- Movie Rating -

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

| June 1, 1984

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock is more meat and potatoes than its predecessors.  It has a job to do and, like Return of the Jedi, it has a lot of loose ends to tie up. 

Given what happened in the last movie, this sequel feels more like an epilogue; Spock died and his body was jettisoned to a newborn planet.  So, you just know that, for franchise’s sake, they have to go and get him back.  There’s profit to be had for the future of this series.  That doesn’t mean that this is a bad movie.  It is a competent action movie that balances somewhere between the ideas of the first movie and the humanity of the second. 

As the movie opens, the crippled Starship Enterprise is on its way home and everyone is still mourning their lost crewmate while trying to pick up the pieces from their battle with Khan.  Kirk, in particular, feels the sorrow and notes in his log that the ship is “like a house with all the children gone – no, more empty than that.”  But then an interruption from Spock’s quarters, an intruder has broken in – Dr. McCoy who seems to speak in Spock’s voice, something about bringing him home and travelling to Mount Seleya on Vulcan.  If you remember the climax of the last movie then this is the logical extension, so to speak.

So, Kirk and the crew need to return to the Genesis planet to retrieve Spock’s body, but Starfleet says no dice – seems that Genesis has become controversial in the meantime.  But Kirk has never been one to sit back and follow orders, so he and the crew steal the enterprise from space dock and head for Genesis.

Standing in their way is the movie’s chief villain, a stubborn, suspicious Klingon named Kruge (Christopher Lloyd) who wants to steal the plans for the Genesis device for fear that Starfleet will enslave all Klingons.

The larger goals of this movie are not to deal in humanity but in getting the job done.  This movie has a checklist to get done and director Leonard Nimoy does a pretty good job of keeping things moving.  Being a long epilogue designed to clean up the mess left by the end of Wrath of Khan, this movie doesn’t have a lot of time for theories or smaller touches, but it doesn’t forget the humanity, the friendship that the crew feels to Spock and their urgent need to find his body and return it to his home planet.

By the end, all is well.  You already know walking in whether or not Spock is alive at the end of this movie, but the journey getting there is the payoff, a small gesture that says more than words can express.  We know these characters.  We understand their connection to one another and while this may not be the best of Star Trek, it at least remembers what this series is all about.  By the end, friends come together and we are promised the future of this series in a way that is garish, commercial and also kind of touching.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1984) View IMDB Filed in: Sci-Fi/Fantasty