Continuing my very first trek into the films of Star Trek...
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
So, the question that was on my mind (and likely everyone's mind upon first viewing TSFS) was - just how the hell are they going to bring him back?
And then, the question I had after the film had ended: that was it?
The Search for Spock
is a somewhat messy film, and is incredibly uneven in terms of quality. For me, the film went back and forth from being pretty good to decent, to average more times to count. I'll explain.
Although the title almost fools us that this is Spock's film, he is barely in it at all. The real star of the show is DeForrest Kelley, who - up until this point - gives his best performance as 'Bones' McCoy. That scene in the bar is great, and the scene in which Bones tells Spock that he "cannot lose him again," is also quite strong.
The screenplay is also full of cute little zingers and dialogue exchanges. ("The word is no. I am therefore going anyway." "That green blooded son of a bitch! It's his revenge for all the arguments he lost!" Kirk asking how many fingers he's held up...etc.) Not to say that TMP and TWOK didn't have similar moments, but TSFS dialogue is mostly sharp and is clearly the script's greatest asset.
The way in which The Search for Spock
arrives at its ultimate conclusion is a bit of a rocky road. First of all, David's death misses the mark entirely. It's an awkward death followed by an awkward reaction from Shatner. For such an apparently HUGE moment, the film frustratingly glosses over the fact that Kirk's only known son has DIED. Maybe Kirk is really that much of a bastard, I don't know.
It is very unfortunate that Kirstie Alley chose not to return as Saavik. I understand that the character is Vulcan, but Robin Curtis is incredibly stiff and just a poor actress. Coming back to David's death, her telling Kirk that his son is dead is plain awful. ("David. Is. Dead.") The scene was already struggling as it was, but that brutal delivery sealed the deal. Once again, I understand that she is Vulcan, but that scene should not have been played off that way. I understand that Curtis is also Savvik in Star Trek IV...I can't say I look forward to that fact.
Christopher Lloyd is fine as the film's antagonist, I suppose, but it is safe to say that he is a huge step down from Khan. The Klingon villains of TSFS never seemed to give Kirk and company any sort of real threat. Kruge's ending fist fight with Kirk is also frustratingly anticlimactic.
After three films, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
is easily the weakest. The mysterious and frightening depiction of space seen in TMP and touched upon in TWOK is all but gone here. While it is shorter than The Motion Picture
, TSFS does not have anywhere near as interesting as a storyline. And on first thought, I don't think TSFS does a single thing better than TWOK from a plot or action perspective.
Overall, I'm disappointed with Star Trek III
. It makes it even worse that it is the direct sequel to the stellar, and vastly superior Star Trek II
1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Director's Edition) (1982) - 8.5/10
2. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Director's Edition) (1979) - 7/10
3. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) - 6/10
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home