Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary

Holy snot balls, Batman! Did you know it’s been 20 years since Galaxy Quest came out. I could have sworn it was only like, I don’t know, eight? The time has flown by and yet Galaxy Quest is one of the rare movies we watch at least once a year. Even better the whole family likes it, so it’s a win-win for everyone.

To celebrate, the lovely people at Screen Junkies and FANDOM, created a documentary that was released November 26th, 2019. While we watched this one weeks ago, I wanted to review it today because our family recently visited the one and only Goblin Valley this last weekend. This is where the weird alien planet was filmed and is a favorite camping spot of ours.

Never Surrender is entertaining in that “Wow, I never knew that” kind of way. While a large part of the film is spent with the actors themselves reacting to just how many people love the movie and consider it their favorite, and another large chunk was spent in loving memory of the late Alan Rickman – the best parts for me were when they talked about the development of key story ideas.

For instance, did you know that the Thermians unique speech patterns and body language weren’t part of the original script? Instead, they were an accidental invention of Enrico Colantoni, the actor who played Mathesar. Mind blown.

While I would never doubt it for a heartbeat, I didn’t realize there were so many cosplayers devoted to Galaxy Quest. Two of the people interviewed for the documentary are Utah’s very own Harold and Roxanne Weir who do an amazing Mathesar and Laliari. I’ve caught them doing other cosplays, such as Harold’s spot on Severus Snape, at conventions and events I’ve attended as an author. Seeing them in the film was a special treat.

For those of you who love Galaxy Quest, you’ll enjoy this documentary. There’s a little of everything in there from the history of the story’s development, to the actors reminiscing, to the development of key scenes.

I rate Never Surrender 4/5 stars – solidly good.

Magical Places: Goblin Valley, Utah

Mornings are cold in the desert, and in the early months of the year, they try to hold to that coolness until the sun wins. Visiting Goblin Valley is an experience in extremes. There is soft sand and hard sculpted rock, hot sun and cool shade, energetic kids and tired parents, really tired parents.

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

The most unique draw of the park is its alien-like “goblins” called hoodoos which result from the uneven erosion of the sandstone by wind and water. Down in the valley, these hoodoos form sculptures and mazes, as you approach the far edges, the hoodoos get larger and combine into a wall that stretches into a butte.

Fun fact, part of Galaxy Quest was filmed there. The whole business with retrieving the Kryllion sphere from the alien planet and the battle with the rock monster? Totally been there. Be jealous.

Tim Allen keeping his shirt on, for now.

If you want to visit Goblin Valley, keep the following in mind:

It’s a desert. No really. See all that dirt, sand, and sky? You’ll fry here if you’re not prepared. Bring lots of water and a big hat. I prefer a water backpack because having my hands free is super important. I’d rather not end up flat on my face if I trip. Wear sunscreen, even if you’re that random person who never burns, do it anyway. Blame it on me if you have to.

Early spring and late fall are best. I prefer early spring because the sharp weeds aren’t thorny yet and the temperatures are nicer. Dress in layers. It might be a brisk 55 when you start and well over 100 when you leave. Also, it takes a few hours, if not half the day, to haul a family to the other side and back. Pack food, bandaids, and all the patience you can muster.

All said, it’s truly an incredible place. I might set a story here …


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