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Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
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66 out of 100 people found the following review useful:

better than you've heard

Author: dr_foreman from Brooklyn, NY
19 March 2004

I almost never agree with Trekkies! They usually pan "Star Trek III" and label it a disappointing follow-up to the classic "Wrath of Khan." But I just don't see anything wrong here. The Klingons are delightfully over-the-top villains, the effects and spaceship models are great (arguably the best in the series), and the theft of the Enterprise is a wonderful sequence loaded with humor and tension. DeForest Kelley gets some great material as the "possessed" McCoy, and Shatner's performance - slightly more understated than in the last film - is again rock solid.

So what's the problem? I suppose this movie has difficulties standing on its own; it relies heavily on knowledge of "Khan." But, such issues inevitably crop up when you're dealing with a long-running series of interconnected movies, and they don't matter much in terms of raw entertainment value. Some fans complain that nothing really happens in this film - it's just about getting Spock back and nothing else - but the death of David and the destruction of the Enterprise load it up with more than enough dramatic punch for me.

And, can you possibly imagine Picard stealing the Enterprise to go on a rescue mission? I can't. This movie's storyline captures exactly what makes the original crew so warm, funny, and rebellious...and so it's a good Trek movie, despite what the fans will tell you.

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62 out of 102 people found the following review useful:

Flushoooooo Toiletoooo: Crapoooooo!

Author: garthbarnes-83945 from United States
28 June 2015

Spoilers Ahead:

Poor Judith Anderson the first lady of Film Noir. Want to see her before? Watch THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS and other great performances. Young actors, this could happen to you if you do not save your money. I bet England called and wanted her title back. Do you blame them? How would you like to be enveloped in smoke bombs, surrounded by bald people in bathrobes with big triangles on them? Hey, seriously, I felt really bad for her. A great actress and this is what people under 40 will remember her for. If you like bald people milling about doing some kind of hokey pokey smoke bomb ceremony for twenty minutes; this is the movie for you. Before this, Kirk brought the parts to Vulcan for reassembly, his Katra or some mumbo jumbo, hey I was asleep at this point, who gives a crap? I love the rescue of Bones, the worst shot action scene in film history. The big guy begins his roll before Sulu throws him, now that is strength, must be his Katra. In the same scene, the big guy is shown blocking the wall ram with his arm, Nimoy was not exactly Michael Bay.

If you ran the space station and Kirk, after you turned him down for using the Enterprise, says I will hire a ship, I'll get a ship! Would you raise the security around the Enterprise say a wee bit? Yes, you can just walk right in, he never would have anticipated that, great writing. See, they call it a space station because they have more than one ship there. They would not just send Excelsior, maybe like six other ships? The Genesis planet ages in wonderful consanguinity with the script, slow until the Enterprise is blown up then it goes like lightning. I love when humanists do ethics, see axioms have consequences; the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many whose axiom was that, let me think, I know; Adolph Hitler. Yes, that was the rule he lived by, how'd that work out? It is the exact opposite of Spock's axiom in the WRATH OF KHAN. See, put down the comic books and think about what words mean when you say them. Why are we living on the Klingon ship? Why do I know all about Kruge's, cabbage head, little dogie? Why would I give a poop?

The film has to be seen to be believed; you will see why Kirstie Alley declined to reprise her role as Saavik, do you blame her? Would you like to do some kinky, creepy scene with her fingers and Spock: the disassembled, kiddie years? Talk about making your skin crawl scene, please we are eating out here. GROSS OUT. The film is surpassed only by STAR TREK 5: God Wants Out Of The Picture as the absolute nadir of the original cast movies. The acting is terrible; it is boring, stupid and as believable as your flying through the air. Some scenes evoked laughter when I saw this with 500 other people. The kinky finger mating scene had non stop giggling by the audience all through it. Kirstie, you made the right decision, you saved yourself eternal humiliation. Please, get a room; the movie is bad even for Star Trek and that is saying something.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A dull and forgettable entry into the series

Author: Daniel Loe from United States
17 July 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So, I'm not generally one of those people who are really critical of the Star Trek movies just because they don't 'have the intelligent messages' of the show. I get that they need to appeal to a broader audience, and sometimes I think that works better, because I've liked most of the Star Trek movies to some degree and then there are some that I can just respect but don't really care for them.

Search for Spock, is more like that, except, I really have very little respect for it. Movies like Generations, or even Nemesis, have lots of flaws whether it's in the acting, the story, the characters or whatever, but those always have some entertaining sequences, but Search for Spock really doesn't have anything like that. It is just so boring.

I mean, nowadays, the Kirk era style just feels a little corny, so you kind of have to judge it based on the time. Wrath of Khan, for example, has corny moments, but the story, atmosphere, acting, and writing all elevated it past the cheesy moments, so that the audience was willing to ignore the weak links. The problem with Search for Spock is that it doesn't give us anything. We get the slowest build-up ever, as we spend at least an hour just to get Enterprise to the Genesis Planet, and let's not mention this is essentially a glorified reset button for Wrath of Khan.

Spock is resurrected by a deus ex machine plot device introduced for the movie (the Vulcan Khat'ra), David Marcus dies, Carol Marcus disappears, never to be mentioned again, the Genesis planet is destroyed, so…yeah, you take one of the best Star Trek movies and nullify it. Also, we have one of the lamest villains in Kruge, who tops even William Shatner on overacting. The only positive to him is that he is so cheesy he makes his scenes marginally entertaining, but they still aren't actually good scenes. He and Kirk get into a really weak, fake-looking brawl, which is the final battle of the two action scenes in the movie (the first being the 5-second space battle between the Enterprise and the bird of prey). I'm not saying action is the most important part of a Star Trek movie, or even necessarily an important part, but when a movie has nothing else going for it, an entertaining action scene can go a long way. This is by no means the worst Star Trek movie, but this one has so little going for it that it's hard to see why it would even be considered one of the better ones.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Send in the Klingons……

Author: John M Upton from Southern England
21 August 2004

Well the plot is a little thin here, little more than the rescue and recovery of Spock, interrupted along the way by some passing nutty Klingons. There seems to be nowhere near as much substance to this film unlike its wonderful predecessor, however again the intelligent dialogue from the second Trek film is also present here and it was wonderful to see the return of another character from the original series played by the same actor, this time Mark Lenard as Spock's father and Vulcan Ambassador Sarek.

The special effects are turned out well even though the seemingly endless Genesis planet gradually disintegrating scenes started to grate after a while. One oddity that just did not work however was the change of actress for Vulcan Lt Saavik whilst the Commander of the Klingon vessel was just a plain loon.

There where some great comedy moments, McCoy in the bar trying to perform a Vulcan neck pinch, the whole USS Excelsior debacle with one of the best stutters and stops I have ever seen and Kirk's wonderful riposte to the Klingon Commander from the Genesis planet after the Enterprise has been destroyed along with most of the Klingon crew – cest la vie!

All right but not one of the best, still watchable none the less.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A satisfactory continuation.

Author: Filipe Neto from Portugal
2 April 2017

This film is the third of the franchise and addresses the theme of death and resurrection of Spock, something that I honestly could not understand immediately but, being an alien, did not make any knot in my head when I've got it. The script is not bad but it gets even better from the moment the Klingons, a welcome element of action, are added to the story. However, being a film that continues the story of "The Wrath of Khan," it is natural that both are similar at several points. On a technical level, they're almost identical, the sets and costumes are the same and the special effects are still what we could expect at this period. And as for the actors, this film is almost entirely of Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley, actors that the script privileged and that they had the capacity to shine. In the end, we get a film that honors its predecessor without, however, being able to match it.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Live Long And Pander

Author: Bill Slocum ( from Greenwich, CT United States
29 March 2017

The needs of the franchise outweigh the needs of the movie. It's certainly logical. I just wish the movie left me more to think about.

Shortly after the battle that resolved "Star Trek II," we join a largely vacated U. S. S. Enterprise heading home. Still mourning his friend and comrade Mr. Spock, Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) discovers Spock's sealed-off cabin occupied by "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelley), himself occupied by Spock's "katra," or spirit.

"Climb the steps of Mount Seleya," a tranced-out McCoy tells Kirk, kicking off a new journey for the Enterprise.

No doubt the "Star Trek" production team, buoyed by the great success of their prior film but now stuck with a gaping, pointy- eared hole, saw its repair as job one. Bringing Spock back to life thus becomes the focus of the film, and the only thing that it gets right.

A series of decent if lully setpieces that awkwardly cohere into a larger story, "Star Trek III" feels stuck in orbit from first to last. The funeral tone of mourning Spock, established in the opening moments, hangs over the rest of the film. Kirk broods about the "emptiness" he feels, about abandoning "the noblest part of myself" and "our dearest blood."

Having spent decades unsuccessfully separating himself from his best-remembered part, director Leonard Nimoy could have told his old comrades it was no use. You don't just say goodbye to Spock and expect him to stay dead. Nimoy lets his film linger over the loss of our favorite Vulcan, at the expense of the tension and suspense that animated "Star Trek II."

What Nimoy does do well is engage the other actors, at least the ones he worked with in the original series. Kelley is delightful as the keeper of the katra, struggling to reconcile his new persona as a logical Vulcan while retaining Bones' short temper. "It's his revenge for all those arguments he lost," McCoy fumes when Kirk explains what has happened to him.

What did happen, anyway? The introduction of a mystical element to the Vulcan story, that Spock has what Kirk calls "an immortal soul," is at odds with "Star Trek's" materialistic approach to life, especially as it culminates in a religious ceremony conducted in English with a lot of "thou" and "thee." I can't say I bought it, but then again, it wasn't like I felt expected to. It's something to justify the reason we are here, getting Spock back.

The rest of the film punctuates this by giving us little else to watch. There's some business about renegade Klingons trying to steal the secret of the prior film's Genesis project from the Federation, but the action here is strictly by the numbers. Christopher Lloyd spits every line as the head Klingon, pushing to dominate every scene he's in. Long sections of narrative deal with the collapse of the Genesis planet and its impact on a young Vulcan who may be Spock, a plot device which is neither believable nor compelling.

What "Star Trek III" needed was something to pull us from the Spock story, a crisis/adventure to engage us long enough for Spock's return to take us by surprise, the same way his demise did in "Star Trek II." Unfortunately, "Star Trek III" doesn't find that hook, and the film becomes a minor slog with some funny character-driven moments, pleasant for fans but eminently forgettable.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Bit Unsteady, But Still Quite Watchable

Author: zkonedog from United States
12 March 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

During the three-season run of Star Trek: The Original Series, First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) became one of the most intriguing characters on television. Viewers embraced the Vulcan's logical mind and Spock become the perfect antithesis to the emotionally-charged Captain Kirk (William Shatner). After almost two decades of being associated exclusively with the Spock character, Nimoy decided he wanted a break to try to avoid being typecast, hence Spock's emotional death scene at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Nimoy's "I Am Not Spock" days ended quite quickly, however, when he realized that either the typecasting had already occurred, or he missed reprising his most famous character.

As a result (and partially because the Star Trek writers had left an opening for Nimoy/Spock to return), the quest to re-integrate Spock into the Star Trek cannon comprises most of Star Trek II: The Search For Spock. Though the entire film is not as scriptually solid as the "Khan" effort (as Kirk's "family feud" with the Klingons is not fully resolved until later in the movie series), it makes up for it with the emotional punch of Spock's journey back to reality. The final scene, revolving around the tense and delicate Vulcan ritual that must be undertaken to revive Spock, will have emotional fans reaching for the tissue box. The final words will have you weeping (whether from joy or sadness I will not disclose).

The major problem with this film is that it almost seems to be "too soon" after "Wrath of Khan" (perhaps this problem was a bit remedied by original theater viewings). I watched them practically back to back, and it just seemed like there should have been some other story in between parts II & III. A way for the crew to truly mourn Spock before he (quickly) returns.

Overall, the third installment in the Star Trek movie cannon is an emotional journey that, while perhaps lacking an air-tight script, is still a watchable movie due to the emotional struggle of favorite character Spock and those around him. 3.5 stars would be my exact rating. If you just finished the "Khan" movie, you will receive the emotional "finale" of that storyline in this film. The ending will also leave you wondering how the U.S.S. Enterprise crew will ever be able to "seek out new life and new civilizations" again.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Is it a search if they know where he is the whole time?

Author: Jonathan Fisk
13 July 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It feels a little strange to say, but this film may be worse than the first Star Trek movie. At least the first film was creative and slightly intriguing, even if it did not translate to the big screen. But The Search for Spock contained little mystery, a prolonged and obvious outcome, and continued the same flawed subplot (and basically the only negative aspect of) The Wrath of Khan, that being the Genesis Project. This unlikely Federation project was at least a bit on the afterburner in the previous film, compared to Khan's quest for vengeance against Kirk. Now it's the main story as it gives Spock his rebirth, but this time there is hardly any thought to the moral dilemma of the project.

There are some positives in this film; I don't think it is a disaster. It was nice to see the rest of the crew given a little more of the spotlight, such as Uhura putting the young Federation member in his place (then she disappearing for basically the rest of the film…) and Sulu taking out the Federation MP's (his hand-to-hand combat is much more believable than Kirk's; more on that in a bit). Also, while it is a little strange to see Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon, he made the character sinister and interesting.

But my main criticism with Search for Spock is that we always know Spock will return, and the child version of the character is found early on. The film could have been so much better if the Spock regeneration was settled during the first or second act, then we can move on to a new Star Trek adventure with the crew back together. There is a sense with this film, especially since it was directed by Leonard Nimoy himself, that Kirk got his movie with Wrath of Khan, now let's explore more about Spock's nature throughout this entire film. But it all just comes across as a lackluster, immediate follow-up to the previous installment. With Wrath of Khan, it felt like a reboot to the franchise, not a sequel. But this film exemplified exactly what most of us don't like about sequels: trying to wrap- up loose ends from the last film and taking it up a notch from there, but failing.

Final thoughts: Please, no more hand-to-hand combat from Kirk, it doesn't work anymore. The character plays so much better as a captain outwitting the enemy, as he does with the destruction of the Enterprise. And are you serious with that Ponfar scene? I know Kirstie Alley said she didn't want to be typecast, so she chose not to continue her role as Saavik, but I have to think that this scene with post-adolescent Spock had to really push her over the edge. Plus, do we really think that these characters who are pushing 50 could walk up all of those steps on Vulcan carrying a comatose Spock? Scotty must have been freaking out. And what is Bones regular "poison"? Gotta be Romulan ale.

*My film rating follows the soccer player rating measure of 6 as a baseline: you did what was expected of you. This film is a 4 because it fails to intrigue and shows essentially nothing new. It is simply a sequel trying to continue the excitement of its predecessor, but utterly failing.

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Unimaginative, fails to live up to the build up

Author: kieranwilliamsonmt from UK
3 November 2017

I'm a more recent Star Trek fan and have recently moved onto the movies. I have to say, this one was a bigger disappointment to Star Trek I for me.

After the how brilliant 'The Wrath of Khan' was, I was hoping Star Trek III would be a worthy follow up, but even the title seemed a little unimaginative now I look at it.

The story takes forever building up, has some great moments during that, for example, the Klingons are brilliant but it just lacks some imagination much like how 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture' often felt.

It's like the franchise took one huge step forward, Star Trek II was an exciting film but still about morality at the end of the day, but this film offers none of it.

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A good, but not the best Star Trek film.

Author: smatysia ( from Houston
27 October 2017

I loved the TV series. I was a child when it ran in the Sixties. Then, as I grew up in the Seventies, they invented UHF stations that ran "old" series in syndication, and Star Trek was on every day. So I was delighted that, in the Eighties, as a young adult, it came back, via the movie screen. Some of the space effects in this film were excellent, even viewed now. Some, like the planetscapes the characters trod and fought through, not so much. In the inevitable comparisons, this film is not as good as II and IV. But, as these three films were a serial in a way, the events of all three combined taking place in the space of a few weeks, one must see it with the others. Don't get me wrong, it isn't bad, but it may suffer a bit by comparison. (I've never seen any of the other Star Trek series or the movies based on them, so I cannot compare this to them)

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