The Movie Waffler Stardate 2013 - The Search For Spock (1984) | The Movie Waffler

Stardate 2013 - The Search For Spock (1984)

Kirk learns that Spock may still be alive and sets out to retrieve his friend.

Directed by: Leonard Nimoy
Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Christopher Lloyd, Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Robin Curtis, Merritt Butrick, Mark Lenard

At the end of 'Wrath of Khan', Spock (Nimoy) sacrificed himself and we saw his casket launched into space where it landed on the planet created by the Genesis device. Back on Earth, McCoy (Kelley) is now behaving strangely, Spock having transferred his spirit to the doctor. Sarek (Lenard), Spock's father, informs Kirk (Shatner) that Spock's spirit must be united with his body on the Genesis planet. Kirk and crew steal the Enterprise and set off to save their friend. On the planet, Lieutenant Saavik (Curtis) and David Marcus (Butrick) have discovered Spock, resurrected as a child by the power of the Genesis device. Spock is aging rapidly, as is the planet which will self-destruct within hours. The three are captured by Commander Kruge (Lloyd), a Klingon who wishes to acquire the Genesis device.
1982 is considered by many as cinema's greatest year for blockbusters. As well as 'Wrath of Khan', cinema-goers were treated to 'E.T', 'The Thing', 'Blade Runner', 'Poltergeist', '48 Hours', 'Mad Max 2', 'First Blood', 'Airplane 2', and 'Halloween 3'. (We can only dream of such a roster today). All of the aforementioned films were quality works which didn't resort to any form of dumbing down. In this sense, 1982 can be seen as the end of the seventies, a decade which, in cinema terms, really began in 1969 with 'Easy Rider' and 'The Wild Bunch'. When we reflect on the films of the eighties, we inevitably think of a level of cheesiness which had kicked in by 1984 and is well and truly evident in 'The Search For Spock'.
The entire film essentially exists to rectify what was seen as a major commercial mistake: the killing of Spock in the previous installment. Knowing this, Nimoy blackmailed Paramount into allowing him to direct in return for reprising his signature role. Following in the steps of legendary director Robert Wise and the talented young Nicholas Meyer, Nimoy's bland direction gives the film a cheap look, despite having a substantially larger budget than Meyer had to work with. The script, by Harve Bennett, is tonally all over the place, comedic in the first half and stoic in the second. Little is done to exploit the Klingons, as iconic villains as ever existed.
There are some cringe-worthy moments and a level of camp throughout. (If anyone had doubts over Takei's sexuality he confirmed it here). A backwards speaking alien may be intended as a tribute to Yoda but it just feels like some cheap coat-tail riding.
All that said, 'The Search For Spock' is still a relatively enjoyable movie, though a familiarity with the characters is definitely essential here, unlike 'Wrath of Khan' which serves as a great stand-alone sci-fi movie in its own right. Shatner doesn't get the level of attention he commanded in the previous film but he still gets in a few trademark "Shatnerisms". His famous and unique style of turning. every. single. word. into. its. own. sentence is allowed to shine. Particularly amusing is Shatner's performance when he first confronts McCoy under Spock's influence. As Kruge, Christopher Lloyd casts off his comedic baggage and is very effective in the role.
'The Search For Spock' forms the middle part of a three movie story-line begun in 'Wrath of Khan' and concluded in 'The Voyage Home', a slice of eighties cheese if ever there was one.