December 17, 1991 -- ``Star Trek VI, The Undiscovered Country'' and ``Hook'' were expected to be successful Christmas season films, but only one is starting out with a bang and that is the one featuring the aging crew of the Starship Enterprise.
Surprisingly, you can have a lot more fun watching a bunch of old geezers running around in ridiculous circus uniforms, spouting pseudoscientific nonsense than you can watching the latest version of Peter Pan.
There are two reasons for this:
First, Steven Spielberg, while not producing a flop, did not live up to his own standards set in films like ``E.T.'' and ``Close Encounters of the Third Kind,'' and, secondly, Star Trek director Nicholas Meyer, the screenwriters and the cast do an excellent job with familiar characters and material.
The story, written by Leonard Nimoy (who plays Mr. Spock in the series), Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal is probably the best in the entire Star Trek film series. It is tight, action-packed and has nice touch of humor, the best mix of humor and action in the series. Were it not for the few unfortunate cutsey anachronisms (such as ``only Nixon could go to China'') in the dialogue and the overbearing musical score (not nearly as good as the music in Star Trek IV) this would be the best film in the entire Star Trek series.
I would place it second, after Star Trek IV and ahead of Star Trek III and Star Trek II. Other Star Trek fans have rated it anywhere from the best of the films to second or third on the list. Everyone agrees that the first and fifth films in the series were the worst of the lot.
This film is a fitting end to characters and a ship which started 25 years ago in a low-budget (by today's standards) television series. The enduring charm of the series is that, while the stories were set in space, the plot always centered on the crew and on humanistic values. The Star Trek universe is one of high ideals, but the Enterprise crew always manages to bend the rules and they never seem to take themselves too seriously.
The story begins with an explosion which threatens the survival of the Klingon empire. The Enterprise is sent to escort the Klingon ambassador to a Federation peace conference. The ambassador is murdered, apparently by Federation agents and Kirk (William Shatner) and Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) have to take the fall for the crime.
The rest of the story is a murder mystery and a race against time to save the peace conference from sabotage. Meyer keeps the suspense pumped up during the whole story and the mystery is intriguing. I saw the movie in Cheyenne and the huge audience cheered when the bad guy finally gets his due. There is some blood and violence in the film, but it is generally a lot of fun, a fine holiday movie, and it rates an A-.
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