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69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars underrated meditation on the nature of friendship
Don't be fooled by some of the negative reviews here. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock is a thoughtful meditation on the nature of friendship. I admire its careful attention to developing a classical story arc in which Kirk is driven by concern for his friends (Spock and McCoy) and by outer events (a feckless Federation bureaucracy) to steal the Enterprise and...
Published on April 3, 2000

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Trek retrospective: split between poignant and silly.
This movie is much weaker than either of the first two. But then, it has to be. From the start, it is based on an inherently hokey premise: after The Wrath Of Khan, another Star Trek movie could only exist if it found a way to bring Spock back from the dead. Of course, there's no way to do that believably.

So, the writers use the crutch of Vulcan mysticism, and...
Published on November 26, 2010 by Angry Mofo


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69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars underrated meditation on the nature of friendship, April 3, 2000
By A Customer
Don't be fooled by some of the negative reviews here. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock is a thoughtful meditation on the nature of friendship. I admire its careful attention to developing a classical story arc in which Kirk is driven by concern for his friends (Spock and McCoy) and by outer events (a feckless Federation bureaucracy) to steal the Enterprise and outwit and outrun enemies on all sides. Indeed, the film's first act is a gem: a model of balanced writing in its build-up to Kirk's inexorable conclusion that he must steal the Enterprise to save his friends. Among the priceless scenes in that first half-hour: A visit by Spock's father to Kirk's San Francisco pad in which, during a "mind meld" between them, successive shots end with a quiet, touching close-up of Kirk's eye as he relives Spock's "death" in the previous film; Scottie's hilarious asides toward a pompous captain played deftly by character actor James Sikking; and Kirk being told by a superior officer that under no conditions can he undertake a mission to save his friends as the camera tracks in on him, staring off in the middle distance, his inevitable insubordination written on his face. Good stuff. Even better is the focus (singularly among the Star Trek movies, which usually concern the Enterprise crew saving the Earth or the universe) on Kirk's mission to save his friends and the sacrifices he makes in the process. I can tell you (if you haven't seen the film) that these sacrifices are significant, in once case touchingly sad and in another spectacular. Other reasons to see Star Trek III: It contains a terrific, humorous, self-consciously strapping but still tough villain played by Christopher Lloyd; a really good, early James Horner (of Titanic fame) score; elegant special effects (including the real-time destruction of a planet tearing itself apart that holds up well); William Shatner's best performance ever (be honest -- he does a nice, even subtle job in this film as a soulful, resourceful, and self-sacrificing Kirk -- indeed, the Kirk character has never been more appealing); an apropos climax that, unique to the science fiction genre, is understated and gentle and moving; a swift pace; deft direction from Leonard Nimoy; genuine surprises that, when I first saw the film, I could not believe were happening (including a clever and powerful one involving the Enterprise itself); and a mythic elementalism in which the battle-scarred Enterprise crew seems straight out of Homer and Kirk makes a forceful stand-in for Odysseus. This film deserves a reappraisal from Trekkers, but more importantly, from the general public. Nicely done.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A difficult film to make, and Nimoy and Shatner did it., April 1, 2006
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Star trek III is widely considered to be an infinitely inferior sequel to The Wrath of Khan, yet is in fact a more complex film and has a much more difficult task set in front of it. Although not perfect, it is an engaging story filled with a number of excellent reversals and has some of Shatner's best acting.

Montalban is the absolute driving force in Star Trek II and much of that film relies on this fact. Christopher Lloyd does a fine job as a merciless Klingon, yet it is up to Shatner to carry this film. And he does an great job. His stealing of the Enterprise gives Kirk back the initiative in the entire series, and is one of the all-time great moments for the original cast. Why this sequence, and so many others, is not given more credit is beyond me. One gripe: As usual, Kirk gets a LOT of screen time, cut-aways shots etc. at the expense of the other cast members.

Mired in some necessary exposition, The Search for Spock effectively navigates its way through Klingons, Vulcans, the tragic genesis project, Starfleet regulations... no easy task. The finale is lovingly presented, and tests the depths of not only the crews's emotions but that of the audience and fans. Nimoy did a fine job with this film, and it led the way to the unprecedented Star Trek IV.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loyalty, Honor, Sacrifice., November 21, 2002
By 
Hank Drake (Cleveland, OH United States) - See all my reviews
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Though lacking the philosophical depth of The Motion Picture, and the heart-pounding action of The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock ultimately succeeds because it's primarily a character driven story, which recalls the best episodes of the original series. Spock's resurrection is handled convincingly--no magical regeneration with a shiny blue animated line here. In all aspects, Leonard Nimoy does a fine job in his directorial debut--he can clearly handle a camera and brings forth strong performances from his actors. Robin Curtis more than holds her own in the role of Lt. Saavik, originally portrayed by Kirstie Alley. The consistently underrated William Shatner shines here, giving a performance which is by turns somber and impassioned. DeForest Kelley also deserves praise as the Spock-possessed McCoy.
Most of the special effects have held up well over the years, and the few that haven't are not overly distracting. Star Trek has never been beholden to special effects, but has generally relied upon character development and story--and this emphasis has served it well over the years.
The picture is identical to the first DVD issue, which improved on both the VHS and Laser Disc issues--the colors are more vibrant and crisper. The sound also has more impact than the earlier versions.
This is one of the few films where the theatrical cut WAS the director's cut, so there are no added scenes here. The commentary by Nimoy and the rest is interesting and informative, as is Michael Okuda's text commentary. The cast interviews, as always, are entertaining, although I would have liked to have heard more of what REALLY happened during the infamous 1983 fire at Paramount studios. Less entertaining are the featurettes on terraforming, the Klingon language, and the visual effects, which contain almost no behind the scenes footage.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great continuation, September 2, 2002
By 
K. Wyatt "ssintrepid" (Cape Girardeau, MO United States) - See all my reviews
Star Trek III The Search for Spock is a wonderful, middle movie to the more or less trilogy of II, III and IV. I was a little disappointed that Kirstie Allie couldn't pick up where she left off in the role of Saavik. Robin Curtis does do a very good job though. Christopher Lloyds Klingon Commander is absolutely Klingon through and through. All of the original cast members are true to their characters. Overall, Star Trek III is not the best of the original six, but it's most certainly not the worst either. A wonderful story that, like all the rest, I've watched more times than I can remember.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK: THE BEST OF ALL!!!, October 26, 2002
By 
Erik Morton "Erik Morton" (Carmel, CA United States) - See all my reviews
In the footsteps of "The Wrath of Khan" Director's Edition DVD comes the Special Collector's Edition of "The Search For Spock", in my opinion the best Star Trek movie of all. The writers held nothing back, giving us an ingenius way of bringing Spock back. Though definitely no among the most exciting of the series, it does the best job by far of illustrating the eternal friendship of the Enterprise crew.
It also sprouts first-rate preformances, notably Christopher Lloyd as Commander Kruge, who perfectly personifies the ultimate Klingon. Robin Curtis, replacing Kirstie Alley as Saavik, makes a more traditional Vulcan, showing hardly any emotion whatsoever (the way Vulcans are supposed to). The entire Enterprise crew is in top form. And, of course, Spock; Leonard Nimoy's screen time, no matter how limited (only a couple of minutes), makes you want to stand up and cheer.
The special effects more than match up to (and at times surpass) those of "The Wrath of Khan". And James Horner once again engorges himself, providing a haunting and incredibly beautiful score that perfectly captures the sense of Vulcan mysticism (as well as everything else in the movie). All of which is displayed very nicely on the DVD.
I've been waiting for this new two-disc DVD for well over two months, but it was worth the wait. The picture quality is nothing short of spectacular. The cast and crew interviews are once again very interesting and funny (William Shatner is utterly hillarious). I have not yet seen the "Terraforming & The Prime Directive" or "Star Trek Universe" documentaries, but you can bet your *** that I will.
Now I just can't wait for the two-disc edition of "The Voyage Home" to be released. If it's half as good as the Special Collector's Edition of "The Search For Spock", I'll gladly pay my money for it!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genesis of the Modern Klingon, August 8, 2005
By 
T. Canaday (SOUTH CAROLINA) - See all my reviews
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If anyone is wondering where the Klingons of the later Star Trek movies and television series' came from, this is it. Christopher Lloyd's "Kruge" is the defining character after which all the later ones were patterned.

This movie also dramatically introduces the much used Klingon Bird-of-Prey that turns up frequently in later movies and on TV.

In my opinion, this is the best movie after "The Wrath of Khan" and keeps the drama and action moving quickly along.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The needs of the one outweighed the needs of the many, May 3, 2004
By 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
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There was a point in time where I really wished that this movie had not been made. The death of Spock at the end of "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan," was a high point in the history of the "Star Trek" universe. When Spock, separated by a thick piece of plastic shielding, tells Kirk for the last time "I have been and always shall be your friend," it is a devastating moment. Kirk and Spock are one of the great "odd" friendships of all time, in or out of the realm of science fiction (they are the Aubrey and Maturin of their future time and place). The "Star Trek" franchise was served by this 1984 film, since it spawned three more outings for the original cast and inspired a quartet of television spinoffs, but I am not sure if the characters benefited as well. I still think "Wrath of Khan" is far and away the best "Star Trek" film, with "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" coming in second. There are some nice moment with Spock on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," although there are more between Captain Picard and Sarek, Spock's father, and the death of James T. Kirk in "Star Trek: Generations" certainly pales compared to that of Spock.
So making this third "Star Trek" film took something away the death of Spock, but even wishing it had never been made I still have to admit this film has its moment. The whole Vulcan "katra" bit is a deus ex machina pulled out of a hat and Spock's tube landing on the Genesis planet so that his body can be regenerated, growing at precisely the right rate so that when the download Spock's katra from McCoy's mind we are back to where we were at the end of the previous movie is just an absurd conjunction of circumstances. But at the heart of this film is the relationship between Kirk and Spock. William Shatner's performance in the key scenes, early on when he relives Spocks' death with Sarek and at the end when Spock is restored, have a weight that overcomes a lot of objections and which is clearly privileged by Harve Bennett's script and Leonard Nimoy's direction.
That friendship has always been there and many of the high points of the original television series were where it was acknowledged, albeit almost always obliquely. At the end of "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan" it was made painfully explicit, and that powerful moment is revisited at the end of "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock," as Kirk stands there before his friend, having sacrificed his only son and the ship that has been his home for what seems like his entire life, because "The needs of the one outweighed the needs of the many." This flip of Spock's motivation for going into that chamber and sacrificing his life is not glib, because it speaks to a great human paradox. Namely that we believe both positions are true and that not only do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one but that the exact opposite is true. Each film in turn proves its thesis.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spock Returns in Third Trek Film, June 11, 2003
After the success of Nicholas Meyer's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, it soon became apparent that the Trek franchise could continue, with or without Spock. Despite rumors to the contrary, Leonard Nimoy had never stipulated in his contract for Star Trek II that Spock be killed off. According to Nimoy (as revealed in a "the making of" featurette), the actor really did think that the second film would be the finale of the Star Trek movies, so why not have Spock go out in a blaze of glory?
However, even before production ended on The Wrath of Khan, Nimoy and producer Harve Bennett decided that "there were always possibilities" for the future, both for the franchise and Spock.
Thus it came to pass that Star Trek III: The Search for Spock had its, pun intended, genesis. With a subtle scene here and a more upbeat ending there, several plot strands were left unresolved....what did Spock mean when he gave Dr. McCoy a mind meld with the word "Remember?" Why was he left on the Genesis Planet? Those two scenes, coupled with Nimoy reciting "Space: The Final Frontier" at the end of the second movie practically screamed "Sequel Ahead!"
As it happened, Star Trek III would also mark Nimoy's feature-film directorial debut. Although he was given a modest budget - which does, unfortunately, become obvious in many scenes - Nimoy fared fairly well his first time out as a director.
As in the movie that follows (The Voyage Home), Bennett and Nimoy give us a mix of adventure, suspense and even moments of comedy in the continuation of a three-movie story arc.
The setup is simple. After the events depicted in Star Trek II, the USS Enterprise has been ordered back to Earth. Spock is dead, the Enterprise's trainee crew has been reassigned, and Starfleet has quarantined the Genesis planet. Only a science vessel, USS Grissom, has been assigned to survey the forbidden world.
Little does the Federation know, however, that the Klingons have found out about the Genesis device. Fearing that the Federation has plans to destroy the Klingon Empire, Commander Kruge (Christopher Lloyd) is determined to obtain its secrets.
At the same time, upon his return to Earth Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) discovers that Spock has somehow placed his "katra" in Dr. McCoy's (the late DeForest Kelley) body. Kirk is urged by Sarek, Spock's father (the late Mark Lenard) to retrieve Spock's remains from the Genesis planet. After that, Kirk is to go to Vulcan with McCoy and Spock's body, where both of his friends will "find peace."
When Kirk requests permission to take the soon-to-be retired Enterprise back to Genesis to retrieve Spock's body, Starfleet Command refuses, saying that the science ship (where Lt. Saavik and Kirk's son David Marcus are now serving) is the only ship allowed by the Federation to investigate. As usual, Kirk takes matters into his own hands and, assembling most of his bridge crew, steals the Enterprise and warps off to Genesis, setting up a sequence of events that Kirk will find to be more costly than he bargained for.
The Collector's Edition DVD set, unlike the previous two Director's Editions, has no added scenes or director's cut version. The theatrical version of the film (with a running time shy of two hours) is featured here with director's audio commentary by Nimoy and text commentary by Michael Okuda. The movie will delight some Trek fans, satisfy most fans, and disappoint others. (This being an odd-numbered film, it seems to prove the theory that even numbered Treks are great, while odd-numbered ones are either just okay or just plain bad!) The extra features disc includes the usual mix of "making of" documentaries, interviews, and the theatrical trailer (which, unfortunately, gave away a crucial plot device).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Star Trek Sequel, September 26, 2002
... "ST III: The Search For Spock" is a great movie and it has everything that a Star Trek [lover] could want: humor, action, adventure, emotion (especially for Kirk...poor guy), solid acting, tension, shock value(the scene with the Enterprise and the Klingon boarding party) and best of all hope and resurrection. I personally love this film, as I find it to be a little bit darker in tone than "ST II." Plus it has Christopher Lloyd in a fantastic over-the-top performance as Kruge, a rogue Klingon commander who enflicts some serious emtional damage on Kirk. Composer James Horner continues his string of soundtrack hits here, improving and adapting the score that he used from "ST II." A great extension of its predescessor, "Search For Spock" continues the wonderful tradition of Star Trek(in my opinion rather proudly) and should be welcomed for not only being a great Star Trek film, but a great sci-fi film as well. Oh, and stop the comparisons!!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Trek retrospective: split between poignant and silly., November 26, 2010
This movie is much weaker than either of the first two. But then, it has to be. From the start, it is based on an inherently hokey premise: after The Wrath Of Khan, another Star Trek movie could only exist if it found a way to bring Spock back from the dead. Of course, there's no way to do that believably.

So, the writers use the crutch of Vulcan mysticism, and invent a ritual whereby Spock can be resurrected. The Vulcans have so many super powers that, by all rights, they really ought to be running the entire Federation. They're already super-smart, super-strong, and live for hundreds of years, and now they also have immortal souls that can be transferred between bodies. Even less believable is the idea that Kirk would know nothing about these aspects of Vulcan culture, despite being best friends with a Vulcan for years. Don't they have liberal arts requirements at Starfleet Academy?

But, miraculously, all this is almost palatable, because they bring back Mark Lenard as Spock's somber father. For me, much of the appeal of the entire Star Trek franchise comes from its remarkable luck in finding actors with precisely this kind of old-fashioned acting style. Mark Lenard, David Warner, Ricardo Montalban, and even the much-ridiculed William Shatner all have a mannered, theatrical diction and bearing, a style that is unsuitable for realistic, "modern" stories, but perfect for depicting epic archetypes. In fact, by the time this movie was made, Star Trek might have been the only place to find this style of acting -- outside this franchise, you'd have to go all the way back to old black-and-white Hollywood films. But there is always a place for this old style. For instance, I admire the acting of Robert De Niro, but he'd never have been able to play Agamemnon, or Odysseus, or, dare I say, Captain Kirk.

So Mark Lenard arrives to deliver the idiotic plot device concocted by the writers, but he is so grave and dignified while doing so that it almost sort of makes sense. Kirk's show of respect for the stern old Vulcan is also quite affecting. The ensuing scenes draw on another one of Star Trek's great strengths, the theme of friendship and loyalty between Kirk and his crew. The entire first half of the movie, up until the first space battle, is excellent, because Kirk's love of his captaincy and his ship was always key to his character, and it is genuinely moving to watch him push himself to sacrifice those things for the sake of friendship. The ending of the first space battle is completely awe-inspiring -- not only because of the sacrifice involved, but because it is a brilliant piece of strategy on Kirk's part. Unlike many Star Trek victories, it is not a deus ex machina ("we suddenly discovered a new type of beam that makes the bad guys spontaneously combust"), but rather, the product of audacious thinking and cunning.

The resolution is less clever, though. Christopher Lloyd, as the Klingon warrior Kruge, is a competent villain (not as good as Ricardo Montalban, but maybe that's an unfair comparison), with an imperious bearing that fits his status as "lord." But with him, the franchise began to invent a goofy medievalist warrior culture for the Klingons. In my opinion, this makes it much more difficult to take them seriously as modern, Cold-War-style adversaries. They are much more interesting in The Undiscovered Country.

And I dislike the way the movie cavalierly dispenses with the entire Genesis story from The Wrath Of Khan. In the second movie, Genesis made a good symbol, one that gave additional meaning to Spock's sacrifice. Furthermore, even though Kirk, due to his adventurous character, can't ever possibly settle down with a wife and son, it was a good touch to show that he still had a family out there somewhere. The way this movie does away with that is pointlessly callous. At least Robin Curtis is a better Saavik than Kirstie Alley, and gets a great, sympathetic scene with the young Spock (too bad they didn't have the guts to show Kirk's reference to her "condition" during their goodbye in The Voyage Home).

The conflict ends with a fist-fight in the middle of exploding special effects, which is quite dumb. In the sixties, Shatner had enough youthful machismo to pull that off on the TV series, but here, he's not a very credible contender in hand-to-hand combat. He is a much more convincing leader during the space battles, where he can be daring in his schemes instead of his physical strength.

Perhaps this was the first Star Trek movie where the plot development was visibly influenced by marketing concerns, from the premise to the resolution. A lot of it is quite engrossing, and uses the characters very well. But it's not the one to go to if you want Star Trek at its best.
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