Under The Radar-Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
For those of us old enough to have been around to see all the Star Trek films, you would have noticed that there has been an unofficial long-standing curse regarding all the odd numbered Trek films. They pretty much SUCK. Let me explain this using humour. Star Trek: The Motionless Picture, Shatner’s sole directorial outing, Star Trek V: The Final insult, and Star Trek 9: Insurmountable Bore. Now, although Star Trek III : The Search for Spock was falls into that category, I think it’s been unjustly criticized because no matter how good The Search for Spock was, it simply couldn’t replicate the impact that The Wrath of Khan had created. Khan was one of the few sequels in cinematic history to not only outdo its predecessor, but it also invigorated and solidified the franchise. The Search for Spock fell victim to Khan’s shadow thus perpetuating the curse.
Well, in my opinion, Star Trek III is an exception to the rule and a truly entertaining film that had a lot going against it. After losing one of its most beloved characters, it needed to figure out a way to bring him back in an, ehm, logical manner. Second, because Star Trek III was going up against one of the most satisfying sequels in cinematic history, director Leonard Nimoy (Spock) made a bold move by not creating another action packed sequel. Instead, Nimoy focused on a the thing that makes Star Trek so great in the first place, the chemistry between the central crew members.
Star Trek III picks up where Khan left off. The crew of the Enterprise are each dealing with Spock ‘s loss and when Kirk and the crew find out that Spock’s katra or living soul has been placed in Dr. McCoy, the crew race back to planet Genesis in order to save their friend.
The Wrath of Khan saved the Star Trek franchise, but I believe The Search for Spock saved the heart, soul and the very foundation of Star Trek itself. The Search for Spock reminded us of that the greatest adventure is not the one in the stars but that of within ourselves, in our hearts. The crew risked their lives, careers and so much more in order to save their friend and it’s because of the relationship between these characters that makes Star Trek III so gripping. It’s about the human adventure.
Star Trek III isn’t a perfect film but in my opinion, it is the true sequel that trekkers needed. The Search for Spock brought Star Trek back to its foundation, and because of this, it should not lumped into the odd numbered curse of the Trek films.