Trekkies (1999)

Directed by Roger Nygard
Starring Denise Crosby, Barbara Adams, Gabriel Koerner, Dr. Denis Bourguignon, Joyce Mason

My Advice: Wait and Rent It.

A slew of interviews make up this documentary about the sometimes freakish, sometimes profound, but mostly obsessive group of fans calling themselves "Trekkies."  This of course coming from the TV show/phenom Star Trek.  I'm sure you've heard of it once or twice.  Denise Crosby is your host for this tour of conventions, dentist offices, and club meetings.

After seeing this documentary, I must admit I was puzzled.  Don't get me wrong, it's a laugh riot.  I mean, let's face it: a poodle dressed up in a Star Trek uniform--that's good comedy.  But there were some very intriguing moments as well, such as James Doohan ("Scottie") relating how he helped a fan get over her suicidal tendencies, and Nichelle Nichols ("Uhura") telling how the show inspired young black girls to be whatever they wanted.  These are great moments that are nothing to sneeze at.  No one can deny that the original series broke some serious ground for television as an entertainment medium.  It dealt with issues but it also let Kirk get busy with a green chick every once in a while.  That takes skill.  But I digress.

The problem with the documentary is that it spends way too much time showing us the hilarity of the "Trekkie" subculture and not enough time fulfilling its self-designated mission of answering such questions as "How has it inspired real life scientists, doctors, astronauts, and engineers?"  No, instead we marvel at people paying four figures for a lump of latex at an auction, and a gentleman who would surgically alter his ears to be Vulcan-like, if he could just find a surgeon he could afford.

I'm never one to tell people that immortal line, "Get a life!", since I run a website, and if there's ever anybody in dire need of a life, it's webmasters.  But still, I wish the film had balanced the "wow, what a bunch of freaks" effect with the stories of the cast members.  I'll listen to Leonard Nimoy tell stories about how they were all amazed at their continuing good reception over the years for a long time more than I will be amused at a cat with a tricorder.  Intensely funny regardless, rent it when it comes to a video store near you.

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