11/28/2012

Galaxy Questa hilarious movie about a group of actors forced by aliens to re-enact their on-screen sci-fi personas, perfectly satirizes Star Trek, fandom, scifi movies, and TV and movie cliches. I've heard a lot of praise about the clever in-jokes, the great characters, and the way the movie skewers Trekkers without mocking then. What I haven't seen mentioned much is the fake fansite created for the movie back in 1999. It's brilliant. Perhaps you never got a chance to see it, since it was taken down years ago. But thanks to the truly noble work of archive.org, it still lives! Click here to go to archived version. Here's five reasons why it's still awesome over a decade later.

Some caution about archive.org: It's all done by robots, so it's not perfect. If you're on the site, you'll notice missing images, and the big files like the screensaver and downloadable trailer are gone. You may run into broken links. If so, you can either search for an earlier or later version or come back here. I've tried to provide direct links as much as possible.

http://web.archive.org/web/20000819162953/http://www.galaxyquest.com/galaxyquest/

1. The Horrible Design - To look at the website, you'd never know it was a professionally made, which is the genius of it. It's intentionally horrible. But believe it or not, this design is pretty typical of fan websites of the time. It's actually a little bit too good for 1999. Check out the Geocities-tizer if you want to see what the Web looked like in that dark era.

2. The Episode Guides - The episode guide alone is worth the visit. Amazingly, they created a complete guide for the fictional show with a synopsis of dozens of episodes. Some of the storie summaries are obvious parodies of Star Trek episodes. Some actually look pretty good on their own. There's also an in-depth analysis of five episodes, along with background info and trivia. Again, this is all for a show that never aired, and only exists in a single movie.

3. The Obsessed Fan - The whole website is allegedly created and run by a fictional superfan named Travis Latke. He's nuts about Galaxy Quest and scifi. Literally. Of course, it's riddled with "by Grabthar's hammer." There are also funny little editorial asides that make him a character all his own. For instance, the part where he thanks his mother for helping to pay for the website's servers. In some ways, it's kind of painful to read, because he's clearly a take on the loser psycho nerd cliche, but let's face it. Cliches are cliches for a reason.

4. The Interviews - The website also features interviews with two of the fictional actors on the show. The interview with Gwen Demarco is kind of sweet, one made by a lovestruck fan at a photo signing. The one with Jason Nesmith is hilariously awful. Not only does Latke come off as a stalker, but Nesmith is totally in character with the egotistical jerk of the movie. When the first response to the interview is, "How did you get this number," you know you're in for a good read.

5. It's For a Movie - Now, let's just step back a moment and see the real reason why this website is so great. It's because it's all for a single movie. One movie. There is no Galaxy Quest series or TV show or spin-off. Just one. It's not even a spectacularly huge blockbuster movie. And think about what we get on most other movie websites. What, a trailer? A plot synopsis? A cast list? Maybe some interviews or trivia if you're lucky. Galaxy Quest got this labor of love that probably took a lot of work, and most people seeing the movie probably never saw it. That's why it's a treasure.

What did you think of the fansite?

[Image Source: dreamworks]

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5 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I am so there! That movie is awesome.

Pat Dilloway said...

I love that movie and I think you're mostly right about the design. Somewhere I probably still have copies of my web pages from the late 90s. One was even on Geocities back in the day.

Tom Badguy said...

That's pretty cool.

Nigel Mitchell said...

Yeah, I have copies on my old websites on floppy disk. I shudder to look at them now. Remember when animated GIF icons all over the page seemed like a great idea?

Nigel Mitchell said...

Agreed, Alex

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