As brainy, vital and captivating as its eponymous star, the documentary “Bill Nye: Science Guy” should warm the hearts and minds of science lovers, weather enthusiasts, environmental watchdogs and astronomy buffs, all while inspiring viewers 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 smart/silly “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 among millennials and others 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 sometime 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 in Cape Canaveral, Fla., of a solar-powered spacecraft add stirring visuals to this fun, fast-paced portrait.
‘Bill Nye: Science Guy’
Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes
Playing: Landmark Nuart Theatre, West L.A.