‘Galaxy Quest’ – ‘Cliffhanger’.

‘Galaxy Quest’ – ‘Cliffhanger’.


House hearing forced to recess as 'Galaxy Quest,' 'Down Periscope' play in background - Roll Call

 GALAXY QUEST (1999)                 

This delightful comedy parallels some of what happened in real life regarding the relationships between certain cast members in the sixties sci-fi hit TV series Star Trek. The stars of the fictional series Galaxy Quest resemble the stars and characters of the original Star Trek series. Their intergalactic spaceship, NSEA Protector, is commanded by Commander Quincy Taggart (portrayed here by Tim Allen), the sexy communications officer is Lt. Tawney Madison (played by Sigourney Weaver); and the alien Dr Lazarus (played by Alan Rickman). All three are parodies of the original Star Trek characters – Captain James Kirk (William Shatner), Lt. Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and the half-human/half-Vulcan Lt. Commander Spock (Leonard Nimoy). The N.S.E.A. Protector’s serial number, incidentally, is NTE-3120. The NTE stands for ‘Not the Enterprise’.

In Galaxy Quest, Tim Allen's character plays a character named Peter Quincy Taggart. That character is named after the character from Midsummer Night's Dream, Peter Quince, who was the leader of an

Tim Allen as Commander Quincy Taggart

This movie is set eighteen years after the Galaxy Quest series has concluded, its cast members eking out an existence attending sci-fi conventions and opening electronics stores, supermarkets etc. Only the actor portraying Taggart seems to find living off the series characters nostalgia to be fulfilling. The others hate the life and dislike his arrogant nature. Much of the public, in fact, consider him a laughing stock. Things change when Taggart is approached by some real aliens (he thinks they are series fans), and asked by them to save their planet and race from extinction. He presumes this to be another acting gig, unaware that the aliens are totally convinced that the exploits of the ship and crew of Galaxy Quest are for real. Taggart and his colleagues are ‘transported’ aboard the aliens’ vessel and the fun begins.

galaxy quest | Sigourney Weaver Photos, Movie Photos - MovieActors.com | Sigourney weaver, Sigourney, Movie photo

Sigourney Weaver as Lt. Tawney Madison

It is interesting to note that the scene in which Tim Allen overhears in the men’s room that the cast of Galaxy Quest are generally considered by the public to be nobodies, and that all his co-stars cannot stand him personally, mirrors an actual incident in William Shatner’s life. He discovered the exact same things about himself during a 1986 Star Trek convention. There was alleged diva behaviour from Shatner during the production of Star Trek back in the sixties, resulting in the growing dislike that many of his fellow cast members developed towards him. He was said to frequently request additional takes of scenes to extend his own screen time, particularly when he felt that other actors were becoming too famous. Many times, he ordered lines of dialogue to be rewritten for his own character. In Galaxy Quest, Rickman’s character complains of similar treatment from Allen’s character.

Remembering Alan Rickman on the Anniversary of His Death | The Mary Sue

Alan Rickman as Dr. Lazarus

Galaxy Quest began life as a much darker, more violent vehicle until it was decided to focus more on the comedy and aim for a PG rating. When faced with going through ‘the chompers’, Gwen’s original was, ‘Well, fuck that!’ In order to hold onto the PG rating, however, the line was changed to, ‘Well, screw that!’ She clearly says the original line if we bother to read her lips. Test audiences clearly preferred the ‘fuck that’ line which brought the biggest laugh. Sigourney Weaver looked especially fetching as a blonde in this movie, although she laughingly commented that whenever she donned the blonde wig to become Gwen DeMarco, ‘I could feel my I.Q. drop precipitously’. Incidentally, executives planned to release a sequel to Galaxy Quest, but the sudden death of Alan Rickman on January 14, 2016 brought those plans to an end.

Cliffhanger (1993) - Movie Review / Film Essay

CLIFFHANGER (1993)                  

Cliffhanger is an action-thriller starring Sylvester Stallone as a mountain ranger recruited to rescue some downed passengers. He is unaware that the ‘stranded’ passengers are in search of three cases containing a hundred million dollars in cash. They need his expertise to lead them to the loot. Incidentally, we learn in the movie that the one hundred million dollars was stolen from the Denver Mint. However, the facility only produces coins – not notes, so a hundred million dollars in coins would weigh around 2,500 tonnes!  Although the story is set in Colorado it was filmed in the Dolomites in Italy because of their spectacular similarities to the Colorado Rockies. The production had to pay a total of eighty million Lire for permission to enter all mountain areas.

10 Most Expensive Film Stunts Ever Performed -EALUXE

Stuntman Simon Crane’s million-dollar’ stunt

Cliffhanger is in the Guinness Book of Records for featuring the costliest aerial stunt ever performed in a movie. Stuntman Simon Crane was paid the staggering sum of a million dollars to cross between two aircraft at fifteen thousand feet, without the aid of any safety devices or trick photography. When the film’s insurance company refused to insure him for this, Stallone offered to reduce his own fee for the movie by the amount that the stunt cost to produce. Such a stunt is illegal in Europe so it had to be filmed in the United States. The entire project was completed on a budget of seventy million dollars. It grossed $255 million world-wide.

Sneak-preview audiences reacted strongly against the scene in which a rabbit is shown being killed by gunfire. Their response troubled Stallone enough for him to invest $100,000 of his own money to have the scene re-shot so that the rabbit can be seen scurrying away to safety. Director Renny Harlin complained that the safety lines on climbers were visible in one of the scenes, so the stuntman did the climbing without any safety lines from that point onwards. On another occasion, to demonstrate his faith in the safety equipment, Harlin donned a harness and flung himself out on a cable over a cliff! Wolfgang Gullich, widely regarded as one of the most skilful, daring and popular rock climbers of all time, was Stallone’s climbing double in the picture. Tragically, he was killed in a motor vehicle accident shortly after filming finished.

Cliffhanger (1993) Review |BasementRejects

Michelle Joyner & Stallone in the opening scene

Michelle Joyner portrayed Sarah, the girl whose equipment breaks in the opening sequence. The scene in which her glove slips off, as Gabe (Stallone) is holding onto her hand, had to be shot several times. No matter how hard they tried she could not free her hand from the glove and Stallone’s grip. Eventually, a glove a couple of sizes too big was used and then filled with Vaseline. Success was finally achieved. The faulty buckle shown in the sequence was an invention of the writers, not something that would occur in actual climbing. Consequently, the credits included a message which explained that the Black Diamond harness used in the scene was specially modified so that it would fail. The film has also been criticized for its unrealistic portrayal of rock climbing; in particular its use of the Piton gun which fires pitons directly into rock, forgoing the usual rock-drilling and piton-hammering used in everyday climbing. This, too, was the result of imaginative writing.

In spite of its enormous box-office success, two members of the cast of Cliffhanger were pilloried by the critics. John Lithgow played the chief villain and was nominated for ‘Worst Supporting Actor’ at the fourteenth Golden Raspberry Awards, being criticized for his inauthentic-sounding English accent. Not only was the movie nominated for ‘Worst Picture’ and ‘Worst Screenplay’, Stallone’s co-star Janine Turner also found herself nominated for ‘Worst Supporting Actress’. Neither player really deserved such harsh treatment. The film itself was nominated for three Oscars, (Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Visual Effects). Not surprisingly, it lost all three to Jurassic Park.

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