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The Captains - A Film By William Shatner (2011)

William Shatner , Patrick Stewart , William Shatner  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Kate Mulgrew, Avery Brooks, Scott Bakula
  • Directors: William Shatner
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Entertainment One
  • DVD Release Date: October 18, 2011
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005DEUEV8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,200 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


To Boldly Go: A Starfleet Six-Pack

Sitting in a starship captain's chair is a big job. Making a documentary about the actors whose posteriors have occupied that hallowed space through four decades of "Star Trek" and its spin-offs takes a big man. Thank the Vulcan gods that William Shatner was available.

In "The Captains," which Mr. Shatner wrote and directed, he interviews the five performers who have succeeded him as "Star Trek" leaders, on starships or space stations: Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Bakula and Chris Pine. The film will make its debut on Friday on the Epix premium-cable channel and epixhd . com as part of Shatnerpalooza, a conglomeration of television marathon, film screenings and live appearances.

A couple of observations: Mr. Shatner is pretty much always available. The Biography channel is now showing the second season of his interview show, "Aftermath With William Shatner." He has a new album, "Searching for Major Tom," due out later this year. He will accept your homage on Facebook (90,000 fans and counting) and let you know when he's coming to a convention near you.

And, as you might have guessed: "The Captains" turns out to be largely about William Shatner. That's not a criticism. Mr. Shatner's genial, relaxed self-absorption is a large part of his charm, along with his odd cadences and his unparalleled knack for blurring the line between pomposity and sincerity. He has a kind of reverse Midas effect: everything he touches should turn creepy, but somehow it doesn't.

Much of the fun of watching "The Captains" is waiting to see just how shameless a huckster and self-promoter Mr. Shatner can be. You don't have to wait long. He starts his journey by flying to England to visit Mr. Stewart, and on the tarmac he greets an executive of the aerospace company whose plane will carry him. It's a blatant product placement, but it's more than that: in the course of the conversation, it comes out that the man's career choice was inspired by "Star Trek." "He became an aeronautical engineer because of me!" Mr. Shatner says, with limpid satisfaction.

This two-for-one reciprocal endorsement is so good that it's brought up again near the end of the film, in a rather astounding monologue delivered to Mr. Stewart. Hearing the engineer's story, Mr. Shatner says, has cured him of his long-standing embarrassment about playing Capt. James T. Kirk. It's a lengthy anecdote that includes an ever so slightly bitter reference to the Emmy nominations Leonard Nimoy received for the original "Star Trek." Mr. Stewart can only nod, his face frozen in what looks like deep apprehension for what his supposed interviewer will say next.

"The Captains" has many more moments like that, which makes it pretty tolerable as vanity projects go. And it should be catnip for Trekkers and Trekkies, a number of whom are seen at a Las Vegas "Star Trek" convention reacting to Mr. Shatner's presence with appropriate reverence. ("Oh my God," a woman says. "I was this close.")

Striding among the booths, he encounters a series of actresses who are there to make money off their "Trek" connections -- Jeri Ryan, Sally Kellerman, Grace Lee Whitney (the ageless Yeoman Rand). Each time he turns to the camera and says, this was the most beautiful girl in the history of "Star Trek." And each time, you almost think he means it. -- The New York Times, July 21, 2011

Product Description

Since first soaring onto television screens in the 1960s, Star Trek has become one of the most beloved franchises of all time. Now, the original Captain Kirk, William Shatner, travels around the globe to interview the elite group of actors (Chris Pine, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew and Scott Bakula) who have portrayed the role of Starship Captain, giving fans an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the pop culture phenomenon as well as the men and women who made it so.

Bonus Feature:
"The Making of The Captains"

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
95 of 106 people found the following review helpful
[I watched this on EpixHD and will certainly buy it once available on DVD]

Shatner is a living spectacle of his own accord. He is controversy and entertainment wrapped into one. And unfortunately, his package deal sometimes comes off a bit pompous and egotistical. Few people really like someone who may revel in the enjoyment of his own voice. Shatner at times does this, and yet... if you can get past that veneer, underneath you will find a very fascinating and earnest man. He is someone who lucked into a legendary role that has made him supremely famous, something that for a long period he derided, yet eventually relented and embraced. He is flawed, he knows he is flawed, but he admits it openly with sincerity. I admire him now, more than I ever did.

"You either love him or you hate him," is how I've often heard Shatner described. And in various on-line forums that I've had the pleasure to read, you'll see a wide range of polarized opinions about him. Love him or hate him, he played a very important part in the world of Star Trek. He is essential.

NOTE: There's a review of this movie up on the New York Times website, worth a read. The author hit the nail on the head saying that Shatner's "genial, relaxed self-absorption is a large part of his charm."

So, "The Captains"... Shatner is typical Shatner in some respects, and yet he is also so much better than that. He usually behaves as alpha male, and yet he is ingratiating with his guests. He loves to talk about himself, and yet he is also genuinely interested in others. Making this film was a very humbling experience for Shatner and you can see it in the content.
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49 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I almost turned it off November 10, 2011
This is one of the most oddly paced documentaries I've seen. The genius/madness/wackness of Shatner ground on me, initially, like nails on chalkboard, and his blatant interruptions of guests, not to mention somewhat horrendous "beat-poetry" with Avery, made me reach for my remote, finger hovering over the stop button.

But I came back to it, for what I would estimate as the last 3/4, and to say it redeemed itself would be an understatement. Like any eccentric character, you have to warm up to Shatners antics, and look for the sincerity amongst the ego. He'll interrupt Patrick Stewart, who is making a profound thought verbal, with some inconsequential question about the smallest of detail, yet tie it all together before its over with and give everyone enough latitude to truly make the interviews two-way. This is a unique but highly interactive interview technique, and as I saw more of it, I grew to like it.

There are some moments, as mentioned before with Avery, that leave you chuckling uncomfortably, but the majority of interactions between Shatner and his fellow captains are earnest, heartfelt, painful, uplifting, and humorous. Pine is the weakest link, but his time on this earth is a fraction of the others. Scott Bakula's catharsis with Shatner about divorce was poignant, and Stewart's earnestness about the love of his craft left me misty-eyed.

Speaking of misty-eyed, the shots from the convention really reminded me what I think most of us that love Star Trek are in it for: the celebration of the ideals and universe that Roddenberry imagined and many have developed into the mythos we have today.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
I've got to give credit where credit is due! Actor William Shatner came up with an inspired idea in the documentary "The Captains" which adds a missing piece to the legacy of television's longest running space saga. Uniting the six actors that have been featured as Captains in the show's various interpretations, the movie would seem to have all of the elements necessary to make it essential viewing for Star Trek fans. I'm not sure, however, that Shatner (taking a writing and directing credit) hits his mark squarely. Expecting new insight into the franchise with marketing that promises an "exclusive behind-the-scenes look at a pop culture phenomenon," I actually thought the film had surprisingly little to say about Star Trek itself. If anything, the documentary's primary subject is acting as a craft and as a career with many of the face-to-face conversations seeming like a low-rent "Inside the Actor's Studio" but without the flair. Don't get me wrong--I would still recommend this to fans, it just fails to fulfill some of its promise.

At the heart of the film is Shatner himself. He is, at once, the film's most valuable asset and one of its primary weaknesses. He travels the globe (as far as England anyway) to sit down with Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Bakula, and Chris Pine. Shatner, as a persona, is as lively as ever. As an interviewer, however, he lacks a bit of focus constantly bringing any conversation back to what seems to be his favorite topic--himself. It is sometimes awkward, sometimes endearing. At the beginning of each interview, he seems to want to introduce some deep philosophical concept to make the casual get-togethers seem as if they are fraught with meaning.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great choice
Really good and enjoyable. Would highly recommend. I usually don't like my husband's choice in movies but it was a good pick on this one.
Published 3 days ago by Terrica
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant documentary
This gives the most personal look at all those who have been a Star Trek Captain. Its as much about them as it is about William Shatner himself, and he delievers it with great... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Alexander Tonks
5.0 out of 5 stars The Captains - WOW
I just finished watching The Captains by William Shatner on Amazon Instant Video and all I can say is WOW! Read more
Published 19 days ago by gigikern
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Shatner is quirky, fun, and insightful. He keeps going until he uncovers that elusive kernel of truth and meaning. I love the way they all relate to one another. Read more
Published 26 days ago by RERCAESWX
4.0 out of 5 stars Great actors in a "Wagon Train" to the stars
It only gets four stars because of William Shatner. A little humility. It is his project though. The interviews are engaging and informative. Read more
Published 1 month ago by George F Brewer
5.0 out of 5 stars great to see them all!!!
Wonderful back stories. Good to see them all - and more. They all are fascinating folks. Shatner does a great job of helping us get to know each of them.
Published 1 month ago by John
5.0 out of 5 stars The Captains
Great piece of work created by William Shatner. It give a great insight into the thoughts of the captains from each Star Trek series.
Published 1 month ago by Lazy J
5.0 out of 5 stars William Shatner flies the world to interview all captains
William Shatner did a great job finding all the captains and more, interviewing them with raw honesty in their voices. Read more
Published 1 month ago by John Avenson
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting and great fun for fans!
This is fun and funny. Fans of any or all the captains get a new view of the actors and the series.
Published 1 month ago by trudischutz
2.0 out of 5 stars Terrible...
Poor Bill Shatner, he has really sunk low. Time to stop living off Capt. Kirk. He has degraded himself enough.
Published 1 month ago by Alphabull
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