SFs 26 Greatest Tearjerkers (1)

Spock’s death and funeral

Star Trek was never designed to break our hearts. Sure, something lodged in our eyes as Joan Collins became roadkill in City On The Edge Of Forever, but that was a modest crack in the old ticker compared to the sheer emotional carnage of Spock’s death in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan. It’s a masterclass in audience manipulation that’s genuinely moving, building from the moment we see the Vulcan leave his chair and slip from the bridge of the Enterprise, quietly aware of what he must do, the inevitable sacrifice that will save his ship. The needs of the many, outweighing the needs of the one. By the time Kirk confronts his radiation-ravaged comrade in engineering our eyes are prickling at the human weight of this drama – Star Trek has moved from the epic expanse of the final frontier to two old friends, separated by glass, saying goodbye one last time (or so it seemed – perhaps the franchise should have been braver and ended here… but then as Spock was so fond of saying, there are always possibilities). The stiff military funeral that follows is the capper. Yes, the sight of Scotty puffing on the ancestral pipes summons a smirk if you’re in the mood, but just listen to James Horner’s elegiac riff on Amazing Grace as Spock’s photon torpedo coffin soars to the reborn Genesis Planet. It’s a moment at once grief-stricken and triumphant, the culmination of a movie that’s traded on themes of age, sacrifice, loss and renewal – and the perfect tribute to a fallen SF icon. You can cry. It’s the logical thing to do.

Blublines: “Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most... human.”

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