DVD Review: THE CAPTAINS written & directed by William Shatner

I just watched William Shatner’s THE CAPTAINS. Oh My God!

It is jaw dropping unbelievable. It’s like a god damn train wreck. Avery Brooks either has dementia or is on a different dimension (and I say that with no joy, being a huge Avery Brooks fan, but yeah his portions are cringe inducing), Shatner is attacking and trying to make Kate Mulgrew and Patrick Stewart cry. He’s openly jealous and arm wrestling Chris Pine. The only one he kinda gets along with is Scott Bakula, and mostly because Bakula feeds into his ego, and the rest of the episode is William Shatner going down memory lane and shamelessly looking for compliments at every turn.

It really is painful to watch at times, and I say that, also being a huge fan of William Shatner. That said, when Shatner’s ego and showmanship gets out of the way, it’s good viewing. The convention riff at the end is a lot of fun. And there is some good moments between Stewart and Shatner. And good revelations between Mulgrew and Shatner.

All in all, train-wreck moments aside, it’s incredibly important what Shatner has written and directed here. The cringe worthy moments accepted, endured, fast forwarded… at the end of the day, we’re all better for Shatner having immortalized these reminisces. In many ways it’s William Shatner’s last word on the iconic character he created.

Shatner a man perhaps feeling distinctly his mortality, making a concrete capper to his career and his life. Much of this is a vanity project, an auto-biography of self, window dressed as an interview with others. William Shatner utilizes the other actors to tell his story.

William Shatner trying to immortalize his place in this enduring mythology called Star trek, to not be lost in this new Christopher Pine age. So on that level, THE CAPTAINS is at heart a very selfish vanity project.

However, that said, Shatner does his homework, and does allow actors to come to terms and discuss arguably the most iconic role of their respective careers. And it does, by weight of just the actors involved, become a bit of cinematic history, as none of the actors are getting any younger and this film is arguably the last time all six of the actors who played the role of Captain will ever share a film together.

And to have William Shatner helm such a meeting, well… all things said… who has more right to do so.

It deserves at least a rental, and for those who count themselves as fans, possibly a purchase. It’s worth a look and has by its very nature become something that will, its relative quality issues aside, stand the test of time. Forty years from now when only Chris Pine, and the captains that follow him remain, people will dig out this film, to find out who Shatner and Stewart and Brooks and Mulgrew and Bakula were.

And if that is Shatner’s gift to himself and his family, at the end of the day, it’s also a gift to us, a gift to posterity. There are worse gifts to get.


Maurice Broaddus is the editor of the acclaimed DARK FAITH anthology (Nebula, Bram Stoker, and Black Quill nominated, with the 2nd one on the way)as well as the writer of the THE KNIGHTS OF BRETON series. He in addition is a prolific short story and non-fiction writer. And given all his responsibilities he was kind enough to play hooky long to provide the following great answers to my inane questions. Enjoy!
— HT

And for those of you new to Maurice Broaddus he has a pretty wild bio. It’ll put a smile on your face. Here’s part of it:

“Maurice Broaddus is an exotic dancer, trained in several forms of martial arts–often referred to as “the ghetto ninja”–and was voted the Indianapolis Dalai Lama. He’s an award winning haberdasher and coined the word “acerbic”. He graduated college at age 14 and high school at age 16. Not only is he credited with inventing the question mark, he unsuccessfully tried to launch a new number between seven and eight.

When not editing or writing, he is a champion curler and often impersonates Jack Bauer, but only in a French accent. He raises free range jackalopes with his wife and two sons … when they are not solving murder mysteries.

The way he sees is, as a fiction writer, he’s a professional liar.”

That’s only the beginning, it gets a lot better, read the whole thing at his website bio link listed at the bottom of this post. It’s hilarious. Now without further ado, onto the questionnaire…

HT: What is your favorite genre or genres?

MB: I’m a huge fan of the crime genre. Walter Moseley, Elmore Leonard, George Pelecanos, when I’m reading for fun, this is typically what I’m reading.

HT: What is the favorite thing you’ve written?

MB: The favorite thing that I’ve written might be a story called “Dream Weaver”. It was among the first five stories I ever wrote. It’s completely unpublishable. I’d have to rewrite it from scratch for it to even see the light of day. But I have an odd fondness for it. As for stuff actually published, it’s all upcoming. A three way tie between “The Cracker Trap” (in an upcoming issue of Shroud Magazine), “Under a Concrete Hill” (in an upcoming issue of Bull Spec magazine), or Lyta’s Dance (a children’s fantasy book that is currently being illustrated).

HT: Name 5 classic or genre writers who inspire or impress or influence you?

MB: Toni Morrison. Neil Gaiman. Michael Chabon. Kelly Link. Jeffrey Ford.

HT: Name some current or new writers, whose work you’ve recently read or discovered and that blew you away.

MB: N.K. Jemison. Saladin Ahmed. Ekaterina Sedia. Genevieve Valentine.

HT: Name 2 or 3 of your favorite horror short stories.

MB: Jack Ketchum’s “The Box”. Gary Braunbeck’s “Rami Temporales”.

[I had never read either of these stories, but you can read Gary Braunbeck’s story here!]

HT: Anthologies are usually theme based, so you have your Poe anthologies, or Lovecraft etc. If you could do a short story for such an anthology, if you could decide/choose, what would the anthology be about?

MB: I actually have the luxury of doing an anthology. Dark Faith (Apex Books) explores the intersection of faith and genre as I had fantasy, horror, and science fiction authors write stories that turned on the idea of faith (no matter what that looked like). After the success of the first one, I’m currently putting together Dark Faith 2.

Dark Faith: Price Your Copy Here!

HT: Name 5 Favorite films, horror or otherwise.

MB: Do the Right Thing, Pulp Fiction. L.A. Confidential. Big Fish. Blazing Saddles. Amelie, Good luck trying to piece together my personality based on that list!

HT: What do you think can or should be done to get more writers of color producing genre fiction?

MB: I think we’re on an exciting cusp of writers of color exploding on the scene. As I was coming up, I could point to Chester Himes, Charles Saunders,Octavia Butler, Samuel Delany, or Tananrive Due. But as I look around, we see the success of N.K. Jemison, Chesya Burke, Wrath James White, Nnedi Okafora, L.A. Banks, Linda Addison, Kaaren Lord, Nisi Shawl, (and I’m just scratching the surface). As more folks see that it can and, more importantly, IS being done, more will pursue it.

HT: While book sales have been steadily declining, specialty presses such as Subterranean and Centipede Press continue to sell out of their lavishly illustrated, high quality tomes/reissues of writers of weird fiction. Proving that even in the age of ebooks there is an unlessened demand for collectible books with spot illustrations and/or art-books. So keeping this in mind a/what are some of your favorite book covers and b/what artist would you like to do a cover and spot illustrations for one of your books?

MB: I’ve been blessed to have artists like Steve Stone (the Knights of Breton Court urban fantasy series) and Steve Gilberts (my horror novella, Devils Marionette, as well as the art accompanying my story “Rainfall” in the recent issue of Cemetery Dance) illustrate my work. That being said, I’d love to have a cover done by John Picacio.

[Steve Stone’s cover for KNIGHTS OF BRETON COURT III is fantastic!!]

HT: And finally in closing with a little less than 11 months left in 2012, what are you looking forward to?

MB: I’m such a fanboy, I’m looking forward to The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers movies!

MB, Great answers! Thanks for taking the time to provide these informed and insightful responses. Lots of stuff even I haven’t tried. But I’ve created a bunch of links to get myself and other interested readers up to speed. Thanks and look forward to reading your upcoming stories and books!

Oh and one more bit from MB’s bio:

“Speaking of which, he’s married to the lovely Sally Jo and spends as much time possible with his two sons, Maurice the Second (giving him an excuse to retroactively declare himself “Maurice the Great”) and Malcolm X (named before realizing his son would be blond and blue eyed).”

Come on! That’s hilarious! 🙂

To read his complete bio, and more hilarity go here!

And to purchase any of his books in e-format go here!

Unless you’re an old fashioned paper guy like me, in that case go Here to buy his books!

And tell’em HT sent ya! And HELLS COMING WITH ME!!! oh… sorry. Just re-watched TOMBSTONE and I’m all hyped up! 🙂

p.s. the schedule for the other MONARCHS OF MAYHEM has changed because these posts take a LONG DARN TIME to do! So yeah will need to space these out a bit more. But keep your eyes peeled (what exactly does that saying even mean?!) for the next wacky, fun, hernia inducing installment!!

Later Gator!!!