Posters of Prominence: “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country”

Travis McClain

Bats: R, Throws: R. How Acquired: Traded for a player to be named later. I hold a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Louisville, earned in history. I have lived with Crohn's disease since 2005, and chronic depression since my youth. I bring into each film that I view a world view shaped by those and other parts of my background. I try to be mindful of the socio-political themes and implications of movies, intended or otherwise, and that surely shows in my blog pieces. I also love doughnuts.

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11 Responses

  1. johnmason says:

    I’ve been a Trekkie for many years myself. The Undiscovered Country was the first Trek I saw in the theater (with my dad, who always watched Trek with me, and my little sister, who didn’t). I also remember going to a midnight screening of the next movie, Generations.

    I love this poster, too, though I have to admit I was always more partial to the other poster for Star Trek VI:
    I wouldn’t be able to explain why.

    That last concept is fantastic; I’ve never seen that before.

  2. Travis McClain says:

    John, I really like that release poster as well but it was the teaser that evoked in me that life-changing curiosity. I wonder at times how differently my adolescence might have been had I not taken solace in the optimism for the future that Star Trek reassured me would be okay.

    Divorcing myself from that aspect of the posters and taking them purely as pieces of art, I still have to say I favor the teaser for its simplicity. The suggestion of a Klingon is, I think, more effective than the clear depiction of Plummer as Chang and the Klingon ships. It appears that we’re seeing the Enterprise fly off into both the sunset and the unknown, and that model of the ship remains my personal favorite. I love the curved lines of the saucer section and the secondary hull, and the sharp angular nature of the nacelles. The ship looks lonesome to me, but self-confident in the face of…what, exactly? I don’t know, and that’s probably the appeal.

    If I might switch gears for a moment, I think I can try to articulate the appeal of the release poster. The orange really pops against the blue, and the release poster has a kinetic energy to it that I love. Nowhere on the poster is it written, “Their last movie,” but that sense is conveyed nonetheless. Unlike other Trek posters, there’s a sense of finality here. Shatner as Kirk appears determined, Nimoy as Spock is disconcertingly uncertain and Kelly as McCoy looks resolved. It adds up to a great composition that captures the tone of the film.

  3. johnmason says:

    Well, certainly, both are fantastic. They rank right up there with First Contact for me, and among my favorite posters of all time. (Not sure I can think of a poster that “changed my life”, though…) :)

  4. johnmason says:

    Incidentally, they really ripped off the design aesthetic of this teaser poster when they did the one for Star Trek: Insurrection, didn’t they?

  5. johnmason says:

    Uh…and I’m amazed I’ve never clued into the taglines before now: “The Battle for Peace Has Begun” vs. “The Battle for Paradise Has Begun”? Wow.

  6. Travis McClain says:

    Oh, I caught the allusions to The Undiscovered Country immediately! I thought it was pretty lofty for Insurrection to try to connect so clearly to that earlier movie, and maybe that was a prejudice I held against it.

    I don’t expect that everyone has a “life-changing” poster story to share, but I’m sure we all have “that one” that had a specific impact on us. Maybe it was a poster that an older relative had and it freaked you out as a kid. Maybe it was one that gave you your first adolescent stirrings of curiosity. Whatever it is, I’m really looking forward to seeing subsequent posts in this sub-series.

  7. johnmason says:

    Ah, me as well. In fact, I’m ruminating on one myself…

  8. But the release date was the 6th not the 13th

    • Yes, it was moved forward a week after the posters were printed. There were some marketing materials that reflected the revised release date. I recall having a bumper sticker with the movie logo and the 12-6-91 date.

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