"Anyone who follows George Takei on Facebook, has tuned in to his frequent appearances on “The Howard Stern Show,” or marveled at one of his amazing Amazon reviews (seriously, look them up), knows that the former “Star Trek” actor lives life with an unprecedented amount of zippy good humor, especially for a man well into his seventies. And this isn’t even taking into account his tireless humanitarian efforts, mostly on the subject of gay rights. For a tiny, elderly, Japanese man, he’s also an unstoppable force of nature. In the new documentary “To Be Takei,” it becomes clear that Takei is a man who defies expectations and subverts stereotypes at virtually every turn. It’s just a shame the movie wasn’t as progressive as its subject.
Most will remember Takei as Sulu from the original “Star Trek” series, helming the starship Enterprise during the entire television run and a half-dozen feature film spin-offs. That character was incredibly important to the Asian American community; to see a face like his in such a prominent role left a lasting impact on countless viewers (both B.D. Wong and John Cho, who would go on to play Sulu in the two J.J. Abrams-helmed “Star Trek” adventures, powerfully recall what it was like to watch him on the series). Takei was an important component to “Star Trek”-creator Gene Roddenberry’s rainbow coalition of space explorers and broke down a number of stereotypes when it came to how Asians were portrayed on television. Takei, after all, should have known, since he was responsible for some of those questionable portrayals, both on television and in a pair of iffy Jerry Lewis comedies."