Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Movie (2) Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Paramount Pictures, 1991; see also 1991 in film) is the sixth feature film based on the popular Star Trek science fiction television series. It is often referred to as ST6:TUC or TUC. It is the last of the films based solely on the original series cast and it presents their final mission together.


Main cast

Plot summary

The Klingon economy is thrown into turmoil after the explosion of Praxis, a key Klingon energy production facility. The Klingon Empire sues for peace with the Federation. Starfleet chooses to send the USS Enterprise to meet with Chancellor Gorkon to open negotiations, a decision that doesn't sit well with Captain James T. Kirk, who lost his son to Klingon commander Kruge in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

Captain Kirk, upon rendezvousing with Gorkon's battle cruiser Kronos One at the Klingon border, invites the Klingon chancellor along with his guests to dinner aboard the Enterprise. The dinner does not go well, as the humans and the Klingons spar on the eventual course of the projected peace, discussing, among other things, the possible annihilation of Klingon culture.

Whilst en route to Earth, some time after the ceremonial dinner, the Enterprise appears to fire upon the unguarded Kronos One with a pair of torpedoes. The hits are scored in strategic spots on the ship's underside, and, among other things, artificial gravity on board the Klingon vessel fails. During the calamity, two men wearing Starfleet uniforms beam aboard Kronos One, and fight their way through to the chancellor's private room. Chancellor Gorkon is assassinated, although General Chang is notably absent. Captain Kirk and Dr. Leonard McCoy, after having beamed aboard Kronos One in an effort to save the chancellor's life, are arrested, accused of the crime and taken to Qo'noS for trial while Gorkon's daughter, Azetbur, becomes the new chancellor, and wishes to push forward with diplomatic negotiations, this time, for reasons of security, on a neutral world, the location of which is kept a secret from the general public and from most Starfleet and Klingon Defence Force officers.

Missing image
Valeris, on bridge

Kirk and McCoy, after a show trial on Kronos, are taken to the gulag Rura Penthe, a forced labor camp. After a brief time there, they meet a shapeshifter by the name of Martia, who conviniently offers them a method of escape. After making their way across the frozen wasteland that is the prison world, they are betrayed by Martia, who is killed by Klingon guards upon arriving at the scene. The Enterprise, however, manages to beam up the two in time, and escape across the border unmolested.

The Enterprise contacts the starship USS Excelsior, commanded by Captain Hikaru Sulu, and learns of the location of the peace conference. Both ships, at opposite ends of Federation territorial space, head for the conference, at Camp Khitomer, at maximum speed. Shortly before reaching it, the Enterprise is intercepted by Chang's modified Bird of Prey. Chang fires upon the Enterprise multiple times, and then upon the Excelsior when Sulu arrives midbattle, until a specialized torpedo, modified by Captain Spock and Dr. McCoy to track engine emissions from the Klingon ship, impacts Chang's vessel. The Excelsior and the Enterprise then fire repeatedly on the ship, which succumbs to the assault. It should be noted that while the vessel had the capability to fire while cloaked, it did not have the capability to raise shields while cloaked, giving it a huge and obvious weakness once it was found.

Parties from both ships beam to the conference, halt an assassination attempt on the Federation President, kill the assassin, and arrest several conspirators. Afterwards, the Enterprise heads back for Earth, to be decommissioned.


TUC is an allegory for the fall of communism in eastern Europe circa 1990. The Federation and the Klingons have been engaged in a cold war for seventy years (since the episode "Errand of Mercy" in the original series) and some players on both sides are reluctant to see the situation change.

TUC shares a theme of rising above one's own prejudices, needs or desires with the earlier films, as Kirk must put aside his dislike of the Klingons and become the warrior who fights for peace. This role is easier for Spock, whose people's culture is essentially peaceful. However, Kirk's character seems too darkly drawn, as he's spent much of his career working for peaceful and moderate solutions to the problems he encounters. Some critics complain this undercuts some of the film's drama while others counter that considering he lost his son to Klingons in a previous film, his suppressed hate for them is emotionally reasonable and his conquering of it gives an additional dramatic weight to the story.

The film's dialog contains an enormous number of historical and cultural references, including many lines of Shakespeare. See References in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.


The film was directed by Nicholas Meyer, who also directed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and is considered by many to be a return to the movie series' previous form, in the wake of its widely-disliked predecessor, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Reportedly, The Undiscovered Country was a working title for TWOK.

The film is also a sort of prologue to Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which the Klingons and Federation are allies. Michael Dorn, who plays Lieutenant Worf in TNG, plays Worf's grandfather Colonel Worf in this film. Colonel Worf is the attorney/JAG who defends Kirk and McCoy in court.

Supposedly, the character of Valeris (Kim Cattrall) was originally supposed to be that of Saavik (played by Kirstie Alley in The Wrath of Khan), but this was changed for several reasons: Alley was unavailable, Cattrall was not interested in being the third actress to play Saavik, and fans had not cared for Robin Curtis' portrayal of the character in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Moreover, Gene Roddenberry had requested the removal of Saavik as he thought she was too well liked to be turned "evil" (this was an indication of the power Roddenberry had come to wield in the Trek universe by this time, since his involvement with the Saavik character had previously been nonexistent).

According to reference works such as the Star Trek Chronology, Roddenberry stated before his death that he considered elements of this film to be apocryphal. (See Canon). Exactly what he objected to has never been confirmed, though it is believed that it might have something to do with the subplot involving the assassination attempt on the Federation President.

The character of Colonel West, the Starfleet marine officer who conducts the Operation Retrieve briefing, was intended as an in-joke reference to a real Marine - Oliver North ("West", "North"). Colonel West only appears in the extended home video (and DVD) version of the film, not in the original theatrical cut, and is played by the same actor (Rene Auberjonois) who would later play Odo in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Perhaps one of the film's funniest scenes occurs when a Klingon claims that one has never heard Hamlet until it has been heard in the original Klingon language. A few years later, linguists actually published The Klingon Hamlet, a translation of the famous play.

External links

Star Trek
Series: Movies:
de:Star Trek VI: Das unentdeckte Land

it:Star Trek VI- Rotta verso l'ignoto ja:スタートレックVI 未知の世界


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