Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Wagon Train to The stars

You know President Obama of the United states of america said to the world press "I love Spock." and then in his usual calm and dignified way, much like Mister Spock himself, went on to quite eloquently explain why. High above the night sky the NASA astronaut Terry Virts waved a Vulcan salute from actual space. All over the world science fiction fans and people from all walks of life and every creed and colour made known their own feelings at the news of the death of the actor, director, writer and singer Leonard Nimoy. That is quite a testament to the life of any man much less one who made his mark in the precarious world of mass communication and entertainment. Spock was indeed loved and not just by still serving American Presidents. This calm and yet commanding figure  who supposedly lacked emotions , or at least suppressed their influence, was still able by some televisual alchemy to exude such warmth, trust and dry wit. a figure who possessed real gravitas and who oversaw the well being of his crew mates with infinite paternal patience as they struggled like wilful children with their own emotions. Never more so than in the final original crew swansong The Undiscovered Country. Within that lovely movie the themes of friendship and bravery and courage are so well and movingly explored. In it our heroes are ageing, the universe as they know it is changing. The crew of the Enterprise must ask themselves if there is still a place for them and the values that guided them to the stars. These are earthly and familiar themes that many must wrestle with throughout their lives. Mister Spock's embodied many of those themes with his inner struggles so ably brought to life by Leonard Nimoy in a performance that would carry him through many different mediums over different decades.
             There are remote corners of this world where there are people who do not know what the internet is but who know who Mister Spock is. It is a wonderful comment on a fictional creation.
Mister Spock stood out even on a palette as broad as the one used as a template in the vast Star Trek continuity. That is down to the talent of Leonard Nimoy. When he was in a scene the other actors had to work hard to remain visible in frame with him as he could steal the moment with a wordless raising of a saturnine eye brow. There have been other on screen Vulcans since he first appeared but none have quite managed to pull this off.
               That would truly be like trying to catch lightning in a bottle.
                An act so hard to follow it is not even logical to try.
                Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015.