Leonard Nimoy has been gone now for over a year-and-a-half, but his legacy is encapsulated in the new, moving documentary film, "For the Love of Spock." And who better to tell the story than Leonard's son, Adam Nimoy, who turns this memorable little gem into a heartfelt, deeply personal two-hour film that is absolutely essential viewing for anybody who calls themselves a fan of "Star Trek." It's only logical that you would want to seek it out.
Nimoy of course, portrayed Mr. Spock, the pointy-eared half-human, half-Vulcan counterpart to William Shatner's Captain Kirk. The documentary hits on all of the highs - and a few lows - of Nimoy's professional career, which pre-dated his first appearance as Spock when "Star Trek" debuted back in 1966. It includes all of the insights that you might expect, from Gene Roddenberry selecting him for the role, to his relationship with the other actors on-set, to going behind the camera to direct "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" as well as "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home." Until his death in 2015, Nimoy even appeared in the re-imagined "Star Trek" films developed by J.J. Abrams - the only original cast member to do so - and fully embraced his half-alien persona at fan conventions all over the world.
But told from the point-of-view of his son, the celebration of Nimoy's life also acts as a cathartic experience for Adam Nimoy. No other filmmaker would have had access to the personal films, photos and memories quite like someone who was that close to its subject. We learn from Adam that although Leonard was a loving father, he was a "career-first" kind of guy for much of Adam's crucial, early years. This led to the two of them having a tumultuous relationship that even grew into estrangement for several years later in life. As Adam builds this documentary, it leads him and the viewer to areas of self-examination, where we see before our eyes Adam coming to terms with his own relationship with his father. In fact, this doc reveals nearly as much about son as it does father.
But it's not all personal affirmations. Nimoy (Adam, that is), is able to land candid interviews with everybody from all living original cast members like Shatner, George Takei, Walter Koenig and Nichelle Nichols, but we hear too from the current cast, like Chris Pine, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana and Zachary Quinto, who had the closest relationship with Leonard due to the fact that Quinto took over the role of young Spock in the recent movies. There are new nuggets of information that we get - like how Nimoy's choice to make Spock more of a logical, reserved straight-arrow was due directly to the fact that he was playing off of the energetic and eccentric performance of Bill Shatner - and some pieces that we might have forgotten altogether (did you know or remember that Leonard Nimoy directed "Three Men and a Baby"?)
Best of all, you get the sense from watching this doc that Adam Nimoy wasn't making the film for anyone but himself. Sure, he understands the love that others have and had for his father, the same love that he battled for attention and competed with as a young kid growing up. Absolutely, he wants his father to be remembered, and leaves no stone unturned in recounting every detail of his father's life. But you get the sense that Adam had to make this movie...that it was necessary healing for him. "For the Love of Spock" is made lovingly, and rings true.
Leonard Nimoy, interestingly enough, says that he never played Spock as emotionless, but as someone who is at all times struggling to keep himself and his emotions in check. Like the yin and yang of Spock and Kirk, this documentary is everything that Spock is not: It is unbridled emotion, pouring out of every frame and shouting from the rooftops. Leonard Nimoy did as Spock always instructed others: He lived long, and he prospered. Spock's legacy will live on, but now thanks to his son's documentary, Leonard Nimoy's legacy will as well.
Run Time: 1 hour, 51 minutes, Not Rated
Featuring: Leonard Nimoy, Zachary Quinto, William Shatner, George Takei, J.J. Abrams
Directed by Adam Nimoy
Now playing and available On-Demand
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