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9/11/16

FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK - REVIEW


Partly a project started by Adam Nimoy and his father focused on the Spock character's conception and cinematic journey, partly a crowdfunded homage to the late actor, For The Love Of Spock is a new documentary tribute with a lot to say and a lot of heart.

Chronicling the impact of Star Trek, the birth of Spock and the ups and downs of Leonard Nimoy's career, the film takes great care to touch upon different aspects of the actor's journey from his films to his family life, other interests like directing, theatre or photography and what he and his iconic character means to the fans. A lot of emphasis is put into showing how all kinds of fans have gravitated towards the stoic Vulcan from the 60's to today as we get interviews from cosplayers, celebrities (Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jason Alexander) and NASA employees who all explain what the character means to them. Of course, the key members from the Original Series' cast are all there to talk about on and off-set shenanigans and their relationship with Leonard Nimoy.

The documentary does a good job at juggling the actor's personal and public life and, as a celebration of his life and work, For The Love Of Spock works really well. You definitely learn a lot about who Leonard Nimoy was and the TV and film clips selected are all excellent, especially those showing the actor's early work where you see him at his most versatile playing heroes, villains, tough guys, Native Americans, the list goes on. There are surprising omissions like his chilling turn in Columbo, his underrated return to TV sci-fi in Fringe, Star Trek V and VI. Even Star Trek III barely gets a mention which is particularly strange since it's literally called The Search For Spock and includes one of the most memorable Spock stories. A couple of fashion-themed montages and interviews with Big Bang Theory cast and crew-members could have easily been cut to make room for those.

Some of the main highlights include footage of Nimoy playfully reading an early bad review of Star Trek, a look at the progression of the Spock character through J.J. Abrams' reboot and Adam Nimoy reading through a powerful letter written by his father. The tone of the film is more light-hearted than you'd expect and it's genuinely a lot of fun to revisit some of the best and goofiest movies and TV series Leonard Nimoy was involved in. The idea that he just got bored with Mission: Impossible is both very funny and believable when you see the limited range of characters he was asked to play. By the end, there are some sadder moments, some dealing with the actor's passing, some with Adam Nimoy's own personal challenges but, ultimately, you're left on a positive note, which is fitting.

All in all, this is a very good and moving tribute to an extremely talented actor who marked his generation by introducing us to one of the most recognisable and likeable characters of all time in probably the most iconic, impactful television show out there. Leonard Nimoy was truly one of the greats and full marks go to Adam Nimoy for putting together such a valid tribute.

Fascinating.

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