Saturday, 5 July 2014

Takei - as in Okay

How have I missed this?

To Be Takei might not be your standard movie offering but I genuinely had no idea that there was a film purely focusing on the diverse life and experiences of Enterprise helmsman and Excelsior captain and all round top guy, George Takei.

Back in the nineties I grabbed a copy of his To the Stars autobiography and was surprised at the diverse ways in which his life had turned. I wasn't as enamored with it as I had been with both of Shatner's Memories books but I still found it to be a great read and full of wonderful anecdotes about George Takei.

Directed by Bill Weber and Jennifer M Kroot, the initial release of this biopic was January 2014 but it will now receive a universal release with the USA opening on (provisionally) August 22nd 2014

To Be Takei looks to place a lot of the material in that book onto the screen as well as more intimate details about Takei's life with partner Brad and more on the events that have taken place since the original publication of the book. George's rise to even greater levels of fame are clearly going to be explored here and I'd say that's the biggest change since he originally put pen to paper. The focus on his sexuality is a major piece here since it had to be "closeted" to ensure his career was a success in the early years while now it is openly and happily acknowledged.

As with Wil Wheaton, the coming of the digital age and the explosion of social media has provided George with a whole new audience as well as the ability for long-time Star Trek fans to follow his tweets, Facebook musings and Google+ highlights - damn it even my step-son follows him and he won't ever be found watching the teaser of a Voyager let alone the titles or anything thereafter. His material on any platform is very accessible to all ages and George has 100% hit the mark and the button which makes people interested in what he has to say whether it's over a weird meme or on gay rights for which he has become a major voice in the USA and dare we say, globally.

This trailer gives a fantastic journey into the original Sulu's life seeingly intercut with interviews from Nichelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, Walter Koenig, Bill Shatner and even the current Enterprise helmsman, John Cho, giving their thoughts on the popularity of Takei. Aside from the cast there are critics and journalists who join the fray to talk about his life from internment during the Second World War right up to today.

It looks like a stunning story and much expanded since the commitment to paper a while back and I'm genuinely excited to see the result which looks to hit just about every emotional tick-box you can imagine from pulling at your heart over his formative years through to the possibly comedic interactions we see with his partner, Brad at several points in this two minute trailer. 

Considering George Takei's meteoric rise in popularity in the last decade this could well be as surprise a hit as Star Trek (2009) but with a larger appeal to the general public who have warmed to the former Star Trek actor because of his seemingly endless and tireless activity and ambassadorial nature for gay rights in particular. Also, who can resist any of those memes he posts which reveal a very "smart humour" or some of the more hard hitting material that we see him share on his sites? For those people who aren't familiar with his background, To the Stars autobiography or his life away from Star Trek I guarantee this will be an absolute eye-opener and you'll instantly love the guy and follow his posts on whatever platform you choose to frequent.

Some time back there was a disproved rumour that Takei didn't operate his pages himself. The release of this movie should reinforce that he is behind the keyboard and takes a keen interest in his fans. As it's noted here in the trailer, no-one gets more positive reactions than Mr Sulu and this will be the icing on that very cake.

We'll be hoping to review the full movie as soon as it's released. Until then, here's the trailer...

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