Star Trek III: The Search For Spock

Released in 1984. Written by Harve Bennett. Directed by Leonard Nimoy. Starring William Shatner & Leonard Nimoy. Running time 1 hour and 45 minutes.


Spock (Leonard Nimoy ) has made the ultimate sacrifice. “The needs of the many, outweigh the need of the few…” A recap of the final conversation, the burial out to space, and his casket landing on the new Genesis planet. [This footage was re-used from The Wrath of Khan.] Capt. Kirk (William Shatner ) reflects on recent events while The Enterprise heads back to Earth.

Meanwhile, some Klingon’s, led by Commander Kruge (Christopher Lloyd ), get their hands on the Genesis data and decide to investigate the planet in the Federation Neutral Zone. Capt. On the way to Earth, Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley ) begins to act strange by giving Capt. Kirk cryptic messages about climbing the stairs…

Back on Earth, the crew learns The Enterprise is to be decommissioned and deals with their new assignments. On board the space vessel Grissom, Capt. Kirk’s son David (Merritt Butrick) and Lt. Saavik (Robin Curtis ) discover a life form on the Genesis planet and decide to beam down to check it out.

Spock’s father Sarek (Mark Lenard ) visits Capt. Kirk and gives him a Vulcan tongue lashing about leaving Spock out in space instead of bringing him back to his people on Mt Silia. Capt. Kirk realizes Spock still lives and looks back at the ship’s camera footage to figure out who he mind melded with. Capt. Kirk requests use of The Enterprise but gets refused which leads him to take action on his own terms.

On Genesis, David and Lt. Saavik find Spock’s casket empty and the life form. Dr. McCoy keeps acting strange and gets himself arrested which causes Capt. Kirk and Sulu (George Takei) to break him out. Scotty (James Doohan ) and Chekov ( Walter Koenig ) get The Enterprise ready and they all take off for Genesis but not before another star ship The Excelsior is sent to retrieve them. Of course, Capt. Kirk and the crew are underestimated and they get away.

Meanwhile, Planet Genesis becomes more unstable as the minutes tick by. The life form they found continues to age rapidly and as David and Lt. Saavik try to figure out what to do, the Klingons arrive and make the situation very serious for The Grissom, those on Genesis, and The Enterprise… Kruge hits Kirk where it hurts with David forcing Capt. Kirk, always with a plan, to get ultimate revenge on the Klingons.

After some quick thinking, hand to hand combat with Comm. Kruge, and more sacrifice, Capt. Kirk learns another fateful lesson about life and death. The crew manages to escape to the Klingon ship and commandeers it to head to the Vulcan home to retrieve Spock’s memories from Dr. McCoy. With the mind meld reversed, Spock relearns who his friends are and what they meant to him before he died.

What I Liked

The recap at the beginning was intriguing and probably wasn’t necessary; however, it brought me back to a TV series styled franchise which made sense as each of these films so far feel like an extended episode. The witty dialogue between the crew members and McCoy getting pissed off when he realizes Spock mind melded him, “Revenge for all the arguments he lost!” The dialogue throughout is so good, I would have to quote the whole film and I don’t have room on the blog for that…

Christopher Lloyd as Commander Kruge is a bit humorous as he tries to be an evil Klingon leader but all I can think about is Doc from Back to the Future…

The planet’s destruction. I loved how it was so lush and chaotic. One minute sun, the next a snowy blizzard. As it becomes more unstable, landscape crumbles away to pockets of fire and lava and eventually everything is on fire. It’s amazing and gorgeous and terrifying. The urgency is so well executed during these scenes.

The folk lore of the Vulcan people continues with this installment which gave me more insight into Spock and his people. Capt. Kirk, in all his machismo, needs someone like Spock to keep him grounded and I was more than happy to have them reunited. The beauty of the Vulcan ceremony with all of them in their robes and headdresses. I loved how Capt. Kirk reverses the phrase Spock gives for sacrificing himself when Spock asks him why he came back for him. “Because the needs of the one, outweigh the needs of the many.” Spock begins to remember and as the crew gives Spock a hero’s welcome and the camera pulls back, tears flowed down my cheek. I wasn’t expecting that from a Star Trek movie…

What I Wished Was Better

I wished David would’ve inherited Capt. Kirk’s fighting prowess…it would’ve been nice to see them on adventures together. Other than that, no changes from me!

Final Thoughts

Everything is so vivid and rich in this film series. The landscapes, the costumes, the emotional depth of characters and morals to the stories. As Capt. Kirk says near the end, “If I hadn’t tried, the cost would’ve been my soul.” No better words to live by… This film is wonderful as it continues the narrative of Capt. Kirk, Spock, and the crew as their adventures through space. Available on Amazon prime. Watch the trailer below:

Fun facts: John Larroquette plays Maltz, Commander Kruge’s right hand Klingon. The production wanted to keep the story line of Spock being alive a secret so they used a “fake” character Nacluv (Vulcan spelled backwards) in the script in Spock’s place while under development. Kirstie Alley declined to come back as Lt. Saavik for fear of type casting which gave Robin Curtis the break through role. This was Leonard Nimoy’s first film as a director!

2 thoughts on “Star Trek III: The Search For Spock”

  1. This one gets a bad rap as an “odd” Star Trek movie, but only because it is book-ended by two truly excellent chapters (II and IV). It really stands on its own; the emotional weight of losing David and then the Enterprise is as much as losing Spock in II. As a kid, I never recognized Christopher Lloyd under the make-up, so that part was never a distraction for me, and I still hero-worshiped Kirk with all his kicking (I! Have had enough! Of YOU!!). 🙂 People sometimes complain about bringing Spock back to life, but it took an entire film and TWO sacrifices on Kirk’s part to do it: The price was paid. “Jim. Your name… is Jim.” ALL the feels.

    1. Thanks for commenting! This film gave me all the feels too as well as this friendship is a testament to commitment, honesty, and faith in one another.

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