For me, this movie is why the whole odd numbers curse thing just doesn't work. Do people really love The Wrath Of Khan and not like The Search For Spock?
Illogical doesn't begin to describe it...
Yes The Wrath Of Khan was a good, fun movie but so is this one! I mean, no Star Trek movie is perfect and neither is The Search For Spock: some of the humour in it is a bit corny, the whole Spock-is-inside-McCoy thing is needlessly delayed (though Deforest Kelley acting nuts is ALWAYS worth it) and Leonard Nimoy's Spock isn't physically in the film for most of it. That said, there's plenty of great, epic stuff in the film. For one thing, there's plenty of action as Klingons finally take centre stage on the big-screen and follow-up on the whole using-Genesis-as-a-weapon thing and one of them is played by Christopher Lloyd, which is awesome in itself. Plus the actual search for Spock, besides being a mission I can totally get behind, is handled really well as we see the character literally get reborn and grow-up slowly throughout the movie. Even get laid! Ok... that was weird. Plus I found the ending, where Spock tries to remember his friends, to be genuinely sweet and rewarding. By the time the credits roll you feel like your characters have actually achieved something, something important on a personal level.
This movie's got heart, gotta give it that.
Not only that but I found the film to have stronger dramatic moments with somewhat more impact to them than in Wrath Of Khan. Ok, Spock dying was a bummer but him being one of the best things about Star Trek, I think had I watched the movie back in the day I would have been more pissed-off than anything. I still think it was a clumsy mistake to do that, hence why Search For Spock exists, by the way! With this third flick, not only do we get our pointy-eared buddy back but Kirk's son, a pointless character introduced in Wrath Of Khan, is given a genuinely powerful send off as the Klingons get rid of him off-camera and Kirk literally falls off his chair when he realises he never got the time to even bond with his own son. Sorry but that's certainly more effective dramatically than most of the stuff in that second movie. Also, the Enterprise blowing-up is an iconic image to say the least. You don't forget THAT in a hurry! Hey, remember in the first film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, that half an hour we spent masturbating over Kirk's starship? Yeah, let's destroy it! It's a pretty cruel thing to do to Trekkies but, you know what, it works. It's daring but it works.
Murdering Spock? Not so much.
That's the kind of thing that works in a standalone movie, not a series-based movie franchise. In The Empire Strikes Back, you could have killed Luke Skywalker and made Han Solo the main character and I wouldn't have given a crap. But these characters are the backbone of an entire show and all those movies so if you're gonna kill one of them, you HAVE to do it right and I don't think that first sequel did it right. It didn't feel earned or relevant to what was actually going on in that movie. As for Star Trek: Generations' handling of Kirk... I'll get to that very soon.
The film ends on a self-destructing Genesis, as Kirk takes on Lloyd's Klingon in a pretty epic fight surrounded by mountains falling apart and lava filling up all around them. No matter how cool a space battle is and how intense vocal back-and-forths are you still want to see Kirk fistfight the villain! And Search For Spock certainly delivers that. Kirstie Alley is replaced as the on-board Vulcan and... it's actually really easy to miss that since she was about as memorable as Scotty's shoes. Lloyd is as fun as ever, coughing up hairballs in Klingon while making Doc Brown faces the entire time, and the usual Enterprise crew does really well. Even Sulu gets a cheesy one-liner!
"Don't call me tiny."
Overall, while by no means perfect, The Search For Spock has to be the series' most underrated movie, though the first film is wrongly hated, and for me personally I would put it at least on a par with The Wrath Of Khan, if not a cut above. I just find it works more dramatically and although it doesn't have an iconic villain like Ricardo Montalban's Khan, whom I must admit is far more memorable than OTT Klingon dude, it still packs an effective emotional punch and has tons of action to keep you entertained throughout.
One of my favourites... ok it's probably my favourite lol
Essential Trekkie viewing.