Star Trek Week: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Another look back at “Star Trek” of the past as the new movie approaches: “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.”
The cast of this film is a who’s who of past and future stars and “Star Trek” regulars: Christopher Plummer (“The Sound of Music”) as the one-eyed Klingon General Chang; Kim Cattrall (“Sex and the City”) as Vulcan Star Fleet officer Valeris; Michael Dorn (Worf on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”) as one of Worf’s Klingon ancestors; Rene Auberjonois (Odo on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”) as a high-ranking Star Fleet officer; Christian Slater in a cameo; Grace Lee Whitney in a cameo; supermodel Iman as a shape-shifter; and look for Kurtwood Smith (Red on “That 70s Show”) under the mane of white hair as president of the Federation of Planets.
Leonard Nimoy was executive producer and shared a story credit on this one. Nicholas Meyer directed and co-wrote the screenplay. While there are parallels to U.S.-Soviet history, at its core this movie is a solid space romp wrapped around a mystery. “The Undiscovered Country” is one of the stronger, more entertaining entries in the series.
When an explosion rips apart the Klingon moon of Praxis, it reveals the dire state of the Klingon empire, which faces its planet’s destruction within 50 years. This forces the Klingons to seek peace with the Federation. The Klingons and the Federation have been longtime adversaries, and their years of conflict have defined and given meaning to each other. So when peace is proposed, not all are accepting on either side. Kirk, whose son was killed by the Klingons, typifies the anti-peace sentiments, but finds himself the unwilling holder of an olive branch and the unwitting pawn of conspirators.
The Enterprise and her crew rendezvous with the ship carrying the Klingon chancellor. After a delightfully tense and amusing dinner (“Guess who’s coming to dinner,” Chekov says) aboard the Enterprise, the Klingons return to their ship, which is then torpedoed, seemingly by the Enterprise. Assassins beam aboard the Klingon ship and begin killing passengers. Kirk and McCoy try to assist, but the Klingon chancellor dies anyway. The Klingons arrest, try and convict Kirk and McCoy for the assassination, and they are sentenced to a dismal, frigid asteroid prison. Kirk and McCoy must use their wits and Kirk’s fists to survive and escape.
Meanwhile, Spock and the rest of the crew of the Enterprise must figure out who masterminded the attacks while staying one step ahead of them, keep tabs on Kirk and McCoy, delay the Enterprise’s ordered return to space dock and keep the peace process from falling apart. Luckily, they have allies aboard the Excelsior, commanded by Sulu.
Memorable quotes (of which there are many): “Once again, we’ve saved civilization as we know it,” Kirk says, to which McCoy replies, “And the good news is they’re not going to prosecute.”
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