The Captains

The Captains
Made in: Canada
Language: English
Director: William Shatner
Starring: William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Bakula, Chris Pine, Christopher Plummer
Year: 2011

Synopsis: William Shatner, best known for playing Captain James T. Kirk, wrote and directed this documentary in which he tracks down and interviews all the other actors who played captains in subsequent Star Trek spin-offs.

Shatner boldly goes to New York City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New Jersey, and London on his mission to explore Avery Brooks' awesome weirdness and to seek out (occasionally) uncomfortable questions.

His conversations with Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Bakula, and Chris Pine include insights about their decisions to become actors, the impact (both positive and negative) that Star Trek has had on their lives, and a number of other personal tidbits.

The Good: The Captains is certainly a great premise for a documentary, and much credit should go to William Shatner and his production team for putting it together. His time with Patrick Stewart and Kate Mulgrew are particularly emotional, and it's also great to discover that Avery Brooks of Deep Space 9 is also a wonderful jazz musician.

Lighthearted and good natured, Shatner has many humorous moments that are fun. He's aged pretty well, and it's amazing that he's been able to embrace the Captain Kirk role for such a long time (longer than many of us have even been alive).

The Bad: Despite a strong premise and good humor, The Captains is a bit too "Shatner-centric." Shatner dominates the discussion in practically all the interviews, and although his thoughts are interesting it'd be nice to hear more from the people he's actually interviewing.

For instance Patrick Stewart had a number of compelling insights into acting, life, etc., but Shatner kept interrupting! Let Professor X speak for God's sake!

His sing-alongs with Avery Brooks are fun at first, but go on for too long. Fortunately, Brooks is either too polite (or too whacked out) to let it bother him.

And finally, I thought there should have been a little more interview time with Chris Pine (from the 2009 Star Trek reboot). Very little is said about their interpretations of Captain Kirk, which is a disappointment.

Who would like this film: This documentary is definitely geared towards Star Trek fans who have followed most, if not all, of the TV shows. Although William Shatner dominates the spotlight a little more than he should, I got the sense that he was being authentic and was truly respectful and admiring of the other Trek alumni.

The interviews with Patrick Stewart are the most moving, and the few moments with the legendary Christopher Plummer are a nice added touch. But since there's so much more I wanted to hear from everyone, the film feels a little too short. But overall, it's a nice gift for devoted Trekkies.

(3 out of 4 stars)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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