If you’re a Trekkie who can laugh at yourself, or a geek who can recognize and laugh at the shared geekness of other geeks, then Trekkies is a film you’ll enjoy. It’s a documentary, unlike Spinal Tap, so the people in the film are real, rather than caricature. Trekkies is basically a series of interviews with Star Trek fans who are obsessed with Star Trek to one degree or another. There’s Barbara Adams, the Whitewater juror who attended court in her Star Trek uniform. There’s also Gabriel Köerner, who you might remember as the Star Trek geek on Comedy Central’s wonderful, short lived Beat the Geeks. Gabriel was 14 at the time Trekkies was made. He’s now a successful professional visual artist, and proof that geekiness is marketable. And, he has a hot wife to boot.
And there’s an assortment of other more-or-less odd Trekkies, as well. There’s a dentist who’s office is decorated in a Star Trek motif. There’s a self-described “Spiner-Fem,” who is so obsessed with Star Trek actor Brent Spiner that she likes to go out on her patio and stare in the direction of his house, taking “Brent Breaks” to unwind. There’s a Star Trek Transvestite who dresses as the self-imagined wife of a minor character from an old episode. And then there’s the guy who drives to Radio Shack in a black metal box, a duplicate of a mobile life support system from the show, with only his head (and his Fargo-esque hat) visible through a hole in the top.
The trip through Trekdom is guided by Denise Crosby, herself a Star Trek alum with a more or less interesting personal story. And while the interviews with Trekkies sometimes reminded me of the interviews they do on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Crosby is never mean or mocking. How could she be? Why would she bite the hand that’s fed?
There are laugh out loud moments too numerous to count. Most of them involve Klingons. A Trekkie teaches a course in speaking Klingon, and when he tries to teach a “student” to say kill in Klingon, it sounds like they are grunting in rage at each other. Another time, a Klingon couple expresses their affection for each other by slapping each other around and wrestling outside a convention. Most delightfully, a Klingon-dressed man sings a “Klingon Folk Song,” containing a lyrics that sounds remarkably like “I’ve shaved my macho part.” Judging by his head, it would have been the only part he'd shaved.
So, yeah, if you watch Trekkies, you get to laugh at Trekkies. But affectionately, never meanly. And there are a few poignant moments as cast members and fans talk about the bonds between them. Even the oddest of the Trekkies here seems likable, and I ended up happy for them all. I’m happy that, if nothing else, at least they have each other. If it weren’t for that, some of them would surely be lonely people. What’s worse than loneliness? It’s spiritual cancer, and the damage it can do to the soul is devastating.
Trekkies is funny, warm, affectionate, and fun. Only an elitist who really does look down his or her nose at us geeks would find it cruel. For those of us who are happy to be geeks, though, it's a celebration. I’m happy to give it my highest possible rating.
PS: There's a sequel to this movie, but I don't care to see it. How could the magic be repeated? If you've seen The Gods Must Be Crazy 2, I'm sure you understand.
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