The final Trek for the original crew of the Enterprise restores the talent behind the camera including Star Trek II's Nicholas Meyer as director and thus intelligence and high production values are back on screen after the stagnant Star Trek V. The Undiscovered Country is a generous cut of the franchise's sweet meat though it doesn't hold the same place in my affections as Trek's II, III and IV. The story is the series at it's best - a deft allegory of the fall of Soviet Communism with the old cast having to question their old assumptions about those 'Klingon bastards' who are now suing for peace with their Federation foes. The ensuing political double crosses, assassinations and space battles are far meatier and more interesting than anything in the previous film and this is all counterbalanced by something approaching poignancy given that the movie represents a final fling for our quasi-geriatric heroes. The direction and visual effects are top notch with Meyer getting the best out of the classic cast including a surprisingly descent turn from Shatner who rediscovers a bit of the old magic as a Kirk trying to reconcile his hatred of the enemy and his personal resentment against the practicalities of the peace initiative. Its really his movie, though Spock and McCoy have some good moments and Christopher Plummer's General Chang provides prime cut villainy with just a glint in his eye (literally just the one eye) and a stroke of his Klingon moustache. His propensity to quote Shakespeare is a bit of a hoary old cliché for your would-be enemy but it works nicely as a hallmark of a man who has invested in the culture of his adversaries in an attempt to best them intellectually. As a military man with an less than honourable agenda he's a far more convincing villain than any megalomaniac hell bent on world domination, partially because writers Meyer, Nimoy and Flinn understand that the real world grounding of the story invests it with a edge and a credibility that might otherwise be wanting. There are a few false notes - The Enterprise rescue of Kirk and McCoy has always felt a bit too clean and easy for my liking and the purple Klingon blood is just inaccurate for continuity purposes but I'll put my hands up to pedantry on that one. The major faux pas though is the final 'sign off' from the crew in which their signatures are 'written' across the screen. Its not the idea that's wrong its the fact we're looking at the actor's signatures and not those of the characters. It feels like a bit of mis-step because it betrays a misunderstanding of the fact that it's the characters that made the series fly not an interest in William Shatner, Deforrest Kelly and so on. From the moment I first saw it it never felt right to me but still, there you go. Gene Rodenberry just got to see this before he died and a good job too because I think he'd have been satisfied that his original crew had gone out on a something of a high note. He'd also never see the 4 movies that followed with the Next Generation cast and for that alone he may have got out at just the right time.