Monday, June 28, 2021

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

During one of the free preview weekends quite some time ago, I had the chance to DVR the first two Star Trek movies, which I've already blogged about. More recently, I DVRed Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. It's going to be on again soon, overnight tonight at 1:35 AM on Epix (and, I think multiple times in the near future as well as being on DVD). So recently I watched to do a blog post on it.

The movie picks up where Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan left off: Spock sacrificed his life to save the Enterprise and kill Khan. Spock's coffin was deposited on the newly-formed Genesis planet. Thereafter, the crew of the Enterprise heads to get repairs on the ship. But this is where all sorts of problems begin to crop up. The first one is big, and a professional problem, which is that the Enterprise is going to be decommissioned. After all, it's a good 20 years old, and technology advances quite a bit in 20 years; just think about cars from 2001.

More personally, however, is that Bones McCoy (DeForest Kelley) is acting strangely. He broke into Spock's quarters on the way back to Earth, and talked to Kirk in what sounded a lot like Spock's voice, leading any reasonably intelligent viewer and Star Trek fan to figure that Spock must have done some sort of mind meld with McCoy before dying. Surprisingly, it takes Kirk a lot longer to figure this out, needing to be told by Spock's father Sarek that both McCoy and Spock are in emotional anguish, and that the way to put things right involves getting Spock's body and bringing both Spock and McCoy to a certain sacred mountain on Vulcan.

Meanwhile, everybody in the galaxy has heard about the Genesis project and wants to know what really happened, which is top secret for understandable reasons. A Klingon captain, Kruge (Christopher Lloyd), has gone rogue, and is killing everybody he can to get that information. So he's heading to the Genesis planet, while Kirk & Co. will also be doing so once they commandeer the Enterprise out of dry dock.

At the Genesis planet, the people involved in the experiment, including Kirk's son David and Lt. Saavik, find strange life readings on the planet that shouldn't be there. Oh, there's already plant life, but there's animal life too. When David and Saavik go down to the surface to investigate, they find Spock's coffin with a bunch of parasite-looking organisms that you could guess decomposed Spock's body. But the two are dumb enough to open the coffin and find that Spock seems to be alive, having been regenerated by Genesis into a young kid.

But there's still a big problem. Spock is evolving at a faster than normal pace, because David used a highly controversial type of matter that caused the experiment to go awry and play out at warp speed, meaning that the planet's life-cycle is going to be pretty short and that they'll need to get themselves and Spock the hell out of there. That, of course, isn't going to be easy because of the presence of the Klingons followed by Kirk who is supposed to save the day, this being Star Trek after all.

I've always read that bigger fans of Star Trek than I have generally panned the odd-numbered entries in at least the original movie series, claiming that the even-numbered movies are much better. Now, to be honest, it's hard to follow up a tightly-plotted movie like The Wrath of Khan, especially when this movie directly follows the events of that earlier movie. But it's really not a bad movie in its own right. There are some plot holes that I mentioned above, but the Enterprise characters are what you expect and Lloyd is fun as the villain.

I'd certainly recommend Star Trek III, although I would also point out that it would definitely help to have seen Star Trek II first.

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