too, due to them being a nearly happy-go-lucky Manchild-like race having no conception of fiction and Mathesar being absolutely devastated in hearing the reality of the television show.

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