As you can see, you have found yourself on Rotten Ink and on another trip down memory lane with the crew of the USS Enterprise as this time around we will be talking about Star Trek VI that has Captain Kirk and his crew once more at odds with Klingons when he is framed for the murder of a high ranking Klingon. And like most of the past films in the series, DC Comics was the company who took up the task of making the adaptation. This sixth film has an interesting back story of cheap budget, anniversary and even rumors of a star taking naughty photos on the set, so with those teasers lets get to the bridge and take flight through space with Captain Kirk and his crew as we try and beat a murder wrap and find that undiscovered country.
So let’s take a few moments and talk about the film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. I will be taking the films write up from our pals at IMDB, and then I will talk about the films production as well as a little about my thoughts on the film. So let’s jump to warp speed and talk part six.
Star Trek VI: Undiscovered Country (1991)
“On the eve of retirement, Kirk and McCoy are charged with assassinating the Klingon High Chancellor and imprisoned. The Enterprise crew must help them escape to thwart a conspiracy aimed at sabotaging the last best hope for peace.”
The fifth film in the series was a disappointment at the box office for Paramount Pictures and the future of the Star Trek films was on shaky ground, but they knew that they needed to do something as the series 25th Anniversary was coming up and they wanted to do something to celebrate it but also did not want to spend a lot of money on a new film. And then ideas and scripts started to be pitched and considered with the first one being about The Starfleet Academy and would feature younger versions of Kirk, Spock and other characters from the classic series and would have focused mostly on Doctor McCoy who would be telling the story of how they all meet to recruits at the academy. And this cool idea was viewed very negatively by most of the original cast, heads at Paramount and even Gene Roddenberry himself and this caused Harve Bennett to be fired from Star Trek projects. And during this time even Walter Koening tried to create a new script that would have Starfleet and the Romulans teaming up to go to war with the Klingons and would see almost all the cast die in the end besides Spock and McCoy…this as well was not green lighted nor was an idea for the original cast to meet the cast of Star Trek The Next Generation. And it was an idea by Leonard Nimoy and the screenplay by director Nicholas Meyer that ended up being the bases for the sixth film in the series.
After the screenplay was locked Paramount gave the film the small budget of only $27million and filming started April 16, 1991 and needed to wrap on September 27, 1991 as Paramount wanted the film in theaters in December for a Holiday release. And during filming many coast cutting measures was used to keep the film in the given budget and they even filmed some parts at the iconic Bronson Canyon in California that has been the set for many iconic TV Shows and Movies over the years including such Horror and Sci-Fi films as “White Zombie (1932)”, “The Vampire Bat (1933)”. “Robot Monster (1953)”, “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1956)”, “Return Of Dracula (1958)”, “Equinox (1970)” and “Army Of Darkness (1992)” to name a very small few. I should also note that many classic heroes films, shows and serials has been shot here as well like Superman, Batman. Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon and Captain Marvel. The film would be scored by Cliff Eidelman and it would be released in theaters of December 6, 1991 and was meet with mostly positive reviews from critics as well as fans. But one sad thing is that Gene Roddenberry would pass away on October 24, 1991 at the age of 70 from heart failure and never got to see the film released. Star Trek VI would go on to bring in $96,888,996.00 worldwide and be the # 15 top grossing films in 1991 beating out such films as JFK, What About Bob?. Boyz In The Hood, The Rocketeer, Thelma & Louise, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, People Under The Stairs, Child’s Play 3, Ernest Scared Stupid, Drop Dead Fred and Suburban Commando to name a few. Over the years this film is also considered one of the best in the Original Cast Star Trek films and is still talked about and respected to this day. And I can see why I have always liked this film and have good memories once more of seeing the film in school and enjoying it for all the strange moments of the prison and the aliens that made it up. This film is also iconic for me as it marks the final film that features the classic crew all together and truly marks the end of a era of Science Fiction characters for me as while I like the reboots of Star Trek no once can replace these actors in those roles.
Star Trek VI is such a fun film and from the first time I seen it via renting it on VHS when released I was a fan as I felt that it was a great story that once more pitted Captain Kirk against the Klingons and really built up the bond and friendship between Kirk and McCoy. While the cast was getting older it was awesome to see the character they played as well grow as well as be promoted and yet all still remain friends and stick by each other during the ups and downs. It’s crazy to thank that this film is the last to feature all of the original cast together and while it’s not my favorite film in the series I feel that it was a fun one to go out on as it brings Captain Kirk and the Klingons back together and a healing moment happens for Kirk. I also think that casting David Warner as the Klingon High Council member Gorkon was very cool as I knew him from the films Tron, The Omen, Nightwing, Time Bandits, Waxwork and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret Of The Ooze and seeing him as a Klingon was fun. And growing up I owned this film on VHS and later DVD, I also had the paperback and comic adaptations as well as the films score on CD. I need to also point out that while they cut the films budget very low the film does not feel cheap, just a little less polished than the other films in the series. If you have not seen this film and enjoy Classic Star Trek make sure to give this one a watch.
Like all Star Trek films the merchandise machine was in full effect as they wanted to make a little extra money off it just in case if the box office numbers needed help. And besides the comic and of course home media release you also got the soundtrack, magazines, toys, novel, posters and shirts and like all other Star Trek movie merchandise that came before it fans flocked to buy it all up. And over the years I have had and have much of this as I still own the film on DVD as well as many of the toys, the novel and soundtrack. And at one point I had a few magazines featuring the film. I must say I do really like the classic Playmates Star Trek toys as they were well done for the time and covered all eras of the classic series and films. So if you are a fan of Star Trek VI, make sure to track down some of its merchandise for your collection.
Ok before we move onto the comic review part of this Star Trek themed update we need to talk about the fact that actress Kim Cattrall and her character Valeris are super attractive in this film I mean Kim was already a 80’s Actress Sex Symbol with her roles in such films as Police Academy, Big Trouble In Little China, Mannequin and Honeymoon Academy to name a few all adding to movie goers noticing her beauty. And when she took a roll in the then newest Star Trek film the world of Sci-Fi started to really take notice of her looks and her acting talent. And man did she look great as a Vulcan and in a Star Fleet Office uniform! And come on any of you fellow Trekkies out there know just how great it is to see an attractive woman in a Trek uniform. Rumor has it that Leonard Nimoy was not a fan of Kim’s on set as he thought she was driven by ego and again just a rumor is that she and her boyfriend at the time took sexy pictures of herself on the USS Enterprise set and this was the final straw for Nimoy who caught her doing so and forced them to destroy the pictures and made it that she would never work on a Star Trek project again…but again this was all just a rumor. But one thing is for sure and that’s Kim made her mark in the world of Star Trek and looked good doing it.
Well I think we are at the point to travel to that Undiscovered Country with the crew of the USS Enterprise and DC Comics and see how this comic adaptation compares to the film it’s based on. And this is a comic I am looking forward to re-reading as its been a very long time sense I did so, and I also would like to thank Mavericks Cards And Comics for having this comic in stock and making this update possible. I would like to also remind you that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready lets head to the criminal trail of Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy and see how and if they can beat the murder rap they are on the hook for.
Star Trek VI # 1
Released in 1991 Cover Price $2.95 DC Comics # 1 of 1
Captain Sulu and his crew have just finished up a three year mission and as they are returning an explosion from a Klingon owned moon rocks the star ship and worse when they call the planet to see if they need help the Klingons refuse it, and Sulu ends up calling for the Starfleet for help. Days pass and at a big Starfleet meeting Spock gives a speech about helping The Klingons who’s ozone is damaged after the moon explosion and that in 50 Years their planet will be unlivable and that Klingon Ambassador Gorkon is willing to call for peace in order to get help, and the Starfleet are torn on if they should trust them and help and Captain Kirk is against helping them! But after talk they majority vote to help and Spock has volunteered Kirk and the Enterprise to host Gorkon through federation territory and to the meeting, Kirk is not happy as he hates them but does so with his classic crew as well a new crew member Valeris a Vulcan who graduated at the top of her class. That evening Captain Kirk and the Enterprise Crew host Gorkon and his crew for dinner and that includes General Chang who clearly does not like Kirk, and the dinner ends in arguments between the two sides. Latter the ship of Gorkon is attacked by torpedo’s being fired by the Enterprise to Kirk and the crews shock as well as two masked men beam aboard the Klingon ship and shoot and kill Gorkon! After the attack General Chang blames Kirk for the attack as well as Doctor McCoy who tired to medically help Gorkon for his murder and this forces the two to be put to trial via Klingon law and are found guilty and sent to a frozen prison planet. Meanwhile Spock, Valeris, Scotty, Uhura and Chekov are all trying to figure out what happened as the ships computers are conflicting with each other on if the torpedo’s came from the Enterprise as well as some interference is keeping them from talking with Starfleet. While on the frozen prison planet Kirk and McCoy meet female alien Martia who fills them in on the rules of this prison, while on the Enterprise Spock leads a search of the ship in order to find the assassins. Kirk and McCoy are able to escape the prison with the help of Martia who was a spy for the Klingons and is killed during the escape and are beamed back to the Enterprise where they have discovered that a new cloaked Klingon Bird Of Prey ship is the one who fired the torpedo’s and that Valeris is the one who was the traitor of the Enterprise and helped set up the assassination. Kirk gets the help of Sulu and they head to the peace talks as another assassination is going to take place and they bring down General Chang who was one of the masterminds behind this framing of Kirk and is in the Bird Of Prey that is now blown up that fired on Gorkon’s ship. Once at the peace talks Kirk and his crew stop the assassination and expose the members of both sides that wanted the peace talks to fail, and Kirk forgives the Klingons for the death of his son and as all things change for the good Kirk knows this was the final ride for the Enterprise with him in as Captain.
This comic adaptation is very well done and DC Comics once more proved that they knew how to adapt the Star Trek films into comics! The plot is best summed up this way Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy are framed for the murder of a high ranking Klingon and are sent to a prison planet were they have to try and escape the clear their names and expose the Klingon traitor who has set up the whole thing to cause more tension and possible war between Starfleet and the Klingons as he thinks his people have gone soft. This plot is very cool and is kind of deep as it shows Race Tension between several different alien races and shows that all people are the same and there is good and bad in everyone as we all have the goal of just living our lives, and it also shows that people will come together for a common goal and that can be something positive or something foul. Captain Kirk goes from being very angry and hating the Klingon race for the death of his son, and by the end learns that forgiveness and change is what is best for the galaxy. And like always Kirk is a ladies man and a hero and risks his life several time in order to escape and do the right thing and that’s solve a murder, make sure peace is meet and to clear his name of murder. Doctor McCoy who does not trust the Klingon’s does do his best to save the life of one, but does not understand the biology of them and is not able to help. Spock along with Scotty, Uhura and Chekov do what they can to solve this murder mystery and of course figure it all out and save lives and Spock is the key to help Kirk grow as a person. Valeris and General Chang are the two masterminds behind the killing of Gorkon as they both on the side that The Klingons and Starfleet should never trust each other and that being at war is what is needed. I think what is great is that General Chang is so ego driven that even before he is blown up he is bragging and thinking he is in charge of the battle, such a great and sleazy bad guy. The comic does a great job of keeping the pace of the story going and yet also keeps all the important speeches and exchanges between characters. I also have to say that while they are around Sulu, Scotty, Uhura and Chekov do kind of seem like background players in the issue as they are helpful and around they just are not major players in the issue. The cover for this issue is awesome and showcases all the major character from the film and the interior artwork done by Gordon Purcell is really good and he does a great job of capturing the likeness of the actors. Over all a great comic adaptation and is a very fun and entertaining read. Checkout the artwork below to see the style of Purcell.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is a great film and as you can see DC Comics did a great job of turning the movie into a fun comic and capturing the mood and adventure elements of the film on paper. I also want to say that I was really sad hearing about the passing of Nichelle Nichols in 2022 who played Uhura, as she was an amazing actress and will be missed. But with the review coming to an end it also makes me a little sad as we only have one more film and comic adaptation that features the some of the cast of the original series to cover and of course that is Star Trek: Generations and we will be covering that in 2024. But as our time with Captain Kirk and the crew come to an end I want to let you know that the next update will take us out of space and into the wrestling ring as we take a look at George “The Animal” Steele and kick off our year long celebration of Pro Wrestling and WWF WrestleMania! So until next time read a Star Trek comic or three, watch a Star Trek film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update and lets hope that Turnbuckles is not the only snack food offered at the Rotten Ink Arena snack bar!