The original crew gets a sendoff in a murder mystery
The original idea behind Star Trek was the notion that the Federation represented the United States and the Klingon Empire represented The Soviet Union. By the time this film, the final with the original crew, was in production the Cold War had come to an end and the United States stood tall. The Undiscovered Country took that as the starting point and created a murder mystery surrounding the uneasy alliance between the two sworn enemies.
A disaster takes place, not unlike the Chernobyl incident, and unless the Federation comes to the rescue, the Klingon race is doomed. A lot was done in this movie to show the racist strife that still existed between two societies that could not be more different. James Kirk was given much more to do in this movie as he deals with the death of his son in the face of having to help the people he deems responsible. This movie is a great sendoff to the cast as everyone seems to get their moment in the sun and the entire film is gives a wonderful goodbye to the fans.
The movie itself is a murder mystery dressed up like a Star Trek film. The influences here range from Sherlock Holmes to film noir as director Nicholas Meyer (Wrath of Kahn) returns to prove he is the greatest Star Trek director of them all. The mystery of whether Kirk and Bones were responsible for the attack on the helpless Klingon vessel is never in doubt, but the question of who is responsible, and why, is what lingers through the film. Thanks to this wonderful story and a great emotional sendoff for the original crew, this remains one of the best movies of the series.
There are two commentary tracks, the first with director Nicholas Meyer and screenwriter Denny Martin Flinn and the second with Larry Nemecek and Ira Steven Behr. The track with the director is a great listen as he walks us through the influences for the movie, from Dashiell Hammett to Sherlock Holmes. The movie is full of little Easter eggs and he points out them all (Spock is a descendent of Sherlock Holmes). The other track is more fan oriented with a look at the Star Trek Universe as a whole. Unlike the Meyer track, which was informative and educational, this one is full of humor and one of the more fun tracks in the set. The same Library Computer feature that was on the other movies is also available here.
The Perils of Peacemaking is a documentary looking at the real world implications of the movie. Leonard Nimoy and Nicholas Meyer talk about the similarities between this story and the fall of the Soviet Union, Chernobyl and the bringing down of the Berlin Wall. It is an interesting look at the film and Meyer points out that when you take real world problems and move them into outer space, people can look at these problems from a different perspective, without built in prejudices.
Stories From Star Trek VI is a making-of feature split into six sections. I find it very interesting that this was the time they considered making the Starfleet Academy movie that we got with the recent J.J. Abrams reboot. They talk about how Nimoy came up with the metaphorical ideas of the movie. They also discuss the Shakespeare aspects, special effects, the final farewell to the original crew, and the racial undertones of the times. This is a great watch, at close to an hour in length. I also find it funny when Shatner talks about “hearing” about a new show they were working on – a show that had been on TV for four years when this movie was released.
There is a small feature talking to director Nicholas Meyer about his career. Klingons: Conjuring the Legend is a 20-minute look at the Klingons. It is a full history of the race, from their creation to their transformation over the years and more. It is a great feature for fans of the show. Federation Operatives is a neat little feature where we see various actors who have played different roles on various Star Trek properties. These include David Warner (Star Trek VI, Star Trek V, Star Trek: TNG), Kurtwood Smith (Star Trek VI, ST: DS9, Voyager), Brock Peters (Star Trek VI, Star Trek IV, ST: DS9), Michael Dorn (Star Trek VI, ST: TNG, ST: DS9), Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek VI, ST: DS9) and more.
Penny’s Toy Box is a look at a highly secured storage room full of props used in all the Star Trek movies. Together Again is a look at the career trajectories of William Shatner and Christopher Plummer, who both started out in Montreal. Tom Morga: Alien Stuntman is a look at the character actor who has played aliens in almost every Star Trek property since Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
To Be or Not to Be: Klingons and Shakespeare is a strange feature. Basically, a theater group put on a full stage production of Hamlet, performed as Klingons in the Klingon language. This is all due to a line from the movie where Chancellor Gorkon says that you haven’t heard Shakespeare until you have heard it in Klingon. The Starfleet Academy feature is also included here.
This features a tribute to DeForest Kelley. Everyone from Christopher Plummer to Leonard Nimoy talks about Bones and we get a nice look at his career. Nicholas Meyer mentions that Kelley had the most experience of any member of the original crew. Next up is a large number of original interviews with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig and Iman. There is also a production gallery, storyboards and trailers. We finish off the package with a 2001 Convention discussion with Nicholas Meyer.