I’m not always sure what to make of Star Trek VI. It is most notable as the final film to feature the entire original cast. Star Trek has always been about message and morality, so it seems natural for the franchise to tackle the end of the cold war and the fall of the Soviet Union. I just wish some of this film didn’t feel so forced. This film is also bittersweet in that it was DeForest Kelley’s final appearance before his death. Kelley’s “country doctor in space” routine never got tired. He was perhaps the most human face in all of Star Trek. I miss him terribly.
Another sadness is the glimpse we are given of things missed. Walter Koenig and George Takei pressured Paramount for years for a Trek series to follow these junior members of the original cast. Petitions were signed and even scripts written and submitted. In Trek VI we see what might have been. This film seems very much like an end, but who knows. In Roddenberry’s future anything is possible.
When a Klingon mining facility is destroyed, the long standing enemies of the Federation approach Spock (Nimoy) to broker peace. There are elements within both societies that do not long for a new frontier.
The audio is a fairly tame Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The most impressive presentation is the score, which includes many elements from past Trek films. Highs are fairly clean and bright. Lows don’t ever seem to quite measure up to the explosive action on the screen. Dialogue, an essential Trek device, is always clean and upfront.
There is a rather tame audio commentary by Nicholas Myer and Denny Martin Finn.
Star Trek VI is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. This is by far the best transfer of this Collector’s series. The f/x shots are particularly clean. They stand up to even the more advanced CG f/x of today. The film itself has great moments of inconsistency. Many darker moments are horrifically grainy and dull. Still, it appears as if a great deal of effort was applied here. Colors are better than I remember. Blacks are much more alive in detail in the wonderful shots of deep space. The picture is so sharp one can’t help but notice the tremendous amount of makeup being used on these aging actors. Subtle tints are intact.
Disc One contains the original film with the optional commentary. There is also the standard text commentary by the Okudo brothers. Once again I found it more distracting than entertaining.
Disc Two contains several features. By far the best Trek feature yet is the long overdue tribute to DeForest Kelley. Clips from the original series, the Trek films, and wonderful moments from his many Western appearances are enhanced by genuine moments of praise and affection from those who knew him. This is a must-watch for any Trek fan.
“The Perils of Peacemaking” plays out like a documentary on the historic significance of peace negotiations. Leonard Nimoy does a good job of placing the real world parallels in perspective.
“Stories from Star Trek VI” is the longest feature yet in this series. At about an hour, it includes 6 sub-featurettes that cover all aspects of the film. You have the option of playing them individually or as a “play all” program.
Just like the previous editions of this series there is a “Star Trek Universe” section that includes pretty much the same kind of stuff. Here we have 5 features that deal with Klingon makeup, props, talk with Nicholas Myer, and story development.
Some sub-par versions of trailers along with a storyboarded deleted scene round out this two-disc set. The menus deserve special mention again as they are quite impressive. New CGI animations of the film’s ships engage each level of the easy to navigate system.
So ends one generation of Star Trek. Was it a good sendoff? Let’s say it was an appropriate one. Kirk, Scotty, and Chekov will return one final time as the baton is passed to The Next Generation, but just like the events of the film itself, this was truly the end of one era and the beginning of another. If you’re a fan, you will want to own this one. The Kelley tribute alone makes it a must. As the final credits rol, complete with the cast’s signatures, the cry from Trek fandom continued: “Don’t let it end here”.