“For the Love of Spock”
Rotten Tomatoes (3.5/5), Metacritic (7/10), Letterboxd (3.5/5), Imdb.com (7/10), TMDB.com (3.5/5)
OK, so where was I when this 2016 release came out? I usually stay on top of “Star Trek” content quite faithfully, but this documentary about the late actor Leonard Nimoy and his signature role as Mr. Spock completely flew under my radar. Directed by the actor’s son Adam, this loving tribute to his dad and the character who became a global cultural icon presents a comprehensive look at the man both on- and offscreen. In addition to Nimoy’s “Trek” connections, the film examines his acting work in other, lesser-known stage, screen and TV projects; his turn as a filmmaker on a number of feature offerings; his relationships with his fellow cast members; and his family life, including a candid look at his often-contentious and ultimately conciliatory connection with his son. Fans of the actor and his work will enjoy the many anecdotes related by those who knew and admired him, as well as many stories told by Nimoy himself in his own words from archive interview footage. There are a few disappointing oversights, however, such as a nearly complete absence of discussion regarding the big screen epic “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” (1991), a film in which Spock’s character plays a pivotal role in the telling of that story, one that carried sweeping ramifications for the direction of the franchise thereafter. In addition, the documentary seems to soft-peddle the allegedly tense relationship between Nimoy and original series/feature film co-star William Shatner, an association that supposedly had its share of ups and downs over the years. Nevertheless, with plenty of fond memories from “Trek” collaborators like Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, George Takei, D.C. Fontana, Catherine Hicks, Chris Pine, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, J.J. Abrams and Nicholas Meyer, along with ample film clips and interview observations from admirers like Jim Parsons, Mayim Bialik, Jason Alexander and Neil deGrasse Tyson and from family members like his children Adam and Julie and his brother and sister-in-law Mel and Sybil, the film presents an otherwise-insightful look into the life of one of Hollywood’s most beloved personalities and most readily recognizable characters. If you’re as much of a fan as I am, be sure to watch this one. And, if so, you, too, may well live long and prosper.