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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

'For the Love of Spock' DVD/BD He's From Mass.& Only Works in Space

Gravitas Ventures gives Trekkers and Trekkies alike the best holiday gift ever regarding the December 6, 2016 DVD and Blu-ray releases of the aptly named 2016 documentary "For the Love of Spock." These fans, aficionados of "The Big Bang Theory," and tons o' other folks know that this film is tremendous tribute by Adam Nimoy to his late (and great) father Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed the titular Vulcan on "Star Trek."

The following YouTube clip of the SPOILER-DRIPPING theatrical trailer for "Love" oozes the mutual regard between Leonard and those whom Spock touches.

The prominent element of fan love that Adam includes in this portrait of both the "Trek" character and the man who portrayed him for roughly 50 years requires briefly detouring into Blogland to share a personal story on this topic. This experience is behind actively pursuing Gravitas for an advance copy of "Love."

Seeing "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" during its initial theatrical run was an entertaining (but uninspiring) introduction to the "Trek" universe. The hook came a couple of years later on a roommate watching "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (a.k.a TNG) every Sunday morning gradually drawing me in. (The literal tar baby remains an early season fave.)

The immersion into TNG led to Saturday afternoon marathons of "Star Trek" (a.k.a. OS). RIGHT FROM THE START, thinking of the proper response to the current threat facing Kirk and the boys would come within 15 minutes into the episode. JUST AS CONSISTENTLY, Spock would devise the EXACT same solution roughly 20 minutes later.

Discovering that one shares the thought processes of a brilliant and notoriously logical character is flattering on one level. It also prompts soul searching regarding what it says about one's personality. Candor requires confessing numerous ongoing instances of frustration regarding others not demonstrating what is personally considered a reasonable level of intelligence and/or common sense.

Returning to our main topic, Adam explains early in "Love" that the genesis of the film relates to the 50th anniversary of OS. He adds that the passing of his father prompts expanding the scope of the film to Leonard himself.

We learn that Leonard is from Boston and engages in the cliche of taking a train to La La Land in the late '40s to pursue an acting career. This portion of the film includes several clips of the early work of Leonard. These gigs include a guest spot on the Gene Roddenberry series "The Lieutenant." Adam then shares how that role leads to Roddenberry casting Leonard as Spock in OS.

Adam awesomely supplements the standard OS clips and tales of initial ratings challenges with hilarious home movies and good insight from Leonard. A clip of a pre-teen Adam surprising Dad on the set is must-see.

Adam then shares lesser-known information about Leonard in the interim between the cancellation of OS and the new love that soon follows. A wonderfully bizarre clip of Leonard singing and dancing his heart out about another timeless character while an amazed Enterprise crew looks on is another must-see scene.

Adam further covers the first few in the original batch of "Trek" films and the involvement of Leonard in the first two JJ Abrams productions. Learning that the love of Leonard for "Trek" extends into the latest incarnations is awesome.

The only disappointment is that Adam does not address the appearance of Leonard on TNG and it does not seem that any TNG actors directly participate in the film. The better news is that numerous cast mates of Leonard and all the big hitters from the Abrams 'verse share great thoughts on Leonard.

The other talking heads include the aforementioned Trekkers, real-life rocket scientists who cite Spock as a career inspiration, the sister of Adam, and the highly entertaining sister-in-law and brother of Leonard. The surviving elder Nimoys discussing getting a taste of the love of Trekkers and Trekkies is especially charming.

Personal elements include Adam candidly discussing the same highs and lows that characterize any parent-child relationship and Leonard sharing stories of the response of his parents to his prominent role regarding "Trek."

All of this amounts to a film that surpasses the genre goal of being equally entertaining and educational. The timing of the home-video releases is poignant considering the recent losses of Florence Henderson, Alan Thicke, Bernard "Dr. Bombay" Fox, and Zsa Zsa Gabor,

The BD version also has incredible extras. The most special and ambitious is a 30-minute film of Leonard giving Adam a tour of Boston and a history of his childhood home in the West End of that alleged hub of the universe. The prevalent themes include Leonard working hard from the age of 10 and the despicable manner in which developers push out low-income immigrant families to build luxury riverside properties.

A more fun extra documents the appearance of Adam on "Bang" in an episode in which Adam interviews brilliant nerdy Sheldon for "Love." This one provides a good chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at this fanboy fave sitcom.

We further get to see "Seinfeld" star/Trekker Jason Alexander take a "Trek" trivia quiz. Seeing him nail tough ones is as funny as watching him miss one that even a Trekkie would get.

The only proper way to wrap up all this is to wish all involved in "Love" and everyone reading this review to live long and prosper.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Love" is encouraged to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.