Apparently, not everyone appreciated the feather light touch of subtly and nuance brought to Star Trek V: The Final Frontier by director and co-story originator, William Shatner. According to my crack research team at Wikipedia it was, “a critical and financial failure”. So a lot of hope was put on the last outing for the original crew of the Enterprise in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. And while it managed to bounce back financially and critically compared to Frontier, I found it a real let down.
This outing felt like the biggest slog to get through in the series. Maybe it fell victim to me mainlining six Trek movies in three days, or maybe it’s just not very good. The deus ex machina moon destruction that gets the story rolling… The mystery surrounding the shots fired seemingly by the Enterprise… The laboured portrayal of Kirk’s hatred for Klingon’s (based on the half assed relationship unsuccessfully established in Kahn and Spock)… The message of tolerance gently shoved down the audience’s throat like a ball gag… It all just felt too much of the same old, same old I’d seen over the course of the other movies. And ultimately, watching Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country felt like work. Hard work.
By bringing back Kahn director (and writer of a butt load of Trek in various forms) Nicolas Meyer, I’m sure everyone was hoping to recapture some of whatever it was that made Star Trek II the enduring highpoint with fans and critics. But to me, it just didn’t work. But there is one major upside to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. According to my afore mentioned crack research team, the 71 year old Deforest Kelley who played “Bones” McCoy, “ was paid US$1 million for the role, assuring a comfortable retirement for the veteran actor.” So, there’s that.