Want to know if you’ll be interested in “Trekkies 2”? Here’s a question: Did you like the first “Trekkies”? If so, then you’ll be happy with the sequel, which is more of the same. Besides letting the world know that Brazilians, Germans, and French people are just as wacky as their American counterparts, Denise Crosby is also back to host the whole shebang. And if you don’t know who Denise Crosby is, I don’t know why you would watch this documentary in the first place.
Seven years after his documentary made a splash in Trekdom, director Roger Nygard returns to shed more light on the phenomenon, this time with a decidedly international flavor. The team jaunts through Europe, attending Star Trek conventions, meeting individual fans, and generally saying what we all already know to be true: Fans are the same regardless of accent. Although to be honest, the European fans seemed a tad more down to Earth than their American counterparts; or perhaps the documentary just decided to show more of the “normal” fans in lieu of the fanatics that runneth over in “Trekkies”.
Besides introducing us to foreign geeks, the documentary makes occasional return trips to the States to catch up with some old favorites like Gabriel Koerner, who is now in his ’20s and married. Koerner has also made a “Star Trek” parody called “Really Bad Star Trek”, a 10-minute short that is included on the “Trekkies 2” DVD disk. And of course there’s the wacky Arkansas woman who wore her Trek uniform to jury duty in the Whitewater trial. She’s still as warp as ever, although it’s funny to see her humoring an older Trek fan that claims to have the “first ever real portrait” of an E.T.
“Trekkies 2” is very much more of the same, although that in itself isn’t such a bad thing, especially if you found the first one to be entertaining, as I did. And perhaps realizing that the original “Trekkies” made quite a splash in the world of fandom, the sequel posits the question of rather “Trekkies” made fun of, or with, its subjects. Unfortunately there’s not enough straight talk on this subject, and the interviewees seem to be holding back. After all, how could you criticize Nygard and Crosby for making fun of Trekkies when you just volunteered to be in the sequel?
Which leads me to the conclusion that “Trekkies 2” holds too much back. One could always feel the documentary going out of its way to make Trekkies look as “normal” as possible, and as a result there’s a lot of rhetoric about what constitutes “normal”. But if you saw the original, the conversation here really doesn’t shed any new light on the subject, even though, as mentioned, the documentary seems to have consciously made a concerted effort to show Trekkies as no more extreme than the guy next door who collects baseball cards. Where are the cross-dressing fans? The ones that write erotic fan fiction about their favorite characters? “Trekkies 2” is disappointingly tame, lacking that gritty bite the original had in spades.
Another gripe is that too much screentime is wasted on the subject of Trek cover bands. Was there a loud clamoring to know about these guys? I certainly had no idea they existed, and now that I’ve been thoroughly educated on them, my interest in them remains less than zero. All those precious minutes spent on these failed musicians could have been better spent on getting to know more Trek fans from overseas. Having seen some of the deleted footage on the DVD, one has to wonder why Nygard and company decided to include such an irrelevant topic as cover bands.
As for celebrity interviews, don’t expect any faces from the original series or “Next Generation” to show up (with the exception of Crosby, obviously). As the sequel literally ventures into new lands, it also provides interviews with series actors who are, shall we say, not quite as well known as their predecessors. One of the documentary’s funnier moments involve production assistants on the Trek TV shows reminiscing about all the oddballs who used to call or mail them on a regular basis. Surprisingly enough, it’s Brannon Braga, the much despised/beloved (depending on your perspective of his talents) “Trek” show runner who offers up some of the more intelligent analysis of Trekdom.
There’s little else to say about “Trekkies 2” except it’s a continuation of “Trekkies”, and if you happened to enjoy the other movie, this one is for you. The DVD is full of goodies, including almost an hour of deleted scenes, with even more interviews from fans around the world. Also included are two fan films, the funny short by Gabriel Koerner and another one that looks like “Star Trek” crossed with “Reservoir Dogs”. Of the two, Koerner’s short is definitely the one to watch. But while the documentary introduces us to fans in other countries that are making their own fan films, the only two included on the disk were from the American fans. Too bad, because I would have liked to see what the Germans and Serbians came up with.
Finally, it’s curious to note that although the documentary goes abroad, it never went to Asia. Surely there must be Asian Trek fans out there. Or perhaps this is the subject of “Trekkies 3”? Hmm, I smell another sequel on the horizon…
Roger Nygard (director)
CAST: Denise Crosby …. Herself
Charlie Jett …. Himself
Dominic Keating …. Himself
Gabriel KÃ¶erner …. Himself