Film & Water #62 – Star Trek III: The Search for Spock



Rob welcomes back Chris and Cindy Franklin (SUPER MATES PODCAST) to gush over STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK, the middle chapter of the unofficial "Genesis" trilogy of Trek films. Note: This episode was built using Proto-Matter, which is highly unstable. Use caution before downloading.

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22 responses to “Film & Water #62 – Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

  1. I don’t know why, but I feel the need to defend Robin Curtis. Keep in mind that I’ve read the DC comics that came out between Star Treks 2 & 3, where they explore her character more, but I’ve always felt that they way she acts in this movie is a direct result of Spock’s death.

    Saavik is half Vulcan & half Romulan, so she feels her emotions more than a full blooded Vulcan, as seen in TWOK. Spock’s death at the end of that movie, in my opinion, threatened to overcome her control (the tear at the end), so she over corrects into being what everyone thinks Vulcans are, emotionless. If she doesn’t have emotions, she doesn’t have to feel the pain of her mentor’s death, but she ends up becoming little more than a robot.

    I don’t see this as a bad performance, but it could have been explained better in the film.

  2. I like Star Trek 3 a ton. It is a lot of fun. Christopher Lloyd is brilliantly unhinged as a Klingon. And who of us can’t say ‘beam me up’ in Klingon.

    I was listening to this in my office as I was doing paperwork and I had to shut the door I was laughing so hard at Cindy imitating the flat delivery of Robin Curtis. Just outright hysterical. Chuckling so hard I had to shut the door! How am I going to explain to *these* people what I am laughing at?

  3. Oh, man, I don’t know who came up with that whole “even ones are good, odds are bad” for the ST movies, but I’ve always thought it was incredibly stupid. That doesn’t apply even if you include the four TNG films. It’s so refreshing to hear that I’m not alone in that assessment. (For the record, the only one of the first six I don’t like, although I think it’s still watchable, is no. 5; including the TNG installments, I’d put 7 and 10 in that latter category.)
    I agree with Gene, above, about Saavik, and would go a step further: I prefer Curtis over Alley.

    Otherwise, this was a really great discussion, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Totally agree that McCoy’s line to Kirk, about him always creating a fighting chance for life, is probably the best line in the movie and one of the best lines in any Trek ever (my two other favorites are “I have been and always shall be your friend” from ST2, and the little conversation between Spock and Sarek at the end of ST4, when Sarek tells Spock “his associates are people of good character,” to which Spock replies, after a slight pause, “They are my friends.”)

    Looking forward to the discussion of ST4.

      1. My impression has always been that “even/good, odd/bad” worked up until 10, but EVERYONE acknowledges that #10 broke the system.

        (Indeed, while I’ve never had anything against #3, this podcast episode was the first I’ve heard anyone seriously question the “conventional wisdom” of the even/odd system on the basis of #3 being too good to be an “odd” movie.)

  4. I’d love to hear you all discuss the first Star Trek film someday. It’s been decades since I’ve seen it and I am sure it hasn’t improved with age, but I have no real distinct memory on just what went so wrong.

    1. I wasn’t going to comment on that part of the episode, but now I feel I must.

      1. You’re never going to hear Rob talk about The Motion Picture. As you heard this episode, he will not watch it again because of his feelings for it. That’s perfectly fine, since no one should be forced to watch a movie against their will.

      2. If you are going to re-watch the movie, please don’t go into it with the attitude of “I am sure it hasn’t improved with age”. Go in with an open mind. There’s nothing that will kill your enjoyment of a movie more than prejudging it. I’m guilty of just that with the 2009 Trek. I went in sure I would hate it, and I was angry for the first third of the film, but then I heard the words “alternate timeline” and suddenly everything was fine.

      3. Should you decide to watch The Motion Picture again, which is pretty easy since it’s available on Amazon & Hulu, as well as DVD & Blu-Ray, do me a favor. Take a listen to the below episode of my own show first. In it, Scott Gardner and I go over why it is our favorite of all of the Trek films. I might not change you mind (it didn’t with Chris) but it might just give you another way to look at things.

      Alright, I’ll step off the soapbox now. 😉

      1. I’ve seen ST: TMP about half a dozen times at this point, and it never gets any better for me. It feels to me like a Trek movie made by people who have never seen an episode, and don’t know how any of the characters behave or interrelate.

        I know the film’s rep has increased over time, but I think I’ve given it enough chances to “work” for me. I wish I loved it, because that would mean more Trek movies for me to enjoy, but alas…

        1. That’s a shame, Rob, but I completely understand. I have the same reaction to “First Contact”, mainly where Zefram Cochrane is concerned. It’s like the writers either didn’t know “Metamorphosis” existed, or went out of their way to ignore the characterization in the episode. Thus, I just don’t watch it. 🙂

  5. ST:TMP was the first damn time an audience was able to see the grandeur of the Enterprise — something lost over time. Look at her – of course JTK is in love with her.

    Secondly, it is EXACTLY the kind of story we would have seen on TOS.

    Third, you have to remember the time. We’re coming off that other space thing, and this is a movie from the guy who did Andromeda Strain. It’s pensive. A think piece. And just because it’s in space with a hot, bald lady (not Shag) and a Vulcan doesn’t mean the movie can’t be a mature take on sci-fi.

  6. A couple of notes:
    In I Am Spock, Nimoy explains the “Spock must die” clause in his contract was untrue — but even Michael Eisner believed it to be true when he was negotiating with Nimoy to do ST 3.

    Nimoy was not new to directing. He’d already directed tv shows and a TV movie.

    Also, one of Takei’s favorite stories to tell is how he initially hated the “Tiny” gag. That is, until audiences saw it. As he tell it, he called up Harve Bennet and said (in that famous voice), “I’m eating crow and it’s delicious!”

  7. I like bits and pieces of ST TMP; but, it has always been a very ponderous film, for me. In many ways, it’s like the Enterprise’s shakedown cruise, working out the bugs in the systems. Star Trek II felt more like classic Trek, expanded for film.

  8. Fantastic discussion! Thank you.

    I saw III in the theater and I remember everyone (I was with my family) having a great time. I remember critics saying it wasn’t as good as 2. But, I never believed them.

    Rob, you wondered if there was another long-running series that had a trilogy within it. There (sort of) is…

    Friday the 13th Parts 2, 3 & 4. They’re more an accidental trilogy than anything but allow me to explain:

    Part 2 ends in the morning after the killings (presumably Saturday the 14th). Jason is still at large.

    Part 3 begins that evening with a woman in a general store watching a news report about the killings in 2. She is, subsequently, killed by Jason. (So is her husband.) The next morning (Sunday the 15th?), the main cast in a cool van drive by the general store and see the bodies being taken away. The killings in 3 occur that night. The movie ends the next morning (Monday the 16th?) with Jason dead (not really).

    Part 4 begins that evening with the body clean-up completed and everyone leaving the site of the murders. Jason’s body is taken to a hospital where he comes back to life. The next morning (Tuesday the 17th?), the main cast arrive at a house in the woods to party. Jason shows up that evening and kills most of them… until Corey Feldman kills him. (For a movie, at least.)

    I don’t think anyone was paying a lick of attention to the fact that three massacres totaling over 30 people occur in the same locale within five days. Or the fact that Jason goes from a scrawny hillbilly in 2 to a huge stuntman with a hockey mask in 3.

    As I said, completely accidental but more or less a trilogy.

    Oh… I just realized… Parts 4, 5 & 6 form the Tommy Jarvis trilogy. But, that’s another post for another day.

  9. In the novelization (which I think was in the script; but, cut) Uhura sends the guys up, then hightails it to the Vulcan Embassy, with Federation security hot on her heels. She is granted asylum, with Sarek telling the Feds to bugger off.

  10. I’ll grant that I haven’t actually seen the thing front to back for a while, but the killing of David in this specific story has never sat well with me, and that’s a feeling that’s only gotten stronger as I’ve gotten older and become a parent. While I understand that in the film itself, David was going to be put in jeopardy (and likely die) whether Kirk and crew were around or not, there’s something about looking at it from a franchise perspective that irks me. Because from a 10,000ft view this movie sacrifices David to retrieve Spock, and I kind of feel like the franchise never properly dealt with that trade off. The closest they came was Kirk’s passionate prejudice against Klingons (best shown in The Undiscovered Country) but even that skirts by the fact that if Spock had not resurrected David might still be alive. And you can argue the logistics of that, but I don’t think you can’t say that would be a lingering thought in the mind of a parent whose lost a child.

    As for the “odd numbered ones suck” thing, I didn’t have an issue with this getting lumped in. Not because I thought it was bad, but because in my estimation it was weaker than any of the even numbered entries up until the release of Nemesis. I think most would still agree it’s the best of the odd numbered entries.

  11. I’ve always felt Kirstie Alley and Robin Curtis played 2 different characters, the first Saavik was clearly half Romulan.

    Also, I love TMP. It’s clearly the movie Roddenberry wanted to make that felt like his vision. It’s not supposed to be an action movie.

  12. I never thought the odd ones were bad; only the ones directed by Shatner, though I consider the Next Gen films to be a separate series. This was always a good one, which I watched in theaters, in college. Who couldn’t love a film with Dan Fielding and Reverend Jim as Klingons? It had a nice mix of action, drama and humor and kept things rolling along, after II. I was sad to see Merritt Butrick killed off (loved him in Square Pegs), though not as sad when he passed away 5 years later, far too young.

    I liked Robin Curtis and thought she handled the role well and would have liked to have seen more of her, in the series. She hasn’t had a hugely high profile career and did turn up in a truly awful pilot, for a tv series meant to star Jesse Ventura and Roddy Piper as ex-pro wrestlers-turned-cops. She was the only good thing in it.

    What I really enjoyed about the film was the introduction of the truly awesome Klingon Bird of Prey. That was by far the best ship design to come out, since the original Klingon Battle cruisers. One thing about the Klingon ships; they looked like warships. It proved so popular they used it to death, on Next Gen, until someone finally designed a 24th Century Klingon Battle Cruiser.

    I mentioned the book, before; but, the Trek movie novelizations were great little add-ons, to the films. Like the original Star Wars novelization, they included story elements left on the cutting room floor or left unfilmed, from earlier scripts. they helped expand things quite a bit. It’s been a while; but, either the novel for III or VI addressed some of the plot elements left at the end of II. Scotty has to tell his sister about the death of Midshipman Peter Preston and VI goes into greater detail about Kirk’s grief over the death of David, and makes his attitude in VI a little more understandable. Also, the scenes in III, where Uhura goes to the Vulcan Embassy are great. Savik and David get some more scenes, too. Vonda McIntyre wrote the novels for II through IV and they are great. JM Dillard did the novel for VI, which is also quite good.

  13. Excellent coverage! You could hear your smiles the whole way through the episode! My own ranking for the films goes like this: 4, 2, 6, 3, 5, 1. Yet hearing all the fantastic bits in this movie make me realize that even in fourth place, I enjoy this movie so much more than many other films!

    The scene where they steal the Enterprise from space dock is still my favorite. I never thought of it like a heist movie until you mentioned that. That exactly sums it up.

    Thanks again for the fun episode! I look forward to further Star Trek coverage!!

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