Review: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

Directed by: Leonard Nimoy | 105 minutes | action, thriller, adventure, science fiction | Actors: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Merritt Butrick, Phil Morris, Scott McGinnis, Robin Curtis, Robert Hooks, Carl Steven, Vadia Potenza, Stephen Manley, Joe W. Davis, Paul Sorensen, Cathie Shirriff, Christopher Lloyd, Stephen Liska, John Larroquette, Phillip R. Allen, James Sikking, Mark Lenard, Judith Anderson, Grace Lee Whitney

After the events of ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’, the Enterprise returns to Earth, where the crew are immediately in for some surprises. First, the ghost, or “katra,” of Spock (Leonard Nimoy) turns out to be inside Doctor McCoy (DeForest Kelley), causing McCoy to develop a sort of dual personality. After Spock’s father Sarek (Mark Lenard) explains this phenomenon to Admiral Kirk (William Shatner), the latter is determined to return to where they left Spock’s body: a planet that was created by the machine that created Genesis. is called. Starfleet wants to keep the entire Genesis project a secret because of the ethical entanglements and forbid Kirk from going back. Along with the trusted crew — Scotty (James Doohan), Sulu (George Takei), Chekov (Walter Koenig), and McCoy — Kirk steals the Enterprise, or what’s left of it, and heads for the Genesis planet. Kirk’s son David (Merritt Butrick) and Lieutenant Saavik (this time played by Robin Curtis) have since discovered that Spock’s body has disappeared, but they have found a small Vulcan boy and assume that this is Spock. It becomes clear that all life on the planet (including Spock) is growing much faster than usual, and David realizes he made a mistake with Genesis: the planet will self-destruct in a few days. When the scientists’ ship itself is destroyed by Klingons – who are after Genesis – it’s up to the crew of the Enterprise to save Saavik, David and Spock.

Leonard Nimoy, who had always played Spock before, took on the role of director for this film – but of course returns as Spock towards the end. For the cast (especially William Shatner) it was a bit strange in the beginning to suddenly have their colleague as a director. But the film shows that Nimoy is certainly not a bad director and that his collaboration with the others also works well in this way. The ‘Star Trek’ films are generally more serious than the series, but in ‘The Search for Spock’ this is extra noticeable. There is relatively little humor to be found and the typical friendship moments between the members of the crew are also absent, except of course at the end, where it actually seems a bit forced. Bill Shatner seems to have struck a balance between the dramatic acting that had become Kirk’s, and a more realistic acting style that conveys his emotions much better. The fight between Kirk and Kruge, the leader of the Klingons, (and Kirk’s “I.. have had..enough..of you!”) is one of the only scenes that really reminds of the Kirk from the series. In general, he seems to have grown older and wiser – which, of course, is more or less the case. The third part of the trilogy, ‘Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home’, will make up for everything in terms of crazy moments and dialogue, and is also a lot less serious in terms of plot.

It is well known that Star Trek was one of the inspirations for the ‘Star Wars’ films and that the ‘Star Trek’ films in turn were (and are) inspired by ‘Star Wars’. ‘The Search for Spock’ is no exception. We work with a story that is broader than a single episode; after all, the film is part of a trilogy. The story is more substantial than many of the stories in the series and, in addition to the adventure, is also very much about the characters themselves. In addition, the special effects have also clearly evolved. The film moves relatively quickly compared to the series – and of course also to ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’. With ‘The Wrath of Khan’ the right rhythm seemed to have been found. There will still be moments where you as a viewer seem miles ahead of the characters, such as when Kirk and Sulu have the camouflaged Bird of Prey on screen but don’t realize that this is the same kind of “cloaking device” that they have in the background. series encountered with the Romulans. The predictability of certain plot elements (including the fact that Spock comes back to life, of course) is made up for by very unpredictable things, such as the fact that Kirk gives up the Enterprise, something no one expected he would ever do.

‘The Search for Spock’ is certainly not the best of the Star Trek movies, and maybe even the worst of the trilogy. But it is obviously a must see for any Star Trek fan and contains some very strong and memorable scenes – such as the “sex scene” between a young Spock and Saavik, and the reunion between Spock and Kirk. Leonard Nimoy also shows that in addition to being a good actor, he is also a good director, something he will prove again two years later with the sequel to this film, ‘The Voyage Home’.

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