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TREKKIES (1997).

A feature-length documentary on STAR TREK fanatics? It's about time someone dragged their cameras into the dingy conventions and pathetic minds of people who devote their lives to a thirty-year-old TV show and its spin-offs. Best of all, director Roger Nygard has ex-NEXT GENERATION crew-member Denise Crosby as co-executive producer and our hostess. Of course, with such cinematic gems as RED SHOE DIARIES 2 and DOLLY DEAREST on her resume after leaving the show, it probably wasn't too difficult to land her for this gig. Even better, these Trekkies are even more willing to open up about their eccentricities, since Tasha Yar herself is holding the mike. Visiting various Trek conventions, we meet oddballs who blithely dress up in Starfleet uniforms or alien make-up, and have turned their obsession into a way of making even-more-pathetic friends. Let's not forget the aging icons of the original show, who keep themselves in Depends by appearing at these events. Along the way, we get two cents from fossils like Koenig, Doohan, Nimoy, Kelly, and Takei, as well as newer additions like Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Kate Mulgrew, and many more. Mind you, there's nothing wrong with embracing a TV-show, movie, or whatever. In fact, I was a STAR TREK fanatic myself, back when I was 11-years-old. Unfortunately, these are adults, who'll pay $1400 for a latex Klingon forehead. There's also the Whitewater juror who wore her uniform to court every day, because she felt it was "her duty". Or how about a visit to a STAR TREK dental office, a cross-dressing Trekkie into "sci-fi folk singing", and a self-proclaimed "Spiner-Femme" who hoards photo books of Data (Brent Spiner)? Unfortunately, the film often takes a more fawning attitude to the overall STAR TREK phenomenon. (Then again, they probably wouldn't have gotten such cooperation if it had a more abrasive agenda.) Yes, we're told how socially responsible the original show was (despite every female character wearing a skirt up to her ass), how intelligent the fans are, and how charitable they can be. Still, you can't help but think they've got too much free time when you witness an honest-to-goodness Klingon Language Camp. Nygard also focuses on one particularly annoying teen Trekkie, who probably gets his ass kicked every day after school. Back on planet Earth, Crosby occasionally looks concerned about these misfits, and later shows off the fan artwork she's received, such as a Tasha Yar needlepoint portrait and even erotic illos of herself screwing Data. A celebration of flushing one's time and cash down the toilet, this manages to have it both ways. It's soft enough to have Trekkies laughing in agreement, even as more grounded viewers are left slack-jawed by a lifestyle as ridiculous as anything out of Heaven's Gate.

© 1998 by Steven Puchalski.