The Captains, or Klingon Sex: A Movie Review

Boldly go where no man has gone before. Or not. The new documentary The Captains, directed by Captain Kirk himself William Shatner, dives into the lives of the six people who have portrayed captains in the various “Star Trek” franchises. If only their lives were interesting.

In all fairness, the captains – Chris Pine, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Bakula and, oh, what’s that other guy’s name? – are not boring. They’re all more interesting than me. They have talent. They can act. They can sing. They can make more money in a week than I can in a year.

But to watch 90 minutes about their inspirations and motivations in life… Well, I’d rather screw a Klingon and watch Star Trek 5 a thousand times in a row.

In all fairness, The Captains isn’t that terrible. It’s perfectly harmless, and Trekkies who will suck down anything “Star Trek” will eat it up. Or suck it down. Whatever. The documentary is a passion project for Shatner, who also narrates and interviews the other actors. He clearly struggled with being known as Kirk and nothing else for so many years, and is intrigued by how the other actors approached their roles and dealt with the corresponding fame.

But it’s just boring. Patrick Stewart has some good things to say, but it sounds like he’s reading from a script. Brooks sounds like he went off the deep end since “Deep Space Nine.” Mulgrew and Bakula are almost indistinguishable from one another. Pine is included just for an arm wrestling scene. And Shatner isn’t a very dynamic interviewer.

In all fairness, again, The Captains is made for Trekkies and no one else. I’m a big Star Trek fan, but no Trekkie. Or is it Trekker? Either of those groups will likely enjoy this movie simply because it exists.

For everyone else, it’s a waste of time. Its presentation is plain, making even An Inconvenient Truth look dynamic. Shatner is an uninspiring interviewer. The Captains isn’t going boldly anywhere, let alone where no man has gone before. Star Trek 5, now this? Beam me out of here, Scotty. Engage. Make it so. This review is done.

The Captains comes to DVD on October 18, 2011.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Documentaries, DVD Releases, Movie Reviews


  • Bruce Lamesse

    I saw this last Thursday night at one-showing-only, solely because a dear friend is a Trekkie and a Shatniac, and once I told her about it, she had to see it. Personally, I had no desire to see it, because I EXPECTED it to be boring…and unfortunately it didn’t prove me wrong. Shatner’s not merely an uninspiring or undynamic interviewer; he’s a downright awful interviewer! His questions for the most part lack substance, and oddly enough all circle back so he can talk more about himself. …and his segments with Avery Brooks, who frankly is a few dilithium crystals short of a warp drive, may have been fun for Shatner and Brooks to participate in, but despite the crazy…or maybe because of it, they were especially boring to watch. [It wasn’t ‘fun’ crazy, it was ‘let’s do the interview in [bad] jazz improv song’ crazy.] I’m probably the wrong person to go see a movie like this anyway. I’m not particularly interested in most actors private lives. All I care about is their performances on the screens big and little. I don’t care about their influences or how their particular upbringing moulded them into the people they are today …or were when I watched their show or movie. I figure that’s their business, and none of mine. Furthermore, Shatner’s extended musings on his mortality just seemed kind of self-indulgent in a project already bloated with self-indulgence. As Erik says, “The Captains is made for Trekkies and no one else.” and like him I wouldn’t call myself a Trekkie. I might have, once upon a time before I had true Trekkies to compare myself to, but certainly not thereafter. So Trekkie and/or Shatniac – go see it. Everybody else – avoid it like the plague.

  • Bruce, glad you agree. You hit it on the head.