Star Trek III: The Search for Spock Review

This is the film where Paramount's policy of releasing the Star Trek films in the reverse order really does come into question. Star Trek III is ostensibly a follow-up on the events of the previous movie, and although we get a nice sequence to bring everyone up to speed on what's happening quite a few things don't quite make sense when the film is watched by itself.

Just to bring people up to speed, one of the main events in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn was the death of Mr Spock who suffered a lethal dose of radiation poisoning whilst saving the Enterprise from total destruction. Spock's body was placed in a casket and fired out towards the newly formed 'Genesis' planet.

After arriving back on Earth, Kirk is confronted by Sarek (Mark Lenard), Spock's father. According to Sarek, Spock would have asked the last person he had contact with to return his body to Vulcan so that he could be properly put to rest. At the same time, Dr McCoy has seemingly been going insane - the two events are linked and it transpires that Spock carried out a mind meld with McCoy before entering the radiation-filled compartment which would be the cause of his death.

There is only one way to restore Spock's mind to his body and Dr McCoy's sanity - to return to the Genesis planet and find the casket somewhere on the planet's surface. Against Starfleet orders, Kirk and the rest of the crew steal the Enterprise and set out on a mission to recover Spock and to return him to Vulcan.

Parallel to this, the Klingon Empire learns of the Genesis device and see it as the ultimate weapon. A Klingon ship is despatched to the Genesis planet, commanded by Kruge (Christopher Lloyd).

On the Genesis planet, Kirk's son David and Lieutenant Saavik discover that the regenerative effects of the Genesis device have not only transformed a lifeless rock into a thriving ecosystem, they have also regenerated Spock and they find him - as a child on the surface. In building the Genesis device, some questionable materials were used and unfortunately this has resulted in the planet aging quickly, the same can be said of Spock.

All of these strands meet up when the Enterprise and the Klingons arrive at the planet - and predictably all hell breaks loose! David is killed, the Enterprise destroyed and it becomes a race against time to get off of the planet before it becomes too unstable and destroys itself.

The third installment in the Star Trek movie franchise is darker than the previous two and, as such it doesn't have the same appeal as The Wrath of Kahn, but it is far superior to the overblown Motion Picture. Unfortunately, after the suspense of the thrilling Wrath of Kahn, The Search for Spock seems plodding in comparison. The upheavals of the previous installment no longer have the same emotional impact. It's an average film and doesn't compare well to the best in the series, that said, it is far from the worst.

The DVD continues this 'average' theme. Starting with the picture, we have an anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer - the print appears to have been in reasonable condition but the colours are pretty washed out and contast levels are poor. There are a few minor digital artefacts - probably due to the dark lighting in most scenes, although the encoders have done a good job of transferring the deep red scenes within the Klingon ship. There is an obvious lack of detail at times, but as with most DVD transfers this is far better than any other retail release of the movie - easily putting the laserdisc to shame.

The Dobly Digital 5.1 soundtrack is unimpressive. The front soundstage seems a little 'compressed' although the centre dialogue channel is nice and clear. What explosions there are seem to lack a little punch and there is only limited surround action. Not a bad soundtrack, but its not really anything like demonstration quality.

The disc also contains the theatrical trailer. While it is good that it has been included, it doesn't really add to the value of the disc and isn't really worth anything more than this brief mention.

So there we have it. If you enjoy the movie and want the disc then you wont really be disappointed.

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Last updated: 25/06/2018 12:20:19

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