Appellate Judge Mac McEntire dares someone to go to a Star Trek convention dressed as T.J. Hooker.
A look at the most dedicated fanbase in the galaxy.
As a follow-up to his documentary The Captains, actor/director/Renaissance man William Shatner (TekWar) casts his camera on the Star Trek fans. William Shatner's Get a Life! was filmed at a 45th anniversary Trek convention in Las Vegas, Shatner interviews a variety of fans, a few of his fellow actors, and some academic types in the hopes of understanding just who the fans are.
There's a lot of talk in this movie about this being Shatner's deep, personal journey to understand the heart of fandom, but that's not quite the case. More accurately, Shatner took a camera crew to a con and had them film a bunch of fans. The focus is on the fans themselves, with Shatner staying mostly behind the camera, occasionally tossing out a question. A couple of other Trek actors and producers show up with their thoughts on fandom as well.
Not seeing Shatner interact with the fans seems like a missed opportunity, as most viewers are pressing play to see the Shat do his thing. Still, the best parts of the movie are getting to know these fans. It's a given that they're passionate about Star Trek, but a lot of them have genuinely moving stories about how Trek changed their lives, and how much it means to them. There are all kinds of colorful costumes, and some fans show off their gigantic memorabilia collections, but the fans are never laughed at or depicted as losers or weirdoes.
When the movie becomes too high-minded, it gets less fun. Shatner interviews an expert on the Joseph Campbell hero's journey thing, who tells him that Star Trek employs similar mythology to that of the Old West. Shatner acts like this is some profound new concept, but the Trek faithful have heard this stuff a billion times before. Four cast members from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine—Terry Ferrell, Nana Visitor, Rene Auberjonois, and Casey Biggs—are reunited, allegedly not having seen one another since the final episode was filmed. It would've been nice to hear more of their reminisces, but we only get one short scene, no doubt because this is Shatner's movie and he's the star.
Filmed on the fly at a convention, this is not a flick with a lot of flashy visuals, but the 1.78:1 widescreen picture is adequately clean, with a similarly clean Dolby 5.1 Surround track. There are a handful of deleted scenes, including one with Shatner tossing barbs back and forth with folks in his autograph line, something the movie could have used more of.
William Shatner's Get a Life! isn't anything new for Star Trek viewers, but it is a pleasant "feel good" movie nonetheless.
It's Shatner! I can't find him guilty.
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