The death of Alan Rickman has me thinking again of one of my favorite movies, Galaxy Quest. It might seem a bit pedestrian to claim a comedic send-up of science fiction franchises (Star Trek in particular) as a favorite. But there's a lot to love in that film, and much of it is encapsulated in Alan Rickman's performance.
Rickman plays a classically-trained actor who is best remembered for his role as an alien starship officer in a now-cancelled campy sci-fi series. He resents his legacy, but is obliged to endure the enthusiasm of its fandom in order to pay the bills. He feels demeaned by the requirement to utter his character's classic line over and over, adapted to the demands of whomever has hired him.
Without giving anything away, I'll just say that Rickman meets some people who have revered his performance and who idolize him in a way he never imagined. His realization and acceptance of the difference he has made in other people's lives provides the most genuinely poignant moment of the entire movie.
What's more, I love this film because Rickman and his co-stars realize the real power of the story they were part of. Although it was cheesy, overblown, with improbable situations and lousy effects, their show has literally transformed a civilization. It doesn't ultimately matter that it was all fiction. The power of the story is to inspire, to carry the imagination on ahead of what the mind thought possible.