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After Setting the Table so Perfectly, Star Trek VI Fell Flat as Action Adventure Movie

A Disappointing End to the Original Crew

By Rich MonettiPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 3 min read

Star Trek VI is the last of the original series movies and most Trekkies really like the final installment. In fact, Michael Bodhi Green of Looper thinks it’s the best one in the lot. That’s a far cry from my opinion so brace yourself. I think the Undiscovered Country is almost unwatchable, and whenever I tune in, I’m kind of embarrassed for the schlocky manner in which the first generation was sent off.

I think the confusion comes from the thoughtful premise that serves as the basis of the film. The fall of the Soviet Union coinciding almost to the exact release date, the end of history paradigm and timing is pretty cool. “Only Nixon could go to China,” I was blown away.

So was Mr. Green. Ushering back in the Cold War allegory of Roddenberry’s vision, he wrote, “Nicolas Meyer and Leonard Nimoy imagined "the fall of the Berlin Wall in space," and its aftermath. Specifically, they wanted to dramatize the hard work of achieving peace in a world that is used to hate, paranoia, and xenophobia. The plot, about a coup that attempts to derail a galactic peace conference, mirrored the real events of the summer of 1991 so accurately — with Russian hardliners trying to restore the old Soviet Union — that Paramount even tried to rush the film into theaters before it was ready.”

Yes, Yes. Yes and mostly all good through the dinner scene. One of the best in the history of the franchise, the stage is initially set with remarkable subtlety.

The Klingons attempting to unravel the silverware and the crew’s unforgiving disbelief screams the basis for almost all human conflict. We just don’t take the time to understand each other’s cultures, and the same going on here, this first overture toward peace is destined to fail.

Off the rails it obviously goes, Star Trek VI had me primed. An old fashioned episode of the original series seemed at hand, and I was eagerly sitting in wait of where the Undiscovered Country was going to take me.

But then the Enterprise attacked the Klingons and did what JJ Abrams is so reviled for. The movie went all action adventure and blew up the table that had been set so well.

Now, I would have been amenable, but the execution fell flat. I was not carried in the least by the whodunit story. For instance, I just saw Minority Report again, and the intricate weave had me in a continual state of where are all these ins and outs going to lead. As for Star Trek VI, the events flew mundanely past and the supposed plot points of interest never really built me to care about the crescendo.

Now, there may be a simple explanation for the banality. We got a bunch of old men and women warping around the universe, and their acting set on automatic pilot, they couldn't carry the story.

Worse yet was all the poor attempts at humor. Uhura, Scotty and Chekov flipping through a dictionary to fool the Klingons wasn’t funny, it was laughable.

Therein, I believe, lies the main problem (because I have long been trying to figure this out). The underlings have the run of the ship, which is certainly not a problem. We’ve seen it many times before, and such incidences actually enhance the aura.

Each crew member is worthy in their own right, and Star Trek IV showed us how. The two man teams have their assigned tasks, and they go to town to save the day.

But in real life and Star Trek, the command structure is essential. No longer is Captain Kirk inspiring us and his crew, he’s just one of many. The contrast is Star Trek : The Motion Picture. Kirk comes in, rips away the Enterprise, and there's no doubt who's steering the ship and that leaves the crew and audience bursting with confidence.

Instead, we're left left dangling on the ship that is Star Trek VI, where everyone is the captain, and we literally lack the star power to pull the whole thing together. Maybe that's why the whole thing feels so contrived.

Too bad because Star Trek VI could have been glorious.

star trek

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Rich Monetti

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    Rich MonettiWritten by Rich Monetti

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