Utterly Star Trek Review

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Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Cast:
William Shatner (Kirk)
Leonard Nimoy (Spock)
DeForest Kelley (McCoy)
James Doohan(Scotty)
Walter Koenig(Checkov)
Nichelle Nichols(Uhura)
George Takei(Sulu)
Kim Cattrall(Valeris)
Mark Lenard(Sarek)
Grace Lee Whitney (Rand)
Brock Peters (Admiral Cartwright)
Leon Russom(Starfleet Commander in Chief)
Kurtwood Smith (Federation President)
Christopher Plummer (General Chang)
Rosanna DeSoto(Azetbur)
David Warner(Chancellor Gorkon)
John Schuck (Klingon ambassador)
Michael Dorn(Colonel Worf)
Jeremy Roberts(Lieutenant Dimitri Valtane)
Iman(Martia)

Writers: Leonard Nimoy, Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Nicholas Meyer, Denny Martin Flinn

One of the moons surrounding the Klingon home world explodes, causing the Federation to offer help.  The first thing that is needed is a peace treaty, so Kirk is sent out to meet the Klingon chancellor and escort him to Earth for these talks.  After a dinner in which both parties prove that it will take a while for the Federation and the Klingons to see eye to eye, the Enterprise appears to fire on the Klingon ship.  Two Federation suited officers beam across and murder the Klingon chancellor in the chaos.  McCoy and Kirk beam across to try to help and are arrested for the murder.  They are trialled and sentenced to life imprisonment at the penal colony/dilithium mine Rura Penthe, where they escape, discover that the whole with has been a set up between Klingon General Chang and a high up Federation officer.  They get to the peace conference at Khitomer just in time to prevent the Federation presidents assassination by a human disguised as a Klingon.  They are then told to head back to Earth to be decommissioned.

As things go, this is not a bad movie.  I don’t think it’s as good as everyone seems to remember.  There are some good moments – the first time the Enterprise fires on the Klingon ship must have been quite shocking if you didn’t know it was coming.  And the Vulcan Valeris was a surprise traitor, though it would have been better if it has been Saavik as per the original plan (but neither previous actress was available and they didn’t want to recast again).

The Klingons came across rather well in this story – both David Warner and Christopher Plummer were excellent in their roles.

The worst thing about it was the silly humour.  The “if the boot fits” gag with the Dax character (not the Dax we get to know later on DS9) was pathetic, as was the section when they are trying to speak Klingon go get into Klingon space without rousing suspicion.

The characters were all talking about retirement at the start.  This makes sense – you get the impression that films two through five are meant to happen quickly in relation to one another, with a large gap between one and two and a large one between five and six.  Kirk has not really seemed old until this film – Shatner in his fifties was easily able to pull off Kirk, and although they were all good fun in this movie it was the right move not to do any more.  Scotty, Spock and McCoy in particular are looking very old indeed!

It was a nice send off.  It was great to see Sulu in his own ship.  It does, however, seem unreal that I will not see these people together again.  I have been watching the classic series and movies for this blog for the best part of a year now, and it does not seem real that I won’t see them again.  (Although truth be told the only character I will never see again is Uhura – the others all turn up in various shows or movies.  In fact, one of them show up in the next thing I am going to watch!

Many crew must have died in this, but as no dialogue in the film confirmed the casualty figures, I shall assume they all survived.  So Kirk lost 58 crew in his film and TV adventures.

It’s been fun, but now I have a new group of people to get used to!

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Confirmed Crew Deaths Under Captain Kirk: 58 (to be reset for the next series)
Score: 7.5/10

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June 4, 2008 Posted by | cloaking devices, doubles or duplicates, family members, inside another stafleet ship, klingons, mind meld, prisons/penal colonies, romulans, sarek, set on earth | | 1 Comment

Star Trek 3.14 (Whom Gods Destroy)

Cast:
Steve Ihnat(Garth of Izar)
Yvonne Craig (Marta)
Gary Downey(Tellarite)
Keye Luke (Donald Cory)

Writer: Lee Erwin, Jerry Sohl

Since I have been writing this blog, I have been categorising the episodes by the “Trek Cliches” that they contain.  With some episodes they contain none that I have used so far (which means I have to try and think of a new one).  Then there are episodes that contain cliches that I have seen before.

Then, there are episodes that contain so many it is almost funny.  Such is this episode.  Interestingly, this was the second episode that the BBC never showed (well, not until 1994) due to the torture scenes.

The premise is simple: the lunatics take over the asylum, including a former Starfleet Captain, Garth.  He is able to shape shift, so when Kirk beams down he initially disguises himself as Cory, the Doctor in charge of the asylum.  And so we get something that is rather similar to Plato’s Stepchildrena few episodes ago – the only difference is that the people in charge are literally insane.  (The point of this particular asylum, by the way, is to completely eliminate mental illness.  They don’t seem to have quite managed this yet!!)

Garth takes on Kirk’s appearance and tries to beam back up to the Enterprise, but luckily Kirk has put in a code the person beaming up has to respond correctly to.  Garth pretends that he was just checking that Scotty was following his instructions, then tries to get the correct response out of Kirk.  He goes quite far to do this, including torturing Cory, then Kirk himself.

When the torture doesn’t work, Garth disguises himself as Spock to trick Kirk into giving up the code, which, of course, fails.  He then does something far nastier – one of his fellow inmates (one of them green women) is driven outside (into the toxic atmosphere of the planet).  As Kirk watches her choke (someone he was snogging not that long ago) Garth tells Kirk that he has planted an explosive in her necklace, he then blows her up.  It is a genuinely nasty moment in an otherwise average episode.

The episode ends on a bit of a tired cliche when Garth changed himself into Kirk and good old Spock has to work out which is the actual Kirk, they then fight and you cannot tell which is which so Spock is unable to shoot.

It’s not a bad episode, but it is very slow and very similar to other episodes that we have already seen in the run.

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 46
Score: 6/10

May 13, 2008 Posted by | andorians, disease/sickness, doubles or duplicates, mad captains, prisons/penal colonies, shape shifters, tellarites, torture | | Leave a comment

Star Trek 2.16 (The Gamesters of Triskellion)

Cast:
Joseph Ruskin(Galt)
Angelique Pettyjohn(Shahna)
Steve Sandor (Lars)
Jane Ross(Tamoon)
Victoria George(Ensign Jana Haines)
Dick Crockett(Andorian Thrall)
Mickey Morton(Kloog)

Writer: Margaret Armen

This is another of those very formulaic episodes of the original series and also, because the three character involved are three of the regulars, there is very little threat.  Basically, Kirk, Uhura and Checkov, whilst beaming down to a planet, are snatched just before they are transported by a far more advanced transporter and whisked to the planet Triskellion, where they are forced to fight for the enjoyment of “The Providers”.  There are people of many other races there.

Meanwhile, the Enterprise cannot trace the missing crew at all.  Spock figures out where they must be as a beam of energy of a type never before encountered is tracked to a trinary star system (we have already established earlier on that Triskellion is such a star system).

Back on Triskellion, the three crew members have to fight and train.  To reproduce, they have arranged relationships that are functional and there to create offspring.  They don’t know about love, but of course Kirk introduces a certain green haired lady to the concept.  It is one of the much ridiculed moments on the run of this show, and it is quite awful.

The creatures that we eventually see are these kind of brains in jars, and they are running things.  They look very similar to three brains in jars that we see in an original Doctor Who episode called The Keys of Marinus (1964) and I find it hard to believe that someone in the Trek universe had not seen them, as the look is very similar indeed!

Kirks final fight for freedom is watched by all on the Enterprise on the viewscreen.  Very similar to the season one episode Arena.  Since you know that Kirk will win, again it removes any tension.

Very dull, it was hard to stay focussed on this when it was on.

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 40
Score: 3/10

April 12, 2008 Posted by | prisons/penal colonies | | Leave a comment

Star Trek 1.9 (Dagger of the Mind)

First Aired: November 3, 1966

Cast:
James Gregory (Dr. Tristan Adams)
Morgan Woodward (Dr. Simon Van Gelder)
Marianna Hill (Dr. Helen Noel)
Susanne Wasson (Lethe)
John Arndt (First Crewman)
Larry Anthony (Ensign Berkeley)
Eli Behar (Therapist)
Writer: Shimon Wincelberg
The idea behind this episode is a good one. A Doctor creates a process that will basically calm down nutters, but he wants to know it will work and tests it on himself. Naturally, it turns him into a nutter.
It starts quite well. There is something about the (manic-ness?) of Van Gelder as he runs around the Enterprise that tells you there is more to it than simple insanity. The actor plays the part rather well, but is woefully underused, spending most of the episode strapped to a bed in the sick bay. We also get to see the first mind-meld this time as Spock attempts to get to grips with what is really going on with Van Gelder. Luckily, there is none of the tedious “my mind to your mind” formulaic crap which takes over the mind meld process – certainly by Voyager, possibly well before. I will mention the first time it occurs in the run on the show/films.
Then, despite the fact that he knows what the machine is capable of, Kirk sits in the machine that drove Van Gelder mad. If we knew this was going to lead to bad things, they why didn’t he? I quite like the moments where Doctor Noel is putting suggestions into Kirks head – especially as she likes him and tries to suggest that something happened between them. I have to say the way she behaved was a bit suspect, but we never find out whether or not she would have carried this through as the machine is taken over by the prison commander and turned up to full power. Surprise!
All in all some nice ideas but seemed to go on forever.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 19
Score: 5/10

August 2, 2007 Posted by | mind control, mind meld, prisons/penal colonies | | Leave a comment