star trek 3Paramount Pictures
1984
PG

“Klingon Commander, this is Admiral James T. Kirk. I’m alive and well on the planet surface. I know that this will come as a pleasant surprise to you, but our ship was a victim of an “unfortunate accident”. Sorry about your crew, but as we say on Earth, c’est la vie.”

It’s a few weeks after the bloody events in The Wrath Of Khan, and the war-scarred Enterprise is making its way back home to Earth. Before hitting space dock, the somber Admiral Kirk is hit with some disturbing news- his longtime crew member and friend Dr. “Bones” McCoy is suffering from some kind of dementia, apparently related to the recent death of Spock. To add insult to injury, once on Earth, the crew is informed that the Enterprise is to be decommissioned and then officially retired for good. Meanwhile, Kirk’s son Dr. David Marcus and Lieutenant Saavik explore the Genesis planet, created at the end of the previous movie. There, they discover that the planet is developing much rapidly than planned, and on an away mission on the planet, discovers Spock’s empty casket. While there, a Klingon bird of prey decloaks and blows up their ship, the commander also gunning (no pun intended) for the Genesis plans. All the while, Admiral Kirk rallies the ol’ gang to get Bones to Spock’s body, an act that means treason, and runs afoul of the Klingons. Wackiness ensues…

Well, obviously coming off of the great movie that was The Wrath Of Khan, The Search For Spock was also a heavy and dark piece. Obviously, this is the one that saw the return of Spock (duh)…sort of. He appears as a cameo as himself, with various Spocks of different ages filling in as he directed this wonderful mess. Here, we have Saavik, previously played by Kiristie Alley, now played by Robin Curtis (personally, I find Ms. Curtis a better choice than Alley, who reportedly demanded more money to reprise her Vulcan role), now a part of a different ship, and surrogate mother figure to the young (but aging rapidly) Spock. Also seen for the first time is the planet Vulcan, which looks like a pretty neat place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Bit arid for my taste.

Christopher Lloyd does an interesting job as Klingon commander Kruge…mean, commands respect, and oddly subdued…which may have something to do with his trademark not-quite-there-mentally raspy vocal delivery. He definitely has the eyes for it.

Obviously the theme here is somewhat an antithesis of what Spock professed in the previous film- The needs of the one outweighed the needs of the many. In this case, every one of Spock’s friends from the Enterprise put their Starfleet careers, let alone their lives, on the line to rescue their old friend. And while they managed to save Spock, they also lost another old friend of theirs- the Enterprise.

When this came out, it didn’t really do as well as Star Trek II, but quite frankly, I like this one on a certain level. It was dark, yes, but there’s also a bit more humor than in the previous. Also, I just dig the Klingons, and Christopher Lloyd is one of my favorite character actors. Also, it was pretty straight-forward with the action, instead of just dragging on needlessly. Mind you, William Shatner’s acting took a noticeable slip, but his reaction to hearing about his son’s death is very powerful (reportedly, his missing the seat and falling on his butt wasn’t scripted, but Nemoy felt that it added to what Kirk must have felt to the news). And what can I say…the Enterprise blowing up is still one of the best “boom” moments in sci-fi history…second only to the blowing up of the first Death Star…but now I’m just mixing medias…

Bottom line, not a bad sequel to Star Trek II, but shouldn’t be seen as a stand-alone movie…rent this one with Star Treks II and IV…