In the heady, much-debated world of science fiction, few characters carry the weight of Mr. Spock from the Star Trek TV series and films. As so brilliantly played by Leonard Nimoy, this half-human, half-Vulcan emotionally challenged man of science has become a true icon not just of the sci-fi genre, but of pop culture in general. Before his sad passing in February of 2015, Nimoy was in pre-production with his son, Adam Nimoy, on a documentary about the cultural significance and influence of the character. Upon his father’s passing, Adam Nimoy (a prolific director of episodic TV) shifted gears, and opted to make not just a doco about Spock, but about his father as well. The results are charming, funny, heartfelt, incisive, and honest.
No mere glowing hagiography, Nimoy doesn’t go easy on his old man, painting him as a workaholic who often put his family second. The younger Nimoy doesn’t go easy on himself either, admitting to a history of irresponsible, selfish behaviour that made his often fraught relationship with his father even more difficult. But the portrait that Nimoy crafts of his father is essentially one of a decent, fair man who used his stardom only to help others, including his Star Trek co-stars in a number of pay disputes. He was also intrinsically linked to his most famous creation, with Nimoy shown as responsible for many of Spock’s most interesting and unforgettable tics.
And while Nimoy’s other pursuits (as well as a busy actor, he was also a keen photographer) are duly covered, it’s the “Spock stuff” that really sings. Including warm, candid interviews with all of Star Trek’s main players (from both the original series and films, and the new reboots), every aspect of the Enterprise’s first officer is covered, from the way in which he has become a touchstone to outsiders and the disenfranchised, to the bizarre fan art and fiction featuring Spock that has sprung up on the internet. While Star Trek fans will absolutely adore this tribute to a fascinating actor and his most lasting creation, the reach and appeal of For The Love Of Spock extends far beyond that niche audience. This truly affecting doco is essentially about father and sons, and who can’t relate to that?
For The Love Of Spock is screening at The 2016 Sci-Fi Film Festival, which runs from October 19-23 at The Ritz Cinema, Randwick. For more on For The Love Of Spock and to buy tickets, head to the official site.