Star Trek’s popularity began to soar after the release of “ST II: TWOK” which left the fans wanting more. On the other hand, it also left those same fans feeling disappointed. I mean here we have Spock, who has truly become a fan favorite, dead. Well, it seemed that the producers wanted to make it possible for them to bring Spock back should a moment such as this arise. Nicholas Meyer didn’t want to direct Trek 3 because he felt that would make his work on 2 pointless with Spock’s death and everything. In his mind, bringing Spock back would’ve been pointless to everything he worked on…
…but that paled in comparison to the contrary reactions from the fans! The majority has pretty much spoken. Spock must come back if there’s to be another film. So thanks to the cleverly placed “seeds” at the end of “Star Trek II”, work began the very next year on “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock”. And who better to direct it than ironically, than Leonard Nimoy himself. Given that this was his directorial feature film debut, some were concerned he could pull it off. But thanks to his character being young through most of the film and played by various different actors throughout the movie for the most part, he was lucky enough to be able to mainly focus on directing the movie.
Now there were elements newly added to the film that helped set the standard for future Trek. There’s the Klingon Bird of Prey with its cloaking device. And then there’s the ever popular Klingon language developed by Marc Okrand which made its debut here. Though technically it was James Doohan who originated the Klingon language, albeit a less developed version of it. Nevertheless, the Klingons make their presence truly known for the first time since the original series. Actor Christopher Lloyd appears as Commander Kruge in what comes as a contrast to his typically good guy roles. And I must say he makes a good villain, especially that of a Klingon. Mark Lenard makes a return to his best known role as Spock’s father, Sarek. Other notable appearances include the role of Saavik being replaced by Robin Curtis since Kirstie Alley demanded too much money this time around. She actually carried the role quite nicely, though without the slight hint of emotion that Kirstie’s Saavik showed in “TWOK”. There’s a cameo appearance by Grace Lee Whitney who played Janice Rand since the original series in spacedock as the Enterprise is docking inside. And then there’s a special appearance by Dame Judith Anderson who plays the Vulcan High Priestess T’Lar.
“The Search for Spock” focuses on the concept of loyalty and sacrifice. Spock died to save the Enterprise…to save his friends. And when Kirk learns that there is a way for him to save Spock and restore him to normal, he’s willing to go to whatever lengths necessary to save his friend. His crew are also there to help as they too share the bonds of loyalty between them. When Kirk tries to get legal permission to go to Genesis, he’s denied. So he takes matters into his own hands and steals the Enterprise to do it.
And with the show of loyalty, comes sacrifice. In saving Spock, Kirk loses the Enterprise which back during the time of the original series, he’d give anything to save. But thanks to the passage of time, he realizes how important his crew means to him as they shared many adventures together. So after being gunned down by Kruge’s Bird of Prey, he evens the odds by tricking most of Kruge’s crew into beaming over to “seize the ship”, and activating the self-destruct which destroys the famous ship and taking the Klingon crew with it.
The other sacrifice was Kirk’s son, David. David has come to terms with the fact that Genesis was a failure and upon being captured along with Saavik and a rapidly aging Spock, hears Kruge order one of his subordinates to kill one of them. Just as he chooses and is about to kill Saavik, David wrestles him down, but is quickly overpowered and gives his life to save the other two. And we all remember Kirk’s show of vulnerability in his character when he literally falls on his ass trying to sit down upon hearing Saavik tell him in a agonizingly unemotional tone, “Admiral. David is dead.”
In the end, Kirk gets both Spock and McCoy to Vulcan and the two are fully restored to normal. And even though “ST III: TSFS” wasn’t as good as “ST II: TWOK, “it provided a fitting return for everyone’s favorite logical character. I leave you now with the scenes that stick out:
- The intro of Kruge and that massive Bird of Prey in action
- Enterprise entering that huge spacedock
- McCoy’s jailbreak thanks to Kirk and company
- 3 words “Up your shaft”
- Stealing the Enterprise and Excelsior’s failed transwarp drive (“Good Morning Captain”) lol
- The short lived battle between the Enterprise and the Bird of Prey
- “Klingon bastard you killed my son!!!” David’s sacrifice
- “9…8…7…6…5…” “GET OUT!!! GET OUT OF THERE!!! GET OUT!!!” “…2…1…” The destruction of the Enterprise
- The final showdown between Kirk and Kruge
- The restoration of Spock’s katra to his body
- “…And the adventure continues…” Those words at the very end just stand out in my mind as it sets the precedence for the next movie
This movie certainly pulls through for the fans even though it was an odd numbered film. And with the Trek Tribute series halfway over, get ready as in part IV, I provide an in-depth look at the highest grossing box office hit of all the Star Trek movies, “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”.
To be continued…