According to the Oxford dictionary, "Trekkies" is the official term for fans of the "Star Trek" series, and that's sufficient validation for director Roger Nygard. His feature on the cult that can't get enough "Trek" is a largely affectionate look at the weird and the wonderful subculture that's ensued and endured since the sci-fi series first beamed up.

According to the Oxford dictionary, “Trekkies” is the official term for fans of the “Star Trek” series, and that’s sufficient validation for director Roger Nygard. His feature on the cult that can’t get enough “Trek” is a largely affectionate look at the weird and the wonderful subculture that’s ensued and endured since the sci-fi series first beamed up in 1966. This non-judgmental look at fans who boldly go where aficionados had not gone before should zap brisk TV exposure, lively cassette sales and some specialized theatrical play.

For those hoping to get a sense of why this phenomenon is different from all others, abandon ship. Nygard and company have enough on their hands just sifting through the history and present status of a following that verges on the Masonic.

Denise Crosby, who appeared in the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” skein, serves as the feature tour guide. In addition to cornering actors from the various TV incarnations, she stops in at conventions, a radio talkshow, local fan-club chapters and the homes of some of the more idiosyncratic devotees of an already iconoclastic group.

“These people are foolish,” was the first impression actor George (Sulu) Takei had when he appeared at the initial convention for the series in 1969. Most of the original crew expected the craze to die down after a few years rather than live long and prosper. Leonard (Spock) Nimoy — who has had the most substantive post-“Trek” career — comes off as the most perplexed by the continuing mania. Obviously touched by the affection accorded the series, he’s at a loss to explain the tenacity of the following or individual needs to dress up Enterprise-style or to don heavy makeup and become a Klingon or Vulcan.

The recurring mantra heard in support of the mania is that it’s promoted an interest in science and space travel. Others cite creator Gene Roddenberry’s “vision of hope” — a world without race, color or sexual bias.

The anecdotal material ranges from Whitewater juror Barbara Adams’ tour of duty in a Starfleet Commander uniform to dentist Dr. Denis Bourguignon’s “Starbase Dental,” a drilling station with a complete space motif. There are thousands of such stories in this particular galaxy.

Though the slavish devotion of die-hard fans at times seems to go overboard, the film indicates no signs of associated malevolence or crime. The worst one senses from “Trekkies” is that its subjects don’t evince much of a sense of humor about themselves or the universe. This is, beneath the fun, serious stuff.

Trekkies

Production

A Neo Motion Pictures presentation. Produced by W.K. Border. Executive producers, Michael Leahy, Joel Soisson. Co-executive producer, Denise Crosby. Directed by Roger Nygard.

Crew

Camera (Foto-Kem color), Harris Done; editor, Nygard; music, Walter Werzowa; sound, Larry Scharf; associate producer, Scott Nimerfro. Reviewed at the American Film Institute, L.A., Oct. 15, 1997. (In AFI/L.A. Film Festival.) Running time: 86 min.
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