Star Trek geeks are abuzz today with the release of a new Audi commercial pitting old Spock (Leonard Nimoy) against young Spock (Zachary Quinto) in a series of escalating challenges.
The Battle of the Spocks is particularly compelling not only because of its cinematic storytelling and Nimoy’s recitation of “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins,” but also because the elder Spock drops a (bleeped) f-bomb.
Have a look:
Naturally, the commercial is capitalizing on the hype surrounding the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness, and tapping into the undying nostalgia of Trekkies (or Trekkers, or whatever they want to be called).
It also reintroduces the world to Leonard Nimoy, a 60-year veteran of stage and screen whose iconic voice and agile eyebrows defined what it means to be a Vulcan.
To commemorate Nimoy’s recent return to notoriety, here’s a look at some of his best (or worst, but still memorable) performances that aren’t (directly) from Star Trek.
Kid Monk Baroni
Nimoy’s first major film role told the story of a young, streetwise boxer with a misshapen face who develops an inflated ego after plastic surgery makes him handsome. The movie was a colossal box office flop, and it sent Nimoy’s career the doldrums for 15 years until he landed the role of a pointy-eared spaceman.
Nimoy provided the voice for Galvatron, a Decepticon warrior, in the 1986 animated feature The Transformers: The Movie. In the film, Galvatron leads the Decepticons in another assault on Autobot City. If you know any more than that, you’ve probably been bullied.
Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde from The Pagemaster
Macauley Culkin got top billing in this 1994 animated fantasy film. Leonard Nimoy got 14th billing. Is that surreal enough for ya?
One of the strangest videogames ever created — with a name that, with a slight mispronunciation, could sound very gross — featured the narration of Leonard Nimoy. In the game, Nimoy instructed players how to care for a mysterious fish-like creature with a human face. Amazingly, it was one of the top three bestselling games for Sega’s ill-fated Dreamcast console.
Nimoy portrays Kovak, a Formula One driver, who suffers an hallucination during a race in the US which results in a spectacular crash. Then he’s psychic or something. According to one review, Nimoy’s performance is “charmingly rubbish.” The film was intended to be the pilot for a TV series, but the show never got picked up. If you’ve ever seen Baffled!, you’ll know why. It was just terrible.
Remember when everyone was terrified that, at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve 1999, that every computer on earth would stop working and we’d all die in an apocalyptic maelstrom? Nimoy did his part to teach the citizens of earth to prepare for the Y2K doomsday that never actually happened. Looking back, the videos some of the best things on the internet.
In Search Of…
Anybody who remembers seeing this show as a child also remembers being terrified by it. Creepy music played as Nimoy narrated documentary-style examinations of mysterious phenomena like Bigfoot, crystal skulls, the Lost City of Atlantis and UFOs. Scarred a generation.
Time Computers salesman
The great thing about computer commercials, much like computers themselves, is that they’re instantly outdated. Nimoy was the spokesman (spocksman?) for Time Computers at a time when information technology was changing at an unprecedented pace. One line in particular now seems adorably quaint: “Imagine a book, encyclopedia or even a whole movie on a single disc!” Impossible!
Also, did you know the internet will even be used for communication someday?
Grand Marshall of the Springfield Monorail launch
One of the greatest guest appearances on one of the greatest Simpsons episodes of all time. ‘Nuff said.