Directed By: Leonard Nimoy
Written By: Harve Bennett, Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek)
I have always felt this third movie fell into the odd and even theory of Star Trek films but only because there are significant problems with the story. This movie is deeply tied into Star Trek roots being made by one of the cast members and there is plenty to like about it. Nevertheless, watching this movie is simply waiting for the inevitable to happen. You know it’s only a matter of time before Kirk is back in the captain’s chair and it’s only a matter of time before Spock returns. The Klingons are the wild card in the film and they do keep things interesting. It’s a totally OK movie but it is far from great.
This movie got back to the basics and used the Klingons as the villains, and I think that was awesome. I thought Christopher Lloyd‘s performance was a little over the top, but these Klingons are ruthless. It’s totally lame when Doc Brown chokes that snakelike thing to death but when he gives the order to kill one of the hostages he’s just cold blooded. I do like that Kruge and Kirk have a fight to the death as the planet destroys itself around them. I also love the last Klingon that is really disappointed that he isn’t going to be killed. The Klingon would rather be put to death than face defeat. You just can’t go wrong with Kingons as the villains in a Star Trek film.
This is the first appearance of the Klingon Bird of Prey ship and it is by far the coolest ship to date. It really sucks that Kirk has to destroy the Enterprise but at least he got a bitchin new ship in the process. This movie is the middle of a three film arc and they get to fly around in the Bird of Prey for the fourth film too.
Star Trek is better with Spock and what this whole movie boils down to is a Star Trek movie with practically no Spock. You have Spock’s dad but what a poor substitute. I thought Leonard Nimoy did a good job behind camera and had an obvious influence on the very Star Trekkie feel to certain parts of the movie. The scenes on Earth when McCoy goes to the bar and sees a wide variety of aliens, including those fur ball things I can’t remember the name of, specifically come to mind as an example of what I’m talking about.
William Shatner really tries to pull out the acting big guns when his son is killed. Falling to his knees and getting choked up as he screams at the Klingon bastard. I think that moment in the film could have been much more dramatic. When Doc Brown gives the order to kill one of the prisoners, he doesn’t care which one, the scene wasn’t drawn out enough. You have Saavik, David, or Spock to choose from and one of these important characters is going to be killed. While Saavik is the one chosen David steps up to defend her with a really weak fight before getting stabbed to death. It’s interesting that Kirk’s sacrifice of his son and his ship counter balances the sacrifice of Spock in the preceding film.
There is a lot to like about this movie but nothing that really sets it apart from the others. I think the story is the main problem because it is all a build up to the return of Spock and we all know that one way or another he will return and be alright. This movie works for the Trekkies but I don’t think the average person would ever sit down to this film and enjoy it.
If you’re a Trekkie you don’t need my opinion about this film because you out rank me in fandom. However, if you aren’t a Star Trek fan then frankly I’m shocked you’d still be reading this. This is a good enough Star Trek film but it’s not going to make any new fans. I’d say it’s easily worth the time of Trekkies everywhere but not for anybody who isn’t into it.
NEXT MOVIE: Star Trek III: The Voyage Home (1986)