Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) – Nicholas Meyer

 

It’s time for one final cruise with the original crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, as I continue my journeys with the Sci-Fi Chronicles book.

This time around the Klingons are in trouble, when one of their moons, Praxis, which was one of their key energy reserves, blows up. Unable to maintain the cost of their cold war with the Federation, they sue for peace. The envoys to represent the United Federation of Planets? Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and his crew, just months from their retirement.

With Captain Spock (Leonard Nimoy) vouching for Kirk, they meet the Klingon Chancellor, Gorkon (David Warner), as well as his aide, Chang (Christopher Plummer) to begin negotiations. But when Gorkon is assassinated, Kirk and McCoy (DeForest Kelley) are arrested for the murder, leaving Spock to figure out what is really going on, and discovering a conspiracy that reaches to the heights of both Starfleet, and the Klingon Empire.

Featuring a wonderful score by Cliff Eidelman, the Enterprise races to not only rescue Kirk and McCoy from the Klingon prison planet Rura Penthe, but also to stop another assassination, this time on the Chancellor’s daughter (Rosana DeSoto).

Knowing that this is the last time they will grace the screen, every one of the key cast gets a moment, including Hikaru Sulu (George Takei) finally assuming command of his own ship. Chekov, (Walter Koenig), Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and Scotty (James Doohan) all have moments to shine.

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But at its heart is the discussion of long held prejudices and hatreds on both sides, and the necessity to get beyond it and work together towards a mutual peace.

Are there goofs and plot holes, a few, but it is still a well crafted tale, and ends up being a very enjoyable send-off to the original crew. The sequences on Rura Penthe are my least favorite in the film, but I love the opening and closing, all of the things involving the negotiations, and confrontations between the Enterprise and their Klingon counterparts. And I LOVE this iteration of the much beloved bridge.

There are moments of humor interspersed with the bigger themes at work in the story, and it truly is wonderful to see these treasured characters together one last time. Meyer solidly directs the film, working from a screenplay he had a hand in alongside Denny Martin Flinn. It’s a political thriller, a murder mystery, and space opera, all mixed together as only Trek can do it.

As the film wraps up, we get our final goodbyes, an update of the Space, The Final Frontier speech, and the Enterprise flies instead of rides into the sunset.

I still remember seeing this one in the theater, it was one of those moments that just stick with you, especially as you hear the opening strains of Eidelman’s dark score. In the end, I would rank them I (I just love this one so much, and there’s a huge nostalgia value for me to it), II, IV, VI, III and V. All of them have moments I love, and I always love my travels on the Enterprise, and thanks to the Sci-Fi Chronicles, there’s still a few more coming up for me to write about.

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