Friday, March 2, 2012

"Second star to the right, and straight on till morning." No better end for our stalwart heroes, no better goodbye for Star Trek.

By the time J.J. Abrams's Star Trek 2 (or whatever it's called) debuts in the summer of 2013, it will have been just under 21 years since the release of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, which was supposed to be the final Star Trek film.  Since that time in December, 1991, we've had (counting the upcoming sequel) an additional six films, meaning that just half the Star Trek films explicitly involved the original cast and crew of the Starship Enterprise.  Star Trek: Generations had cameos from several members of the crew, and Spock showed up in the third act of Star Trek, but we will soon reach a point where we've spent more cinematic time in the company of the Next Generation crew and these alternate-universe youngins than we have with the original icons.  I have no criticism or commentary about that, other than to say that it's not a little ironic that Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the crew have slowly been put out to pasture by younger replacements.  After all, the first six Star Trek films were all about the now-elderly crew coming to terms with their own mortality, their eventual retirement, and whether or not the lives that they had dedicated to exploring that final frontier really made a damn bit of difference.  All of this is just a silly essay to justify posting this scene, the climax from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.  It is the best film in the Star Trek series, one where the two-fisted swashbuckler Captain Kirk comes to terms with his own rage and his own eventual irrelevance, forgives his mortal enemies, and becomes a broker of peace rather than a weapon of war. This final bittersweet moment never fails to move me.  I can think of no better goodbye than this moment, and there is a part of me, my enjoyment of the next six films aside, that wished they had let this final grace note be the true and undisputed finale.

Scott Mendelson

1 comment:

Diane Lowe said...

As beautiful as the film was, JJ Abrams' Star Trek misses the whole point of what Star Trek tries to do, and that is precisely why they should have stopped at The Undiscovered Country (although I really liked First Contact and that is the second logical stopping point for the movie series).


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