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Review: Son of 'Spock' creates film tribute to TV icon

"For the Love of Spock," Adam Nimoy offers a detailed look at the character his father, Leonard Nimoy, created on the TV series "Star Trek."

(455 FILMS)

By THE FRESNO BEE | Stars and Stripes | Published: September 7, 2016

Adam Nimoy's original idea for the documentary "For the Love of Spock" was to take a detailed look at the character his father, Leonard Nimoy, had created on the TV series "Star Trek." Spock is one of the most iconic TV characters of all time, and the film fills in details of how the character came into being and grew into such a beloved figure.

The filmmaker accomplishes this and, in the process, gives Star Trek fans a comprehensive story of everything from the struggle to create the right look for Spock's ears to how Nimoy came up with the idea for the Vulcan greeting of "live long and prosper." It is a fascinating look at the acting process.

Adam Nimoy accomplishes this through a wealth of film footage and photographs, and interviews from those who watched Nimoy create the character to those who saw his last portrayals. Leonard Nimoy's superb work and strong work ethic are praised by everyone from William Shatner to Zachary Quinto. But that was a source of pain for the family he often ignored for work.

Whether it was intentional or not, Adam Nimoy has also created a love letter from a son to his famous father. The film reveals that the pair had monumental differences that pushed them apart. Reconciliation came before Leonard Nimoy passed away in 2015, and the film comes across as a final farewell from a son to his father.

It's also a parallel to a letter the director got from his father that the documentarian reads throughout the film. In it, Leonard Nimoy expresses regret about how differences drove him and his son apart. The letter is full of raw emotions.

The emotions help keep "For the Love of Spock" from being just another hypefest regarding a popular part of pop culture. Fans of the show and the character of Spock get plenty of insider information, which is balanced with glimpses into the actor's home life and how things that happened there were not always logical.

Emotions can also cloud judgments. The filmmaker skips past some major negative moments, such as Leonard Nimoy writing the book "I Am Not Spock." Although the work was not a rejection of the character as many thought, the title was enough for fans to set their criticisms to stun.

The film also plays it safe with the actor's drinking problem. That could be just a factor of the documentary starting out as a look at the character of Spock, while the expansion into more of a look at Nimoy comes later. More likely, it's the personal connection the filmmaker has to his subject.

These are only minor glitches in what is a beautifully crafted salute to a pop culture icon and the man who breathed life into the character. It's rich and warm, funny and touching, thought provoking and nostalgic. The timing is perfect for both the anniversary of the show's launch and coming so soon after the death of the veteran actor.

Most of all, it is a beautiful tribute both of a filmmaker to a subject and a son to his father.

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FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK

3.5 out of 4 stars

Cast: William Shatner, Zachary Quinto, Jim Parsons, Leonard Nimoy, Adam Nimoy

Director: Adam Nimoy

110 minutes

Rating: NR

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(c) 2016 The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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