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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
Star Trek V underperformed and was savaged by critics. Rightfully so. When Star Trek VI came around in 1991, it had a lot of work to do. The producers also knew the writing was on the wall and many of actors could not keep doing these movies. The result was one giant finale for the original crew. It was daring and after the flop of the previous entry, could have been a disaster. Fortunately for all, it mostly works!
The film gives audiences good, positive vibes about themselves and the Star Trek characters. We see them triumph over adversity while overcoming their own demons. At the same time, the movie parallels real events bringing the story home and relatable. It also gives an emotional farewell to these characters who have become entrenched in pop-culture. The Undiscovered Country succeeds on all those levels.
That said, there are a lot of things that make this movie really stupid on a fundamental level. For starters, when did the Enterprise crew become bigots? I know it is important to this story, but with the possible exception of Kirk, it seems completely out of character for the rest to act like this. It takes one out of the movie.
What also bothered me was the whole conspiracy element. It was interesting, do not get me wrong, but after everything is revealed towards the end, it makes no sense whatsoever. In essence, enemies team-up so they can prevent peace and continue to be enemies. Wait…what? That makes no sense in terms of logistics and execution. Maybe it was supposed to be ironic, but it is never acknowledged as such. The way it was handled in the movie just reeked of lazy writing.
Fans and the internet in general tend to hold Star Trek VI in high regard. I honestly do not think it is warranted. This is not a bad film by any means. What the film does well, it does really well. I just do not think it is a great film. It is simply a good film with some fundamental narrative flaws.