Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
The Curse Exists

Classic literature is often alluded to practically everywhere you go. There goes a Hemingway quote, there’s a reference to the Great Gatsby, there’s a subtle reference to Homer’s Odyssey. The list goes on and on, but if you ask me, one of the more popular literary geniuses that is always, and will always be alluded to is none other than William Shakespeare. “The undiscovered country” in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, of course is talking about the “to be or not to be” speech in Hamlet, which says, and I quote, “The undiscover’d country from whose bourn no traveller returns”. It’s not a coincidence, they literally have a discussion in the film about Shakespeare mentioning this quote. That being said, Shakespeare is actually used quite a bit throughout the movie as almost commentary as to what’s happening on screen. That, however, says nothing about how well the movie is done, so let’s get on with it.

A Klingon moon has been destroyed, and Klingons are facing extinction, and it is up to the U.S.S. Enterprise to ensure the survival of their species. Kirk, of course, wants no part in it, and is quite racist when it comes to even talking about them, let alone trust them. They are the ultimate enemy, they killed his son. He wouldn’t think twice if this race was just killed off. Bad words to live by, as the Klingon vessel was attacked, assassinating the leader of that clan. Kirk is blamed because he not only said that all Klingons should die, but because the missile apparently was shot out of the U.S.S. Enterprise. After Kirk is found guilty, he is banished on an ice planet working as a slave for the rest of his life, unless he wanted to die, which could easily be arranged. It is up to the crew to investigate whatever happened and to give Kirk a clean slate.

Here’s what I love about this series, it is touch and go. They have been making movies, up to this point for twelve years, twelve years, and they were still doing well. The touch and go system is weird, and most people call it “the curse” that says even-numbered Star Treks are better than the previous one – and that’s true so far. You go from ending a movie with three grown men singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” in the forest, to this movie, which is so far – my second favorite film in the series (original, not J.J.). There is so much to this story, and it is all political, and has appropriate themes to pay attention to.

Themes like war, and racism, and genocide…unfair treatment is all over the place in this movie. I love it when movies can convince the audience that the heroes are really the villains…even though the movies have been going on for more than a decade, they still were able to present a human aspect to these characters. They even say something about how everyone, no matter what race they are, are still human. We make mistakes, mistakes that make us liable for our actions. We hurt people that don’t deserve to be hurt.

Judgments are made in this film without proper cause, but rather out of anger and spite.  In a lot of ways, this movie really reflects real life. That is saying a lot, because all of these movies, no matter how enjoyable, are…really out there, and that’s the point. These causes really grounded the movie and it showed us that it cares too, while being able to present it in a really tense presentation. You really care about the Enterprise team, but for once, you actually start liking Klingons. Remember…Klingons have been the enemy for thirty years…but suddenly we feel bad for them, and actually like them? That is good writing, that is really good writing.

After an entire saga of six films, the original cast are done with the Enterprise. Of course, they will be back for the next film, Star Trek: Generations, but if I had to guess, that one will be more focused on the Next Generation cast, as it will be for Generations, First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis. Though, look out for these reviews, because at some point, I will be squeezing in Galaxy Quest, and for good reason. Keep an eye out!


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