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  • Writer's pictureDenise Breen

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock is back in cinemas for it's 40th anniversary and I've changed my mind.

3.5 out of 5


Star Trek III: The Search for Spock takes a daring leap for the franchise, venturing into a more emotionally charged narrative while still delivering classic Trek action and exploration. Director Leonard Nimoy weaves a story that's both thrilling and surprisingly heartfelt. When I first saw it forty years ago, I felt it a weak chapter for the franchise following on from the action-packed Wrath of Khan but now, having revisited it in the cinema this weekend, I am revising my opinion.


The film kicks off with a bang, defying Starfleet orders as Captain Kirk (William Shatner) steals the Enterprise to retrieve Spock's (Leonard Nimoy) body from the Genesis Planet. This act of rebellion sets the stage for a thrilling adventure filled with tense confrontations, space battles, and even a touch of philosophical exploration. The Genesis Planet itself is a fascinating creation, a testament to the ingenuity of the special effects team at the time.

While the action sequences are top-notch, the film's true strength lies in its exploration of grief and the bonds of friendship. For all the Star Trek Films, I htink this explores the depth of their relationships most. The off-balance Star Trek V: The Final Fontier tries this but in a manufacured fashion. In this film, the relationship between Kirk and Spock takes center stage, with Shatner delivering one of his most nuanced performances. The supporting cast also shines, particularly DeForest Kelley as the emotionally distraught Dr. McCoy. Here he is given a lot more to do than his usual "He's dead Jim". His emotion as he "chooses the danger" in one of the closing scenes is particularly moving.

We have to give a shout-out to the excellent Christopher Lloyd wo plays the Klingin Commander Kruge. He nails the performance, bringing enough menace, despite some really clunky dialogue he has to deliver. We also have to mention James B Sikking who gets to play the pompous Captain Styles of the easily sabotaged USS Excelsior.

However, the film isn't without flaws. The pacing can be uneven at times, with some scenes dragging slightly. Additionally, the scientific justifications for certain plot elements might leave some viewers scratching their heads. In terms of other Star Trek films, it breaks the rules of the universe the least.


Despite these minor stumbles, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock remains a compelling entry in the franchise. It's a film that boldly explores themes of loss and loyalty, while still offering the thrilling space adventure fans have come to expect.

Overall, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock is a bold and moving chapter in the Star Trek saga. It's not without its flaws, but the film's emotional core and exciting space opera elements make it a must-watch for Trekkies and sci-fi fans alike.

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