Captain's log, stardate 21114.0. Or, as it would be more commonly known as Thanksgiving of 2014, Adam Nimoy approached his famous father about working together on a documentary about Mr. Spock. With the 50th anniversary of the original television series looming in 2016, the timing seemed perfectly aligned with the stars. But midway through the process, Leonard Nimoy passed away from COPD and like the Starship Enterprise, the film’s focus changed course. Instead of a celebration of the anniversary of Star Trek and all things Spock, director Adam Nimoy veered into a more personal story; that of Nimoy and Spock and his sometimes rocky relationship with his famous father. Apparently, it wasn’t always easy being the son of a fictionalized cultural icon.
Narrated by Zachary Quinto, the film delves into Nimoy’s rise to stardom utilizing seldom seen archival footage and interviews with respected astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Star Trek cast members William Shatner, George Takei and other notables. They all embraced similar views of the man – simply, that he was a “mensch.”
One of the more interesting tidbits he shares with the audience, is the derivation of the Vulcan salute. The son of Russian immigrants living in Boston, Nimoy recounts a charming story of attending Orthodox services as a child and hearing the wailing chants of the Kohanim. He was warned not to look, but sneaked a peek and witnessed the position of their hands while bestowing blessings upon the congregation. Resembling the letter “shin” in the Hebrew alphabet, he incorporated the hand gesture into his character’s role and the rest of the story is legendary. The hand gesture and accompanying blessing “Live Long and Proser,” became the TV shows most enduring symbol.
In an homage to Leonard Nimoy from the International Space Station on February 27, 2015, shortly after hearing of Nimoy's passing, NASA astronaut Terry Virts tweeted the Vulcan salute over Nimoy’s hometown of Boston. A fitting tribute indeed!
Screening twice in the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and winning the Audience Award at this years Fantasia Film Festival, For the Love of Spock was made under the auspices of a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, which raised over $600,000 – the most successful documentary project in their history!
If you know nothing about Star Trek, there’s much to be learned. And if you think you know everything, trust me, you don’t. For the Love of Spock is a heartfelt tribute to one of TV’s favorite characters, made possible by the unique perspective of his son Adam. The film not only showcases his father’s enduring legacy, but excises some personal demons as well. Is there any better way to illustrate how Leonard Nimoy – son of immigrants – metamorphosed into Mr. Spock, a beloved alien in a foreign culture?
Runtime: 111 minutes
Opening Friday, September 9th at The Texas Theatre and Alamo Drafthouse – Richardson and Cedars and on iTunes and On Demand everywhere.
Reprinted with permission by the TJP