Fans' love beams in `Trekkies'

May 21, 1999|By Tom Maurstad | Tom Maurstad,DALLAS MORNING NEWS

With "Star Wars'" light sabers slashing across screens everywhere, another movie opens to offer a small, well-timed counterpunch.

At the center of "Trekkies" is the understanding that people are never funnier or more fascinating than when pursuing an obsession. As this smart, funny documentary about "Star Trek" fans proves, all you need do is turn on the camera, get a Trekkie talking, and interesting things happen.

Director Roger Nygard teamed up with "Star Trek: The Next Generation" alum Denise Crosby (Lt. Tasha Yar) and set out to chronicle a universe of fans so pervasive that the term "Trekkies" appears in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Nygard and Crosby are hardly on untrodden ground here; Trekkie-dom is a well-charted phenomenon.

Even William Shatner (Capt. James T. Kirk) has gotten into the act with his book on Trekkies. Its title, "Get a Life!" encapsulates the standard dismissal of these young and old fans who, in wearing costumes, learning Klingon and attending countless conventions, have put "Star Trek" devotion at the center of their lives.

But as "Trekkies" makes clear, these people have gotten lives -- "Star Trek"-themed lives. What sorts of lives they have gotten for themselves varies, from the happily married, middle-aged guy whose admiration of Vulcan virtues has him considering getting his ears surgically pointed, to the adolescent computer whiz busily creating the special effects that will go into his homemade "Star Trek" movie.

Intercut with fan footage are interviews with cast members from the generations of "Star Trek" shows. Again and again, you hear them struggle to understand the intensity of feelings about a bunch of television shows.

Be sure not to jump up too quickly at the end: Some of the funniest moments in "Trekkies" come while the credits roll as a procession of stand-up comedians tosses out "Star Trek" jokes.

`Trekkies'

Directed by: Roger Nygard

Rated PG (language)

Running time 88 minutes

Released by Paramount

Sun score ***

Pub Date: 5/21/99

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