You have to really like William Shatner to get aboard ‘You Can Call Me Bill’

You have to really like William Shatner to get aboard ‘You Can Call Me Bill’ - World - News

Delving Deep into the Mind of William Shatner: A Philosophical Journey Through Life and Legacy

William Shatner, the legendary actor best known for his iconic role as Captain James T. Kirk in “Star Trek,” has reached a stage in life where he can fondly poke fun at himself and his famous persona. In the new documentary, “William Shatner: You Can Call Me Bill,” the 93-year-old actor indulges in an introspective monologue on life, death, and legacies.

The film, which could have been titled “The World According to Bill,” is a one-sided conversation between Shatner and director Alexandre O. Philippe, with no third-party voices or reminiscing about people he has known throughout his career. Instead, this philosophical conversation covers life and the impending death, interspersed with clips from Shatner’s one-man shows and career highlights, ranging from his lesser-known film and TV roles to his nearly six-decade association with “Star Trek.”

During their thought-provoking exchange, Shatner shares insights on the cosmos’ miraculous nature, his lifelong dedication to nurturing his inner child, and his commitment to living in the present. While this approach offers a personal and intimate look at Shatner, including his emotional response to traveling into space on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin flight in 2021, the film lacks context about the actor or any mention of controversies and criticisms in his life.

For instance, there’s no discussion of the criticism he faced from “Trek” co-stars or his interactions with the devoted “Star Trek” fanbase. There’s also no mention of the infamous “Saturday Night Live” sketch where he famously snapped at convention attendees, urging them to “Get a life.”

Charitably, “You Can Call Me Bill” offers fans an opportunity to connect with the man behind their favorite screen character beyond his on-camera roles. This includes his professional inspirations, such as Laurence Olivier and Marlon Brando, and personal insights gained throughout his long life.

However, for an actor who has led his crew boldly into the unknown, “You Can Call Me Bill” disappointingly does not explore the extensive access to Shatner’s life and thoughts as thoroughly or profoundly as one might expect.

“William Shatner: You Can Call Me Bill” premieres in select theaters on March 22, 2023.