Star Trek III: The Search For Spock - SE
Paramount Home Entertainment -
1984 - 105
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The weekend after Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was released, Michael Eisner (then head of Paramount Pictures) called Producer Harve Bennett and told him to start writing the third installment. As written in my review of Khan, that movie was by far the best of any of the original cast Trek films. Star Trek III had the challenge of equaling if not beating its predecessor. The story line chosen was a simple one. Spock died in Khan, now it is time to figure out how to bring him back. If you have seen Khan as many times as I have, you remember the scene where just before he goes into the dilithium chamber, Spock gives Dr. McCoy a mind meld and says one word, ´┐Żremember´┐Ż. That one word led to the entire story line of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Leonard Nimoy was adamant about directing this installment and basically used his demand to direct in order to agree to be in the movie. After several weeks and discussions with Michael Eisner, it was agreed that Nimoy would direct.
Best speed to Genesis.
Our story starts right were Khan left off, the Enterprise returning to Earth after sending Spock´┐Żs tube to the Genesis planet. The crew finds out, with deep disappointment, that the Enterprise is to be retired due to age and its general ass kicking by Khan. Dr. McCoy is found in Spock´┐Żs quarters and it is discovered that Spock transferred his Katra (inner soul) to McCoy just before he died. Sarek, Spock´┐Żs pop, pays Kirk a visit thinking that he is the one carrying the Katra, but soon discover it is indeed McCoy. McCoy tries to hire a ship to get back to Genesis but after hearing that it is ´┐Żplanet forbidden´┐Ż and having a fit, he is sent to the Federation funny farm. Kirk then tries to ask for the Enterprise back to retrieve Spock from Genesis. When denied, he gets McCoy out and the crew ´┐Żsteals´┐Ż the Enterprise.
A ship is currently visiting the Genesis planet with Dr. David Marcus (Kirk´┐Żs son) and Lt. Saavik (now played by Robin Curtis) on it. They are sent down after a life form is detected. They investigate and find 8-foot long bacteria plus a small Vulcan child, guess who? Meanwhile, the Genesis schematics are purchased by some Klingons led by Captain Kruge (Christopher Lloyd) who will do anything to obtain the planet and will kill anybody who stands in his way, especially the Federation. Once they get to Genesis, they capture Dr. Marcus, Lt. Saavik, and the young Spock. Kirk and the gang arrive and after his son (Dr. Marcus) is killed, Kruge sends his thugs over to the Enterprise to capture Kirk´┐Żs crew. Before he gets a chance, Kirk blows the Enterprise up into silly string with the Klingons on board. The Genesis planet is discovered to be a miserable failure, with the planet and the no-brained Spock aging dramatically. Kruge, still determined to get Genesis´┐Żs secrets beams down and gets in a brawl with Kirk. Quick guess who wins. The crew then race back to Vulcan to put Spock´┐Żs mind back together.
Although this movie is exciting at times, it comes up short when compared to the highly successful predecessor Star Trek II. At times, it seemed the movie dragged on and was fairly uneventful. Khan had great battle sequences, intense emotion, death, life, and humor. Search for Spock has some of those elements, but lacks in the intensity department. The acting is another weakness, especially among the Klingons. Although I clearly enjoyed Christopher Lloyd playing a Klingon, I half expected him to stand up in full Klingon dress and scream ´┐Ż88 miles per hour´┐Ż! I am, however, impressed with the directorial debut of Leonard Nimoy, doing the best a first-timer can do with what is at best an OK film.
The film is has been reissued by Paramount in 2.35:1 anamorphic wide screen and is, for the most part, a very much improved film from a video standpoint. However, since this movie is coming up on its 20th birthday, several grainy patches are still found and the cut and paste is still visible (although getting better as the movies get more recent). Colors come out nicely, especially on Genesis where we see well-defined greens, reds and browns. The uniforms of the crew (mostly red) have a nice tone and blend well with all backgrounds. The orange of Vulcan is also a nice touch.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock comes to us in Dolby Digital 5.1 which provides a clear, well-balanced sound from all the speakers. The center and front speakers carry the majority of the sound with an occasional use by the rear speakers when a ship passes, or the planet shakes. The sub-woofer acts up mainly during the battle between the Klingons and the Enterprise, most notably when the Enterprise blows up. It is also heard pretty well during the several earthquake scenes when Genesis is tearing itself apart. It is not a soundtrack that will blast your ears off, which may be on purpose. The movie was more story-based than trying to dazzle with a good audio track.
I have been critical of these Special Edition DVDs for the first two Star Trek movies, which only had one or two things that peaked my interest. It often begs the question: does this really need to be a 2-disc set if the second disc just plain sucks? Disc 1 does offer commentary by Leonard Nimoy and others and again a text commentary by Visual Designer Michael Okuda. Disc 2 has the cool interviews the Kirk and Nimoy (which are continuations of the interviews from the first two movies). Those were pretty interesting. It also has some interviews about the future of space exploration mainly focusing on going to Mars. Overall, this disc 2 is better than the previous releases, but doesn´┐Żt quite compel me to believe in this format just yet.
If you are wondering what happened to Spock, see this movie. If not, just know he lives, then watch Star Trek IV.
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