Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), directed by Nicholas Meyer.

After a disaster on the Klingon home world there is a chance for peace with the Federation if reactionaries and conspirators don't mess it up. The crew of the Enterprise contains both.

I'm strangely indifferent to this entry, the last film with the complete original crew. It has a better reputation than Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), but I can put up a mild defense of the previous film because it seems true to the TV series mythology.

My problems with this one:

Cameos by Grace Lee Whitney, Michael Dorn and Christian Slater.

The Kim Catrall Vulcan officer was originally meant to be Lt Savak from the earlier movies. The shapeshifter is supermodel Iman.

By this time Leonard Nimoy had become a producer powerful enough to shape the film and get it made.

Available on Blu-ray with two commentary tracks.

The first is with director Meyer and his co-writer. Much as I enjoy Meyer's work I find these commentaries painful. Both are profoundly ignorant of science fiction in general and Star Trek in particular. The only thing keeping them from goofing up the whole concept are uncreative studio bureaucrats who make them color inside the lines.

They admit this but point out that you need new blood and fresh -- perhaps naive and inexperienced -- eyes to keep the stories going. It's a legitimate argument, and many say that Meyer and Harve Bennet saved the franchise after Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), but I think more commonly Hollywood destroys its own product when they try this.

The second commentary is a wacky conversation with two Trek pros. They also found the Cold War story irritating at the time, less so now. Same with the ages of the actors and keeping the original crew movies going deep into the Next Generation TV series years: the objection to geezers staying on too long is not as important now as it was then.