With hindsight, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
is the satisfactory middle instalment of a well-rounded trilogy that began with The Wrath of Kahn
and ended with The Voyage Home
(after which this crew really should have retired gracefully). But on its first release, few fans knew what to expect and initial impressions were disappointing. The biggest talking points were that the film was Leonard Nimoy's directorial debut and that his name wasn't in the opening credits. Naturally, the biggest question was just how would the loss of Spock affect the franchise? That question was neatly dodged and what audiences got instead was a tale of team-spiritedness, sacrifice and rebellion that ended on a question mark. In other words it was a fun ride without many answers. The centrepiece of the movie has to be stealing The Enterprise, a beautifully conceived sequence that remains at the heart of classic Trek
's filmic storyline: sacrificing all for the sake of friendship, Kirk and co. set out to rescue their lost companion; this single action defines everything the characters had ever meant to each other, and has an effect on everything that followed. And if the loss of Spock had left audiences eager for more, that was as nothing compared to the loss of The Enterprise.
On the DVD: Star Trek III on disc does not come in a new transfer as the previous two special edition DVDs, and you won't find any deleted or new scenes either. The extras package is fascinating, nonetheless, especially with the contributions from Nimoy. His fond reminiscences in the commentary track are priceless, with good support from writer-producer Harve Bennett, director of photography Charles Correll, and Robin Curtis (Saavik). The text commentary from the Okudas isn't as involving as the others, sadly, but this is made up for by the trivia dished out in documentaries covering: model-making, costume design, the science of Terraforming, and how to speak Klingon. The best inclusion is "Captain's Log" featuring interviews with an enthusiastic Nimoy, a sarcastic Shatner, an appreciative Curtis and the rarely seen Christopher Lloyd. --Paul Tonks
Kirk (William Shatner) disregards Starfleet orders and steals the Enterprise to venture out on a mission to find the body of Spock (Leonard Nimoy), who was killed at the end of 'Star Trek 2'. The crew, including Bones (De Forrest Kelley), who appears to have absorbed part of Spock's essence, are impeded by marauding Klingons.