Fantasia Fest Review: FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK

A worthy celebration of Leonard Nimoy.

Who doesn’t love Leonard Nimoy? Even outside of Star Trek fandom, the actor was an icon, the kind of guy about which no one had anything negative to say (unlike, oh I don’t know, William Shatner). So it’s fitting to have an entire movie devoted to praising him and his most famous character, Spock.

For the Love of Spock begins with a touching interview clip of Nimoy which highlights his humanity and humility and then moves onto news reports of his death. So right from the beginning, it gets you in a somber mood. But then it puts things back in balance by cutting to a clip from The Big Bang Theory just to keep you on your toes.

That’s a joke, but above all the film does a good job of illustrating how far Nimoy’s legacy expands. Not just from Trek; his directorial efforts, his work on the stage, and his career as a photographer all get highlighted in the doc, painting Nimoy as a renaissance man, far more than just the guy with pointy ears.

But he also was the guy with pointy ears, and the film rightly spends most of its time examining his work on Star Trek, which includes the series, the animated series, the movies and JJ Abrams' remake. Even if the film were awful (and it’s certainly not that) I would recommend seeing For the Love of Spock if only to experience the wealth of Star Trek clips it offers on the big screen. More than anything, the film had me itching to go home and watch “The Carbonate Maneuver” or “Amok Time” and a number of other episodes.

There probably isn’t much for hardcore Star Trek fans to learn about Nimoy or the creation of Spock that they didn’t already know (though there is a tidbit from J.J. Abrams that appears to be new knowledge), but given Spock’s popularity as an icon, there’s great potential for average, everyday people to hear this story for the first time. Some might not even know that Nimoy directed two of the Star Trek films. Less probably know he made Three Men and a Baby. I appreciate that the film doesn’t go niche for fear that only Trek die hards will watch it.

The film ultimately takes three approaches to Nimoy. One is a look at Nimoy himself. One is a tribute to Spock as one of the all-time great characters. And the third involves Nimoy’s son (and the film’s director), Adam Nimoy, who discusses the high and lows of having Spock as a father, while also telling the story of how their relationship evolved over the years. The two weren’t always on good terms, and the very act of directing this film feels both like a moving, personal tribute and something of a therapy session.

While informative, For the Love of Spock isn’t out to surprise you in any way. It’s just a solid celebration of a man who deserves one, delivered by someone who knew him far better than most. Above all, it is touching and gentle, and you’re probably not alone if you find yourself dabbing your eyes bit while watching it.

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