on 29 January 2003
A gem of a movie that's often discounted as it is one of Star Trek's "odd numbered" movies, popularly believed to all be poor. Star Trek 3 suffers unfairly under this: through directoral flair it succeeds as a film in it's own right while still serving as an excellent sequel to Star Trek 2, and maintains the same high standard that film set. The cast all shine in their own moments (especially Sulu), and William Shatner is at his best - performing as well as he did in Star Trek 2 but with a meatier part. Spock may have died at the end of the last film, but here Kirk is forced to risk everything, and looses much. Perhaps Leonard Nimoy observed how Nick Meyer managed to pull so convincing a performance from Shatner in the previous film, because he's certainly never as good after Star Trek 3.
This DVD is a great improvement over previous releases - two dics gives you extras that are always informative and for the most part truly interesting. The directors commentary gives Leonard Nimoy the chance to speak with his directors hat on for a change instead of as an actor, and gives good insight into what it's like for an actor to direct for the first time - it makes me want to buy "Three men and a baby" purely to see how his experiences develop.
All else that can be said is that the sound and picture quality are excellent throughout (especially considering how old this movie is), as are the discs animated menus. Oh, and hunt out for the easter egg - it contains probably the best documentary on this two-disc set.
on 29 February 2004
Often derided as one of the poorer Trek films due to its chance place in the broad "odd-numbered film curse," Star Trek III is one of my very favourites. It continues successfully in the vein of "Wrath of Khan".
The character interaction is at its very best, with the possibility of bringing Spock back to life causing Kirk, McCoy, Sulu, Uhura, Chekov and Scotty to steal the Enterprise and effectively end their Starfleet careers in the ultimate gesture of friendship: the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many. Even the action element of the movie is up there with the more acclaimed Star Trek II; Klingon Commander Kruge is a great bad guy and it's a testament to the actor that after a few minutes I've almost forgotten he was in Back to the Future.
The only flaw with the DVD is that, aside from the commentary and special features, there's little to entice those who already own the much cheaper Star Trek III DVD; although colours are striking and the picture is sharp, it doesn't seem as 'clean' as the re-released Star Trek II, and there are no deleted scenes inserted like in the previous two movies. In terms of the film however, it's a funny ("how can you be deaf with ears like that?") and exciting journey that expanded the Star Trek universe visually for the first time, even if Shatner is still wearing a wig.
The special features are extensive and interesting, for the most part. Klingon language creator and teacher Marc Okrand gives insight into how the language was developed for this film, and altered according to the great Christopher Lloyd's pronunciations, while Industrial Light and Magic effects crew explain how they developed the designs for the U.S.S. Excelsior, Spacedock and Klingon Bird-of-Prey - all of which would be used again and again in the Next Generation. The director's commentary from Leonard Nimoy is also one of the best commentaries I've heard for a couple of reasons: firstly, it is informative and gives insight to how Leonard directed scenes, and secondly it's Spock.
on 11 September 2003
MOVIE: Possibly my favourite of these films. Basically a simple story about loyalty and sacrifice, but all the best stories - and films - boil down to such a simple concept, and unlike almost ever science fiction movie made since Star Wars the story is never overshadowed by the visuals. Indeed, part of my fondness for this film is its low-budget look; it has a greater resemblance to the classic series than any of the other films. First-time director Leonard Nimoy gives all directors of science-fiction films an important lesson with the 'stealing the Enterprise' scene - that tension and excitement can be generated far more effectively by having things move painfully s-l-o-w-l-y than by filling the screen with action and explosions. Are you listening, George-?
THE DVD: Isn't it nice when these things are done properly? The clutch of documentaries is entertaining and informative, especially Shatner's contribution... his interviews are becoming the highlight of these discs - is really a egomaniac or is he just teasing us-? There is a lot of duplication of material between the documentaries and the commentary - more careful editing would have been good - otherwise the commentary is excellent - a generous amount of it is Nimoy's own recollections. The text commentary (which takes the form of subtitles) is padded out with a lot of nerdy trivia but also full of intriguing stuff- especially when it points out the little tricks and economy measures in the set design and special effects - also there is one tragically ironic reference to the space shuttle Columbia, evidently recorded shortly before its sad end.
The crew of S.S Enterprise after their encounter with 'Khan' were saved by
the sacrifice of colleague and friend 'Mr Spock'
His coffin had been ejected from the ship and now lies on the surface of the
newly created planet of 'Genesis'
S.S Enterprise has returned to earth, a alert sounds indicating an intruder has
entered 'Spock's' cabin, when investigated 'Kirk' finds 'Bones' who appears to
be asking for help with 'Spock's' voice.
'Spock's' father has arrived on earth to speak to 'Kirk' wanting to know why his
son was left on Genesis, why wasn't his living soul taken to Vulcan.
The search begins.....
The new planet has aroused the interest of a 'Klingon' officer.....'Kirk's' new
found son 'David' is on 'Genesis' responding to a life-form signature being
detected on the planet's surface.
'David' of course was instrumental in the creation of the 'Genesis' machine that
had created the Planet.
'Kirk' and his crew are on the way, however, the 'Klingons' have got there ahead
of the 'Enterpise' crew.
'Kirk' and his loyal crew are not on a sanctioned mission, in fact, they have been
told soon after their return to Earth that the 'Enterpise' was to be de-commissioned.
However 'Kirk' and his crew members have risked their careers to search for their
friend, it is, for them, an absolute priority that out-weighs the will of the Federation.
A confrontation with the 'Klingons' was not on the agenda however, though perhaps
Another superb Sci-fi adventure with the original cast of the much loved TV series
brought to the big screen in this the third in the series.
For it's time the Special-effects are pretty impressive, again the upgrade to the HD
format for this 1984 Sci-fi adventure is pretty good.
Special Features :-
* Commentary by 'Ronald D Moore' and 'Michael Taylor'
* Industrial Light and Magic visual effects HD
* 'Spock'; The early years HD
* Star Trek and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame HD.
* Star-Fleet Acadamy - The Vulcan 'Katra' Transfer HD
Blu-ray Exclusives :-
* Library Computer IQ
* Plus - Over 2 Hours of Previously released content.
ADMIRAL KIRK and his bridge crew risk their careers stealing the decommissioned Enterprise to return to the restricted Genesis Planet to recover SPOCK's body.
Directed by LEONARD NIMOY, this is the one where WILLIAM SHATNER really acts. A beautiful, low-key performance (I am not joking), purposely reigned in by a colleague who knew exactly how to handle what is in effect a study about life, death and rebirth. It also has something insightful to say about friendship and sacrifice - huge continuing themes, all of significant importance here (and, if you're into that sort of thing, there are any number of Shakesperian references to be found throughout the television episodes and movies, just by scratching at the surface).
STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK was deeply satisfying to me, but not for most of the fans, it seems. Many thought it was too maudlin. But that's their loss, because if ever a STAR TREK film had something to say about the Triumph of the Human Spirit then this was it; Nimoy captured something no other director has managed before or since. And it's still got all the sci-fi trappings you could ever wish for, so what's not to like?
The Blu-Ray transfer is so detailed it actually emphasizes the 'garbage' mattes around the ENTERPRISE in the 'approach to Spacedock' sequence, a particularly harrowing example. Other than that, it's solid and consistent throughout. Colour is vivid, yet lifelike, and the sound is marginally better than the Special Edition DVD release, but dialogue still lacks high-end sharpness.
AND FINALLY...WILLIAM SHATNER
For once, the ham was placed to one side, no lines were carved up and no scenery chewed. The Transformed Man went for it and gave us something truly special.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
You Klingon bastards! Kirk gets personal.
It is what it is folks, it's a good honest Star Trek story, it beats a real emotive heart and although some may decry the lack of blistering space battles, or end of the universe peril scenarios, it's an essential film for dealing with the protagonists we know and love.
Into the mix here we have our favourite alien enemies The Klingons (led by the oddly cast Christopher Lloyd), Spock's father, Sarek, who adds grace to the story, and crucially Kirk gets an emotional kicker. While elsewhere hardcore fans get a big surprise with the beloved Enterprise.
It's of course merely a set up for the next (and delightfully great) instalment of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, but on its own terms this stands up as one of the better character pieces in the series. Due in no small part to having Leonard Nimoy directing it because he shows care and thought about a subject he obviously knows quite a bit about. 7/10
on 6 June 2010
Star Trek III The Search for Spock gets a 4 star from me as the film is really good, it's not the greatest but it is a lot better than Star Trek V The Final Frontier. The Picture quality is reasonably good with clear audio, it may have not received the star treatment of Star Trek II but to be fair that is probably the greatest Trek film there is and was in dire need of restoration. This film however does come second best for picture quality since like the audio is clean and crisp, the only reason it gets a 4 star is because of the special features. Don't get me wrong there are numerous Documentaries and special features as well as an hidden Easter egg on the menu but because of the lack of features it only gets a 4/5. also should you by this Blu-Ray you should listen to the commentary by Ronald D. Moore and Michael Pillar, a very entertaining experience.
on 24 March 2014
The second sequel to the pretty boring Motion Picture.This one starts where"The Wrath of Khan"left off.This is giving it away a bit but a scouting party finds Spocks burial Tube and from there on its pretty much like a GOOD episode all the way,with Kirk,Bones etc off to find Spock,running into unfriendly Klingons along the way.Christopher Lloyd makes a good baddie here and we see Kirks shirt ripped again in this one.Is it Spocks burial tube and can Spock be alive?....well,youll have to wait and see.A worthy sequel and worthy of 4 stars.Its a very good Star Trek outing.
on 19 November 2000
There was a time when I could easily have been regarded as a Trekkie (although I have never felt that my enjoyment of the franchise in all its various incarnations has bordered on the level of infatuation and obsession that would warrant the application of the epithet to me). I must admit, however, to having all but two of the episodes from the original series on tape, along with many from the subsequent Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager series and all the cinema releases. Suffice it to say, therefore, that I was already familiar with the characters and their inter-relationship, and with the whole of the Star Trek culture, when I first viewed Star Trek III : The Search For Spock.
And that, possibly is where the film fails - there is an assumption on the part of the makers that the audience is fully au fait not only with the characters but also with everything which goes on around them to the extent that the unenlightened may be totally disorientated by the events which precede Kirk and Co's hijacking of the Enterprise and the subsequent action sequences. There is an attempt to put the story in context by repeating the last moments of Star Trek II : The Wrath of Khan, but those uninitiated in the three-way relationship amongst Kirk, McCoy and Spock are likely to find the preamble to the action (which lasts some three-quarters of an hour) confusing. Conversely, for the aficionados, those sequences will bring back happy memories of some of the quieter and more thoughtful episodes from the originating series, which often eschewed the special effects bonanza for the purpose of examining human (and, indeed, alien) nature.
After the Enterprise has been purloined, the picture then starts to move along at a good pace and in more traditional sci-fi spectacular format, with good special effects, some suitably evil aliens (ably and entertainingly led by an over-the-top Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon warlord) and the self-destruction of the Enterprise, a moment even more poignant than the death of Spock at the end of the previous film. Amongst all this, Shatner manages to bring a certain pathos to his performance, something which it is difficult to ascribe to his previous acting efforts (and, indeed, any subsequent ones). He successfully gives the impression of a man who realises that there is a heavy price to pay in exchange for the resurrection of his old friend, Spock - the deaths of both his spaceship and his son. Regretfully, this new-found skill has evaporated by the time the film reaches its denouement, and Shatner reverts to his wooden and cynical best - perhaps to emphasise the comparatively short period of mourning for his son in comparison to his reaction to the earlier loss of Spock.
For the Star Trek fan, there is no doubt that this is an entertaining and mystical contribution to the series and one which gave Leonard Nimoy as director the confidence to attack Star Trek IV : The Voyage Home with an approach which borrows even more from the production values of the original series. However, it is certainly not the film which is likely to bring the uninitiated into the fold.
on 12 March 2015
I find it quite hard to be objective about this film, having been unhealthily obsessed with both it and its two predecessors as a young teenager (oh God I wanted to BE Kirk).
However, seen at this distance after many years, I have to admit it's not all I believed it to be at the time. For all its cheapness, The Wrath of Khan had thundered out of the screen like a genuine epic sci-fi MOVIE (even though, taken a shot at a time, it's pretty televisual - particularly compared to the modern day Trek reboots, which are entirely based around cinematic spectacle). Nick Meyer was an experienced movie director, who seemed to implicitly understand how to do Star Trek on the big screen while still retaining many of the elements that had made the original 60's TV show so appealing.
However, TSFS marked the directorial debut of Leonard Nimoy (at least his directorial movie debut), and I'm afraid his background in mainly directing episodes of various TV series led to him to make what is, in essence, an extended TV episode. The preponderance of head-and-shoulder shots, the sedate editing and most noticeably of all the acting - all smack of early eighties American television. Given that the script was written by producer Harve Bennett, a TV veteran of many years standing, it's perhaps unsurprising that this comes across like a television movie.
The acting also lacks that vital sense of big-screen believability and charisma that any great film needs. Some of the performances are classic 'paying the mortgage' type affairs - I'm thinking in particular of the guy who plays Captain Esteban (not a patch on Paul Winfield's Captain Terrell from the previous film) along with the distinctly minor league Robin Curtis as Saavik, and worst of all the dreadfully wooden actor who plays Admiral Morrow (the scene in the Star Fleet bar where Morrow tries to tell Kirk to pull himself together plays just like a scene from T.J.Hooker). Christopher Lloyd is the honourable exception of course, and does turn in a spirited, memorable performance, but he totally dwarfs most of the rest of the supporting cast.
In terms of the actual story, this film is definitely also the weakest in the Star Trek 1 through 3 sequence. Unlike The Motion Picture, which had a bit of grandeur, and Wrath of Khan with its Homeric/Shakespearean over-tones, TSFS is really an exercise in uninspiring back pedalling. The whole film revolves inevitably around the idea of Kirk and the crew going BACK to the place they came from in the previous movie, trying to put something right that they should never have done, and encountering Klingon-by-numbers trouble along the way. I'm not surprised that Shatner hated it.
There are also one or two really silly ideas floating around, the main one being that Starfleet as an organisation would have had no idea of the correct procedure for dealing with Vulcans killed in active service. This wouldn't have been so much of a problem had Spock been the only Vulcan ever to ship out aboard a federation vessel, but we know that there have been plenty of others, including of course (e.g. Commander Sonak) those who have died. Given that a traditional, standard procedure exists (one that Sarek bizarrely expects Kirk to know about even though by his own admission Spock would never have spoken about it) that either 'salvages' a dead Vulcan's soul, or even resurrects his physical body, why would a Vulcan officer's senior colleagues, and the organisation for whom he works at large, not be aware of this delicate point of protocol? And given the fact that they clearly were NOT aware of it, why in the film are Kirk's superiors not also scrambling over themselves trying to fix this diplomatic disaster and helping blundering Kirk do whatever it takes to retrieve Spock's corpse from Genesis? Answers on a post-card.
In terms of Kirk's superiors, and the portrayal of Star Fleet generally, this film turns in a deeply bizarre portrayal of a cynical, nasty organisation whose grunts are seemingly able with complete impunity to address senior officers by insulting nick-names (Takei was absolutely right to object to the 'Don't get smart with me, Tiny' sequence), whose up-and-coming captains like doing nothing better than f***ing over the fleet's most decorated, celebrated hero, and whose Admirality elect to break up a tried-and-tested crew and haul their fleet's most legendary ship off to the knackers' yard, seemingly on a whim. You can kind of see why Roddenberry got angry about this stuff.
There are also one or two 'blink and you miss it' weird-bits-that-don't-make-sense in the movie, for example the moment when, after David and Saavik beam down to the Genesis planet and discover Spock's empty casket, they then experience a ground tremor after which there is the clear, protracted sound of an adult male screaming in agony in the distance. Now, given that Spock is presumably supposed to have emerged from his coffin as a big, bouncy Vulcan baby and crawled off into the forest, how is it that he is able to emit an adult scream before then appearing as a small boy? Or is the idea that he ages from being a baby, through adolescence, into adult-hood and old-age/death BEFORE David and Saavik find him, and simply goes through a second Genesis-induced rejuvenation? So when we see him getting the Pon Farr hots, he's been through it once (at least) already? No wonder he looks so haggard when he goes back to being Nimoy at the end.
I wouldn't want to give the impression that this is a bad movie. It isn't - it's fun and quite moving in places. It's probably Kirk's finest hour as a self-less hero, and the destruction of the Enterprise is probably the greatest single on-screen moment in Star Trek history (and yes, a great cinematic moment too). I actually love all the stuff that happens from David's death onwards, particularly the closing sequences on Vulcan - and the final scene is touchingly performed by all concerned. (On the subject of the Enterprise's destruction by the way though - this is sadly undermined by the fact that Kirk already knows that the ship is going to be sold off for scrap anyway - how much more powerful and meaningful would his sacrifice have been if, after the events of WOK, he had been awarded captaincy of the vessel again, and the promise of a new 5 year mission).
Anyway. Phew. I'm giving it 3 stars even though I loved it to bits back in the days when I could still get my hair to approximate the irresistible back-combed curl of Shatner's mid-80's toupee (his greatest surely). It's a shame that the story's better elements - the theme of self-sacrifice on Kirk's part, the loss of the Enterprise and so on - were so cheaply compromised by the even more TV episode-like sequel, The Voyage Home, in which the influence of the brash, style-less 1980's really got its teeth into the Trek franchise.
But that's another story.