I think it was the last time Star Trek in any incarnation was a real adult drama
. There were a lot of wonderful movies and spin off episodes that followed. But everything after felt watered down and geared towards kids. STIII is a well paced action/drama for adults with great tension and performances. It's almost as if the destruction of the Enterprise
was a metaphor for the end of the original show's atmosphere.
I remember seeing it in the theater at age 8. Up to then the biggest things we had seen in the Trek world were the various starships. When Spacedock was revealed, in contrast to the approaching Enterprise
, with that rousing musical crescendo, I was jumping up and down in my seat.
I suspect that had I seen it an older age I might have had serious issues with the metaphysics of Spock's rejuvenation. But when a drama takes itself seriously and treats its audience like adults it is more easily absorbable.
I have to enthusiastically agree about the score - brilliant!