Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Christopher Plummer, Kim Cattrall, David Warner
Directed by: Nicholas Meyer
Written By: Nicholas Meyer, Denny Martin Flinn
Rating: PG (US) Running Time: 1 hr 43 min
The sixth, and last of the original crews Trek movies presents a problem for me. It’s generally considered by some to be one of the better movies in the franchise, and I can see why they would say that. It’s an interesting take on the end of the cold war, and the plot is mostly well constructed. It’s well acted too, and the effects are first-rate. I’ve just never cared for it all that much so before I’m chastised by a legion of angry Trekkie’s, let me try to explain why.
It’s an interesting blend of cold war influenced drama, a whodunnit and a jail break plot. It mostly works, but the pacing of these different elements didn’t seem to be in sync in my opinion. There are also several moments that just strain credibility to galactic levels.
Spock (Leonard Nimoy) places a tracking device on Kirk’s (William Shatner) back the size of a Zippo lighter! Kirk is then arrested by the Klingon’s, put on trial and sent to prison. At no point does ANYONE notice this clearly visible patch on his back!
On another occasion the Enterprise crew is flying through Klingon territory, and must for some weak reason, personally (no universal translator allowed) communicate with the Klingon monitoring base. So we see most of the bridge crew frantically flipping though multiple volumes of what must be the Klingon dictionary. Wait, what? The crew of the Enterprise have had iPads since the seventies TV show, but now they need books? Uhura also clearly botches the job, yet the Klingon’s still let the ship pass by.
Finally, and this one just irritates me every time I see it. The Enterprise has a galley! A bloody kitchen! We’ve got crew members making mashed potatoes for 400 people. What? Even in the original series they had replicators. Insert a Lego block into a slot and voila, brightly colored marshmallow pieces appear. Yum!
What really gets me about that kitchen scene though is the explanation as to why someone can’t just fire a phaser on a star ship. Lt. Valeris, a Vulcan (Kim Cattrall) grabs a phaser, and shoots a perfectly innocent pan of mash. This very un-Vulcan like behavior sets the security alarm off. She couldn’t just tell us what would happen? Chekov posed the initial question too. Shouldn’t HE KNOW THIS ALREADY!
The film is loaded with moments like this. Lazily written to get a quick reaction from the audience, and it just bothers me that the original crews last full adventure together resorted to these silly tricks.
If you’re willing to overlook the cheap tricks, and focus on the cold war inspired story this can be quite enjoyable. The visual effects are probably the best of the series, and it’s always fun to hang out with the original crew. This film’s story stands alone, and doesn’t require you to have watched the others in the series.
Boasting the best visual effects, and from what I saw, the best transfer to Blu-ray. I suggest a HD viewing at home. If your local theater was re-visiting this movie certainly try to catch that showing.
Worst scene for me:
The kitchen scene. See Above.
References: Rotten Tomatoes