Franchises of All Time
The Star Trek Films:
(The Original Movies)
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Star Trek Films (original)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) | Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) | Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) | Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) | Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Star Trek (2009) | Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Film Plot Summary
The film opened in the year 2293, with the cataclysmic explosion of Praxis, a Klingon moon (their key energy production facility), causing an energy wave that struck the Federation starship the USS Excelsoir, now commanded by Captain Sulu (George Takei); a United Federation of Planets Starfleet council meeting was held, with Captain Spock (Leonard Nimoy), the Federation's Special Envoy to the Klingons, announcing that the blast destroyed the Klingon's ozone layer, precipitating an ecological disaster for the Klingon Empire (only 50 Earth Years of life were predicted left), and their newfound desire for demilitarization and peace (the Gorkon Initiative) - an historic opportunity.
Only three months away from retirement, USS Enterprise Captain Kirk (James Shatner), still resentful and blaming the Klingons for the death of his son, agreed with high-ranking Admiral Cartwright (Brock Peters) that it would be foolish to trust the unreliable warring Klingons; however, Spock suggested that Kirk meet Klingon High Council Chancellor Gorkon (David Warner) and his party of representatives and safely escort them to peace summit talks; once the Enterprise departed, Kirk recorded into his Captain's Starlog: "I've never trusted Klingons and I never will. I can never forgive them for the death of my boy."
The new helmsman Vulcan Lieutenant Valeris (Kim Cattrall) (and Spock's protege and eventual replacement) was standing outside Kirk's door (and overheard his narration), as she announced the rendezvous with the Klingon's Kronos One; following a slightly-tense dinner party, a mysterious event occurred - it appeared that the USS Enterprise fired a pair of torpedoes at the Klingon ship, disabling its artificial gravity as two white Federation-uniformed men (with gravity boots) beamed onto the ship and mortally wounded Chancellor Gorkon; Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) and Kirk, after surrendering the ship, beamed onboard unarmed and vainly attempted to save Gorkon's life, but then were arrested by one-eyed warrior General Chang (Christopher Plummer), Gorkon's Chief of Staff - accused of assassinating the Chancellor and leading the unprovoked attack.
Calling upon his advisors, the Federation President (Kurtwood Smith) refused to risk all-out war ("I'm constrained to observe interstellar law"), although a Federation military response against the Klingons called Operation Retrieve to rescue the hostages was recommended by Adm. Cartwright and Colonel West (Rene Auberjonois) (West vowed: "We can clean their chronometers") - seconded by the Romulan Ambassador Nanclus (Darryl Henriques) who advised: "There will never be a better time"; Gorkon's daughter Azetbur (Rosanna DeSoto) became the new Klingon Mdme. Chancellor after her father's death and agreed to attendance at a peace conference (at a secret location) assembling in one week, if there were no attempts at rescuing the prisoners or extraditing them.
After a brief and unfair Klingon trial (during which an excerpt from Kirk's personal log about his hatred of Klingons was entered into the record), the two accused men (who were obviously set up) were defended by Klingon Colonel Worf (Michael Dorn), but found "guilty as charged" and sentenced to life imprisonment on the ice-cold penal asteroid of Rura Penthe (the "Aliens' Graveyard") in its dilithium mines.
While investigating the torpedo firing on board the Enterprise, Spock theorized and soon learned that (1) the shots came from an invisible, cloaked, prototype Klingon vessel beneath the Enterprise (later revealed to be Chang's Bird of Prey), (2) the two assassins (and their "incriminating" gravity boots) were actually onboard the Enterprise, and (3) the two killers were paid Federation assassins Yeomen Burke and Samno (drops of Klingon purple blood from the shootings were found on their uniforms on the ship) - both were later found shot dead at close range after the deed.
On the penal colony, Kirk and McCoy met a shape-shifting Chameloid named Martia (Iman) who proposed an escape plan (and gave Kirk a passionate kiss) - but the plan was designed to trick them and lead them into a trap that would cause their deaths (to "get them out of the way"); when her betrayal (she was offered a full pardon in exchange) was revealed, Martia transformed herself into the image of Kirk and struggled against him, but was killed by Klingon guards to silence her; shortly after, Kirk and McCoy were rescued when beamed aboard the Enterprise (Kirk had a homing device secretly attached to his uniform, disclosing his location beyond the planetoid's shields) - just before being killed by the prison warden.
On the Enterprise, it was revealed that Lieut. Valeris was the chief traitor onboard who objected to peace with the Klingons - (1) she had provided Kirk's log narration for his trial, (2) she admitted: "Klingons cannot be trusted", (3) she confessed that she had aided other dissidents in facilitating the Chancellor's murder: "They conspired with us to assassinate their own Chancellor", (4) she had hired and then killed the two Federation assassins to silence them, and (5) she revealed the names of her fellow coalition of conspirators when Spock mind-melded with her: "Admiral Cartwright...General Chang...the Romulan Ambassador"; Kirk feared that another assassination was being planned to sabotage the new peace conference, held secretly at Camp Khitomer near the Romulan border.
As the Enterprise rushed to the conference to provide defense, both it and Sulu's Excelsoir were repeatedly fired upon by Chang's cloaked Bird of Prey; to retaliate, Spock and McCoy 'performed surgery' on a photon torpedo so that it could detect Chang's vessel through its ionized gas exhaust; the impact of the torpedo after it struck revealed Chang's cloaked (invisible) location (he intoned: "To be or not to be" as it struck and he was killed), and his vessel was fired upon from both sides - and annihilated ("Target that explosion and fire").
Landing parties of crew from both ships beamed down to the peace conference in progress, just in time to prevent a Klingon assassination attempt upon the life of the Federation President (although the Klingon was revealed to be Colonel West with a mask); the conspirators Cartwright and Nanclus gave up and were apprehended when they realized Lieut. Valeris had made a "full confession"; peace talks would continue after Chancellor Azetbur confessed that Kirk had restored her father's faith and he replied: "And you've restored my son's."
Although Kirk was ordered by Starfleet Command to immediately return the Enterprise to Earth's Spacedock to be decommissioned, he announced their heading, referencing Peter Pan (a boy who wouldn't grow up): "Second star to the right...And straight on till morning"; he narrated in his log as they cruised toward a nearby sun:
The cast members signed off with their signatures on-screen.
Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)
The sixth film of the original series, and the series' fifth sequel. The last of the Star Trek films to include the entire core cast of the 1960s Star Trek television series. Nominated for two Academy Awards (with no wins): Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Makeup.
With a production budget of $27 million, and box-office gross receipts of $75 million (domestic) and $97 million (worldwide).
The film has been viewed as having a direct parallel to the collapse of Communism in the USSR and the end of the Berlin Wall, and reflected those changes - this was seen most transparently when Spock reminded Kirk of the old Vulcan proverb: "Only Nixon could go to China."
Great Scene(s): The formal state dinner party between Klingons and Enterprise crew members (with Romulan ale served) and Gorkon boasting: "You haven't heard Shakespeare until you've heard it in the original Klingon!", the scene of Spock's traumatizing mind-meld technique intimately used on Vulcan Lieutenant Valeris, and the destruction of General Chang's invisible Klingon ship Bird of Prey as he spoke: "To Be or Not to Be."
Also Worth Your Attention...
Captain Hikaru Sulu
Captain James T. Kirk
Vulcan Lieut. Valeris
Dr. Leonard McCoy
Mme. Chancellor Azetbur
Romulan Ambassador Nanclus
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