Originally, this documentary was supposed to focus on Spock; how this beloved character came to be, the impression that he left on pop culture, etc., However, when Leonard Nimoy passed away early last year, is was clear for his son Adam Nimoy, who’s the writer, director and producer of this documentary, that it would also have to very much be about the man who portrayed him. Thus, the final film is as much a loving tribute to his father – and a means for him to make his peace with their often strained and estranged relationship – as it is about Spock himself.
Granted, if you’re as big fan of “Star Trek” as myself, chances are you will already know many of the things that are mentioned here. Nevertheless, it was nice to get it all in one – very well presented – package. Plus, there was the occasional information that was news even for me. I especially loved to hear more about Nimoy’s life, the start of his career, etc. (which reminded me that it’s probably high time for me to get his two autobiographies “I am not Spock” and “I am Spock”). And, of course, it was nice to learn more about Leonard Nimoy and/or Spock from the perspective of his son, and what effect the popularity of his father had on their family. All of that information is presented here in a very appealing package, successfully averting the dreaded “talking heads”-syndrome by using different sources (archival footage, convention appearances, as well as new interviews shot exclusively for this documentary) as well as mixing it up with clips of the original “Star Trek”-series, photographs, etc.
Obviously, with such a rich life and history as well as the restrictions of a reasonable running time, there will always be things that you have to leave out or skim over. For example, I was surprised that even though they addressed many episodes of the original show, they never really got into “The Naked Time”, which was the first time that Leonard Nimoy was allowed to show the emotions that are constantly brooding underneath Spock’s stoical exterior. And since I’m kind of a purist, and “For the Love of Spock” was about the original show and the history of “Star Trek”, it was a little weird for me that they only showed clips with the remastered CGI-effects. Other than that, however, “For the Love of Spock” is expertly produced, and gives a – dare I say it – fascinating overview of the life and work of Leonard Nimoy as well as the legacy of “Star Trek” in general and Spock in particular – which I found quite poignant. Overall, “For the Love of Spock” is a must-see for all Trekkies/Trekkers out there, and the perfect accompaniment for Star Trek’s 50s anniversary.
In the interest of full disclosure: I supported this documentary on Kickstarter.