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Trekkies 2

Paramount // PG // August 31, 2004
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Holly E. Ordway | posted October 19, 2004 | E-mail the Author
The movie

Science fiction television series and films seem to develop a dedicated fan base in a way that other genres don't, perhaps because good sci-fi creates a "universe" that invites fan involvement and imaginative engagement. In any case, the various Star Trek television series have inspired fans for decades, and Trek fandom shows no signs of cooling down any time soon.

Trekkies 2 follows exactly in the footsteps of the original Trekkies, by taking an up-close and personal look at Star Trek fans. Who are these people who attend conventions, write fan fiction, dress up in Starfleet (or Klingon...) costumes, and so on? While the first Trekkies documentary focused on fans in the U.S., Trekkies 2 goes international, visiting fans at conventions all around the world. Star Trek, it seems, is a global phenomenon, popular not just in England, where we might expect it, but also in Germany, Italy, Brazil, and elsewhere.

The film is hosted (and executive produced) by Denise Crosby; it's rather an ironic touch for Crosby, who bailed out of Star Trek: The Next Generation after its first season, to be involved with documenting the most dedicated of Star Trek fans. But in any case, Crosby is an excellent host for the program: her cheerful and affable style seems to put the interviewees at their ease, and she's eminently likable as our guide to Trek fandom.

Trekkies 2 profiles fans of all stripes, from the moderately involved to the extremely enthusiastic. The latter are, of course, the most intriguing, as we meet people like the English gentleman who converted his apartment into a starship interior, complete with transporter pads (sadly, non-functioning except in our imagination). What gives Trekkies 2 its human touch, though, is that Crosby brings out more than just the surface details of each person's story. We might say "What a weird guy" when we learn of the apartment-starship, but it does take on a different light when we learn that the apartment owner started the project as a way to keep his mind occupied after his divorce. Sure, turning one's apartment into a starship is rather an odd project no matter how you slice it, but it certainly beats going to bars and drowning his sorrows more conventionally.

In its best segments, Trekkies 2 invites us to consider where "normal" and "weird" overlap, and why most people are compelled to draw a line and point at someone else as "too strange." For instance, the film returns to a woman profiled in the original Trekkies: Barbara Adams, who wears a Starfleet uniform as her regular, day-to-day clothing, even when she was called to jury duty. At first, we might dismiss her as a lunatic... but the articulate, intelligent Adams is clearly anything but. And why shouldn't she wear whatever she chooses? How is her "uniform" (which represents her membership in a real-life club, the Federation Alliance, devoted to Federation ideals) different from a traditional military uniform, the suit-and-tie "uniform" of a banker, or the concert t-shirt of a music fan? Of all the odd people out there in the world, Trekkies have got to be among the most well-intentioned and good-natured, so when they're the target of disdain or outright harassment from the mass public, it just shows up the fundamental problem that the majority has with the very concept of diversity.

While Trekkies 2 is fun to watch, it does start to drag as the film rolls onward. It's interesting at first to see Star Trek fans in other countries, although also a bit disturbing; while it's understandable for Trek to be popular in its country of origin, I'd have thought that sci-fi fans in other countries would be more attached to their native productions, like Doctor Who in England. But after a few visits to different countries, and some visits home to the U.S. as well, it becomes clear that Trekkies 2 isn't really going anywhere in particular. The 90-minute program could just as easily have been 45 minutes, and probably would have been better in the shorter format, as it would not have become repetitive.

The DVD

Video

Trekkies 2 looks fresh and clean in its transfer to DVD; colors are bright and natural-looking, and the image is free of noise or flaws. The film appears in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

Audio

As with the image quality, the soundtrack for Trekkies 2 is solid, giving all its dialogue a clear, natural-sounding presentation.

Extras

If you enjoyed watching Trekkies 2 and just wished for even more footage, you'll get your wish in the special features section. Along with an audio commentary track from the filmmakers, we get nearly an hour's worth of additional footage that didn't make it into the main film. It's divided into 20 segments by location, with a convenient "play all" feature.

Two short fan-made films appear here as well. We get Brian Dellis' "Final Frontier Revisited," a 7-minute piece with an optional commentary track from the filmmakers, and an 8-minute clip from the mildly amusing "Really Bad Star Trek" by Gabriel Koerner.

There are also trailers for two of director Roger Nygard's previous films.

Final thoughts

Trekkies 2 is a reasonably entertaining, if overly long, second look at the fans of Star Trek, this time expanding to the global fan community as well as returning to Trek's home-grown fandom. There's not enough real substance here to merit a purchase, but I'll recommend it as a solid rental choice. Rent it.

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