Adam Nimoy’s love letter to his father’s iconic character, and by extension to his father himself, is Star Trek‘s finest 50th anniversary treat to date, and a wonderful obituary to Leonard, who we sadly lost last year.
Leonard was on board when Adam started the project and would surely have been very proud of the resultant documentary which uses archive TV footage, theatre stills and talking head interviews from fellow actors, family members and celebrities. And because this isn’t an official Paramount Star Trek product it has an air of brutal honesty that a sanctioned production might shy away from. The film shows that Adam and his sister tired of their father’s popularity and the ensuing sacrifices that were made. At times he comes across as an absent father, though this is no bitter diatribe, just a frank appraisal of how life was.
Many of the clips are new, and most of the stories feel fresh or at least offer different perspectives on popular convention tales. Nobody, least of all Nimoy, expected Spock to be such a phenomenon, and we get insight into a man dealing with unexpected fame. Thrust into the limelight, we find a man whose autobiographies veered from I am Not Spock to I am Spock, with the Ballad of Bilbo Baggins thrown in to the trippy 60s mix. We discover that he soon tired of the formulaic Mission: Impossible, was instrumental in getting George Takei and Nichelle Nichols cast in Star Trek: The Animated Series and was told that the ears were going to be in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, whether or not he was wearing them.
But more than this we find a man who is admired by family and colleagues. He is presented as a flawed but… human… man (Spock would have loved that) who left behind a legacy that extends far beyond his screen appearances. As someone who has had the honour of interviewing Leonard on one occasion I was very affected by this film. When his brother and sister in law relate to his final days it’s a very difficult watch.
Ultimately this is a celebration of Vulcan’s favourite son. If, like me, you played with the Mego Spock doll, collected the Weetabix and Topps cards and sobbed as he sacrificed himself for the needs of the many in 1982’s The Wrath of Khan, you’ll need no encouragement to watch this tribute. And even if you just have a passing interest in the man or the character, this is a great insight into fame, the vagaries of TV production, Vulcan nerve pinches and salutes.
Verdict: As the Enterprise’s first officer would say… fascinating. 10/10
You can purchase the movie to stream as a single rental or permanent outcast from https://www.wearecolony.com/for-the-love-of-spock/