Past the Popcorn provides South King Media with exclusive reviews of Theatrical and Home Video entertainment. We aim to dig just a little deeper than the surface of what we watch.
“Star Trek won’t work.” What a long, long journey from that Variety review.
Given the tremendous popularity of Gene Roddenberry’s creation and its various iterations and spinoffs, and given the centrality of Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock to Roddenberry’s vision and work, it’s hard to believe that a feature documentary about Nimoy was not made until after his death.
So very fitting, then, that in 2016 Nimoy’s son Adam saw fit to correct that oversight. For the Love of Spock is the younger Nimoy’s fascinating portrait of a father, actor, artist, and cultural icon. I am tempted to say that the film is compelling simply because Leonard Nimoy, Spock, and Star Trek are so compelling–but I think that would sell the film and Adam Nimoy short. The director has done a fine job of sifting through vast archives of stills, video footage, and interviews to find a storyline which does both his father and the subject matter justice.
While it’s certainly true that much of the conventional biographical material here–which, for Adam Nimoy, is autobiographical–is dry and trivial, it’s not at all when seen within the larger arc of the narrative: the tensions between Leonard the actor and Leonard the father; between Leonard and his own father; between Leonard the actor and Leonard the filmmaker; between Spock the elder and Spock the resurrected and Spock the recreated; between Leonard the father and Adam the son; between Adam the fan and Adam the filmmaker. And so on. This a narrative of parallel legacies which resonates on so many levels that it’s almost mind-boggling.
Adam’s profound insight into his father is augmented here by observations from William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, and Walter Koenig, of course, as his surviving cast members. But surprising insights are also contributed by the likes of Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, J.J. Abrams, Jason Alexander, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and a host of others.
This is really a massive tribute and love fest–so appropriate for a man whose life and career can justifiably summed up in one word: love.