Movie Club: Star Trek III: The Search For Spock

Discussion in 'Introductions & Off Topic' started by LiamABC, Nov 17, 2017.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this.

    After we did the original Star Wars trilogy in the summer, it's now the turn of Star Trek to get some Movie Club focus, and there were three films that led into each other as a trilogy, so the choice was simple, we're doing those.

    This means that this week we're continuing the trilogy with Star Trek III: The Search For Spock.

    Remember any ideas for films to discuss are most welcome, and should be made on the Movie Club Introduction thread (the sticky one), and anyone is welcome to add their thoughts about movies already discussed on their respective threads.

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these movies, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full movie online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the movie in whatever manner you want.
  2. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Kind of ironic that Star Trek 3 is the third Star Trek film I have watched fully.

    This was a rather interesting film but sadly like The Wrath of Khan, I think The Search For Spock is also too slow with not enough action.

    Christopher Lloyd was great as the villain.

    Overall I liked the film.
  3. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Star Trek was always more a mixture of action and suspense - setup and payoff. These films from the 80s were very character-oriented.

    In some ways, I like Search For Spock more than Wrath Of Khan - although that could be just sentimental reasons. I saw these two a week apart in about 1993 or 1994. It was in the summer. And we were actually going on holiday the day that Search For Spock was being shown on BBC1 - so I had to set the video to record it. Sure, we were staying in England and there was a TV in the place we were staying but I had just watched, recorded and loved Wrath Of Khan so I wanted this one on tape too. I watched it and loved it on holiday, and when I got home again, I was delighted to find it had recorded perfectly, in very high quality.

    The great thing here is that the means by which Spock is restored, Genesis, had been a major plot point in the previous film and so it's not like they had to contrive some new gimmick to get him back. Even the mind-meld bit and showing Spock's torpedo landing safe and sound on the Genesis planet were there in the previous film (albeit shot a little after the main footage, on a "just in case" basis).

    The other interesting thing about this movie is that it basically turns everything from the previous one upside down.

    Firstly, the great hope for the future that is Project Genesis is revealed to be flawed to the point of being dangerously unstable. This doesn't stop the Klingons from wanting to get their hands on it as a weapon, and Christopher Lloyd is great as the villain - but then, Christopher Lloyd is great in pretty much every part he plays. He has the same drives as Khan in the previous film, although no backstory. That addition would have made a great film even greater.

    Secondly, the overriding theme of sacrifice in both movies is centred around opposite poles. In the previous one, it was all about "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one". This time, the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many. It was imperative for Kirk, McCoy, and to a lesser extent Sarek, to get Spock back. In Wrath Of Khan, Spock sacrifices himself to save the ship. In Search For Spock, Kirk sacrifices his ship to save Spock.

    The whole sequence of Kirk, Scotty and Chekov setting the Enterprise to self-destruct, and indeed the preceding one, where Kruge has his men kill one of the prisoners, "I don't care which" - is gripping and suspenseful in the extreme. Hitchcock would have been proud.

    Scotty, sharp-eyed viewers will note, has a promotion in this movie. Admiral Morrow says he is to become CAPTAIN of engineering - and Scotty's uniform subsequently bears a captain's rank insignia, even if he does still refer to himself as "commander" at the end of the movie. Force of habit I suppose. He'd been a commander or a lieutenant-commander for at least 15 years, so he probably wasn't used to thinking in terms of his new rank. He retains the rank of captain for the rest of his time on Star Trek. (I have always felt Scotty deserved to be credited in the more prominent bracket with Kirk, Spock & McCoy.)

    Even after they escape the dying planet, it's still not over. There's still the business of McCoy carrying Spock's katra, so away to Vulcan where they rendezvous with Sarek and Uhura - exactly how Uhura got there is unspecified, but in the novelisation it's stated that after she beamed the others to the Enterprise, she fled to the Vulcan embassy where Sarek granted her asylum. We are told what is going to happen, and we understand that it is a risky process. The sequence featuring Dame Judith Anderson is very moving. And even though McCoy is quickly shown to be unharmed, we don't quite know what's happened with Spock. As he starts to remember their last conversation from the previous film, I was going, "yes - yes . . . ?" - and then, that line, "Jim. Your name is Jim." I was feeling that same relief as Kirk and the others.

    Of course, Spock's mind is not completely restored - as we shall discover in the next movie!

    PS - did anyone notice who did the Spock screams on the planet? None other than voice master Frank Welker!
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
  4. The Drifter

    The Drifter Berbill

    Star Trek II & III were definitely connected by Spock's Death - this occurred at the end of II, and then this story-line dove-tailed perfectly into III. In fact, I would argue that seeing both films back to back is essentially the same as watching one long film. I actually don't separate the two when thinking back on them. However, when specifically talking about III, it's definitely an amazing movie. The Klingons, young Spock (who transformed into the older Spock), the Genesis Project, etc. were all great elements - very cool.

    Also, as with II, I have a lot of nostalgia associated with seeing III - since I saw this theatrically as well back in '84. In fact, I saw all of the '80's Trek films theatrically (II - V).

    Thanks for these posts - these are definitely making me interested in re-watching the films, since it's been years.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
    LiamABC and Mark M like this.
  5. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    This weeks movie is Star Trek VI.
    BTW we are looking for ideas for which movie the to discuss in the next few weeks of Movie Club so if you have a movie you would like to discuss please let us know your suggestions. :)
  6. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Wrath Of Khan and Search For Spock are sort of opposite sides of the same coin. Wrath Of Khan was perhaps the more consistent all-round movie, but Search For Spock had more breathtaking highlights.

    I've always felt this movie has been treated a little unfairly simply because it's odd-numbered. You've probably heard about the "curse" of the movie franchise, the odd-numbered ones are viewed less favourably than the even-numbered ones, and for the most part they are less impressive, but not this one. This one holds its head up high with the best that Star Trek has to offer.
    The Drifter likes this.
  7. The Drifter

    The Drifter Berbill


    I know about how the ST film franchise is seen, and, like you said, don't agree with the "grading" in all cases. I go by how good each film is, not how each one is numbered. II & III are almost equal in excellence.

    I liked IV (though it wasn't nearly as good as II & III), but felt V was horrible. I also wasn't impressed by Star Trek I.
  8. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I have mixed feelings about V, which I watched at the weekend for the first time in over a decade. I actually do like the storyline, controversial though it is. It's fun, has some good ideas, but also some plot holes big enough to hold the spacedock. Like when the admiral tells Kirk that yes they do have other ships but not experienced commanders, why not just transfer Kirk and his senior staff to another ship and use that? Because then they'd have a full crew and not get taken over by Sybok is the answer. It's a bit contrived. But ironically, I've read in the autobiographies of both George Takei and Nichelle Nichols, who have both gone on record as being very vocal in their criticisms of William Shatner and his ego, that he was a first-rate director. (I don't think James Doohan ever made such an admission, but then he hated his guts more.)

    The first one of course was a cure for insomnia.

    The fourth one was interesting because it was done with a view to attracting people outside of the Trek fandom, and it worked very well. You could argue again that it's a little contrived, but it works. Feel free to add any comments on that on its own thread :)

    And I need to watch VI again because that's this week's pick. I think I went with that one just because the latest threads in ROCKS cover one show in its entirity, namely Visionaries, and we've been doing the Star Trek movies in parallel with that so it was just easier to do an extra one.

    We might do First Contact at some point next year. It's the only really great TNG movie. But that's another story...
  9. PKELL

    PKELL Barbarian

    I have a major beef with this film.

    One of my major pet peeves is undoing a character's death. Spock is my favorite character in Star Trek, as he is for many others as well, but why go to all the trouble of killing him if you were just going to bring him back in the very next film? I could sit here all day and list examples that ticked me off. I mean the most egregious is DBZ which basically rendered death as a minor inconvenience.

    So naturally, after the huge emotional and tragic ending of killing off Spock in the previous film, dedicating the next movie to bringing him back (and also killing off Kirk's son, basically wiping the slate of the last film completely clean) just felt like a massive cheat to me.

    As far as massive cheats go, the film isn't awful. I like Christopher Lloyd as the villain, and there are some great moments, like the destruction of the Enterprise. The whole purpose of the film bothers me though.
    Mark M likes this.
  10. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    To be fair, when they killed off Spock at the end of the previous movie, they didn't know there was going to be a next one. The first movie, while making a fair bit at the box office simply by virtue of the momentum Star Trek the original series had garnered in syndication, was a let-down. Wrath Of Khan was basically Last Chance Saloon. If that had flopped, that would have been the end of Star Trek, so they pulled out all the stops to make it a hit, and it worked. And then of course at the end of it they had Spock die. Suddenly the franchise is a hit again, and they have just killed off the most popular character! They had a crisis on their hands - what could they do?

    There were three options:

    1. Keep Spock dead and bring in a new character to replace him. This new character would have been crucified by the fans, "oh, I miss Spock". Even if they'd bumped up Saavik's character to fill that part, I don't think the fans would have embraced her as a replacement.

    2. Keep Spock dead and don't replace him at all. You're now missing the most important element of what made Star Trek what it was. Spock was the only main character who was an alien. Star Trek without an alien in the main cast isn't Star Trek anymore.

    3. Bring him back. But how? As it happened, they had developed the very means to do this in the previous film, without realising how handy it would become. The whole Genesis thing, yeah, it's a bit contrived but as explanations go, it's more plausible than some other resurrections.
  11. The Drifter

    The Drifter Berbill

    I have 0 issues with bringing Spock back to life in ST III. As was said, they had a way to do this re: the Genesis "project" (which was established in II). And, the idea of self-sacrifice in II (Spock sacrificing himself for the others) came full-circle in III, with Spock's friends sacrificing their careers & putting their lives at risk, etc. for him.

    I especially like these quotes, from both ST II & ST III:

    ST II:
    SPOCK: Don't grieve, Admiral, is logical. The needs of the many ...outweigh...
    KIRK: ...the needs of the few.
    SPOCK: Or the one. I have been ...and always shall be ...your friend. ...Live long ...and prosper.

    ST III:
    Spock: My father says that you have been my friend. You came back for me.
    James T. Kirk: You would have done the same for me.
    Spock: Why would you do this?
    James T. Kirk: Because the needs of the one . . . outweigh the needs of the many.
    LiamABC likes this.
  12. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I know what you mean.
    I didn't like how Spock was revived and aging again. I would have preferred it if he had just been revived as how he was.

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