Friday, January 15, 2016

By Grabthar's Hammar

What's this world coming to in 2016? First, it was David Bowie, and now Alan Rickman.

Now I'm not going to pretend that I know much about Mr. Rickman. He was a villain in Die Hard, Sheriff Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. And of course, Snape in the Harry Potter movies. He was great in all of these.

However, my favorite role of his was Alexander Dane/"Dr Lazarus" in Galaxy Quest (1999).

Rickman's Alexander Dane/Dr Lazarus is loosely based off of Star Trek's Spock. He wears a prosthetic head piece to make him appear like an alien. From the beginning of Galaxy Quest, we quickly realize that the glory days of his character have long past. Unemployed, he tours the science fiction conventions, where he is asked repeatedly to quote his famous line, "By Grabthar's hammer, you will be avenged" to geeks seeking autographs. His disgust in palatable: disgust for those words, for his charcater, his fans, his fellow cast members, and for his life of an unemployed actor who has to whore himself at Sci-Fi conventions. However, as the plot develops, Alexander Dane goes from not wanting to even hear the line being said, to embracing his character and those words fully when he's thrust into comforting a friend dying in his arms. How Alan Rickman took a line that was scorned to moving drama was magical. That's acting right there.

If you haven't seen Galaxy Quest, it's currently streaming on Netflix. You don't have to be a science fiction fan to appreciate this quirky comedy. The cast is star-filled (Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Tony Shalhoub (the "Monk" guy)), the script is quite clever, and the action keeps building. But what Galaxy Quest does well is that it goes from seemingly lampooning its fan-base to embracing it in the end. Alan Rickman's acting was a large part of making that transition happen.

By Grabthar's Hammer, he will be missed.


  1. That is a great movie if you don't let Tim Allen scare you off. Good recommendation Steel-cut.

  2. Two weeks in a row that I couldn't finish your post, man you are off your game.