Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.



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Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Film #303


Admiral Kirk and his bridge crew risk their careers stealing the decommissioned Enterprise to return to the restricted Genesis planet to recover Spock’s body.

Year 1, Day 315

BEFORE: To round out the day, and what a day it’s been (and now technically early morning), is the third Trek film, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. This is also the first film in the chain that I haven’t seen so it will be even more interesting to see how it fits in with the rest. After the end of Wrath of Khan I really wanted to watch Search for Spock but haven’t gotten around to it until now.

AFTER: There certainly is something to be said about watching multiple movies in the same day, especially when they are all from the same franchise and therefore more similar. Patterns emerge more clearly but certain elements also blur together to make it hard to decipher what happens when. The Search for Spock takes some of the good from The Wrath of Khan but is still reminiscent of The Motion Picture.

What The Search for Spock does extremely well is similar to what The Wrath of Khan does well and that is characters and creating an intriguing story from them. For this film in particular, it is heavily reliant on past material. Multiple shots are taken directly from the previous film including clips from Spock’s death and his funeral service. I must say that those scenes were the most powerful of The Wrath of Khan and merely just referencing them, somewhat out of context (in that you don’t get the whole big picture) takes away some of the appeal. The intent is to trigger the same emotions the viewer felt when seeing these events for the first time, but in reality all it made me do was wish I could watch the second film again. Instead, The Search for Spock should have just skipped those parts and focus on all the other new material created for this film. It’s part adventure, part mystery, and part heist film among other descriptors. While it is hard to match the development found in The Wrath of Khan and the powerful response, The Search for Spock does succeed at providing a decent level of energy throughout. Even being the third film today and being after midnight as I finish, my attention was still very present, more so than it probably was during The Motion Picture. It was fun to watch and provided the action the first film was sorely missing while still providing a reason to watch more than, “It looks good.”

As I round out the day, I’d like to emphasize/clarify the point I made above as well as tie it into my expectations for the rest of the films. Whether I’ve seen these Star Trek films or not (The Search for Spock being the first new film for me), my goal is to see what each does or doesn’t do well, what that means for the film individually, and - most interestingly for me - how it compares with the other films. The Search for Spock tried to solve some problems of the previous two (mainly a lack of action or overall energy level) while also not living up to the amazing characters and accompanying stories. My recommendation is that Star Trek III: The Search for Spock would be an interesting film to watch, but I’d probably hold off; at least until you investigate all the other films.

RATING: 3 out of 5