Star Trek III: The Search for Spock [Blu-Ray]
Director : Leonard Nimoy
Screenplay : Harve Bennett
MPAA Rating : PG
Year of Release : 1984
Stars : William Shatner (Adm. James T. Kirk), DeForest Kelley (Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy), James Doohan (Cmdr. Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott), George Takei (Cmdr. Hikaru Sulu), Walter Koenig (Cmdr. Pavel Chekov), Nichelle Nichols (Cmdr. Uhura), Mark Lenard (Ambassador Sarek), Merritt Butrick (Dr. David Marcus), Judith Anderson (High Priestess T'Lar), Robin Curtis (Lieutenant Saavik), Christopher Lloyd (Cmdr. Kruge), Leonard Nimoy (Captain Spock)
Following on the heels of the grandly operatic Star Trek II: The Wrath of the Khan (1982), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock feels like it’s practically crawling. While in no sense a bad movie, Star Trek III is, nonetheless, something of a let-down, a longwinded paean to the grandeur of Leonard Nimoy’s famous Vulcan character, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since Nimoy himself directed it.
As a first-time feature film director, Nimoy proves to be capable, although still decidedly wet behind the ears. Having been with Star Trek since it began as a TV show in the late 1960s, Nimoy had an intuitive understanding of the material that neither of the previous Star Trek movie directors, Robert Wise and Nicholas Meyer, had. Yet, that actually turns out to be something of a deficit as both Wise and Meyer brought something new and fresh to the Star Trek universe without losing its core ideas or what makes it so appealing to its legions of fans. Wise brought a stately (perhaps too stately) elegance to Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), while Meyer brought a sensibility of fun and an over-the-top attitude that made Wrath of Khan the best of the bunch. Nimoy wrests The Search for Spock back into a more analytical mode, treating everything with a humorless sincerity that pleases some and bores others.
At the end of Wrath of Khan, Spock had sacrificed himself to save the Starship Enterprise. It is a loss that is still deeply felt by the Enterprise crew, especially its commander, Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner), who was also Spock’s best friend. However, we learn that Spock, being a Vulcan, has not died in the simple, mundane sense in which humans die. Rather, prior to sacrificing himself, he “mind melded” with Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley), thus imparting his spirit into McCoy’s mind (of course, the beautiful irony of this is that the cold, logical Spock is the natural intellectual enemy of the sentimental, liberal McCoy). Therefore, Kirk and company must find a way to get back to the planet Genesis, which was created in Wrath of Khan and became the resting place for Spock’s material body, and reunite body and spirit.
The twist here is that Kirk and the others become renegades. The bureaucratic know-nothings of the Federation don’t feel this is a legitimate cause, and Kirk must essentially hijack the Enterprise, damaged and crippled as it is from the battles with Khan, to get to Genesis. There are other problems as well, notably a renegade group of Klingons (see the nice parallelism laid by writer Harve Bennett?) led by Kruge (Christopher Lloyd) who have their sights set on stealing the Genesis Device and undermining on-going peace negotiations between Klingons and the Federation.
Although the film includes several action sequences, including a stupendeously ridiculous battle to the death between Kirk and Kruge on a self-destructing planet that has turned into a fiery inferno, Star Trek III never quite establishes its footing and subsequently never gets on a roll. We keep waiting for something truly awe-inspiring to happen, particularly since the film is built around mystical notions of spirituality and rebirth; unfortunately, it remains mired in its own self-importance. Star Trek: The Motion Picture had many of the same problems, but Nimoy isn’t half the director Robert Wise was and he isn’t working with the same level of awe-inspiring special effects.
In the end, “The Search for Spock” is completed and it turns out just as we suspected it would. There is a brief rush of emotion as the crew is reunited, and for fans in the mid-1980s it probably felt even sweeter as it was proof-positive that the series would go on, despite stated intentions that this film would conclude a trilogy. Of course, now that we know that it has gone on ... and on ... and on, the reunion doesn’t have quite the same kick.
|Star Trek: Motion Picture Trilogy 3-Disc Blu-Ray Set|
|This three-disc set includes Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.|
|Subtitles||English, French, Spanish, Portuguese|
|Supplements|| Included on the Star Trek III: The Search for Spock disc: |
|Distributor||Paramount Home Entertainment|
|Release Date||May 12, 2009|
|VIDEO & AUDIO|
|All three of the Star Trek films included in this box are presented in high-definition 1080p transfers (apparently Wrath of Khan is the only film in the set that has been completely remastered, as the other two had previous high-def transfers that were simply downgraded for DVD release). The Collector’s Edition DVDs, which were themselves upgrades from the initial single-disc DVD offerings, were by no means terrible, but seeing these films in true high definition is quite amazing. The Wrath of Khan looks the best (perhaps because it has been improved so substantially from the DVD), and if there is any complaint about The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home it is that they look like they’ve been digitally smoothed a bit, which removes some of the image density and results in a less film-like appearance. Colors on all three movies are excellent throughout, with strong blacks and great detail. All three films also boast upgraded Dolby Digital 7.1 TrueHD surround soundtracks, which immerse you in both the orchestral scores and the various space battles. Surround effects are consistently impressive, especially during the shoot-outs in Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock.|
|With one exception, all of the supplements that were included on the two-disc Collector’s Edition DVD set from 2003 are included here, along with half a dozen new supplements. So, we’ll start with what’s new: |
Audio commentary by Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor
“Industrial Light & Magic: The Visual Effects of Star Trek” featurette (HD)
“Spock: The Early Years” featurette (HD)
“Star Trek and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame” featurette (HD)
“Starfleet Academy SCISEC Brief 003: Mystery Behind the Vulcan Katra Transfer” featurette
And, of course, all of the original DVD supplements are also here:
Audio commentary by director Leonard Nimoy, writer/producer Harve Bennett, director of photography Charles Correll, and actress Robin Curtis
The Star Trek Universe
Terraforming and the Prime Directive
Original theatrical trailer (HD)
Copyright ©2009 James Kendrick
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