Tuesday, October 12, 2004

DVD: Trekkies 2 (2004)

Not many documentaries spawn sequels, but I suppose a look at Star Trek fandom comes with a built-in audience. Paramount released it directly to home video. I’ve missed the last several Trek films, I’ve only seen a handful of ‘Next Generation’ episodes, and I’ve never watched any of the series that followed. Yet somehow I’ve managed to catch both TREKKIES films. Which proves that the fans are more interesting than the world that inspires them.

Several of those profiled in the first film are revisited, including Barbara Adams (briefly notorious for wearing her Starfleet uniform while serving on the Whitewater jury) and Gabriel Koerner, who has gone from hyper-intense 14-year-old geek to married special effects designer. The film also looks at Trek fandom around the world. I love the two scantily-clad Brazilian women lounging by a pool who say they can never dress in costume because they’re too shy. There’s also a visit to the first-ever Trek convention in the Balkans which is surprisingly moving.

Both TREKKIES films raise the question of how much is too much, showing wild excesses in behavior (sealing off every window in your apartment save one so you can rebuild it to look like the Enterprise) only to come down on the side of the fans because they’re not hurting anyone. What’s interesting is hearing the fans themselves try to determine where the line is. (More than a few of them didn’t like the first movie, saying it focused too much on the extremes.) Here’s my suggestion: when you start blowing thousands of dollars of your own money on a Trek fan film, two of which are included on the DVD, it may be time to shift your affection to something less expensive. The TV version of LOGAN’S RUN, for instance.

It turns out John Kerry wrote a letter to the post office endorsing a Trek stamp. Why hasn’t this come up in the debates?

Interesting Microsoft Word factoid: not only does it regard Starfleet as correctly spelled, it automatically capitalizes it.

TV: Shadowing The Third Man

TCM marked the centenary of Graham Greene’s birth with multiple airings of this documentary about the making of the legendary thriller. Director Frederick Baker opts for a pointlessly arty approach and overwritten narration. But it’s great to see a still-spry Guy Hamilton, the assistant director on THE THIRD MAN who would go on to helm several James Bond movies, prowling around the original Vienna locations.