This blog usually focuses on movies I saw in the theater in the 80s, but I watched Star Trek VI (1991) recently and would like to digress.
Litigate, suckas. I hadn't seen it in years and was due for a revisit.
My main thoughts:
A) Captain Von Trapp played an awesome Klingon. Look it up and be as impressed as I was to learn that it was Christopher Plummer's idea to go bald and dial back the prosthetics.
Bless his homeland forever.
B) The murder mystery plot was solid. We hadn’t seen this before, and it was nice to detour from the standard story of the maniacal dude bent on domination/revenge.
C) DeForest Kelley was obviously having a great time. That guy always delivered the goods, and he was particularly fun to watch in this one.
My only beefs:
A) The movie suffers a bit from Let's-Give-Everyone-A-Line-To-Read-One-After-The-Other Syndrome. If I were a director, I'd make sure that characters in ensemble scenes talked over each other. Just like in real life. With their mouths full.
B) Kirk and much of Starfleet were way too prejudiced in this movie.
Shatner agrees. And to hear him tell it, he wanted to make it evident, by Kirk's expression, that there was immediate regret at saying, "Let them (the Klingons) die!" Director Nicholas Meyer was supposed to edit the scene so that it came across this way – even promising Shatner that he would do so – and didn’t. The stinkin' liar.
For me, it was just too difficult to buy that our hero would be such a full-on Captain Jerk. Sure, his son had been killed. But that was by renegades, not by an empire. He knew this. Now if the good captain had just recently discovered that his ex-lover, Carol Marcus, had died (as an earlier script draft had stated) then yeah ... rant away, Cap’n!
But as it stood, Kirk's crappy attitude made him less of a hero, and deflated much of the brotherly bond that had been built up so mightily between him and Spock in the previous installments. They roasted marshmallows together in Yosemite, for Gorn's sake!
But what do I know? I guess bitter, bigoted Kirk still served the story pretty well, and the eventual come-back-around that Kirk enjoyed with his Vulcan pal did give us the classic Spock line—
“Is it possible that we two, you and I, have grown so old and so inflexible that we have outlived our usefulness?"
And lessons were learned … in the 23rd Century. I watched the closing credits satisfied.
Still, that doesn't stop me from considering these fun What-Could-Have-Beens:
· COOL IDEA! Jack Palance was in the running to play a Klingon, but opted to be in City Slickers (1991) instead. An Oscar-winning choice on his part, but wouldn’t the galaxy have been a much better place with a Jack Palance Klingon? (The answer is “Yes.”)
|Kim Cattrall in Mannequin (1987)|
· COOL IDEA! The female Vulcan should’ve been Saavik instead of ... Mannequin. This way, the conspiracy revelation would've been much more shocking and impactful. But there was some blah blah about Meyer not wanting to ruin the Saavik character, and that she was on Vulcan anyway—with Spock's baby(!), after one of his Genesis Planet episodes with pon farr. (Not to be confused with Jamie Farr.)
· COOL IDEA! Captain Kirk getting killed while saving the president would’ve been a much better death than a bridge collapse. Sacrificing himself for the future—what a way to go, right? They could’ve easily time-traveled their way into a Kirk/Picard meeting later. Screw the Nexus.
SPOILER ALERT over.
Despite these missed opportunities, Star Trek VI was still a great way to wrap up the series with all of the original crew.
I welcome your own thoughts on this important matter.