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Ideas are born and met with scorn
More often than embraced.
It’s hard to tell what might do well
Or else end up disgraced.

That’s why the rise of one franchise
Can be a wondrous thing
When someone’s pitch can find its niche
And gain a following.

Ideas sow seed while sponsors lead,
But icons call for skill,
For one who spans the dreams of fans
To live and prosper still.
__________________

MPAA rating: Not Rated (should be PG-13 for 2 F-words)

I don’t typically watch and review documentaries, but as a lifelong fan of Star Trek, I couldn’t pass up a celebration of Leonard Nimoy and his most iconic role. Funding through Kickstarter, For the Love of Spock  is unique in that Nimoy himself was actually involved in its production until his death in 2015, and his son Adam Nimoy not only finished the doco but turned it into a moving retrospective of his father and their rocky relationship.

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I love Spock. Who doesn’t love Spock? Whether it’s Nimoy in the original series and films or Zachary Quinto in J.J. Abrams’ reboots, the half-human, half-Vulcan science officer of the Enterprise is a both compelling and surprisingly lovable character, even with his famous emotional reserve. For the Love of Spock dives into the original man behind the ears, from his early acting days to his musical and artistic pursuits to how he and his family reacted to the sudden stardom that Mr. Spock foisted upon them.

Apart from Nimoy and his son, there are a plethora of celebrity interviews that provide commentary of Nimoy’s life, whether the experiences of co-stars like William Shatner and George Takei or the geeky influence he imparted to Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jim Parsons, and J.J. Abrams. It’s a brilliantly edited encapsulation of all that Nimoy and Spock have given popular culture and boasts the emotional resonance of the loss of a legend and some surprising stories of how that legend developed, such as the Jewish origin of Spock’s “Live long and prosper” hand gesture. (You probably can’t see, but I’m doing it right now.) Occasionally, it’s also very funny, as when it recaps Nimoy singing “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins,” which is possibly the biggest what-the-heck moment I’ve seen all year and which I had to include below.

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As I said, I don’t often watch documentaries, but I’ve liked the few I’ve seen, with For the Love of Spock up there among the best. I use a simpler “Thumb” system for docos since they’re harder for me to compare to narrative films, but this is undoubtedly worth Two Thumbs Up. Perhaps certain periods aren’t covered in as much detail, like the original films or Nimoy’s first autobiography I Am Not Spock, but Star Trek geeks and semi-geeks alike will find plenty to enjoy.

 

Rank: Two Thumbs Up

 

© 2018 S.G. Liput
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