Like any adult -- or person with a brain -- I do have opinions on issues; and when the spirit moves me in such a way that I believe I can articule them for an audience I will write about them. For example, I fairly recently sounded off about how I believe Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) has a reputation I don't quite support; others find the flick akin to the word of God whereas I think it all boils down to a visual-fueled drug trip delivering audiences nowhere of interest ... or, at least, nowhere that we can agree on the value of the destination. For clarity's sake: no, I have no problem with the film having that reputation. My point is that I think it's just an intellectual exercise -- not a film -- and I leave it at that.
But I will say that -- in the history of the entire Star Trek franchise -- I do believe Paramount Pictures made one of its biggest mistakes ever by allowing actress Kirstie Alley to slip away from the film series.
Yes, I'm very much aware that -- depending upon which version of "truth" you accept -- this may very well have been owed to her own decision at the time ... but I still see it as a mistake.
Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982) truly reinvigorated the property on the silver screen. Its popularity with critics, fans, and regular folks -- those who never considered themselves ardent fans of the Gene Roddenberry original -- swung open the doors and brought bigger and bigger audiences the summer of its release. The Nicholas Meyer-directed feature had what studio chiefs call 'legs,' meaning that it played to solid business for an extended period of time; and -- even today -- the motion picture is revered as not only one of Trek's best entries but arguably even all of Science Fiction and Fantasy. That's a helluva endorsement.
I've often argued that one of the flick's best additions was expanding the core cast with a new face, and Kirstie Alley's 'Saavik' was perfectly cast and perfectly performed. As the newest officer in the ongoing Starfleet saga, newcomers had someone up there in the shadows and lights that -- like them -- were seeing things from their perspective. Alley was the perfect hook -- a beautiful face that, like Helen of Troy, could've launched a thousand ships -- and she could very well have helped in Trek's transition from the small screen to the big one had the actress been kept aboard.
Alas, it wasn't meant to be.
In any event, word reached the Information Superhighway that Ms. Alley only very recently learned of a cancer diagnosis and succumbed to her illness. No matter the woman's politics -- and no matter what idiots online would have you believe -- we've lost a truly gifted performer. Our world is a better place for her having been in it. Certainly, the entertainment industry owes her a nod for her incredible work, and she leaves behind a legacy that deserves perhaps even more acclaim that it's ever received.
Thoughts and prayers are extended to the family, friends, and fans of Kirstie Alley ... a true original.
May she rest in peace.