“Up your shaft.”
This past weekend I dived into the third installment of my Star Trek Maiden Voyage. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock turned out to be more satisfying in ways, but mostly made me question if continuing after Khan was the right decision.
Spock is the “all for one” to Khan‘s “one for all” mentality. With Spock giving up his life for the good of many, I felt like it was necessary for Kirk to change and for once, stop cheating death. With Kirk’s obsession with Spock, I feel like it weakens his character. It goes back on his “I feel so young” moment at the end of Khan and returns him to his loneliness without Spock. But I get it, they needed another movie and I can see how some fans missed Spock.
So we get what feels like a tacked on element that Spock gave Bones his spirit in his mindmeld at the end of Khan. I’m not sure if that was intentional for a sequel but they used it nicely to explain how Spock was going to come back. And it also created a nice counter balance of Bones and Spock, Kirk’s closest friends. In order to get both of them back, he must combine the two.
We finally get to see Starfleet! They do exist! I love the continuation of the older crew theme with the older ship coming to harbor as they find out that the Enterprise is due for dismissal. It was a perfect setup for Kirk’s one last adventure in the aging ship and another opportunity to show that wisdom and experience could outdo even the newest of ships. I was excited when Starfleet put them on alert and went after them. Was Kirk going to have to fight off the Klingons AND Starfleet? But instead, the pursuing ship is rendered useless within 2 mins because of Scotty destroying their transwarp. We never see the ship go back for repairs. The ship never continues to pursue Enterprise. I guess there wasn’t any other ship in dock that could pursue Enterprise either? It seemed like a great opportunity but ended up being the most disappointing part of the movie. But hey, at least we got George Takei in a hilariously badass fight sequence right?
Was it me or did the Klingons seem silly? I know I’m not aware of their history in Star Trek but as far as seeing them for the first time, they’re a bit goofy. Not nearly as menacing as Khan and crew. And Christopher Lloyd has the distinct disadvantage of just seeming funny. But their motivations are much more clear cut than Khan’s. They want Genesis. They want the power. Which makes sense. I just found it interesting that an enemy that doesn’t have any real beef with the crew of the Enterprise gets lots of facetime with each other whereas Khan, who had a vendetta against Kirk, never gets to see him face to face.
My favorite part of the movie? Enterprise being blown up. That had to happen in order for Kirk to freakin move on. I grew tired of his love affair with the ship and I felt like he needed to concentrate on getting his friends back. It was a necessary loss that felt good when watching that ship burn. But immediately after this great moment, we’re distracted again by Kirk’s son, who seemingly has no point to these movies. The only time we ever see Kirk care for his son is when he sees him dead. Maybe he was in there so the Klingons would seem more menacing? Maybe. Either way I was just waiting for Kirk to be done mourning so he could focus on Spock, you know, the whole point of this movie.
The rapid growth and unstable nature of Genesis being linked to Spock was fun to watch and created great tension. But what the heck was Saavik supposed to be doing to Spock when she was explaining that Vulcans go through a certain time in their lives. Was it puberty? Were they having Vulcan sex? I was confused.
The Search for Spock had a completely different feel than the first two films. With Leonard Nimoy at the helm, it felt stale, and very fake. The sets felt like…well, sets. The costumes and hair, and sets of Starfleet screamed 80s. The direction wasn’t anything worth noting about, except that…well, it isn’t worth noting about. The lighting was flat and lacked any depth whatsoever. There’s a very TV movie feel to this movie that makes it feel far inferior to its predecessors. The fight scenes, especially with Kirk and Kruge are awfully funny. “I…have had…enough of…YOU!!!”
I understand the bond between Kirk and Spock. But I guess I’ve never really gotten a sense of how close their friendship is. Probably because in these original movies there’s never been a time when their trust for each other is tested, thus resulting in a renewal and strengthening of friendship. Maybe that’s why I still think 2009’s Star Trek convinces me of their friendship much better. I understand that these movies aren’t an origin story, but 2009’s Star Trek wonderfully shows how these two contradict each other but absolutely need each other. I’m sure if I watched the original series I would feel differently.
Although I still feel like Khan was a great ending to Spock’s character, I’m interested to continue watching to see how Spock now reforms his friendship with Kirk. This may be the opportunity I’ve been waiting for to see their friendship grow. I’m expecting good things from IV.
What are your thoughts on this? Makes me wonder how the series would have continued without Spock. It would have essentially become a reboot. I guess we’ll never know.