Monday, 24 June 2013

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

























So here we are with the sixth and final adventure with the legendary old classic crew and by far the best film of the six in personal opinion. Yes I will say it now, this film is my personal favourite out of all the Trek films including the next generation crew and the recent reboots.

Its strange really, up to this point the previous films have been average to poor with visuals and in some cases bland in plot, but this last entry really comes back with a bang. It does feel as if everyone really came together and pushed for the best send off possible for both the fans and the original cast...and boy did they get it right.

Being the last movie for the vintage crew it feels appropriate and traditional that the enemy facing off against them be the Klingons (again with the Klingons). The old enemy, the vicious pirates of space that have caused problems for the Federation since day one...well if you don't count those pesky Romulans of course, they must feel left out. Its time for a truce and its up to Kirk and his old boys (and girl) to break bread with the war mongering Klingons...but only because their home planet is under threat after its nearby moon blew up shattering its ozone layer. So the Klingons are forced to make peace with the Federation but naturally some are not so happy with this. Cue assassinations and the framing of Kirk...the adventure begins.



First up, visuals, what on Titan happened here? all of a sudden this franchise looks delicious. The sets look polished and realistic with actual depth and slick control panels, costumes maintain the naval militaristic feel looking devilishly sharp, models glide through space with ease rivaling some Star Wars work (would you believe they reused old models?) and all technical electrical effects actually appear realistic this time. Hardly any dodgy bluescreen shots anywhere folks! I've never seen such a bold flurry of sexy looking starship fire. Admittedly there are a lot of CGI effects going on here and they do indeed look like CGI. The morphing effect used for the shapeshifter also looked pretty obvious but you do tend to expect that from Star Trek, its never perfect.

The whole film is packed with colour and flare making it an absolute joy to watch. The colour schemes are perfect, I loved the purple coloured shock wave that engulfed the Excelsior, pink Klingon blood in CGI (an eye opener for the time) and the neon blue interior of the torpedo bay. That might seem minor overall but its the little things that make the difference. It really is a complete departure from all the previous films and such a victory for all involved.

As said I think it was a wise move to use the Klingon's as the enemy in this final film. The Klingon's are the classic enemy (Romulan love?) and what better way to go down in a blaze of glory than kicking some Klingon ass (I think the Russian cold war theories/allegories can be laid to rest now). Of course by the end everyone is supposedly friends and at peace (or on the way towards that) which is a bit wussy but I can see what they were aiming for. The plot is really a very simple murder mystery basically, no frills and no silly whales or God-like entities, this is a political...errmmm...action thriller.

Talking of Klingon's, who'd of thought Chris Plummer would make a brilliant Klingon huh? Some righteous casting there my friends, a sterling choice. Plummer is a Klingon badass in this despite the fact he actually does nothing other than spout Shakespeare...in Klingon. The mark of a great actor there, he merely struts around and throws out the bards work in his pitch perfect speaking voice yet at the same time he looks imposing, threatening and powerful...absolute badass! I loved the little touch with his eyepatch being bolted onto his face, literately bolted into his Klingon skull (badass).



There really wasn't a foot put wrong here in my opinion, lets not forget about Warner as the Klingon chancellor Gorkon. The man wasn't involved for very long but again he made his presence felt with a great Klingon character performance. Just like Plummer as Chang he looked every bit the complete warrior with his tusk cane and weathered facial hair, he also looked pretty tough and imposing too. Clearly both characters are remembered due to the actors that made them, both really gave the film a proper epic vibe.

This final outing really had it all, great space battles, quirky jokes and even a good old fashioned alien filled prison on a snow planet, every sci-fi needs a good Mos Eisley cantina type moment. I loved that whole idea and seeing all the odd aliens (who wouldn't), just a shame it didn't look quite as good as it should of but there are some glorious location shots later on which really sell it. Easily a classic original TV series homage with that whole segment, its corny but charming, bordering on B-movie territory.

Very much in tone with the first new prequel/reboot if you ask me, in fact that movie borrowed the snow planet idea briefly methinks. An extremely fun film to watch which has all the hallmarks of an epic space opera, the typical good humour we all know and love plus bright vivid visuals that really heighten your enjoyment and add an almost comicbook feel to the proceedings.

To mark the very end a stirring send off with all the team inscribing their signatures across the screen whilst a beautifully re-rendered version of the classic Star Trek theme plays in the background. It was a beautiful way to go seeing the casts names emblazoned across a space panorama, it almost brings a tear to your eye...OK it did bring a tear to my eye. The final film, the best film and the perfect finale.





10/10