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original title: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
duration: 1h 50min
tags: The battle for peace has begun
keywords: malealien, type2phaser, ship'ssurgeon, pavelchekovcharacter, ltnyotauhuracharacter, scottycharacter, sulucharacter, spockcharacter, sarekcharacter, jamestkirkcharacter, klingoncharacter, fatherdaughte
The mystery becomes one of those clever little stories of detective fiction (Meyer and the writers were apparently inspired by Sherlock Holmes), while there's some good contemplation going on about past wounds open (i.e. Kirk's son's death by Klingon) and going gently into that good night. Hence, as mentioned, a bit like Indy 4. But unlike Spielberg's film, this one sometimes gets sluggish midway through with the plotting, and of course the acting isn't always that great (Kim Cattrall works well at one beat, which here is being, well, Vulcan). Yet there's lots of excitement and suspense, the dialog often works much better than it ought to, and we even get a couple of classic visuals from the franchise: the attack scene on the gravity-deprived Klingon ship from the two 'people' in the spacesuits, and the sight on the surface of the snow-covered blizzard planet (that latter image stuck with me for many years after first seeing the film in the theater as a kid).
Is it a great Trek film? Maybe not quite as successful as 2, 3 and 4, but more-so on par with the first film. Which, in a way, is fitting: wrapping around the original series saga makes for a little emotional viewing, but its fought back by some quality entertainment (and, of course, Spock and McCoy always kick ass, even in limited capacities this time around). This is probably my favorite film in the series; I actually saw this on opening weekend (I remember fans in full Klingon uniform showing up) and then again 3 more times while it was in the theater. I was never really "into" Star Trek except very mildly until I saw this film but after seeing it I started watching the show on TV as well as revisiting the other films in the series. I still think this one holds up the best of all upon watching it on DVD today, because it combines the humorous character appeal of the fourth film with the more serious action/vengeance theme of the second film. Christopher Plummer's Chang is an excellent Klingon opponent for Captain Kirk (William Shatner), almost as compelling as Montalban's Khan from the second film. This one also gives many opportunities for our favorite crew members to do humorous and exciting things, the best of which is undoubtedly George Takei's Sulu finally being given command of his own ship and at one point rescuing the Enterprise! And like the fourth film and most episodes of the original show this one has a strong message; it improves somewhat on "The Voyage Home" by presenting that message through allegory. Not that it's at all subtle that we're supposed to see the Klingons as analogous to the Soviets; I think that's what they were all along and it's beautiful that this film was being made during "Glasnost" because it allowed Star Trek to wrap up its longest running story in the final film in a way that actually had relevance to real world events of the time. And it also joins the film series up very neatly with Next Generation, which had already showed us a Klingon living at peace with the Federation for several seasons but never explained how the reconciliation occurred. As a I remember the early sequence with the assassination of Chancellor Gorkin (David Warner, who worked with director Meyer on "Time After Time") was really impressive at the time of its release, really state-of-the-art FX. I was hooked right away from that scene. I think it's got a great pace. I like the way Spock (Land the others on the ship find ways to "sabotage" their mission so they can remain and help Kirk and McCoy escape from the Klingon prison. The scene where Kirk is kissed by the alien and McCoy asks "What is it with you, anyway?" is hilarious, a good example of how Meyer has used the self-conscious character-motivated humor from the fourth film to enhance this somewhat more serious story. And I also like Spock's relationship with the new Vulcan on the ship, Valeris (Kim Cattral). But the greatest scenes are the two primary scenes between Spock and Kirk, and I commend the film-makers for pushing their hero into the scary and potentially alienating territory of racial prejudice. Shatner has explored this territory before, in Roger Corman's exceptional "The Intruder," and his performance is chilling when he says of the Klingons: "Let them die!" Having a popular and powerful character like Captain Kirk serve as the mouthpiece for this hatred and racism makes the scenario disturbingly real and immediate. As Chang (Plummer) says, "in space all warriors are cold"; the two old warriors are ill at ease with the process of peace. Chang chides Kirk: "admit it, don't you prefer it this way?" as he prepares to begin a deadly space battle from which only one of them will survive