Picks and Pans Review: Star Trek VI: the Undiscovered Country

updated 12/16/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/16/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy

The crew's hairpieces are worse than ever, the bags under their eyes could hold a month's worth of groceries, and still no one in the cast wears a seat belt. None of that matters, though, because in this latest—and promised last—voyage of the Starship Enterprise, the Star Trek crew has returned to top form after a listless couple of pictures. Translation: Hard-core Trekkies will get their rockets off with Star Trek VI, while nonfans will at least be able to sit through this movie.

Giving this episode some of its extra kick is the fact that The Undiscovered Country is a parable about the fall of Communism. Those evil cabbage-heads, the Klingons (read: Russians), have seen the future and decided it means joining Earth's Federation. Capt. James T. ("I've never trusted Klingons and I never will") Kirk and his crew, only three months shy of retirement, are dispatched to accompany the Klingon bigwigs to a peace conference.

Credit for the success of this farewell—and, please, do let it be goodbye—goes to director and cowriter Nicholas Meyer, who also directed the best of the earlier Star Trek movies, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). He has seen to it that this film is better plotted and more liberally salted with self-deprecating wit than recent starship outings, but he hasn't stinted on the requisite cheesy special effects (shaking the camera to simulate an explosion), the glorified marching-band-crossed-with-pajamas costumes, or Scotty (James Doohan) beaming 'em up.

As Captain Kirk, Shatner is his usual monosyllabic self, but heat least has a light touch these days with such lines as, "Once again, we've saved civilization as we know it." Nimoy is up to his old Vulcan tricks, lending class and gas to the Enterprise, and new recruit Kim Cattrall, as the Vulcan lieutenant Valeris, earns her pointed ears. As for the rest of the starship's crew (regulars DeForest Kelley, Waller Koenig, Nichelle Nichols and George Takei), they do their wooden best. (PG)

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