STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK
Reviewed April 30th, 2000 by Brian White
Why does this film have such a bad reputation? Could it be the often discussed (and yours truly is guilty) “odd-numbered” curse which haunts the Star Trek franchise? It ain't no Wrath of Khan, but Search for Spock has been unfairly categorized with the worst of the nine films as a result of its big roman numeral. Everyone falls all over the more successful Voyage Home. Your reviewer actually prefers the third installment, as it contains more space battles and special effects. Search for Spock also boasts drama, which is much more relevant to the lives of the characters: Spock, thought to be dead, can be saved; McCoy is in mental torment. Admittedly, some of the drama is arrived at in a hokey fashion.
Apart from all that, it's a great nostalgia rush. This was before the Next Generation. The films provided the only non-original series Trek fix, and there was still an “omigod, they're making Star Trek films!” excitement at the time. Also, if you like the Eighties, check out those pink clothes and chairs. Look at Shatner's tracksuit when Sarek shows up! It should also be mentioned that Christopher Lloyd plays an excellent Klingon. So open a “new” Coke, play some Moon Patrol and pop in the DVD.
Paramount did a great job with this anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer. More attention must have been paid (or required) here than on IV, which was released in December. There are some scratches and film grain, but they are forgivable. Colors and detail are both very good.
The 5.1 mix, created for the DVD, is fantastic. It is much more dynamic, and contains more split surround effects than the 5.1 mix on the IVth film. On this disc you hear bridge sounds all around the sound stage, the Enterprise (trailing lovely rainbow hues) warps across the room, and the floor shakes as the Genesis planet fall apart. It should be mentioned that while the mix is good, it is not as dynamic as more recent 5.1 mixes, like those heard on First Contact and Insurrection.
As for extras, Paramount has once again left plenty of room for a future special edition. There’s a trailer, French and English Dolby mixes, and English subtitles for the hard of hearing. The packaging boasts scene selection, but there are only 11 tracks (!). The selection is somewhat slim. One other beef: why does Paramount make you select 5.1 from the setup menu?
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