You didn't think Mr. Spock was really dead, did you? When Spock's casket landed on the surface of the Genesis planet at the end of Star Trek II, we had already been told that Genesis had the power to bring "life from lifel... more »essness." So it's no surprise that this energetic but somewhat hokey sequel gives Spock a new lease on life, beginning with his rebirth and rapid growth as the Genesis planet literally shakes itself apart in a series of tumultuous geological spasms. As Kirk is getting to know his estranged son (Merritt Butrick), he must also do battle with the fiendish Klingon Kruge (Christopher Lloyd), who is determined to seize the power of Genesis from the Federation. Meanwhile, the regenerated Spock returns to his home planet, and Star Trek III gains considerable interest by exploring the ceremonial (and, of course, highly logical) traditions of Vulcan society. The movie's a minor disappointment compared to Star Trek II, but it's a--well, logical--sequel that successfully restores Spock (and first-time film director Leonard Nimoy) to the phenomenal Trek franchise...as if he were ever really gone. With Kirk's willful destruction of the U.S.S. Enterprise and Robin Curtis replacing the departing Kirstie Alley as Vulcan Lt. Saavik, this was clearly a transitional film in the series, clearing the way for the highly popular Star Trek IV. --Jeff Shannon« less
"Don't be fooled by some of the negative reviews here. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock is a thoughtful meditation on the nature of friendship. I admire its careful attention to developing a classical story arc in which Kirk is driven by concern for his friends (Spock and McCoy) and by outer events (a feckless Federation bureaucracy) to steal the Enterprise and outwit and outrun enemies on all sides. Indeed, the film's first act is a gem: a model of balanced writing in its build-up to Kirk's inexorable conclusion that he must steal the Enterprise to save his friends. Among the priceless scenes in that first half-hour: A visit by Spock's father to Kirk's San Francisco pad in which, during a "mind meld" between them, successive shots end with a quiet, touching close-up of Kirk's eye as he relives Spock's "death" in the previous film; Scottie's hilarious asides toward a pompous captain played deftly by character actor James Sikking; and Kirk being told by a superior officer that under no conditions can he undertake a mission to save his friends as the camera tracks in on him, staring off in the middle distance, his inevitable insubordination written on his face. Good stuff. Even better is the focus (singularly among the Star Trek movies, which usually concern the Enterprise crew saving the Earth or the universe) on Kirk's mission to save his friends and the sacrifices he makes in the process. I can tell you (if you haven't seen the film) that these sacrifices are significant, in once case touchingly sad and in another spectacular. Other reasons to see Star Trek III: It contains a terrific, humorous, self-consciously strapping but still tough villain played by Christopher Lloyd; a really good, early James Horner (of Titanic fame) score; elegant special effects (including the real-time destruction of a planet tearing itself apart that holds up well); William Shatner's best performance ever (be honest -- he does a nice, even subtle job in this film as a soulful, resourceful, and self-sacrificing Kirk -- indeed, the Kirk character has never been more appealing); an apropos climax that, unique to the science fiction genre, is understated and gentle and moving; a swift pace; deft direction from Leonard Nimoy; genuine surprises that, when I first saw the film, I could not believe were happening (including a clever and powerful one involving the Enterprise itself); and a mythic elementalism in which the battle-scarred Enterprise crew seems straight out of Homer and Kirk makes a forceful stand-in for Odysseus. This film deserves a reappraisal from Trekkers, but more importantly, from the general public. Nicely done."
A difficult film to make, and Nimoy and Shatner did it.
Mr. Eddie | New York, NY | 04/01/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Star trek III is widely considered to be an infinitely inferior sequel to The Wrath of Khan, yet is in fact a more complex film and has a much more difficult task set in front of it. Although not perfect, it is an engaging story filled with a number of excellent reversals and has some of Shatner's best acting.
Montalban is the absolute driving force in Star Trek II and much of that film relies on this fact. Christopher Lloyd does a fine job as a merciless Klingon, yet it is up to Shatner to carry this film. And he does an great job. His stealing of the Enterprise gives Kirk back the initiative in the entire series, and is one of the all-time great moments for the original cast. Why this sequence, and so many others, is not given more credit is beyond me. One gripe: As usual, Kirk gets a LOT of screen time, cut-aways shots etc. at the expense of the other cast members.
Mired in some necessary exposition, The Search for Spock effectively navigates its way through Klingons, Vulcans, the tragic genesis project, Starfleet regulations... no easy task. The finale is lovingly presented, and tests the depths of not only the crews's emotions but that of the audience and fans. Nimoy did a fine job with this film, and it led the way to the unprecedented Star Trek IV."
A great continuation
K. Wyatt | St. Louis, MO United States | 09/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Star Trek III The Search for Spock is a wonderful, middle movie to the more or less trilogy of II, III and IV. I was a little disappointed that Kirstie Allie couldn't pick up where she left off in the role of Saavik. Robin Curtis does do a very good job though. Christopher Lloyds Klingon Commander is absolutely Klingon through and through. All of the original cast members are true to their characters. Overall, Star Trek III is not the best of the original six, but it's most certainly not the worst either. A wonderful story that, like all the rest, I've watched more times than I can remember."
The needs of the one outweighed the needs of the many
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 05/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There was a point in time where I really wished that this movie had not been made. The death of Spock at the end of "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan," was a high point in the history of the "Star Trek" universe. When Spock, separated by a thick piece of plastic shielding, tells Kirk for the last time "I have been and always shall be your friend," it is a devastating moment. Kirk and Spock are one of the great "odd" friendships of all time, in or out of the realm of science fiction (they are the Aubrey and Maturin of their future time and place). The "Star Trek" franchise was served by this 1984 film, since it spawned three more outings for the original cast and inspired a quartet of television spinoffs, but I am not sure if the characters benefited as well. I still think "Wrath of Khan" is far and away the best "Star Trek" film, with "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" coming in second. There are some nice moment with Spock on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," although there are more between Captain Picard and Sarek, Spock's father, and the death of James T. Kirk in "Star Trek: Generations" certainly pales compared to that of Spock. So making this third "Star Trek" film took something away the death of Spock, but even wishing it had never been made I still have to admit this film has its moment. The whole Vulcan "katra" bit is a deus ex machina pulled out of a hat and Spock's tube landing on the Genesis planet so that his body can be regenerated, growing at precisely the right rate so that when the download Spock's katra from McCoy's mind we are back to where we were at the end of the previous movie is just an absurd conjunction of circumstances. But at the heart of this film is the relationship between Kirk and Spock. William Shatner's performance in the key scenes, early on when he relives Spocks' death with Sarek and at the end when Spock is restored, have a weight that overcomes a lot of objections and which is clearly privileged by Harve Bennett's script and Leonard Nimoy's direction. That friendship has always been there and many of the high points of the original television series were where it was acknowledged, albeit almost always obliquely. At the end of "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan" it was made painfully explicit, and that powerful moment is revisited at the end of "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock," as Kirk stands there before his friend, having sacrificed his only son and the ship that has been his home for what seems like his entire life, because "The needs of the one outweighed the needs of the many." This flip of Spock's motivation for going into that chamber and sacrificing his life is not glib, because it speaks to a great human paradox. Namely that we believe both positions are true and that not only do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one but that the exact opposite is true. Each film in turn proves its thesis."
Loyalty, Honor, Sacrifice.
Hank Drake | Cleveland, OH United States | 11/21/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Though lacking the philosophical depth of The Motion Picture, and the heart-pounding action of The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock ultimately succeeds because it's primarily a character driven story, which recalls the best episodes of the original series. Spock's resurrection is handled convincingly--no magical regeneration with a shiny blue animated line here. In all aspects, Leonard Nimoy does a fine job in his directorial debut--he can clearly handle a camera and brings forth strong performances from his actors. Robin Curtis more than holds her own in the role of Lt. Saavik, originally portrayed by Kirstie Alley. The consistently underrated William Shatner shines here, giving a performance which is by turns somber and impassioned. DeForest Kelley also deserves praise as the Spock-possessed McCoy. Most of the special effects have held up well over the years, and the few that haven't are not overly distracting. Star Trek has never been beholden to special effects, but has generally relied upon character development and story--and this emphasis has served it well over the years. The picture is identical to the first DVD issue, which improved on both the VHS and Laser Disc issues--the colors are more vibrant and crisper. The sound also has more impact than the earlier versions. This is one of the few films where the theatrical cut WAS the director's cut, so there are no added scenes here. The commentary by Nimoy and the rest is interesting and informative, as is Michael Okuda's text commentary. The cast interviews, as always, are entertaining, although I would have liked to have heard more of what REALLY happened during the infamous 1983 fire at Paramount studios. Less entertaining are the featurettes on terraforming, the Klingon language, and the visual effects, which contain almost no behind the scenes footage."