Newest Review: ... through Paramount Pictures in December 1991. It is available from Amazon for £4.75 DVD or £6.99 Blu-ray although there are many versio... more
The Last Crusade
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (DVD)
Member Name: Jake Speed
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (DVD)
Advantages: Nice farewell film
Disadvantages: Subtext is a bit clunky
"Two months ago," says Mr Spock (Nimoy). "A Federation starship monitored an explosion on the Klingon moon, Praxis. We believed it was caused by overmining and insufficient safety precautions. The moon's decimation means a deadly pollution of their ozone. They will have depleted their supply of oxygen in approximately 50 Earth-years. Due to their enormous military budget, the Klingon economy does not have the resources with which to combat this catastrophe. Last month, at the behest of the Vulcan ambassador, I opened a dialogue with Gorkon, Chancellor of the Klingon High Council." The Klingon Empire is shattered and broken and reluctantly decides to open negotiations with the Federation to secure peace and some much needed assistance. Captain Kirk (Shatner) and his crew are assigned the mission of escorting Chancellor Gorkon (David Warner), his battle commander General Chang (Christopher Plummer), and their entourage through Federation space. However, all does not go according to plan. Someone is out to sabotage the tentative and uneasy peace and Kirk himself is not happy at all with his mission. He absolutely hates Klingons - with good reason too after all they've put him through in the previous films! When the Enterprise appears to fire on the Klingon warship they are escorting and Chancellor Gorkon is assassinated, Kirk and Dr McCoy (DeForest Kelley) are sent to the prison planet Rura Penthe for crimes against the Klingon Empire and Spock has a very puzzling mystery indeed to solve if he is to save them and prevent war breaking out again.
While the subtext of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is none too subtle, in the capable hands of Nicholas Meyer this is a considerably more entertaining and satisfying film than The Final Frontier. Meyer keeps things moving along at a fair clip while once again making the film somewhat darker than the other Star Treks both in terms of the look and the mood of the picture. The Enterprise seems more shadowy and smaller here and there are distinct shades of grey in his treatment of the Federation - which is somewhat racist in its attitude to the Klingons and also militaristic. The gung ho Kirk is a dinosaur now and wonders what will happen to him and his generation now that a new era of peace seems to be sweeping the galaxy. "Captain's log, stardate 9522.6: I've never trusted Klingons, and I never will. I could never forgive them. It seems to me our mission to escort the Chancellor of the Klingon High Council to a peace summit is problematic at best. Spock says this could be an historic occasion, and I'd like to believe him, but how on earth can history get past people like me?" Not everything in Star Trek VI makes sense and there are plot holes you could fly a shuttlecraft through but there is much to enjoy here. Kirk (amusingly) fighting himself on Rura Penthe after supermodel Iman's yellow eyed shapeshifting alien Martia tries to deceive him, the zero gravity attack on the Klingons, Christopher Plummer gorging on the scenary as the Shakespeare-spouting General Chang, some spiffy space battles, and Kim Cattrall as the slinky Valeris (the Enterprise's new Vulcan navigator).
I like the way Spock here has to turn Sherlock Holmes to work out who was behind the sabotage attack on the Klingons. "An ancestor of mine maintained that when you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. If we did not fire those torpedoes, another ship did." Although the film did not have a huge budget the special effects and designs are much better than Star Trek V and it serves as a worthy swansong for the now rather old crew. The film is undeniably daft at times but fun and the humour feels far less shoehorned in than it was in the last film. The brisk pace - especially in the second half of the picture - means that one is never bored and it builds to a satisfying resolution and touching finale. When Kirk signs off with closing narration and the signatures of the cast appear for the last time together one by one across a star strewn background at the end of the picture there will be a lump in the throat of any Trekkie worth his salt. They have been put out to grass at last and handed the galaxy hopping baton over to Captain Picard. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is a worthy addition to the series and serves as nice farewell and finale for the characters we've come to love and know so well. At the time of writing you can buy a two disc version of this for about a fiver with an audio commentary by Nicholas Meyer and screenwriter Denny Martin Flinn, a text commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda, a tribute to DeForest Kelley, several making of featurettes, a documentary about the genesis of the Klingons, and interviews with the cast as they sign off on the last adventure for the original Star Trek crew.
Summary: Solid Star Trek entry