STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK was the 9th most popular flick of the long-dreaded year 1984, grossing $87,000,000 around the Reagan-spooked planet. Kirk’s “Klingon bastard! You killed my son!” would join other fan-recited lines from the series, the first directed by Leonard Nimoy. Now, Spock had been killed off in the previous installment, but that simply wouldn’t do, so the handy Genesis project and its life-rejuvenating planet would solve that conundrum. First there are some nasty Klingon’s to outsmart, and some bad acting from numerous members of the supporting cast.
The effects, okay at the time, have mostly dated now, and some of the sets rigged up by the art direction crew look on the cheesy side. James Horner’s score is helpful. Nimoy’s guiding of cinematographer Charles Corell to go for numerous tight close-ups reveal the familiar cast appear more noticeably aged (ranging 46 to 64). Shatner and Kelley are pretty good, Nimoy only has a few minutes, the others go through the motions. Judith Anderson, 87, makes an appearance at the end—a galaxy far far away from Rebecca. The young interests this time are Robin Curtis (‘Lt. Saavik’) and Merritt Butrick (‘David Marcus’, Kirk’s kid). Neither generate spark, and the whole elevate-Spock-to-worship-status element is a bit much. The bit players are frankly weak.
One thing that holds up quite nicely is the top-notch work from Christopher Lloyd as ‘Kruge’, lead Klingon, who gives this outing nearly as much kick as Ricardo Montalban did with ‘Khan’ in the second installment. He runs the table on the cast, with his Klingon version of “Tough but Fair” basically being “Brutal but Practical”. He has a cool pet, too, a kind of reptile-space-dog that bears a DNA resemblance to one of The Killer Shrews.
Made for $17,000,000. With James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Robert Hooks, Cathie Shirriff, James Sikking, Mark Lenard, John Larroquette, Miguel Ferrer. 105 minutes.