Your mother takes you to see the film you’ve been waiting nearly three years to come out. You see your favorite characters from that famous 1960s show on the big screen trying to be one step ahead of the bad guy, played by Ricardo Montalban. Back in the day before sequels were the norm, “Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan” had everything an amazing film could have. It was the film that coined the iconic phrase “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” there was action, a story that took advantage of its history, comedy and it was the film that changed the lives of three children forever.
Towards the end of the movie Leonard Nimoy as Spock sacrifices himself. It’s a poignant scene between him and William Shatner’s Captain Kirk, you see that “live well and prosper” hand gesture and you knew it was the end. Two friends who learned so much from each other, the least of which to be the best of themselves, showed those kids in a dark movie theater what it truly means to be human.
When you’re a kid and your mom treats you to a day at the movies, it means a trip to the bookstore afterwards and a bite to eat. But after “Wrath of Khan” there was only the long teary trip home. Spock was gone and the hope was that this favorite character who taught his audiences so much would not die in vain. That’s who Leonard Nimoy will always be – a man who taught people how to live through the roles he took. Throughout his career he did not only appear on the original television series “Star Trek,” but “Mission Impossible” as Paris, part of the IMF team who was a master of disguises. He also did numerous films during his 63-year career as an actor. Arguably Nimoy’s talent as a director should also be celebrated. One of the best of the initial series of films based on Star Trek (“The Undiscovered Country”) has been toted as one of the best. Equally “Three Men and a Baby” with Nimoy at the directorial helm is considered to be one of the largest grossing films of the year it came out. Nimoy had a way of bringing out the best in actors. By using the chemistry of principle actors he made characters likeable and relatable.
But it is Spock who resonates with everyone who knows this man’s work. When he first appeared in the reboot of “Star Trek” (2009) the theater cheered and hollered as if they were seeing an old friend. For those three kids in 1982 Leonard Nimoy revealed that good people die and it doesn’t matter how long you live, when you love someone you never want them to leave your lives. It also brought back memories of a shared favorite episode, where the half human, half Vulcan went through a myriad of emotions in a matter of minutes. Some may feel that way now – feeling the need to laugh, be angry and cry at the same time. Perhaps we should take a page from the first science officer and be fascinated at a man who led such a full life, instead of wallowing in missing him.