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STAR TREK 6 - The Undiscovered Country (1991)

When an explosion erupts on their moon, the Klingons realize they have only 50 years left before their ozone layer depletes, leaving them suspect to genocide.  With only one choice remaining, the Klingons hesitate in joining the Federation, bringing an end to a 70 year war. Meanwhile, Admiral Kirk and crew are called in to help with the negotiations because of their former affiliations with the Klingons. Still, the "peace talks" don’t exactly go as planned, leaving Kirk and McCoy accused of murder and sent to Rura Penthe, a snow-bound labor prison camp.  But with the alleged "peace talkers" locked up, will the Federation ever settle peace talks with the Klingons, and what of Kirk and McCoy's future?

The cast includes: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, George Takei, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Kim Cattrall, Mark Lenard, Christopher Plummer, Rosanna DeSoto, and David Warner.

Directed by: Nicholas Meyer.

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Promotional Line: The battle for peace has begun.

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A golden opportunity for peace with the dreaded /hated Klingons, suddenly appears when their mining moon, Praxis, explodes, which will result in the gradual destruction of their ozone layer, making habitation on their planet impossible in 50 years. Having no way of dealing with this, the Klingons have no other choice but to join The Federation, and end their years of war, and adopt a more peaceful way of life.

While many people were happy and hopeful about this development, some, from both sides, cannot let go of past grievances / bad experiences/ hatred, etc. and enthusiastically embrace this notion of peace with their long time enemies, let alone trust them to keep their side of the upcoming peace agreement. Captain Kirk is just one of them. His Captain's Log entry tells it all.

Despite Captain Kirk's expressed misgivings about the character of the Klingons, he is ordered by the Commander, after Spock gives a glowing recommendation of the Enterprise-A, to rendezvous with The Chancellor of the Klingon High Council, Chancellor Gorkon (David Warner) his daughter, Chancellor Azetbur (Rosanna DeSoto), General Chang (Christopher Plummer) and entourage, and bring them to the peace table on Earth. Captain Kirk had never forgiven the Klingons for killing his son, but he does follow orders and meets them, trying his best to put the Enterprise-A's best foot forward, and invites them all over for dinner, which introduces various important Klingon characters to the audience.

During the night, the Klingon ship is attacked by torpedoes, and boarded by a hit squad, who were dressed in Federation uniforms, resulting in the death of the Klingon Chancellor and others. Although the Enterprise-A isn't missing any torpedoes, the ship's computers show that someone fired some at the Klingon ship. The surviving Klingons are furious, blaming Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy, who made the mistake of beaming over to see if they could help the dying Chancellor. They are arrested by the Klingons, and brought back to the Klingon planet for a kangaroo trial, and sentenced to hard labor in the mines, on a snowy prison camp, Rura Penthe.

Meanwhile, back on the Enterprise-A, Captain Spock (Leonard Nimoy), his fellow Vulcan, Lieutenant Valeris (Kim Cattrall), and the rest of the crew do some fast tap-dancing, with a little help from their friends, to find ways to stall Starfleet's orders to come back to Starbase. They quickly start an investigation to put the clues together, to try to figure out who really planned and carried out this attack and why, while devising rescue plans to pluck Kirk and McCoy off their frozen prison.

Of course, after some hair-raising adventures, Kirk and McCoy are finally rescued by the Enterprise-A, and come back from their captivity with important information/clues that they had picked up at their trial and during their prison adventures, that helps to flush out some of the guilty parties on both sides of the coin. Then the race is on to stop the mayhem planned to destroy the peace process, encountering a space battle here and there along the way.

The screenplay, (by Nicholas Meyer & Denny Martin Flin), does a fabulous job mingling elements of science fiction space adventure, human nature, with twists and turns of a murder mystery, witty humorous lines and situations, intrigue, politics and conspiracy, all which make up this entertaining, exciting story, which is the last adventure with this cast of characters, from this Enterprise era. The script is very well thought out and put together expertly with good pacing and direction (Nicholas Meyer), and carried out to its potential by a dynamite cast, who truly understand their characters, and make the most of their lines. The ensemble work is also truly enjoyable.

William Shatner once again excels as James T. Kirk, a man who definitely has no love for the Klingons, but is willing to follow orders. In the end, he willingly does the right thing, which is to try to seek and fight for peace, for the Federation and Klingon people, and for a personal peace as well.

Leonard Nimoy is also in top form, as the quick-thinking Mr. Spock, who rises to any challenge to save both his friends, and the important peace mission, that will end the violent history between the Klingons and The Federation. Spock makes a great Sherlock Holmes. Nimoy had fun with his lines as well. Some favorite lines, he expertly said with a straight face were: "What we require now is a feat of linguistic legerdemain and a degree of intrepidity." "If I were human I believe my response would be "go to hell ...If I were human.."

The late DeForest Kelley,(died in 1999), as Dr. McCoy, does a great job as Kirk's friend and sidekick in the prison camp, and has some funny, dry-humored, one-liners to provide comic relief in tense situations, throughout the film, sometimes stating thoughts that the audience throughout the film might have thought as well.

As usual, James Douhan (as Scotty), George Takei (briefly as Sulu), Nichelle Nichols (Nyota Uhura), provide great supporting performances in the story.

Kim Cattrall, as Lieutenant Valeris, did an excellent job portraying a Vulcan Enterprise-A officer with divided loyalties, which aren't apparent in the beginning of the film.

Christopher Plummer, as General Chang, excels as the strong-willed, crafty Klingon war horse general who has a hard time accepting this peace process, as Kirk does. Though honorable and respectful of his ex-enemies, he comes up with a different solution, coming from a different frame of mind.

Favorite Scenes:

1) A favorite cast ensemble moment, is when the crew is huddled around Uhura, frantically going through language translation books, trying to help Uhura speak Klingon well enough to get permission to enter the air space around Rura Penthe, so they can try to rescue Kirk and Dr. McCoy. Brave Uhura, not knowing what she is saying, just determinedly repeats what others are telling her, making some amusing mistakes, which makes the Klingons on the receiving end laugh heartily. They finally pull it all together correctly though, through this comical group effort.

2) Another favorite scene sequence details the twists and turns of the experiences and escape of James Kirk and Dr. McCoy from their Rura Penthe Prison.

3) How Kirk and Spock flush out the conspirators is also clever and entertaining.

4) The last battles are classic Star Trek, sure to please Trekies and science fiction fans alike.

Directed by: Nicholas Meyer. Screenplay by: Nicholas Meyer and Denny Martin Flin, based on Gene Roddenberry's characters from the TV series. Story: Leonard Nimoy, Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal.

This grand space adventure is rated PG.

If you enjoyed STAR TREK 6 - THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY you may like STAR TREK: THE WRATH OF KHAN, STAR TREK 3: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK, and/or STAR TREK 4: THE VOYAGE HOME.