Longtime nemesis of the Federation of Planets, the Klingons, suffer a devastating blow to their home world right at the beginning of the film and find out they soon must flee their home to avoid extinction and are forced to coexist with their longtime rivals. The Federation sends Kirk (William Shatner) and the Enterprise to escort the Klingon ambassador to Earth for a peace talk conference, but right away something goes terribly awry that results in Kirk and McCoy (DeForest Kelley) to be taken prisoner by the Klingons. While those two attempt to find a way out of their inevitable death sentence, Spock (Leonard Nimoy) leads an investigation to uncover this conspiracy.
The plot takes a bit of set up to get going, but at least it starts with a huge energy blast right off the bat. I took this as a direct response to the negative reaction last time for The Final Frontier really toning back the special effects, and this time Paramount lets you know that right from the start they are not holding anything back. Also, The Undiscovered Country is the first film that really brings the look and feel of the updated Enterprise as seen on TNG with the original series cast. This results in a film 23 years later that still holds up on the special effects front exponentially better than all the previous films.
One of the primary themes of this film is the Federation overcoming their prejudices and past rivalries with the Klingons at the sudden need to save their race and integrate them into their society. This is doubly so for Kirk because he is still understandably hung up at the Klingons for killing his son back in Star Trek III. The film does a great job establishing this tension early on in one of the quintessential uneasy dinner scenes in all of sci-fi cinema. I could not help but chuckle a little as everyone grit their teeth and held back their emotions while pretending to get along.
Like all past films I am covering, the BluRay has over two hours of previously released extra content as well as a half hour of new extras. I am not counting the commentaries in that either. I watched about a half hour each of the old commentary with Nicholas Meyer and the new one with Larry Nemecek & Steven Behr. If I had the time to spare to watch both in their entirety I would, but I did enjoy the parts I consumed as all commentators had really fascinating insight, with Meyer providing many on the set tidbits and Nemecek and Behr providing a fresh set of eyes on the near 25 year old film that originally released on the franchise's 25th anniversary.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is a nice sendoff for the original series cast, and I especially dug the final sign off in the credits as a nice farewell. While I am not as hard on The Final Frontier as others, I am definitely more content that The Undiscovered Country got to be the final film with the original cast instead. There were a couple of lulls in the middling acts that I picked apart above that dragged it down a couple notches for me, but as a whole I am ranking this as one of the better Star Trek films, but giving my highest recommendations to check out the original crew in the second and fourth films first!
Star Trek Film Ratings
Star Trek: The Motion Picture - 5.5/10
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn - 10/10
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock - 7.5/10
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home - 9/10
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - 6.5/10
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - 7.5/10