Monday, January 16, 2023

Shatner Watch: Star Trek II and Shatner in Austin


O Captain!  My Captain!

Watched:  01/15/2023
Format:  uhhhh....  we watched the movie on a screen and then Shatner was there!  Right in front of us!
Viewing:  Movie - 1,000th, Shatner - First
Director:  Nicholas Meyer/ No one tells Bill what to do

I won't comment too much on the actual movie of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982).  It was watching the movie with a 1000 people in an symphony hall.  Correction - watching it with 1000 Trekkies and Trekkers.  Both you and I have seen this movie dozens of times.  I will say this - it's easy to forget what Kirstie Alley was like on the big screen, but she certainly was a presence (RIP and good golly).  And, of course, seeing the ship-to-ship combat on the big screen is always a pleasure and needs to be more of what Star Trek does when it's not Strange New Worlds-ing.

It's also remarkable how many people from the film have now passed.  Just this last year we lost Kirstie Allie and the great Nichelle Nichols.  But Nimoy, DeForest Kelly, Doohan, Merritt Butrick, Montalban, Bibi Besch (who I just realized is the mother of Samantha Mathis), Paul Winfield...  all gone.

Watching the film with 1000 Trekkies is also an experience in itself.  And as I have not been in many crowds in roughly 3 years, it took me a minute to click to "oh, right.  Trekkies." as the people around me quoted along with the movie - sometimes before the line, sometimes along with, or... sometimes after?  But yes.  And of course really enjoying a movie only the way you can when you've committed large parts of your brain specifically to that movie.  Anyway - it's very good I know the movie so well myself, or I'd lose my mind.  In this case - it was just part of the experience.

Making my present for Simon look like absolute garbage, Simon got us third row tickets, dead center.  I was looking directly up at Shatner when he took the stage post movie.  He's a wildly spry 91.  You'd mistake him for a man in his 60's.  My understanding is that he would tell many of the same tales if you saw him before, but as we left, the folks around me commented that it was all new stuff.  His trip to space with Blue Origin absolutely made the already brilliant and erudite man more reflective.  

It's worth noting that Kirk is one of my original childhood heroes that I've never lost fondness for.  Arguably, I have been trying to have Kirk's haircut since high school.  

just look at that masterpiece of coiffurnicity

The audience were able to submit questions, and, yes - "Simon from England" was our own SimonUK, indeed.  Simon and I exchanged a very knowing nod of his earned street cred when the question was asked.  

I think Shatner has done a good job in the past two decades or more of proving he's not just Captain Kirk.  Kirk has allowed him to a life of exploration, both of our world and within.  The journey to our planet's edge and beyond may have cemented those two journeys into one.  His thoughts on what it means to be and exist and the interconnectedness of all living things is beyond spiritual and quite lovely.

I was expecting an entertaining evening, but it was a remarkable one in many ways.  Shatner has been working Con-crowds for decades, he knows how to tell a story - even if its not the story that answers the questions he's being asked.  Or it seems a long walk to get to the point (same, Bill, same).  But it was *inspiring* in a way I did not know was coming.  He's done so much and wisely lived a life of inquiry, saying "yes" whenever he could, that he might boldly go.  

His message about our fragile earth is one I believe in.  I might not have the same point of view - I have not been to space, the Himalayas, all around the world... but I am grateful for his perspective.  

Anyway - a night to remember.  And it was my Christmas gift from Simon, so I need to find something else to throw in the bag with my frankly unimpressive present to try to level the playing field a bit.

Bill wows the crowd

Bill and moderator Lars Nilsen of Austin Film Society

All in all, a great night.  Thanks, Si!


Stuart said...

What was Simon's question?

The League said...

Simon asked what other roles Shatner wished he had opportunity to play. Shatner have a very full response, which was "I've done so much, there's no room for regrets, just what I'll do next".