A fun por­trait of favorite explorer

Los Angeles Times - - AT THE MOVIES - — Gary Gold­stein

As brainy, vi­tal and cap­ti­vat­ing as its epony­mous star, the doc “Bill Nye: Sci­ence Guy” should warm the hearts and minds of sci­ence lovers, weather en­thu­si­asts, en­vi­ron­men­tal watch­dogs and as­tron­omy buffs, all while in­spir­ing peo­ple to ask ques­tions and seek an­swers.

Di­rec­tors David Al­varado and Ja­son Suss­berg en­joy­ably pro­file Nye and his jour­ney from me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer to pop­u­lar PBS kids show host (his “Bill Nye, the Sci­ence Guy” ran for 100 episodes in the 1990s) and his cur­rent in­car­na­tion as a “sci­ence states­man.”

Al­though Nye re­mains a rock star for those who grew up on his TV se­ries, a class­room sta­ple, he now stays busy serv­ing as chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Plan­e­tary So­ci­ety (co-founded by the late as­tronomer Carl Sa­gan) and bat­tling the anti-sci­ence move­ment. To that end, Nye rous­ingly faces off here against creation­ist Ken Ham and me­te­o­rol­o­gist/cli­mate-change con­trar­ian Joe Bas­tardi.

But the film is not com­pletely blinded by sci­ence. It also peeks into the au­thor and some­times ac­tor’s per­sonal life, in­clud­ing his bonds with his brother and sis­ter, both of whom, un­like Nye, have hered­i­tary Ataxia, a neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­der. Nye’s ro­man­tic com­mit­ment is­sues, lack of off­spring and seem­ing need for the spot­light are also ad­dressed.

A trip to Green­land to study ice cores and the launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., of a so­lar-pow­ered space­craft add stir­ring vi­su­als to this fun, fast­paced por­trait. “Bill Nye: Sci­ence Guy.” Not rated. Run­ning time: 1 hour, 37 min­utes. Play­ing: Landmark Nuart The­atre, West L.A.

Lind­say Mann Struc­ture Films

FROM Earth to space, Bill Nye is al­ways teach­ing, al­ways in­spir­ing folks to ask ques­tions, seek an­swers.

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