Movie Review: The Captains (Documentary)

Info from IMDB:

The Captains (2011)

97 min  –  Documentary   –  October 2011 (Canada)

Ratings: 7.6/10 from 246 users
Reviews: 8 user | 8 critic

The Captains is a feature length documentary film written and directed by William Shatner. The film follows Shatner as he interviews the other actors whom have portrayed Starship captains within the illustrious science-fiction franchise.

Initial Thoughts:

I have a Star Trek tattoo, so obliviously I’m a huge Trekker (that is actually a word according to spell check! Smile) and I certainly have some bias here. I love William Shanter, I know TOS was as corny as hell and his acting certainly left something to do desired but Captain Kirk is such an iconic figure, how can you not be interested? William Shanter is also one of the few actors that I feel who has gotten better over time (his work on Boston Legal was top notch and he was the ONLY funny part of Shit my Dad Says) but enough fan worship, on with the documentary.

Main Points:

This is an interesting idea for a film. Shanter interviews everyone who has played a Captain on Star Trek (including Chris Pine, which was a surprise to me). Patrick Stewart, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Bakula, Avery Brooks and Chris Pine all seem like great people, the problem is Shanter is not the best interviewer.

Shanter constantly interrupts his subjects and doesn’t give them enough time to talk. Also I found that the interview process went on too long with some actors and the whole film could have had a good 10-15 minutes taken out.

Other odd parts was when Shanter arm-wrestles Chris Pine and CONVIENATELY they don’t show who wins the third and deciding match. When Chris first shows up Shanter does not stand to greet him and it seems obvious to me that he doesn’t like the fact that someone else is now playing Kirk. They are more friendly later in the film but I think deep-down Shanter doesn’t like or respect him.

Also not to be negative but Avery Brooks seems to be stoned out of his mind (or on some kind of drug) for the whole interview. He mainly just plays piano whenever Shanter asks him a question and laughs constantly.

Another strange (and offensive part) is when he basically tells Kate Mulgrew that because she is a woman she can’t possibly be a good an actor because of her hormones! I’m amazed she allowed this to be shown on screen. Despite what I said earlier this made me have less respect for Shanter as a person, he seems sexist and disrespectful to her. Kate, on the other hand, shows nothing but kindness and affection towards Shanter and I commend her for her honesty and for handling the interview so well.

Final Thoughts:

The film ultimately gets into serious questions like what actors have to sacrifice for their craft and ultimately what several of them feel comes after death. I did especially like how Shanter does admit that for many years he disliked fans and is only now coming to appreciate them. There are several nice scenes where he walks around a convention and says hello to many fans (those with backstage passes are each given a personal greeting).

Near the end Patrick Stewart comes out on stage with Shanter at a convention and in their case it seems obvious they have a genuine fondness and respect for each other. His final line “wherever you are Scotty, you can beam me up..but not yet” is touching and despites its flaws I enjoyed the film.Vampire bat

So this a 7/10 from me, it is a revealing look at Shanter and all the actors who have played Captains in Star Trek (except all the acting ones along with Sulu and Riker). Shanter should have had more help with the questions (and his manners!) but for any Star Trek fan it is certainly worth a look Open-mouthed smile.



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