February 25, 2024

William Shatner He’s lived quite a life, and that’s not just because he’s 91 years old. For what he has done with his time on this earth and how he approaches everything, big and small, with wonder. He wants to be a tree. Yes, yes, a tree. (More on that later.) As the screen legend reflects on his life, he looks back on more than just what. has happened, but what will happen-or not when we die. The documentary You called me Bill It’s a vessel for your deepest thoughts, insecurities, questions and curiosities about the Hollywood icon’s life.


It’s not a “documentary” documentary, but rather feels more like TED Talks or some fancy university philosophy lecture than a true tribute to the star. Unlike typical documentaries, we never see Shatner in his normal life, nor do we feel like we are “following” him through his life. There is no shaky camera at a weird angle as Shatner tries to capture the moment while not realizing the camera is in front of him. We don’t see him interacting with her anyone. Not family, not friends, not strangers. We don’t, surprisingly, have conversations with people who know him to know how others perceive him. This is just Bill, from start to finish, in an office-style chair in an empty studio. Bill and his inner thoughts and musings. Speaking directly.

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Director Alexandre O. Philippe It creates a bare, but unique environment here. It may not have the panache of a typical documentary filmmaker, but this little insight is in line with one of the main themes that fascinates Shatner: masks. Not the masks of COVID, not the masks of Halloween, but the masks we use — intentionally and unintentionally — in different situations and with different people. “Every human being is limited by what they are,” Shatner explains in part of the documentary that explores that notion. “I think everyone is wearing a mask. We all, until you take it off, we all hold a mask many times to many people. We are holding that mask I I think it’s what we expect they think I want them to realize that what they are thinking about me is true.’

The reflective documentary provides glimpses into the Emmy winner’s personal and professional life. He did not have a close or loving relationship with his parents, especially to his surprise, his mother. That, along with struggles at school and identity struggles (navigating life as a jock and a playboy), made for a difficult upbringing in Montreal. Although he found solace in the cinema, he would tell stories and move people to tears on stage. Of course, he will forever be best remembered for playing Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series in 1966 for nearly 80 episodes and seven films.

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Shatner knows he just didn’t have it play Kirk, but that he always will be Kirk to many people. And he owns it. The love and appreciation for the character and his fans is admirable. (This entire documentary was actually made using Legion M’s “Fan-First Financing”, meaning 1,200 fans are the reason this project exists in the first place.) George Lucas‘ AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, he scoffed Star Trek and Star Wars space showdown and thought he was speaking not at a tribute to Lucas, but at a Star Trek convention. Needless to say, the audience enjoyed the fact that it didn’t take itself too seriously.

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But what he takes seriously is the Earth and everything that is and will be on it. Shatner seems most passionate when he talks about the environment and how humans, the extraordinary creatures that we are, are simultaneously improving and destroying the only home we’ve ever known. It’s interesting how the documentary has nothing to do with Shatner per se, but with what fascinates him and keeps him up at night. The wonder of life, the Earth, death and all its traces are what time thinks of above all. Shatner’s eloquent cadence that we all know and love helps soften the blow of his sharp ways of dealing with delicate subjects. “The occasion of your death makes no sense,” is just one of dozens of philosophical and thoughtful lines he ponders, and hopes audiences of all ages will too. This is not to instill fear or dread, but to remind others how precious life really is.

At the beginning of the documentary, he sets up what has allowed him to get to where he is now, a 91-year-old man who recently went into outer space and starts riding his horse every morning and has never felt more creative or energetic. . He lives with the priority to “nurture the inner child”, to arouse curiosity, wonder and mysticism even with the most ordinary or ordinary activities. “Like you get a job, and like you get married, or have children. You get caught up in the demands of life and that curiosity is generally taken away from you, in school, in life. You lose your curiosity.’ Because he has made a conscious effort to keep that muscle of curiosity strong, he believes it has helped him live such a rich life. That and his “living in the now” mindset.

But what about that business that wants to be a tree? The film nicely resolves Shatner’s story with what he wants to happen when he dies. He plans to bury his ashes with a red oak tree in California so that he can physically be there and then return to Earth and help. William Shatner, uh bill It is the walking or riding definition of “older and wiser”, and You called me Bill it shows that While fans may want a more traditional “follow me” documentary, where he dives into all things Captain Kirk, this gentle, contemplative side is as deep as the legacy he’ll leave behind.

Rating: B+

You called me Bill It premiered at the SXSW Film Festival.

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