Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Review
After the major disappointment that was Star Trek V it was a distinct possibility that the franchise had finally taken its last voyage, at least with the original cast. But then true Trekkers knew the curse of the odd numbers so we all held out hope that with VI on the way the trend would be followed and we would be treated to Star Trek at its best. We were further reassured by the announcement that Nicholas Meyer would be directing. After all he had directed the best Trek movie to date (II) and had writing credit for the second best (IV). So with everything crossed we waited .... until 1991. Were we disappointed?
Capt. Sulu (George Takei) is on the bridge of his first command, the USS Excelsior. Whilst charting gaseous anomalies on the far side of the Galaxy the Excelsior is caught in the shockwave of a massive explosion. Investigation soon leads them to the cause, a major “incident” on the Klingon moon Praxis. Two months later and the Federation are in secret peace talks with the Klingons, whose economy, vastly overspent on its military might, cannot afford the consequences of the disaster. Despite many dissenting voices on both sides, Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise are sent to escort Klingon Chancellor Gorkon (David Warner) through Federation space to the official peace conference. However peace is not in everyones interest and soon Kirk and Bones are on trial for their lives, and Spock and the crew have to uncover a treacherous conspiracy with the fate of the Federation hanging on the outcome.
So, was I disappointed? In a word; NO. The Undiscovered Country is classic Trek and I loved it. From the thrilling opening to the exhilarating climax it grabs your attention and pulls you on a magnificent ride. The bad memory of Star Trek V was just that; a bad memory. Much of the credit for this has to go down to Meyer and Leonard Nimoy (Spock) who was responsible for the initial idea and executive produced. The story was clearly inspired by events on earth at that time. The falling of the Berlin Wall, Chernobyl, global warming, depletion of the ozone layer, all these world events provided the skeleton on which the Trek universe could be hung. The excellent plot seems also to have inspired the cast who all turn in impeccable performances. Until the Borg arrived on the scene the Klingons provided an admirable foe, and in General Chang (Christopher Plummer) that tradition is continued. Indeed Plummer proves that top-notch acting can improve any genre and relishes the chance to chew up the scenery with his Shakespeare quoting duplicitous military leader. Kim Catterall shows her early promise as Lt. Valeris the Vulcan flight officer, and the sharp eyed among you may spot Michael Dorn (Worf) and Christian Slater in small roles.
Star Trek VI certainly put the franchise firmly back on track and demonstrated one thing clearly; a good story will always be watchable..Oh and always involve Nick Meyer in any future Trek movies. His track record is 3-0.