As I’m sure you all know, last weekend actor Leonard Nimoy passed away at age 83. Rather than doing a tribute post, like I did with Robin Williams and JewWario, I’ve decided to try something a little different to honor Mr. Nimoy. As I’m sure you all know Mr. Nimoy is well known for playing Spock on in the Star Trek franchise, as such I’m reviewing a Star Trek movie that’s a favorite to many, myself included; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The film is based on an idea Mr. Nimoy had, which was “What if the Berlin Wall came down in space” to coincide with the real life events of the Cold War. The film was the last film to feature the cast of the original series, it was also dedicated to Star Trek’s creator Gene Roddenberry, who passed away before the movie was released.
The movie opens with the Klingon moon, Praxis, exploding without warning. The Federation starship Excelsior, commanded by Captain Hikaru Sulu, was struck by the shockwave and the crew discovered the moon has been completely destroyed. Back on Earth, Starfleet Command hold a meeting with both the top brass, and the soon-to-be retired Enterprise-A crew. The (unnamed) Commander-In-Chief informs everyone about the situation with the Klingon Empire, since Praxis’ destruction the Empire’s homeworld, Kronos’ ozone layer was thrown out of whack, and they’re no longer able to maintain their hostile footing, so they lobby for peace with the Federation. Both the C-in-C, and (also unnamed) President of the Federation agree, and Kirk and the Enterprise would serve as an olive branch between the two factions. Kirk accepts his final mission, but has reservations, since Klingons killed his son, David, years ago.
The crew heads off to the Enterprise, with their new helmsman (or helmswoman), a Vulcan named Lt. Valeris, a fresh faced cadet that trained under Spock, and prepped to be his replacement. The Enterprise meets with the Klingon chancellor, Gorkon, to escort him to Earth to discuss negotiations.
After a rendezvous between Enterprise and Gorkon’s battlecruiser they continue towards Earth, with the crews sharing a tense meal aboard Enterprise. Later that night, Enterprise appears to fire on the Klingon ship with a pair of photon torpedoes, disabling the ship’s artificial gravity. While this is happening, two figures wearing Starfleet EV suits and gravity boots beam aboard the Klingon ship and mortally wound Gorkon before beaming away. Kirk surrenders to avoid a fight, and beams aboard the Klingon ship with Doctor McCoy to try and save Gorkon’s life. The chancellor dies, and Gorkon’s chief of staff, General Chang, puts Kirk and McCoy on trial for his assassination. The pair are found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment on Rura Penthe. Gorkon’s daughter, Azetbur, becomes the new chancellor, and continues diplomatic negotiations; for reasons of security, the conference is relocated and the new location is kept secret. While several senior Starfleet officers want to rescue Kirk and McCoy, the Federation president refuses to risk full-scale war. Azetbur likewise refuses to invade Federation space, stating that only Kirk and McCoy will pay for her father’s death.
Kirk and McCoy arrive at the Rura Penthe mines and are befriended by a shapeshifter named Martia, who offers them an escape route; in reality, it is a ruse to make their arranged deaths appear accidental. Once her betrayal is revealed, Martia transforms into Kirk and fights him, but she is killed by the prison guards to silence any witnesses. Just as the prison warden reveals who set them up, Kirk and McCoy are beamed aboard Enterprise by Spock, who took command and started an investigation in Kirk’s absence.
Determining that Enterprise did not fire the torpedoes but that the assassins are still aboard, the crew begins looking for them. The two assassins are found dead, but Kirk and Spock trick their accomplice into believing they are still alive. When the culprit arrives in Sickbay to finish off the assassins, Kirk and Spock discover that the killer was Valeris. Spock mind-melds with Valeris to find the masterminds behind this whole conspiracy, and learns that a group of Federation, Klingon, and Romulan officials are trying sabotage the peace talks. Chang is one of the conspirators, and fired at Gorkon’s ship using a prototype Klingon Bird of Prey that can fire while cloaked.
The crew contacts Sulu, who informs them the conference is being held at Camp Khitomer. Both ships head for the talks at maximum warp. As Enterprise nears the planet, Chang’s cloaked Bird of Prey moves to intercept. With Enterprise unable to track his ship’s position, Chang inflicts severe damage on Enterprise and then Excelsior. At the suggestion of Uhura, Spock and McCoy modify a photon torpedo to home in on the exhaust emissions of Chang’s vessel, using equipment originally intended to study gaseous anomalies. The torpedo impact reveals Chang’s location, and Enterprise and Excelsior destroy the Bird of Prey in a flurry of torpedoes. Crew from both ships beam to the conference and halt an attempt on the Federation president’s life. Kirk pleads for those present to continue the peace process.
Having saved the peace talks, Enterprise is ordered back to Earth by Starfleet Command to be decommissioned, but the crew decide to take their time on the return voyage. As the Enterprise cruises towards a nearby star, Kirk gives his final log entry, stating that while him and his crew are stepping down, a new crew will follow their footsteps, and continue to boldly go where no man or no one has ever gone before.
And our movie ends with the cast literally signing off for the last time.
This was an outstanding movie, and a great way to send off the original cast. The film had something of political thriller feel to it, kind of like Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The acting from the cast, returning and new were excellent, though I didn’t really buy Kim Cattrall as a Vulcan. The music by Cliff Eidelman was wonderful, it was dark and mysterious, and was nice to listen to by itself, in fact while I was typing this, I just had the score playing in the background. All and all, Star Trek VI is an enjoyable watch, and I’d be hard pressed to tell you not to see it.
Were almost home, here’s one of the last hints for the Countdown To 100: Had it been given an official release, it’s competition would’ve been: Aliens, Top Gun, Transformers The (Animated) Movie, and ironically Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
RANK: 5 out of 5
Next we revisit another franchise in another Top 10. Until then, Live Long And Prosper.
In Memory of Leonard Nimoy (1938-2015)