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By Doug Brunell | November 25, 2005

There’s a lot of documentaries about fandom and the inherent “geek” factor of it all. Some are good, some bad. This is one of the good ones. It handles the positive sides of comic book and toy collecting, anime clubs, “Star Trek” fans and conventions, and some of the downsides (e.g., lack of hygiene and people who can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality), but it does all of this with respect.

There’s a lot of fun that can be had at the expense of people who dress up in furry animal costumes and those who engage in Klingon beauty contests, but “Fans and Freaks” never takes those potshots. Instead, it lets the participants explain why they do what they do, and lets the fans knock their peers down a few notches when necessary. That’s fairly refreshing.

With all that praise, however, comes a bit of a complaint. I think it’s wonderful that this documentary focuses on these elements of fandom, but it covers too much. While watching this film, I could easily see where there could be four or five films that the directors could have done. It makes for an interesting overview that may spark some interest from people who haven’t been exposed to this type of thing in the past, but for others it’s too little of a good thing. I’d love to know more about Furries. And just how does wrestling fit in with all of this?

Like I said, this is a good documentary that faces a problem many other films of this type have: too many subjects and not enough info on any of them. Watch it at least once, though. You’ll either get a great laugh out of people dressing as bears, or you won’t feel so alone. It’s a win/win either way you cut it.

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