Star Trek III: The Search For Spock

Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984) Director: Leonard Nimoy

★★★☆☆

The third Star Trek movie is an enjoyable adventure that successfully reintroduces Spock in a unique way after he was ‘killed’ at the end of The Wrath of Khan. A high bar had been set in the sequel. In reality Star Trek III is the second part of a trilogy (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in 1982; Star Trek III: The Search For Spock in 1984; and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home in 1986). James Horner returned to deliver an excellent score.

During the run of the original series Spock was the clear fan favorite character. There was a popular belief that Leonard Nimoy hated playing his character because he was frustrated with not being fully compensated for the use of his likeness in all the Star Trek merchandise. He had a long desire to try his hand a directing and since his presence was necessary for the film, Paramount was keen to offer him the role.

The USS Enterprise returns home to Earth following its battle with Khan and the Genesis Device in the previous film. The death of Spock looms large over the plot. At the end of Khan, Spock performed a last-minute mind meld with Dr. McCoy (played by Deforest Kelley). His last word to him was “remember.” Apparently a part of Spock’s spirit (or “katra”) was transferred to Dr. McCoy who begins acting strangely. The situation could potentially kill him. It is discovered and explained to Captain Kirk (played by William Shatner) by Spock’s father, Sarek (played by Mark Lenard). Meanwhile Kirk’s son is searching for the Genesis Device. He travels to the “Genesis” planet created by the Genesis device only to find that it created a child-like version of Spock who is aging rapidly. A nearby Klingon vessel headed by Kruge (played by Christopher Lloyd) intercepts information about the Genesis Device. They capture Spock and the humans and Kirk’s son is killed on Genesis. When the Enterprise arrives a battle ensues that ends with the self-destruction of the USS Enterprise. Kirk and the crew beam down to the Genesis planet (where Kirk learns of his son’s death), they defeat Kruge, and bring Spock back to the planet Vulcan where he can be reunited with his “katra.”

In all, Star Trek is an entertaining picture that serves as a kind of hybrid between the massive, slow-paced special effects of the first Star Trek film, and the compelling story-telling of the Wrath of Khan. The actors all give good performances, led by Director Leonard Nimoy, but Christopher Lloyd’s character of Kruge pales in comparison to Khan. The plot is a bit complex and reliant upon things introduced in the previous film and television show, but it is a fun ride.

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