STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY saw the old reliables of the USS Enterprise get their space-legs back for a last voyage together, going out on a good note after the fumbled trip of Star Trek V:The Final Frontier. Direction was entrusted to Nicholas Meyer, who’d aced Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan nine years earlier, which had righteously righted the ship after the warp-riven launch of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Meyer and Denny Martin Flynn wrote the script off a story idea from Leonard Nimoy.
Their planet’s atmosphere deteriorating, after 70 years of warring, the Klingons seek peace with the Federation. A skeptical Capt.Kirk and his crew, assigned to aid negotiations, are caught in a trap laid by a veteran Klingon general whose plans don’t include peace. A sham trial sends Kirk and McCoy to a prison on frozen asteroid Rura Penthe, while Spock and the rest try to uncover the reason for the treason.
This swan song hits on all cylinders, with a witty script, fun action and fresh production details. The regulars are in good form, and the supporting cast is strong, led by one of the best villains—and probably best actor—in the Trekverse, with the part of the poisonous ‘Gen.Chang’ eaten up with relish by Christopher Plummer.
Extensive work was done with the makeup, enhancing the various Klingons appearances, and providing a really cool look for co-star Iman, the striking Somali supermodel having a gleeful time as sexy villainess ‘Martia’, a Chameloid shapeshifter.
Cinematography this time was the province of Hiro Narita (Never Cry Wolf) and included some location work on a bone-chilling Alaskan glacier. Tense music scoring from Cliff Eidelman is another plus.
Brought in for $27,000,000, it scored with critics, and more importantly with fans, who beamed it to 15th place for 1991 with a gross of $96,889,000. Further sweetening the pot were Oscar nominations for Sound Effects Editing and Makeup. The movie is dedicated to demanding and possessive creator Gene Roddenberry, who died two days after seeing the movie, just before the premier; he was 70.
The team: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei (‘Sulu’ now a captain of his own ship), Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig. On board with the gang are Kim Cattrall (sexy Vulcan for Kirk to half-flirt with before he half-flirts with Iman), David Warner (in Vulcan makeup with an Abe Lincoln aspect, elevated to a better part than they gave him in the previous entry), Kurtwood Smith, Brock Peters, Mark Lenard, Rosanna De Soto, John Schuck, Michael Dorn, Rene Auberjonois, Grace Lee Whitney, Robert Easton, John Beck. Christian Slater has a cameo. 110 minutes.