To Be Takei
By Movie Critic Dave
George Takei represents different things to different people. For frequenters of Comicon extravaganzas all across the globe, he’s a pop icon renowned for his role as Captain Hikaru Sulu on three seasons and six films regarding the sci-fi classic, Star Trek. And to fans of his uncharacteristically popular Facebook page, Takei is an ingenious source of laughs on a daily basis. But for all of these various masks and titles that Takei proudly displays, the people closest to him are most thankful for George’s life as a pioneer in multiple civil rights movements.
In the documentary To Be Takei from filmmaker Jennifer M. Kroot, the audience is catapulted into the life and struggles of a true trailblazer. The feature exams many facets of Takei’s personal life, including his time as a Japanese-American youth placed in harsh internment camps following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and George’s secretive upbringing as a closet homosexual actor trying to make a name for himself in Los Angeles. For Takei, the road has never been easy, but he’s also never shied away from adversity.
For 90 entertaining minutes filled with laughter and sincerity, George and his now husband, but partner for 25 years, Brad Takei (formerly Brad Altman), dive into the inner workings of the aging performer’s life. We witness George’s outspoken stance on gay rights as well as his involvement in the newly released musical “Allegiance”, which details a Japanese-American man’s imprisonment by the U.S. government during the end of World War II. The musical closely resembles the Takei family’s hardships during one of our nation’s most heinous acts and is a remarkable source of passion for the multi-talented star.
To Be Takei not only focuses on these serious moral platforms which inhabit George’s life, it also ventures into his well-documented and long-lasting feud with former co-star, William Shatner. The documentary provides a first-hand look at the infamous rivalry and perhaps why it has escalated to such heights. Furthermore, To Be Takei briefly discusses George’s time and inclusion on Howard Stern’s wildly popular radio show. You truly learn everything there is to know about this amazing man and the movie is both hilarious and earnest in its storytelling.
Unlike many other documentaries, To Be Takei never feels too agenda-driven and instead works to transport the viewer into the brilliant life of George Takei. Sure its subject clearly has a motivation and message of spreading equality in all areas of life across the United States, but that’s merely because it’s what George Takei represents. To Be Takei is a joyous watch and something any fan will certainly enjoy.