Director: Leonard Nimoy
Cast: William Shatner, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols and Christopher Lloyd
Plot: When Kirk (Shatner) learns of a way to resurrect his dead friend, he hijacks the Enterprise and sets off on a rogue mission to a forbidden planet.
Search for Spock starts off with a big hurdle to get over and that is, the whole purpose of this third entry into the Star Trek movie saga, is to reverse the breath-taking twist at the end of the last movie. Star Trek doesn’t kill off its characters, too hung up on its charming formula to shake proceedings up too much, but Wrath of Khan did the impossible and took out Spock, the most famous of the lot. Here, the third movie almost backs out of its decision and writes up a potential way of saving the Vulcan Science Officer. While mourning back at Starfleet, Spock’s father shows up and offers another bit of Vulcan mumbo-jumbo (and there was us thinking we were past the poor writing of ‘convenient unheard-of Vulcan trait’ saving the day). While sacrificing himself, Spock was able to pass some of his conciousness into McCoy, so his soul still remained. On top of that, his dead body, jettisoned into the birth of new planet Genesis, has become a part of the rejuvenation process. There is a slim chance that Spock might be able to survive, but Starfleet, declaring Genesis a forbidden planet due to its irregularity, forbids the mission. However, Kirk, along with his loyal crew, agree that Spock is worth desertion, stealing the soon-to-be-decommissioned Enterprise and taking off on a rogue mission to Genesis.
What follows is a passable entry into the Star Trek movie canon. The problem with Search for Spock is that, other than the potential rebirth of the titular Vulcan, it comes across as just another episode in the series. A big issue is that, outside of the imploding planet storyline, the best villain the script can conjure is Christopher Lloyd’s Klingon warrior. There is nothing wrong with Lloyd’s performance, a fine example of dragging the Klingon image out of the camp beginnings of the alien species. The problem is that, after the glorious Khan, it is hard to be satisfied with a run-of-the-mill pissed off Klingon, especially one without so much of a plot as, kill Kirk. Another problem is that, while Wrath of Khan was an unpredictable roller-coaster ride, here we can see most of the twists coming from a mile off, even the shock death which the writers were banking on being the emotional gut punch of the film. Genesis, despite having weight from being a clever extension of the plot of the last film, is little more than just another mysterious planet, the crew have to land on and try to survive. There is nothing particularly wrong with anything that happens with Search for Spock, but we, as audiences, just felt that we were past this middling adventure. The things to take note on is the fact that Leonard Nimoy has stepped away from acting to direct this adventure. While a lot of the middling nature of this movie could be down to a novice director bringing a workman like procedure to the action, what Nimoy does do well is bring the most out of his cast. This episode feels like one determined to highlight the crew. This is less an action-packed story and more one that mines emotional depth, as William Shatner, again, impresses as a captain, tired of losing his friends. The often-forgotten about supporting cast get moments to shine too. Watch out for Uhura put a young recruit in his place. Sulu takes on a bulky Starfleet security guard. And while Search for Spock is a disappointing film overall, it does excel in the closing scene, where Nimoy is able to mine true emotional depth, for a short while, recalling the greatness of Wrath of Khan.
Final Verdict: Search for Spock is definitely a backwards step for the Star Trek universe, but not a complete disaster.