Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) – Leonard Nimoy

 

I continue to boldly go with the Star Trek films, courtesy of the Sci-Fi Chronicles, and having previously covered Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, I moved onto the third film in the series, helmed by Nimoy himself, one of the caveats about his reprising the Spock character.

Spock is dead.

The events of Star Trek II, are only a few moments in the past for the film, as the U.S.S. Enterprise limps home, hoping to return to the newly created Genesis planet caused by the Genesis device exploded by Khan (Ricardo Montalban) at the climax of the previous film. Captain Kirk (William Shatner) mourning the loss of his friend, is almost oblivious to the fact that there is something seriously wrong with ship’s doctor, and dear friend, McCoy (DeForest Kelley).

It seems McCoy is carrying Spock’s katra, his soul, his living spirit, and it needs to be returned to Vulcan, along with his body, which was left, in memorial, on Genesis.

Starfleet won’t okay the mission, so in one of my favorite sequences, Kirk, McCoy, Chekov (Walter Koenig), Sulu (George Takei) and Scotty (James Doohan) steal the Enterprise to recover the body, and save the doctor’s mind.

But the Klingons, led by Kruge (Christopher Lloyd) aren’t going to make it easy for them, and the cost may be too high for Kirk and his stalwart crew…

When I was young, the wait from 1982 to 1984 for the next Star Trek film seemed interminable. I remember buying the novelization, and spent an entire day in the sun on ,y lawn reading the book, despite the fact that I was going to see it the next day. I had to know what happened to Kirk and company.

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While not as strong an entry as II, III has some great moments, though Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) is terribly underused, and shows the lengths and depths of the friendship of the Enterprise crew, especially the trio of Kirk, Spock and McCoy. It was also enough to secure Nimoy’s role of director in IV.

James Horner returns to score this film, carrying over some of the gorgeous, sea-faring themes that worked so well in the previous movie. Kirstie Alley, however, did not return, and Robin Curtis replaced her in the role of Saavik, who along with Kirk’s son, David (Merritt Butrick) are exploring the Genesis planet and come across a couple of surprises.

Nimoy does a fine job his first time out of the dock with what became a tentpole franchise for Paramount, touching on emotional moments, as well as hitting some fairly solid action beats.

I remember waiting, and longing for each new Star Trek theatrical experience, and devouring the books, the comics, the reruns and firing up my own imagination in the mean time. There were countless times I had made LEGO phasers and communicators, and ran around with them outside, practicing my Kirk shoulder roll.

So even if it isn’t the strongest entry in the series, it still means a lot to me, in terms of nostalgia and emotion.

And the Human Adventure continues…

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