Some points about Star Trek VI:The Undiscovered Country

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by pfontaine2, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. pfontaine2

    pfontaine2 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Apr 5, 2011
    VGER 23 asked me to expound on my dislike for Star Trek VI because he also expressed a dislike for it. I thought it best to spin this into its own thread because it seemed off-topic to the thread where the discussion began.

    First, these opinions are of course my own. Your mileage may vary.

    ST:TUC bothers me on any number of levels. I'm all for the idea that we need to get past our prejudices in order to make progress but I dislike the way the point was made. Roddenberry was idealistic enough that he gave our heroes the ability to see past their personal prejudices and keep our eyes on a brighter future. By ST VI, our idealistic crew have become a bunch of grumpy old geezers who seem reluctant at best to be assigned this mission to escort the Klingons to a place that is willing to provide them assistance.

    I can understand Kirk's reluctance to be given this mission given what happened to his son. I truly admire Kirk and McCoy's willingness to assist the Klingons after an unprovoked attack seemingly from the Enterprise. I'm more upset that the secondary characters all seem incredibly irritable rather than eager help the Klingons and build a brighter future.

    Some things I dislike are dictated by the story. Why does the Bridge suddenly have large digital clocks everywhere? Obviously the story requires it but its too on the nose in my opinion.

    I kind of lost some respect for Spock because of some of his actions in this film. Spock's forcibly extracting information from Valeris' mind is as much a violation of Spock's principles as anything I've seen and cheapens the character. Perhaps the reborn Spock doesn't have the same disdain for cruelty that the old Spock seemed to have (remember Nimoy invented the nerve pinch because he thought that Spock hitting someone was out of character). In my opinion, it's the single most vile scene in all of Star Trek.

    Continuing on the Spock vibe, he seems like a very different character in this film. He and Valeris seem to have a "relationship" of sorts. It might not be intimate but it smacks of a sort of mid-life crisis. Valeris hangs out out in Spock's room, admiring his art collection while Spock is mixing drinks and serving them to her in a silver chalice. When did Spock acquire a taste for the finer things in life like silverware? I know this scene is intended to make Valeris' turn as the villain all the more powerful. Sadly all I see is an old guy hitting on the new girl in the office.

    Then there are the little things that irk me. Spock stating that "only Nixon could go to China" is an old Vulcan-proverb. Or General Chang quoting Shakespeare which is of course better when you have read it in the original Klingon. Huh?!

    The Director's Cut adds scenes that remarkably cheapen the story and should have been left out. We got an Oliver North-type character named "Colonel West" (that's not too on the nose, is it?) who's all military and eager to risk lives to save Kirk and McCoy (and he's got the paper maps and pointer to prove his plan will work). Perhaps worse of all, we've got the Scooby-Doo moment when the mask is pulled off the Klingon assassin's face to reveal it was Colonel West all along. The original cut of the film is better without these silly scenes.

    Please don't get me wrong...the basic idea of the film is fantastic but it is delivered with all the subtlety of a sledge hammer. As I've mentioned in the previous thread I happen to like a lot of the films that rank very low on others lists such as Star Trek V and Nemesis (though both have lots of faults as well) so it's probably natural that I dislike Star Trek VI as much as I do. I rewatched it recently and found much to admire about it that I missed 20+ years ago but the facts remain that it's my least favorite Trek film of them all.
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  2. saladdays

    saladdays Commander Red Shirt

    Jun 29, 2016
    I kind of liked that Chang was a fan of Shakespeare. It doesn't seem that odd that you'd find someone from a different race that was a big fan of something popular in another. And the "original Klingon" comment I'm sure is meant as Chang trying to put his Klingon heritage above humans, which is not unlike someone today who prefers their version of something better than another, when it isn't the original (it's also probably meant to be a joke).
  3. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 1, 2016
    Kinda like people who insist that the King James Bible is the only Bible that should exist, despite the fact that it's not the earliest version.
  4. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

    Apr 19, 2013
    Last place in Australia to get the NBN
    While I mostly agree with the OP I don't agree that its the worst Star Trek movie. Its probably my number 3.
    It has a great feel and a great story and is pretty funny at times.

    The characterisations are off. One of the consequences of having a non-Star Trek fan write it. He made the characters fit the story rather than use the characters that had been established over the years. He made Chekov look like a fool and all the other TOS characters a bunch of racists. Which had been shown in the series they weren't.
    Meyer assumed the audience were pretty dumb too - slapping on the old viridian patch none too subtly.

    The forced mind meld on Valeris had some precedents. In "Elaan of Troyius" Spock was going to use it to interrogate one of the traitors, Spock changed some of Kirk's memories in an episode, he got out of gaol a couple of times by 'influencing' some guards, in the first of Abrams movies he casually found the location of something or other by force mind-melding one of Nero's henchmen. I don't think it was intended to be morally great in Star Trek VI and thats why it was such a dramatic scene. Spock forced something Kirk didn't want to do for peace so perhaps Spock had to do the same.

    I thought the scene with Valeris in his cabin was half chatting her up and half handing his legacy to Valeris like a daughter. It smelt a lot like an old man trying to pick up a young girl with the power differential between them. I don't think the writers had made up their minds whether Spock was a father-figure or romantic interest to Valeris.
    I think changing the role from Saavik to Valeris at the last minute confused the issue.
    I'd have preferred to see Spock have no interest in Valeris romantically unless she was a lot older and not a traitor. :lol:
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  5. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    A type 13 planet in its final stage
    My issues with the movie are Kirk suddenly being racist against Klingons after drinking with them at the end of STV: TFF and especially Spock mind-raping a screaming Valaris on the bridge while everyone just sits and watches. What nice people.
    jaime likes this.
  6. Khan 2.0

    Khan 2.0 Commodore Commodore

    Aug 30, 2013
    earth...but when?...spock?
    Yeah remember seeing it in cinema and thinking there was to be an element of that at play.. esp with the drinking from the same cup and the look Spock gives her as he drinks as 'now hear this..' sounds (also remember back then there were rumours before there was any information what the plot would be where Meyer said VI would be a 'small story about Spock falling in love')
    That's possible - Saavik and Spock on Genesis creating a possible romantic thing later. Then saavik gets changed to a new character (Spocks student)
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  7. pfontaine2

    pfontaine2 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Apr 5, 2011
    These are all excellent points and stated more concisely than I did!

    Regarding the mind meld having precedents, you are of course correct. However, watching Valeris pull away and Spock forcibly restraining her feels like a "mind rape". It's uncomfortable to watch (which is the intention I suppose) but given our post 9-11 world, it feels like torture. Spock is "water-boarding" Valeris to get the information needed for the greater good. No matter the justification, it still feels wrong.

    The point about the change from Saavik to Valeris makes a lot of sense as well. A romance or infatuation with Saavik makes sense considering that Saavik helped Spock through his first Pon Farr experience on the Genesis planet. Changing her to Valeris for whatever reason most certainly confused the issue.

    Thanks everyone so far for being kind enough to respond. I was quite concerned I was going to get a lot of criticism. I appreciate your thoughts on the matter.
  8. STEPhon IT

    STEPhon IT Commodore Commodore

    Jan 27, 2010
    Sunny California
    I have no problem with Spock doing everything necessary to prevent the assassination of a Federation President. And Spock wasn't mind raping her, a probing of her thoughts, but not rape. The stuff Troi went through in "Violations" and "Nemesis" were rapes.

    I thought Valeris was in love with Spock; and if they share affections for each other that's fine with me. They're adults and in the real world there's no rule where two adults can't be together. There's no limit to finding love if the significant other is at a legal age. Spock was a gentleman, and if Valeris was a good person I wouldn't mind her having a romantic relationship with him.
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  9. Vger23

    Vger23 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Apr 19, 2014
    New England
    I think Star Trek VI is one of the weaker franchise films. Hilarious coming from someone who really likes Star Trek V, for sure...but that's my opinion nonetheless.

    I agree with some of the OP's issues with the characters, but ultimately that's usually not my main problem with this film. I love seeing character changes and growth in my favorite genre movies. TLJ is a prefect example for me (everyone bitching about Luke, while I find it refreshing that he is painted as a real human being with weaknesses and frailties). Same here...while I thought some of it was didn't bother me tremendously. I liked seeing that some of the conflict and weariness had caught up with these heroes.

    Most of my problems are script / story / production.

    1. The entire thing feels like a rushed, undercooked, cheap, made-for-TV Tuesday night movie. Most of that is due to the fact that it is a rushed, undercooked, cheap movie that could have been broadcast on TV on a Tuesday night. The over-use of TNG sets for the Enterprise and other locations is really jarring. It's the only Trek movie that makes me feel like I'm watching a stage play in some places. I absolutely hate the President's 10-Forward office with "We'll Always Have Paris" out the window, for example.

    2. I like Nicholas Meyer and he's done some amazing things for the franchise, but this was really nothing more than a vanity project for him. Let's face it...the "Undiscovered Country" title is really a stretch. He just liked the sound of it and was irritated he didn't get it in place back in he went with it here and shoehorned it in. The constant literary referencing and quoting is way, way over-the-top and feels like a desperate gambit to try and be relevant and cleaver. It, like the cheapness and rushed nature of the production, just take me completely out of the experience of the film.

    3. The plot is so swiss-cheese filled with holes, contrivances, and inconsistencies and outright foolishness that it makes a Kelvinverse film look like an air-tight deep sea submarine by comparison. Almost none of what transpires anywhere makes any sense whatsoever if you look at it with anything other than a casual eye. Are you trying to tell me that forensic sciences of 300 years into the future can't determine if the ship fired two photon torpedoes or not? They can't use sensitive internal sensors to locate evidence like Klingon blood? The transporter records don't indicate who beamed over to Kronos One and when? The Klingons didn't notice a goddamned tracking device just casually stuck to Kirk's back before sending them to Rura Penthe? Phasers set on "kill" conveniently set off an alarm? Klingon boarder security near one of the most obvious targets for invasion during this massive intergalactic crisis consists of two drunk assholes on an asteroid who just ask a few random questions and laugh the incursion off (the sensors don't identify the intruder as a Federation Starship?????)? What the hell was that ploy that Kirk and Spock came up with to entrap Valeris, anyway...and what sense did it make for her to enter sickbay with a phaser drawn and think that was going to be a stealthy and covert way to kill her co-conspirators? I could go on...but none of the plot makes any sense whatsoever.

    Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad movie...I just get flummoxed when people deficate all over other Trek productions (Kelvin films, DSC, TNG films, etc) and give TUC a pass for some bizarre reason.

    As much as I enjoy TUC and love seeing the characters one more time...nothing in my mind can make me objectively say that this is anything but a sloppy, mediocre effort saved by the charm and nostalgia of the original cast. If this were a stand-alone film (or a TNG movie, Kelvin film, DSC episode, or any other fan whipping post) would have been smeared with feces by the fans and unceremoniously lit ablaze almost immediately.

    That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
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  10. PureCrimson

    PureCrimson Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 4, 2018
    You're the first Trek fan I've seen who says this film isn't a masterpiece.

    It's not a bad movie at all, but it's only okay for me. I don't get why everyone would rank it as either their favorite or one of.
    Vger23 likes this.
  11. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

    Jul 31, 2001
    Christopher Pike, future Orion Pirate
    On the "Shakespeare in the original Klingon" gimmick:


    As for the glaringly obvious use of TNG sets, as a young lad watching this movie for the first time in the theater, I thought it was flippin' awesome that the Ent-A had such an advanced engine room like they would have on Galaxy-class starships much later. She was truly a ship way ahead of her time! :guffaw:

  12. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Commodore Commodore

    Sep 19, 2010
    Agree, the 1701-A advanced engine room [1701-D re-use set] was great.;)
    I would have liked it if they replaced the twin blue traveling rings with the blue flux of the 1701-Refit & Voyager.
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  13. Paradise City

    Paradise City Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 9, 2015
    I enjoyed TUC. It's strong and well acted. The only weak point for me is the comedy scene with the dictionaries. Maybe the pacing of the film could be adjusted but otherwise it's well constructed with Warner playing the unusual Klingon Lincoln and Plummer's Chang trying to get under Kirk's skin with his slithery charm. Spock makes his introduction as budding statesman and I like the way it elegantly includes events in TSFS and Unification.

    Our heroes are old sailors embittered by an extended Cold War with the Klingons. We see something of this in TNG with the Cardassian Wars. Kirk reminds me of O'Brien as Federation tolerance retreats and some redemptive event is required to revitalise Federation values. Kirk sees past the loss of his son. What I like is that Federation values are not something that's a given but is an ethos that needs to be nurtured, repaired and maintained.

    Kirk can have a brief truce with one Klingon ship and he maybe able to appreciate Koord is a swell guy. But chilling with a couple of Klingons in V is not on the same magnitude as a seemingly unfavourable peace with an aggressive empire that is an affront to his values and which has claimed his son. This throws Kirk completely and I think Kirk's quarrel and later understanding with Spock is well done and poignant. So, yeah, it's a cool film.

    The alternative was some "Starfleet Academy", coming--of-age, young Kirk thing. I dislike that kinda stuff - so this also helps my fondness for this film.
  14. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

    Feb 23, 2013
    That's a great paragraph. Thank you. One thing I want to add to it is the magic bird of prey that fires when it's cloaked. That wasn't convenient was it? (It's so magic it blows up for over a century, you can still see it blowing up in Generations)

    One more thing, I realize Klingons are supposed to be alien, so they may have different customs, but isn't it normal to take all of a prisoner's possessions away? No orange jumpsuits in the Klingon Empire?

    One thing I think is 6 gets more love because they didn't end on 5. You and I may like 5, but almost everyone else doesn't and if that was the last one... well 6 has some "credit" for that reason, not really a good one I might add.

    I really don't have one single problem with Spock interrogating Valeris. I think people forget what a mind meld is, any bit of pain or discomfort felt by Valeris is shared by Spock. He is in no way, whatsoever, enjoying any of this, as a logic thing and as a terrible loss of privacy of his own. I think one of the things that makes it so sad is that Valeris probably hasn't mind melded with Spock before this and this is the first time she's feeling Spock's loyalty to Kirk (whom used like hell) and to the Federation. She really screwed up and she just had it all shown right back to her in a mirror that she can close her eyes to.
    Now, could have it been directed better? Sure. But calling it "rape" cheapens a word that has a specific meaning, though many do in this day, and that meaning has nothing to do with this scene. Yeah, no body does anything to stop him, why the hell should they, they want to know what's going on, too! This woman tried to get them all killed just a short time ago and now she's trying to cause a war and get millions of other killed to. No one give one bit of shit about her and why should they. It's not as if Spock harmed her.

    And I hated all of the silly winky lines, Nixon to China, Sherlock, original Klingon Shakespeare and Guess who's coming to dinner. Really, this script needed a doctor.

    My last complaint is the horrible acting between to actors that really weren't that good anyway, Takai and Whitney, on the Excelsior. That whole, "Should we report this? Are you kidding!" was one of the worst back and forth I've seen in any of the movies. WTF was the point of that? Should have been rewritten and then not read by the wooden couple. I didn't like the tea cup thing either.
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  15. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Oct 17, 2005
    One ferry ride from Starfleet HQ
    There's no silver chalice. The goddamned thing is blue. :D

    I liked the Nixon line because I immediately got the reference: you send a hawk to meet the enemy, not a dove.
    JonnyQuest037 likes this.
  16. Khan 2.0

    Khan 2.0 Commodore Commodore

    Aug 30, 2013
    earth...but when?...spock?
    Makes all the Kirk shoudve set foot on the Enterprise D in Generations arguments abit redundant. He already had in the previous movie!
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
  17. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    A type 13 planet in its final stage
    Even as a kid that never bothered me. I knew the Next Gen sets were modified from the first Trek movie, so it was kind of expected.

    I did miss engineering as seen in STV. Kid Dan didn't get that one angled pink tube at the end if the Jefferies Tube corridor was all built. I was mad the camera never panned slightly to show the pink horizonal engine core which must've been just to the right:lol:
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  18. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 18, 2007
    More deliberately depicted as mind rapes, yes, but apart from that, we don't know how invasive & assaulting Spock's was. We do know she didn't seem to care for it, but her recoil may have been solely because she didn't want them to find out what she knew, & in that effort was trying to fight him finding it, & the noises she made might have just been those of exertion in trying to prevent it.

    That said, nothing I've ever seen suggests Vulcan mind melding is harmful or damaging to anyone, just intensely personal. It's my own personal judgement, but I don't look at it as a mind rape. I look at it more like an unconsented search & seizure. Still not cool, but under the circumstances...
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  19. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

    Apr 19, 2013
    Last place in Australia to get the NBN
    While I agree with almost everyone good and bad points I still love the movie.
    Despite Valeris' ghastly headband and the ridiculous turkey preparation.
    Maybe its the nostalgia. Maybe its the sentimental ending.
  20. Damian

    Damian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 2, 2017
    United States
    TUC isn't my favorite film. It sort of falls in the middle of the pact for me as far as the first 6 films go. I liked the story and the pacing. The novel came out about a week before the movie and I made the mistake reading it before I saw the film (oops), which gave it all away.

    But I can't disagree about some of the characterizations. Kirk I can get, even accounting for the cumbaya seen at the end of TFF. They killed his son (and even in TFF when McCoy told him the Klingons didn't like him he said the feeling was mutual). So it makes sense he's still a bit sore. But the other characters, yeah, I agree. It's a bit off putting. Them being skeptical would be fine. A little doubt that the Klingons are serious. But some of the comments they made (did you see the way they ate, etc.) were a bit out of character.

    I was a little surprised that Starfleet officers would conspire with Klingons, but, after watching future shows like Deep Space Nine, and learning about Section 31 (one of the novels has Admiral Cartwright as an accomplice to Section 31) it seems more possible that yes, a few officers could potentially be turned. The Federation are the good guys in Star Trek, but they're not perfect. Sometimes mistakes, and bad things happen.

    Spocks forced mind meld is a bit disconcerting, I'll admit, and Star Trek has made it clear the Vulcans consider it a distasteful violation. It think the scene is a bit disconcerting for a reason. Even Spock finds it personally distasteful. But rape, no. That implies he did it to have power over her, and for a sick, perverted enjoyment. This was for Queen and country as it were. He did not enjoy it and was glad when it was over. (I did find it interesting that one carryover from TFF was the same heartbeat sound that was used for Sybok's forced mind melds was used for the forced mind meld here, one of the few things other than the sets that was reused).

    The re-use of TNG sets I was ok with. TFF did the same. Don't forget, he (and Shatner in TFF) used TNG production designer Herman Zimmerman for the sets so you were bound to see some similarity to TNG. Plus they did want to show a progression from the 23rd century to the 24th, so some of it was intentional. You should recognize the beginnings of what you will see in the next century. I didn't like the clocks either though. That was something never seen before in such a prominent place. On the other hand, I liked how they added a bit of "age" to some of the sets. This is supposed to be a ship that's been in services for several years since TFF so it should look a little worn around the edges.

    My biggest problem is the characterizations though. If there was one thing that took me out of the film more than any other is that.