A fictional character
Before I start this review of Valeris, many have commented on Star Trek V and why it is such a disaster or in my opinion, very flawed but still worthwhile, It can be said that if Star Trek V: The Final Frontier didn't exist with Star Trek VI coming in after IV that you would see a very full arc to the Saavik character since Valeris was supposed to be Saavik and would have made a more emotional impact to see her characters choices and feel more of a blow when it's revealed that shes up to no good.
More or less as I covered in my review of Saavik, Kirstie Alley started the part in II but was unavailable for filming-currently starting on the show Cheers to come back for III. Robin Curtis played the role in III and the glorified cameo the role was in IV and is absent from V. Enter VI and we have a new Vulcan character, a female named Valeris, who was meant to be Saavik.
A lot of talk as to the reasons why the character was changed, has flown around from either Kirstie Alley or Robin Curtis being available to make the film, wanting too much money to return to the role (VI had just enough money to get made) and Gene Roddenberry saying it would be wrong to do this to what had in the meantime becoming a "beloved character" leading director Nicholas Meyer telling Gene to shut his pie hole (something he did regret years later) and even having Kim Cattrall not wanting to be the third actress to play the role of Saavik, so a little rewriting and we have Valeris who fills the role of Saavik minus the emotion and genuine tie that the real character would have brought to the table instead of an expy of the character who we didn't see in the other movies, go through death and life together.
Valeris is in almost all of this movie after the meeting with Starfleet command. She gets more screen time then Uhura, Checkov and definetely Sulu. I smell plot points around this character, helps when you also look like Kim Cattrall and your costars are in their 50's at least.
Valeris even without being the character she should have been, still brings an importance to the movie, especially in her scene in Spocks' quarters where the future and fears are discussed and it's clear that Spock holds her in high regard by giving her control of a situation where important evidence needs to be uncovered and when it comes crashing in front of Spock's face like a photon torpedo through the Enterprise's saucer that Valeris isn't the ideal successor to his mantle and when she fails to follow through on the courage of her convictions, Spock SLAPS a phaser out of her hand with a scowl on his face!! Damn girl, you pissed off Spock and he SHOWED it, no need for spore filled happy plants this time either!
Valeris does make a nice argument for why she does what she does and Uhura even admits that she felt the same way at the film's conclusion. It's always nice when your villian does make an argument that the protagonists acknowledge, not to mention doesn't force the argument on us and gives us their side. I can think of too many movies or TV shows where the strawman could make all the sense in the world and the way the story is written, or the character he simply cannot be right. I'll also point out that again, when you look like Kim Cattrall it's easy for people to listen to you.
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