I couldn’t believe my good fortune when I got to see Nicholas Meyer’s introduction to the Director’s Cut of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan on my birthday, and then to see him the next day at one of the fascinating Trek Talks being hosted by the TIFF Bell Lightbox in celebration of the series 50th Anniversary, I was struck by what a great sense of humor he has, and also, something I had figured out from his films, a great storyteller.
So I was delighted to get my hands on a copy of his memoirs, which focus specifically on Trek II and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, because if his talks were any indication of what to expect from his book, I knew I would be both entertained, and informed.
The View from The Bridge did not disappoint, Meyer doesn’t hold court in his memoir, it feels more akin to, what I imagine, would be an evening spent in his company trading stories. There’s a humble honesty in the way he reveals the details of his life in film. I recognize myself in the love of film, and lit up at shared interests and cinematic loves.
While most of the book focusses on his work on Trek II & VI, as well as his hand in the script for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, we get a broad overview of his early days, as well as his other films, and writings, including the still entertaining science fiction film, Time After Time.
From a regrettable encounter with Gene Roddenberry during the making of VI, to introducing Tom Hanks to his future wife, Rita Wilson on the set of Volunteers, this book is a brilliant, fun, entertaining read, with the only one complaint. It reads so quickly, and is only 263, that it flies by, and whetted the appetite for more, when there was nothing to follow it up with.
Knowing Meyer is in town here working on the new Star Trek series, Discovery, fills me with great hope, not only knowing that the series is in good hands, but also, just maybe, I can bump into him again sometime. This is a gentleman I want to sit down and chat film, novels and stories with. He knows how to tell them, whether in person, or on the page to be translated to screen.
If you aren’t into Trek, don’t be put off by the title, this one comes across as essential reading for film buffs, and makers. It gives an insight into the business, as well as the creative and corporate forces behind it. It does it in an easy, accessible way, with Meyer being self-effacing and seemingly oblivious to the effect that he’s had on countless filmgoers the world over.
Loved this book!