Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Review 82 - Movie no.3

The One without Spock

The middle part of the "Genesis" trilogy is probably the weakest, but has enough strong set pieces that raise it well above average.

If Wrath of Khan was about the passing of life, this chapter is Death, the ending of the old.

Spock is dead. Kirk is grieving and Bones seems to be mentally unstable. However, it turns out Spock has placed his Katra in McCoys head as Sarek explains in a lovely mind meld scene (and it's great to see the nod to TOS). Shatners eyes are incredibly emotive, which sounds stupid, but watch it and you'll see what I mean.

What follows is a mission to steal the Enterprise, return to the Genesis planet, grab Spock and head for Vulcan. And avoid any Klingons.

The early scenes of Enterprise entering space dock are beautiful, especially with the blue lighting and music. The Excelsior is also a great addition to the fleet, keeping the design theme started with Star Trek 2. Of course, we know one day this will be Sulu's ship and the Enterprise B, which gives the feeling of the Enterprise being scrapped a poignant feel. More themes of aging and things coming to an end.

I love the theft of the Enterprise and the space dock doors refusing to open. I'm sure it would be easier to steal a smaller ship, but hell, she's for the scrap anyway. Why not?

The Klingons come into play with a smaller, redesigned bird of Prey and an excellent character in Kruge, played by Chis Lloyd. The Klingon warrior race really starts to breathe into life from his performance.

His space battle with Kirk over Genesis is exciting to watch and it ultimately leads to the death of David on the planet below. For me scenes with David and Saavik, played by Robin Curtis now, don't work. Her Saavik is probably truer to the "proper" Vulcan school of acting, but Kirsty really brought another dimension to the role. Their scenes with Spock growing up seem like space filler, though it does establish that Kirks son plays a little fast and easy with the rule book. David's death is shocking, made more so by Kirks reaction. Shatner really performs well in these Films.

His solution is almost unthinkable and probably more gut wrenching for fans. Destroying the Enterprise, the ship that he has commanded for over 20 years, is a truly emotional scene and comes across well on screen, though the Klingon's are a bit dim too not realise a picture of the Enterprise on fire with a count down isn't a good sign.

Kirks final battle with Kruge on the planet is almost Operatic, it truly is primal with Lava, explosions and trees going on fire as the planet tears it's self apart. The birth of Genesis has come to a messy end.

Kirk wins (though not before trying to save his foe) and with command of the Bird of Prey, go to Vulcan for the ceremony. I can see why people find this last part boring, but frankly, you HAVE to have this closing scene be atmospheric and weighty if you're going to buy it.

There is so much destruction in this film; Genesis, the Enterprise being decommissioned then destroyed, Kirks Son, and his command. All sacrificed to save Spock. And after all the death, comes the rebirth as Spock is alive again, the trio reunited. Bones is very good, playing the ghost of Spock well and his reason for Spock giving it to him still makes me laugh.

Considering that Spocks barely in the film, the rest of the cast are largely peripheral, Uhura especially. Even Scotty doesn't have a scene worth taking about, but all 4 have decent lines (as normal)

But this is a great film that improves as part of the trilogy and continuing the themes that Wrath of Khan started.

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 234/415

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