Star Trek VI : The Undiscovered Country

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It comes as a joy and relief that the 25th Anniversary (and allegedly final) voyage of Captain Kirk and his crew is much better than the self-indulgent Star Trek V, matters having been taken out of William Shatner's hands. This time out the story is the brainchild of Leonard Nimoy and direction was entrusted to Wrath Of Khan helmer Nicholas Meyer. It's an honourable, rather clever and decidedly enjoyable addition to the canon, appropriately dedicated to the late Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.

True, the aged crew are only a hair's breadth short of doddering, from skeletal McCoy to ham-in-command Kirk, sporting what seems to be a dead tribble on his head and beginning to talk to himself. Their not-to-be-ignored length of tooth, however, is the basis for several gags, references to imminent retirement, and some quite neat links to The Next Generation.

This mission plays on recent current affairs on Earth, with the Klingons-in-crisis mirroring Soviet disintegration and Kirk cast as the Cold Warrior required to revise the thinking of a lifetime. Throw in an ecological disaster, Kim Cattrall as Spock's Vulcan protegee, Christopher Plummer, unrecognisable and deliciously villainous as a one-eyed, Shakespeare spouting Klingon and Iman as a beauteous mutant, stir them all up in an assassination conspiracy in space caper, add good special effects and some pleasing chuckles and voila, it's a fun night out for Trekkers.

Serious buffs will dote on titbits added to the Lore, like Spock claiming Sherlock Holmes for an ancestor and the revelation that Klingons have lavender blood. Even those who can take or leave the whole business, however, might appreciate a swell slaughter in zero gravity or the knowing jokes like Kirk's cheerful observation "Well, Spock, once again we've saved civilisation as we know it." So. Farewell then, James T. Kirk. If this really is the final voyage, its enthusiastic reception in the US leading one to suspect Paramount and her crew may succumb to the temptation of going for another mission before any of the regulars pops his anti-gravity boots.