Weighed down by a midsection even flabbier than the long-in-the-tooth cast, director Nicholas Meyer still delivers enough of what Trek auds hunger for to justify the trek to the local multiplex.
Following a Chernobyl-like disaster, a Klingon leader seeks peace with the Federation, the Klingon economy and environment having been depleted by constant warring – a not-at-all-veiled parable for the end of the Cold War. Kirk & Co are sent, reluctantly, to escort the leader to peace talks on earth, but conspirators seek to scuttle the detente by assassinating him and pinning the blame on the Enterprise.
Unfortunately, the murder is a rather tepid mystery and the ice planet to which Kirk and McCoy travel feels like a pale imitation of the Star Wars films. Pace and visual trappings pick up considerably in the final frames, when the Enterprise rides to the rescue of the peace talks, in the process dueling a Klingon Vessel.
Meyer and co-scripter Denny Martin Flinn [working from a story by Leonard Nimoy, Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal] also have loaded the film with sentimental touches. (Why Christian Slater turns up in an uncredited cameo is anybody’s guess.) Chris Eidelman’s terrific score manages to stand on its own yet still evoke earlier work associated with the pics and series. Sappy ending provides a fitting send-off (and ridiculously literal sign-off) to the ground-breaking series and its rabid fans, reinforcing its humanistic messages and fairy-tale trappings. [Pic is dedicated to creator Gene Roddenberry who died in 1991.]
1991: Nominations: Best Sound Effects Editing, Makeup