Star Trek III - The Search For Spock (1984) ***
Kirk defies orders and goes back to the Genesis planet to retrieve Spock.
This is very much a direct follow to The Wrath Of Khan.
The beginning is slow and it takes awhile for things to get really going.
Funny, but the Enterprise
looks a lot more damaged and beat up than it does at the end of TWOK. It’s also not photographed as well as the previous two films. It’s far too brightly lighted and without sufficient shadows. Actually I’m not fond of quite a few effects in this movie. The blurring Enterprise
at speed looks really cheesy. A phaser beam that can hurl someone over through the air??? While there are some nice shots, particularly some of the Vulcan scenes, this film doesn’t look as polished as the previous two.
It’s also hard to credit that this story is supposed to take place immediately after TWOK as the characters look distinctly different. Scotty looks like he’s put on weight and Uhura is sporting a completely different hairstyle.
We next get a really big continuity gaffe as Admiral Morrow states the Enterprise
is twenty years old and slated to be decommissioned. WTF???
The ship is actually easily thirty and it was extensively refit only ten years ago. My, things get obsolete fast in this Starfleet. On the flip side we get top see two new starship designs: the pregnant guppy looking Excelsior
and the dopey looking Grissom
that is challenged in terms of visual balance. Yeah, we’re modernizing.
I also have to say I don’t care much for Robin Curtiss as Saavik. She isn’t horrible, but she’s just flat and doesn’t have Kirstie Allie’s nuance. Captain Esteban of the Grissom
comes across as a real putz. Actually most of the characters in this other than the main cast don’t really come off well.
And WHO designed the costumes in this film? They all look like slightly updated variations of what people in the ‘50s thought people might dress like in the future. Whose idea to put those stupid looking hats on Starfleet security. And who the hell designed Chekov’s civilian clothing?
McCoy’s bar scene looks REALLY ‘80s and it’s a cheesy looking set with cheesy looking aliens and costumes.
It gets mildly interesting when Sarek appears, but this film doesn’t really get going until Kirk and gang steal the Enterprise.
Interesting, though, that only four or five people can run her even on automatic when we were once told that a starship couldn’t be run even with a crew of twenty. Starfleet officers look really bad in this film. No one outside of the Enterprise
crew comes across well or even competent. They all seem so close-minded and unimaginative.
There are quite a few decent character moments throughout this film, particularly during the latter half. Kirk’s reaction to David’s death is moving. The hand-to-hand fight between Kirk and Kruge is okay and I like Kirk kicking Kruge off the cliff edge. The ending scene with Spock’s memory just beginning to return is really the payoff for the whole movie. The main theme is essentially the same music as used in TWOK yet there are some new pieces and some of them are quite nice. The music accompanying the theft of the Enterprise
as well as the battle between the Enterprise
and the Klingon Bird of Prey are particularly good.
In the end it’s an okay outing, but just isn’t on par with better work we’ve seen in TOS and the first two films. While technically I’m rating it the same as TWOK I have to give TWOK the nod for feeling a bit more polished overall.