Star Trek III is not a bad film. Before Star Trek X came along it was considered that the uneven numbered films were the weaker ones but ‘The Search for Spock’ has a lot going on in it and pulls no punches. Kirk steals the Enterprise, his Son is killed, Kirk destroys the Enterprise and directly faces Klingons for the first time in a movie, a battle which moves from ships to a fist fight on an exploding planet. On top of all this is the return of Spock. What is not to like? Ok, maybe people didn’t like that they blew up the original Enterprise which has been in people’s hearts since the original series aired and maybe the movie did have a slower pace compared to TWOK but there are some major going ons happening here.
Originally the enemy of the movie was to be the Romulans but that was changed to Klingons as the adversary with their latest weapon, a cloaking device. Edward James Olmos was also tipped to be the Klingon commander however that role went to Christopher Lloyd who gives a pretty cool performance as Kruge.
There’s a little bit of discontinuity between Star Trek II and III. At the end of II Kirk is devastated by Spock’s death yet in the final moments it looks like he is going to be ok and get over it. When we get to III we take a step backwards he is reverted back to his anguish over the loss of Spock and still seemingly unable to let him go. As Kirk puts it, what he feels in III is an ‘open wound’ as opposed to him feeling ‘young’ at the end of II. Of course this is in production terms a way to give an emotional weight to the film and a reason to not give up on Spock. Cheating death once more.
This film would form the middle part of a loose Trilogy of Movies from II-IV. It’s a great mid piece and really defines the “kirk against orders” character that we all came to see him as.
Favorite Quote: “What you had to do, what you always do. Turn death into a fighting chance to live“- Bones