The enigmatically titled Star Trek III: The Search for Spock follows The Wrath of Khan chronologically and sets the crew of the USS Enterprise on a mission to the planet affected by the Genesis device. By this time, the cast and crew had really got into their groove and director Leonard Nimoy has some fun with proceedings.
Following the battle over Ceti Alpha V, Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and the USS Enterprise fly back to the nearest Starbase, where they are informed that the ship is to be decommissioned and they are not to speak of the Genesis device. It is during this time that Kirk’s son, David Marcus (Merritt Butrick) is captured while surveying the newly reborn planet that he discovers also contains the reborn Spock. Meanwhile, Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) begins to act strangely and it is revealed that he has Spock’s life force trapped within him. Ignoring the orders to the contrary, Kirk and the rest of the crew of the Enterprise steal the Enterprise and fly back to Ceti Alpha V hoping to reunite Spock’s spirit with his body.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture attempted to use Star Wars sensibilities to sell itself, with huge, sweeping operatic space fare that was only partially successful. Its sequel, The Wrath of Khan, often considered the finest of the Original Series crew, explored a far deeper, character-driven plot. The Search for Spock attempts to unify these two dynamics and for the most part succeeds.
Most of the action, as is often the case with these characters, relies of the conversational dynamic of Spock and Kirk, which highlights a friendship grounded in respect, understanding and adventure. The fact that everything else gets pushed to the background further shows how important these two characters are to the franchise. Christopher Lloyd’s Klingon Kruge is a suitably angry villain of the piece, but as with a lot of the ˜bad guys’ in the film franchise they become peripheral to the real meat of the narrative.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock never reaches the levels of drama and intrigue of its immediate predecessor, but as fan-pleasing adventure it’s not terrible. By the end of the ˜search’ there really is a palpable sense of fist-punching that almost makes up for the ˜extended episode’ feel of the rest of the film. Another odd-numbered Star Trek film, another mild disappointment.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)¦ Coming Soon