Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Stars William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy and is Directed by Nicholas Meyer
Review: A few of the prior Star Trek movies were much too consumed with big ideas and larger-than-life themes. I much prefer the slapstick gimmicks and relentless genre quirks that The Undiscovered Country revels in. Nicholas Meyer returns to direct.
I had always thought that either The Wrath of Khan or The Voyage Home would be my favorite Star Trek movie (at least out of the original six that contain the main cast and characters from the pioneering television series). The Wrath of Khan opens the world up tremendously to new viewers – like myself – and offers a “crash course” style of exposition into the politics and jargon that overwhelm this universe. And The Voyage Home really pushes the boundaries for what a ridiculous entry can look like in this vein when you’re able to tinker with expectations and tell a story that is truly your own.
The Undiscovered Country – the sixth and final entry in this iteration of the film franchise for Star Trek – does a bit of both and ultimately probably lands as my favorite after the first viewing of each. Despite the movie being (obviously) genre filmmaking to such a great extent, it pushes the envelope even further by offering a whodunit? style narrative that really clicks in this lane, like fitting a genre hat onto another genre hat and it actually fitting.
The Klingon species accidentally thrusts themselves into peril when annihilating one of their moons during a mining accident. They attempt to make peace with the Federation to save their own kind, but a vile plot consisting of murder and political upheaval lands Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) and Dr. Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley) behind bars. The rest of the crew – Spock, Sulu, Chekov, Uhura, Scotty, and others – race against time to uncover those behind the plot.
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Nicholas Meyer (The Wrath of Khan) returns to direct The Undiscovered Country, and one can only wonder what would’ve been had he stayed on for each of the subsequent Star Trek movies after the second one. He seems to best understand the expansive world at hand having originally opened the boarders to intergalactic travel after The Motion Picture’s rather closed-quartered, small-scale introduction. The Undiscovered Country feels the most like its contemporaries when it comes to big, adventure blockbuster filmmaking in the science fiction genre (ahem, Star Wars – hell, they even travel to HOTH in this one (kidding, kind of)).
And I much prefer the slapstick gimmicks and relentless genre quirks that The Undiscovered Country revels in. A few of the prior Star Trek films were much too consumed with big ideas and larger-than-life themes. They keep it simple and fun this time around, with Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Scotty (James Doohan) also getting their own moments to shine in clever and ridiculous ways. Each of the plotlines hold their own in an accessible movie to those outside of the common Star Trek lore.
I was vibing with the first few Star Trek movies during this watch through, but I was unsure if I would be able to develop a real emotional connection to these actors and characters. After The Voyage Home and this, I think I’ve done so. The next set of these movies (I believe titled *checks notes* The Next Generation (?)) has big shoes to fill considering I’ll have to completely shift gears and learn a new set of heroes and emotionally connect to them in a similar way to this. Kirk and Spock obviously carry this world, but there’s enough window dressing throughout the sets, and an always lively supporting cast, to make these a lot of fun. Live long and prosper, original series.
Watch Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country on Max and VOD
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Cast and Credits
William Shatner as Admiral James T. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy as Captain Spock
DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard McCoy
James Doohan as Montgomery Scott
George Takei as Lt. Commander Hikaru Sulu
Walter Koenig as Commander Chekov
Nichelle Nichols as Commander Uhura
Christopher Plummer as General Chang
Mark Lenard as Sarek
Director: Nicholas Meyer
Cinematography: Hiro Narita
Composer: Cliff Eidelman