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Captains [DVD] [2011] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]


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Product details

  • Directors: William Shatner
  • Format: Colour, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Ent. One Music
  • DVD Release Date: 18 Oct 2011
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005DEUEV8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,007 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. J. Burton on 2 Feb 2012
Format: DVD
This was a great purchase. I got it after seeing the ad in the Star Trek magazine, and was not disappointed. Bill Shatner is brilliant as always, and conducts some pretty honest interviews with all of the Captains from Star Trek. What was fabulous was the way they all questioned him as well as him questioning them. It was very insightful to learn about how they REALLY felt about portraying our fave Captains, and to hear of the ups and downs of gruelling filming schedules and pressures on their lives. The whole documentary is fascinating, but it was the last moment with Bill and Patrick (Stewart) that really caused my eyes to moisten more than they should. I've been an avid Trek fan all of my life, but have never heard either of them talk quite so frankly about their roles, nor express such personal feelings about the characters they portrayed. This DVD is an absolute must for any fan of Star Trek.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
William Shatner is on another planet throughout this. It purports to be serious interviews but is alot of fun and says more about Shatner than his colleagues, in so many ways. Just enough to be an insight in to different lives, but not a serious or searching DVD. If you like Shatner, you'll love this.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter Culbert on 25 July 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If youre a trekkie youll enjoy this look at the different captains in ST. The actors talking about the workload, what they wanted from the role etc - all very honest. Shatner is his usual humourous self but showed his serious side in discussing such topics as death(!) which he knows may be just around the corner. The only interview I found tedious was with Avery Brooks who played Sisko in DS9. He appears to have some sort of mental health issue (im not saying this in any jokey way) and tended to ramble or just play his piano. His interview just lasted a bit too long for me.

So all in all Id recommend this documentary to any ST fan.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 167 reviews
101 of 106 people found the following review helpful
Something very worthwhile for anybody interested in Star Trek, or the actors 16 Sep 2011
By G. Kline - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
[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. There are a few rather blatant ego stroking moments that were no doubt purposefully left in after editing, as Shatner not only wrote but directed this production.

It's true that not all of these interviews are created equal. Some of them are all too brief and miss some important aspects. Some questions are raised in common across the guests and yet not all of them are fully heard. But you know, this couldn't have been a perfect work. It required a certain amount of liberty from the guests, who were allowed to influence the flow. Of all the interviews, I found the one with Patrick Stewart the most touching. The one with Avery Brooks the most endearing. The one with Kate Mulgrew wonderfully surprising. And the one with Scott Bakula delightfully honest. There wasn't much to do with Chris Pine, because he's so young and doesn't have nearly enough experience to contribute on the same level. But what we got was reasonably good.

The whole package deal is simply wonderful. We get what appears to be very candid and revealing interviews with key actors from the Star Trek genre, hosted by a deeply colorful man. This is the best off-screen Star Trek related material I've ever watched. It touched me in many ways, despite having to overlook some of Shatner's self-fawning. I will own it and watch it again and again, no doubt about it. It's the perfect send-off for the "old school" Star Trek franchise.
51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
I almost turned it off 11 Nov 2011
By The Mandrew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
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. As quirky as Shatner is, he works the crowd with such expertise and mastery, you can see the mythical leader Kirk come out in what throughout most of the documentary appears a heavy-set, tired man. Add in the tangible love from the fans, the electricity in the air, and the cameo by Stewart, and you feel like you are in the crowd.

Shatner wraps it all up with an insight that seems so basic to the rest of us, but is brutally honest. The self-discovery portion of this film punctuates the ending to what started as an odd journey and ends with him saying out loud what we all know: if you are receptive to it, Star Trek can change your life.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
A little uncomfortable to watch, but it was ok. 24 Nov 2012
By RainShadow2005 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I wouldn't consider myself a Trekkie, but I am a Star Trek fan. I actually just got done spending a little over a year watching on Netflix every episode of Star Trek in the order that they came out. I even alternated between TNG/DS9 and DS9/VOY episodes in relation to when they aired alongside each other in real life and I worked in the movies as well. This seemed like a fitting capstone to the franchise before I move on.

There were some touching moments in this documentary. Even through Shatner's ego, I could see his vulnerability regarding his relationship with his larger-than-life character, Captain Kirk. He makes an honest attempt to bring the other actors into that light as well, but ultimately he kind of fails. It was hard to watch as the other actors started to get irritated with him and either talked over his interruptions or fell silent with a pained look on their face. I liked the Patrick Stewart and Scott Bakula interviews. The Chris Pine interview didn't get too much attention and the arm wrestling scene was just weird, but his role as Captain Kirk wasn't as significant as Shatner's anyway.

Totally uncomfortable and almost painful to watch were the Avery Brooks and Kate Mulgrew segments. Those two represented modern-day minority actors so their portrayals of Sisco and Janeway in positions of influence always topped my list of inspiring characters. So I was kind of disheartened to see that Avery Brooks seems to be suffering from some kind of mental illness ... or maybe he's just gotten VERY eccentric. Either way, not even Shatner seemed comfortable with the turns his interview took. The way Avery Brooks talked through most of his interview reminded me of the crazy babbling I find printed on the label of every Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap bottle I buy. That's not even to mention how Brooks kept breaking into loopy giggles and playing slightly disturbing chords on his piano the whole time.

The way Shatner treated Kate Mulgrew was just plain terrible and misogynistic. For a man who played a character from a time period where all of humanity has come together in a beautiful state of equality, for him to just come out and say that women were too hormonal to be good politicians, leaders, or captains was disgustingly sexist. What's worse, he badgered Mulgrew with these opinions until she was forced to kind of agree with him so he'd get off her case, even though other sources have always reported on her extreme pride in portraying the only female captain in Star Trek. Towards the end of the interview, she almost seemed close to tears. But who wouldn't be after someone basically insinuated that a woman will always make a poor leader (whether she be childbearing or menopausal) and is ultimately a bad mother for trying to have a career while raising kids ... whether it be a mother involved in acting or the fictional scenario of a starship captain.

I don't know. The documentary itself was surprisingly touching in some ways, and I'm glad I watched it, but I won't watch it again. It did its job for me. It was a conclusion to my time spent watching every episode and movie of Star Trek. As a fan but not a Trekkie, this enables me to give the franchise a loving pat and move on to something else to get into.
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
An Eagerly Awaited Star Trek Documentary That Skimps On Star Trek Insight 5 Oct 2011
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
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. One of my favorite moments is when he is absolutely incredulous when Stewart says he was in an adult theater piece at the age of 12 (with bulging enthusiasm, "How did you get into a play with adults?" as if it were a strange concept for a budding thespian). Other odd moments include him singing along to Brooks' piano playing and the strangely sexist bend his interview with Mulgrew hits.

Through it all, though, Shatner is an enthusiastic guide. The interviews lack some insight, as I've mentioned. He is, after all, only sitting down with the individual participants for a couple of hours each. The footage from the Star Trek convention is fun enough and he tries to pepper the interviews with humor (arm wrestling, cardboard boxes). It's all light and pleasant enough without being particularly revelatory. Bonus points for adding Christopher Plummer to the roster (Why? Because he could). An entertaining film that misses out on its enormous potential, I'd still give it a look if it sounds at all interesting. Shatner so wanted to make a meaningful piece, but it really lacks any depth in actual relationship to the Star Trek franchise. And it certainly seems disingenuous when Shatner claims to have finally made peace with being James T. Kirk on the flight over to interview Stewart. Convenient timing! You truly have to be a Shatner fan to appreciate most of the movie--and if you are, enjoy! About 3 1/2 stars. KGHarris, 10/11.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Ego Stroking At Its Finest 30 Jun 2013
By Gerald Heffner - Published on Amazon.com
First and foremost: if you're not a Star Trek fan and you're watching this documentary you'll most likely be baffled, confused, and possibly shocked at times by the tremendous egos in play here. This isn't so much a deep examination of the actors who portrayed the captains in each Star Trek series as it is a collection of anecdotes and reflections by those actors about their time spent working on their respective shows, what they took away from the experience, and a brief overview of their motivations to enter the acting profession and their subsequent careers.

This is primarily a personality piece and it's a vanity project in the most vain sense of the word. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate William Shatner. It's kind of impossible to. Part of his charm is the fact that he's so full of himself. It's to the point in his old age (82 if you can believe it) that he's become a parody of himself, but such to the point that he *understands* that he's a parody of himself, which only somehow manages to fuel his ego more and make him even *more* full of himself than he was to begin with. It's a self-perpetuating cycle, but one that manages to make him endearing instead of irritating. It's evident in his opening monologue when he lays out his plan to meet with each actor on a globe-trotting adventure and maybe learn something about himself along the way... Mmm-hmm...

The film follows Shatner as he meets with each actor who portrayed the lead role, the captain, in each Star Trek series. Sir Patrick Stewart gets the most face-time with Shatner and reveals some striking things about his approach to acting with respect to his other priorities in life, his regrets, and the sacrifices he's made to his art. Indeed it is Stewart's dedication and professionalism that he brought to the role of Picard that leads Shatner to re-evaluate his feelings of "embarrassment" at having played Kirk, seeing him as something of a "lesser" role after working with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in his youth. Shatner's on-screen epiphany that Kirk is something to be proud of is doubtless supposed to be the personal revelation promised in the opening monologue, but it feels like ego-engineered pathos and it's one of the more uncomfortable aspects of the film. I'm sure it's tough for an actor to be so well-known for only one role, but judging by how often Shatner returns to Kirk and Star Trek in his later years (including his whole line of alternate-timeline "Shatnerverse" Star Trek novels which features a resurrected Captain Kirk adventuring alongside Captains Picard, Sisko and Janeway) it's hard to empathize with what seems like a manufactured plot device. And isn't this supposed to be a documentary?

In his interview with Kate Mulgrew, Shatner gets to touch on sacrifice again when she reminisces about her Voyager tenure as a single mother of two working impossible hours and not being able to be the mother she could have been. She also engages Shatner, in contrast to the schlocky shame/pride paraodx above, with a rather telling question of mortality. Turns out that Shatner is afraid of death and that he engages in work like making this film to help him feel more alive. This carries over into his discussions with Scott Bakula with whom he trades witticisms about, variously, the human soul, horses, and Broadway musicals. Out of all the captains, Bakula seems to be the most level-headed and down to earth. There are big egos and big personalities on display here and Scott just has that average Joe charm about him. Finally there is Chris Pine who is currently portraying Captain Kirk in the J.J. Abrams reboot of Star Trek. Oddly enough, he gets probably the smallest amount of time allotted despite playing a new version of Shatner's iconic character. There is some compare/contrast that occurs, but it seems like given the scope of what could have been discussed, Chris Pine gets a bit of a raw deal here.

I skipped over Avery Brooks for a reason. That reason is because Avery Books is crazy. His approach to answering William Shatner's interview-style questions is either to A) wax philosophical invoking some sort of quasi-beatnik urban spiritualism or, more often, B) grin steadily while playing some smooth jazz piano and riffing improvised lyrics with Shatner. It's one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen, but it's strangely harmonious. Brooks and Shatner are somehow, impossibly, on the same wavelength in these moments. I've only watched this on my Prime account, but I can only hope that on the DVD there might be extended footage from this "interview" because it's probably the best part of the film for sheer entertainment value; Avery is one cool cat.

The film feels a bit unfocused at times, but for the most part each captain gets their fair share. Aside from the interviews with the captains, some other Trek alumni make brief appearances including Jonathan Frakes, Robert Picardo, Rene Auberjonois, and others. Of special note is Christopher Plummer, a friend from early in Shatner's career who gets a decent Q&A. We also get some archival footage of the various incarnations of Trek and few snippets of a Star Trek convention where Shatner prowls around photobombing unsuspecting fans and calling every female cast member he meets "the most beautiful woman ever to appear in Star Trek." In some moments he seems to be offering casual disdain for the whole thing while in others he's gleefully feeding the frenzy as much for his own fulfillment as anyone else's. In the end this is a move that William Shatner made about himself and he brought the other captains along for a ride. It's not the deepest or even most honest documentary you're going to find about this franchise, but it's definitely a decent snapshot of its biggest personality. That, in and of itself, is something to see.

Final thoughts: Probably doesn't offer up anything hardcore Trekkies don't already know, but it's a nice supplement for the rest of us, especially those of us who want to know what goes on inside William Shatner's head these days.
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