Star Trek VI – The Undiscovered Country is the final Star Trek film featuring the original crew from the television series. After the Klingon moon, Praxis, is destroyed by an industrial accident, Kirk finds himself escorting the Klingon Chancellor to peace talks with the Federation. However, the Chancellor is murdered on the way to the talks, and the Klingons accuse and convict Kirk and McCoy.
I really liked how this film approached the subject of prejudice and how people can change. After Kirk’s son was killed by the Klingons in the third film, Kirk expressed his eternal hatred for the Klingons. Over the course of the film, he comes to terms with his son’s death, and realizes that holding onto his hatred is only hurting him. I thought The Undiscovered Country delved more deeply into grief and the importance of forgiveness than any other Star Trek film or TV episode, and it did so with grace and honesty.
This film was a seamless merging of what made the second and fourth films so good. It was a true character film, allowing each of them to really shine. William Shatner and DeForest Kelley were in high form as Kirk and McCoy, taking their characters to a new level. Leonard Nimoy did a great job investigating the crime and working out the brains behind the murder.
My least favorite character was Valeris, played by Kim Cattrall. It wasn’t so much that she was a villain, but that she seemed two dimensional as a character. There wasn’t a lot of depth to her, and The Undiscovered Country suffered for it. On the other hand, Christopher Plummer was amazing as General Chang. He exuded confidence in the role, and really drove home the conflicted hearts of the Klingons in turning to diplomacy instead of warfare.
The only other part of the film that bothered me was the almost-breaking-the-fourth-wall part at the end after the conference had been saved. All of the original Enterprise crew seemed to gather together and gaze out at the audience at the conference, as if saying goodbye. It was the only part of the pacing that felt off to me. Perhaps it was the director giving a nod to the original crew and to the fans. Whatever the reason, it didn’t really fit the flow of the story very well.
That said, this is still one of my favorite Star Trek films of all time. The story was engaging and the actors really played their roles well. Star Trek VI – The Undiscovered Country ended the run of the original crew with an underscore and exclamation point. I am so glad they decided to have this be the final original series film instead of the less-than-stellar fifth film. If you haven’t ever seen this film, shame on you. Go out and watch it now, but watch the first five (or at least I through IV) first.
Release Date: December 6, 1991 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (social drinking, cigar smoking)
Language: 1 (brief, minor)
Violence: 3 (fisticuffs, assassination, space battles, death)