Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
William Shatner (Kirk)
Leonard Nimoy (Spock)
Merritt Butrick (Dr. David Marcus)
Judith Anderson (Vulcan High Priestess)
Grace Lee Whitney (Janice Rand)
Writer: Harve Bennett
You know, my memories of this particular story of the film series were not that great. There is a theory among the fans that the odd numbered films are not that good. I have to say both the first film and indeed this one prove that wrong.
The story is relatively simple. The Enterprise arrives on Earth having returned directly from the events of the previous film. McCoy is behaving oddly, and when they arrive, they are told that the Enterprise is so badly knackered that she will not be repaired – she is to be scrapped. Spocks’ father, Sarek (played by the fantastic Mark Lenard) visits Kirk to find out where Spock placed his memories before he died. It turned out to be McCoy.
Meanwhile, on the Genesis planet, David and Saavik find Spocks coffin but it is empty. Their ship (the Grissom) is destroyed by a Klingon ship that wants the secrets of the Genesis device. They find a young Spock with no memories who is rapidly aging, like the planet.
Kirk asks if he can take McCoy to the Genesis planet, but is told he cannot, so he steals the Enterprise and all but Uhura go to Genesis. There they are attacked by the Klingons, David is killed because Kirk will not surrender and eventually they have to self destruct the Enterprise. Just before it explodes they beam down to the Genesis planet, which is breaking up, Kirk fights the Klingon commander and wins, and pretends to b him and they get beamed up to the Klingon ship, capture it, and eventually take Spock back to Vulcan (he is now about the right age) and reunited with his body.
The story is not anything like as good as the previous film, but it does have some benefits. Firstly, this is the first appearance by Klingons as we know them – bumpy foreheads, costumes, knives and everything. We saw something that was a bit like this in the first film, but the Klingons here are the template used from this point on, and they are great. Chrisopher Lloyd is especially good as their vicious Captain, who kills crewmembers just for making a mistake (he killed his gunner when the Grissom is destroyed, he only wanted it disabled) and he also orders the death of David (well, any death, it was up to the Klingon on the ground who actually died). So Yay to the Klingons, they are finally here!
The next two bits I adore are the obvious bits: I love the sequence where Kirk and company steal the Enterprise – they are persued by the experimental TransWarp ship the USS Excelsior, but luckily Scotty has sabotaged their new engines, so the persuit does not go very far.
Also, the destruction of the Enterprise is a really big deal moment. This is the ship we have seen in every TV episode, and every movie up until this point. Okay, it was going to be scrapped, but the fact that Kirk destroys her is a poignant moment. And the effects are pretty good as well – the saucer explodes, but the rest burns up in the atmosphere of the planet.
I also love the fact that Sarek is back – we see Mark Lenard in two more films, and even in a couple of episodes of The Next Generation.
So what if the plot isn’t the strongest, so what if the sequence on Vulcan where Spocks’ mind is taken from McCoy and put back into Spock go on for a bit. It’s nice to see him again, even though he only gets a few words at the end.
As I said before, this is kind of the middle story in a trilogy, and whilst the two that surround it are much stronger (perhaps the best the series has to offer) I think this one is good too – the quality of two and four tend to push this third film into the shadow a tad.
Crew Deaths: 0 (David doesn’t count, he isn’t Enterprise crew)
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 58