Published on May 2nd, 2017 | by Robert Barry Francos0
For the Love of Spock
For the Love of Spock is a story about Leonard Nimoy and Mr. Spock, told from the point of view of Nimoy’s son, Adam Nimoy.
As I am assuming is true with most people other than die-hard trekkers who are bulletin-boarded to the pulse of all things Star Trek, I first heard about this documentary about Leonard Nimoy, the Prime (first) Spock, from an episode of Big Bang Theory, where Sheldon is interviewed by Leonard’s son, this film’s writer and director, Adam Nimoy.
As the film starts, the launching point is Nimoy’s death in 2015, and works its way back to the beginning. A key component is the director placing himself into the story. I find this doesn’t always serve in other films, as it tends to misdirect the attention away from the subject in an egotistical way, but in this case, Leonard is not just a subject that the director is focused on, being his son he is integrated into the story, and so it works.
The early part delves into the start of Nimoy’s career rather than his childhood (a good move), which includes an interview with his brother. Funny thing is, his brother bears a strong resemblance to his Spock frenemy, Dr. McCoy/DeForest Kelley. Most of the family, in fact is represented here, including Adam’s sister (though not Leonard’s widow/second wife).
This incredibly inclusive film has tons of interviews, with previous cast members, writers, etc., of various Star Trek releases, from the television shows (including William Shatner, George Takei [aka the great Mr. Meme], Nichelle Nichols, and Walter Koenig) and films (such as Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg and of course Zachary Quinto). There’s also Jason Alexander, who is apparently a Star Trek expert!
There are lots of film clips, from public and private speaking engagements, and conventions (including by fans and cosplayers). The production also wisely alternatives between the linear and themes, so we learn about how the iconic ‘Spockisms’ came about, such as the eyebrow-raise, the Vulcan neck pinch, the mind meld, and of course the ‘Live long and prosper’ Vee symbol. Also, Adam nicely mixes information on Nimoy the actor and Spock the character, showing how they intertwined.
There is room for another documentary here on things that were mentioned in passing, including his music career, his books (e.g., I am Not Spock; I am Spock; collections of poetry), his photography art (some of his images are shown, but as they are not Spock related, and due to time I’m sure, they are merely glanced upon, again rightfully so).
While Shatner is the central character and lovingly ribbed in modern culture for his line delivery, Spock is arguable the most influential of the roles from the original program, and I certainly believed the most beloved due to his part-alien/part human ‘Other’ nature. This is also well touched on in the documentary, as is his stimulus on some people in the present NASA space program and the likes of scientists such as Neil deGrasse Tyson (who also appears here).
As a side note, I was noticing how much Leonard looked like David Bowie towards the end of Nimoy’s life, and how one of the songs over the final credits is Bowie’s ‘Spaceman.’
Adam did an amazing job with this “Spock doc,” as he calls it in the commentary, keeping the interest of the viewer by not sticking on a single style of theme, yet keeping it cohesive and sensible.