On the eve of retirement, Kirk and McCoy are charged with assassinating the Klingon High Chancellor and imprisoned. The Enterprise crew must help them escape to thwart a conspiracy aimed at sabotaging the last best hope for peace.
Year 1, Day 316
BEFORE: Wrapping up today, and the (hopefully) last triple-feature I’ll have to do for the marathon, is Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Number six means we’re already at the halfway point (including the new release next week, Star Trek Into Darkness). From here on out, things will slow back down a bit as I do double-features for the next three days to round out the Trek films.
AFTER: As with yesterday’s third film of the day (The Search for Spock), today’s third film (The Undiscovered Country) also provides a unique perspective on the franchise solely from the fact that I’ve been immersed in the universe for two days straight now. What I’ve found out is similar to other chains I’ve done (most notably the animation chain): my opinion of the genre shifts over time as I grow accustomed to the various traits. I learn what to expect, what the franchise is about, and as a whole what does it mean collectively. For Star Trek, there’s something interesting you should know: I’ve never liked the TV series. At the beginning of this chain (read: yesterday) the films also weren’t immediately appealing to me because I detected that same style from the TV show. Now, eleven hours later, I’m seeing things a bit differently.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country continue the upward trend I’ve been detecting. What my whole previous paragraph is trying to say is that it might be due to my sheer time commitment and dedication to the films recently. The more you get to know something, or someone, the more the essence is revealed. If something is truly good, that will shine through in the end even if the waters seem murky at the start. But if something is truly bad, no amount of time or familiarity with the subject will change that. When I started with The Motion Picture yesterday, I thought the franchise was the latter: I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. My viewing these films was more because I “had to” than “wanted to”. Now, six films later, I think I can safely say what it is about Star Trek that is good and what is not.
The Undiscovered Country was much the same as The Final Frontier while also borrowing elements from many of the other films. At the heart of the film you see the heart of Star Trek: curiosity. Everything else is secondary. Curiosity, and the desire to explore and find something new is what drives these films and makes them sing. For The Undiscovered Country that curiosity leads them to examine their past. The Klingon race is on the verge of extinction which prompts debate as to whether to resolve things peacefully or militarily. What follows is a film full of mystery, suspense, action, drama, and of course, that good ‘ol Star Trek humor exemplified by Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy).
I realize this review was of a much broader scope than normal but every once and a while it’s a good thing to look at the big picture. Yes, this does cover more about the Star Trek franchise in general but the point is it all applies to The Undiscovered Country. While I still wouldn’t consider it a pinnacle of filmmaking, it is definitely up there in Trek canon edging out The Final Frontier and around the same level as The Wrath of Khan. Tune in tomorrow as I add two more data points to the collection. But that’s it for The Original Series films. All-in-all a decent bunch and if the trend continues, I hope to expect great things from The Next Generation bunch.
RATING: 4 out of 5