How William Shatner Changed the World
(Discovery Channel Canada)
Fans of William Shatner may be disappointed to learn that this documentary’s true subject is not reflected in its name. While the former Captain Kirk does narrate the film (originally made for TV’s Discovery Channel), the movie’s less about Shatner’s global impact, more about the influence of the Star Trek franchise. This influence, the film asserts, is remarkably far-reaching. Writer-director Julian Jones and co-writer Alan Handel argue that Star Trek’s futuristic communicators, medical equipment, computers and space travel inspired much modern technology, including cell phones, QuickTime and space probes. But the documentary’s not particularly well-structured. Jones starts out with an intriguing argument, then embarks upon too many tangents to adequately prove his own thesis. We visit with astronauts, doctors, inventors, space engineers, Star Trek researchers and actor Jonathan Frakes, and are taken through a slap-dash chronology of the rise and fall of various Star Trek series. It’s interesting, but there’s too much to process. That said, hammy Shatner brings his A-game, so the movie’s still fun to watch. Speaking of the doctor on the original Star Trek, Shatner brandishes a salt shaker and declares, “McCoy was really worth his salt.” That certainly changed my world.