Sci-Fi Movie Month: "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" Review

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Sci-Fi Movie Month: "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" Review

-- Rating: PG
Length: 113 min
Release date: Dec. 6, 1991
Directed by: Nicholas Meyer
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
"Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" is the sixth installment of the movie franchise for the classic science fiction television show. The film features the same iconic crew of the Starship Enterprise, including William Shatner as the indomitable Captain James T. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Spock, his Vulcan second-in-command and Nichelle Nichols as the beautiful Lieutenant Uhura.

The film opens on the night of Captain Kirk's retirement, but instead of relaxing and enjoying his last hours as commander of the Enterprise, Kirk is busy on a mission. With the help of his loyal crew member, McCoy, Kirk takes on the job of assassinating the Klingon High Chancellor. The pair are imprisoned on the savage alien world and forced to fight for their very survival while their friends back on the Enterprise must find a way to save them. More than just the lives of the Enterprise captain and his crew hang in the balance of this iconic 1991 film. The tentative balance between the fleet and the Klingon Empire hangs in the balance, which leads to some tense moments and tough decisions for the Enterprise crew.

William Shatner doesn't fail to deliver the witty lines and over-the-top action sequences his most famous character is known for. James T. Kirk is arguably the most legendary captain in the entire Star Trek franchise, rivaled only by Patrick Stuart's Captain Jean-Luc Picard. "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" is by far one of Shatner's most legendary performances, filled with even more tension and drama than his regular appearances in the show. Audiences who have followed Kirk from his days as a fledgling captain to becoming the most legendary leader of the fleet finally get to see what appears to be the close of a long and illustrious career. Kirk learns that there is always trouble to be found whether he's ready to retire from it all or not.

Kirk may be the leading man of his Star Trek run, but the supporting cast is second to none when it comes to popularity among fans. Spock, Uhura, McCoy and Scotty all return in some of the most memorable performances yet. After 70 years of bloodshed and conflict, the Klingon Empire has finally been backed into a corner by the imminent destruction of their world. In order to save themselves, they must grudgingly agree to a peace treaty with their long-time enemies in the Federation. As the Federation's most venerable members, Kirk and his remarkable crew are charged with making sure all goes as planned. Of course, nothing does and the Enterprise crew finds themselves balancing the fate of their world as well as their own lives.

Although this film came out in 1991, the special effects are far more impressive than earlier films in the franchise. Without sacrificing the enjoyable camp that the Star Trek franchise has become known for over the decades, "The Undiscovered Country" adds more depth to the series than any previous film. The film serves as a perfect segue into the much darker subsequent series, "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Audiences have always known that the Enterprise crew would die for one another, but their relationships are tested in new ways that add a fascinating layer of understanding to their dynamic chemistry.

Director Nicholas Meyer did plenty of things right with the first Enterprise crew's farewell journey. He manages to balance nostalgia with the excitement of a new cast and storyline to look forward to in the next installment of the franchise. Transition from one series to the next is a tall order for a series as beloved as Star Trek, but Meyer did it well. It helps that Gene Roddenberry, a long-time writer for the show, came on board to write the film with the help of actor Leonard Nimoy who knows the Enterprise crew better than anyone.

"Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" is a fast-paced farewell journey for some of the most iconic characters in science fiction history. The usual cast and crew do not disappoint with some of the most solid performances of their careers. While it might be hard for fans to let go of Captain James T. Kirk and the motley crew that turned into the gem of the Federation, the sixth film makes it a little easier to do so by wrapping up old storylines and giving plenty of hope for the future generation of the Enterprise. With excellent performances from a beloved crew, an intriguing script and an ending that even the most devoted Star Trek fans won't see coming, "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" gives the original Enterprise crew a worthy sendoff.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5