Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Better effects, interesting God aspect

Not as good as Wrath of Khan

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Star Trek III:  The Search for Spock

Studio:  Paramount Pictures

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  June 1, 1984

MPAA Rating:  PG


We should have gotten the extra accident insurance…

Spock (Leonard Nimoy) is dead…or is he?  When Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley) begins suffering strange hallucinations involving Spock, Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) learns that Spock’s consciousness lives on.  At the same time, on the newly created Genesis planet, Kirk’s son David (Merritt Butrick) and Saavik (Robin Curtis) find a young boy resembling Spock has been reborn from Spock’s coffin.  Now breaking Starfleet Federation law, Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise must reach Genesis in order to save Spock.  Unfortunately, the rumors of Genesis have spread and a Klingon group led by Kruge (Christopher Lloyd) have set out to steal Genesis and turn it into a weapon.

Directed by Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek III:  The Search for Spock followed the popular Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan from 1982.  The movie had a bigger budget, but received less positive reviews than the previous outing.  The movie is often considered part of the “Star Trek Trilogy” which includes Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek IV:  The Voyage Home and can often be found packaged together.


Kirk…we need to go back…to the future!!!

Star Trek III just doesn’t have the spirit of Star Trek II, but it is still entertaining.  Nimoy’s wish to leave the series must have been turned around by the positive response to Wrath of Khan and the fact he became the first Star Trek cast member to get to direct.  The movie dips into religion not only with Genesis and the idea that David and his mother played God in the previous film, but also into the rebirth of Spock and what death means.  This does feel a bit more like the original series which did ask big questions and is more true to sci-fi in general.

The movie does have a bit of odd casting.  With most of the cast returning, Kristie Alley did not choose to return as Saavik (she was worried about type casting), and Nimoy replaced her with Merritt Butrick.  I’m not the biggest Kristie Alley fan, but she was much better than Butrick, but in both of their defenses, it is hard to play a character without any emotion without seeming wooden (something Nimoy does well).  The other odd casting is Christopher Lloyd as Kruge.  Lloyd is generally a comedic actor both in TV’s Taxi and following this in Back to the Future in 1985, and even in dramas like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, he’s still generally funny.  I have a hard time taking him as menacing as the Klingon Kruge.


Welcome back Spock!

The movie looks better than the previous film due to a bigger budget.  The space stuff looks quite good and has been remastered in recent releases.  The odd aspect of the film is that the villains were originally intended to be Romulans and that is why the Klingon ships have Romulan markings…they used it to establish ties between the Romulans and Klingons in future films and series.

Star Trek III:  The Search for Spock is still a fun movie even if it doesn’t measure up to Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan.  The anticlimactic ending fight with Kruge doesn’t help, but the destruction of the U.S.S. Enterprise does lead to some interesting changes in the next film Star Trek IV:  The Voyage Home in 1986.

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Preceded By:

Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan (1982)

Followed By:

Star Trek IV:  The Voyage Home (1986)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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