Star Trek III: The Search for Spock Parent Guide
One of the funniest films in the franchise...only occasionally intentionally.
Parent Movie Review
Following the duel with Khan in the Mutara Nebula, and the death of Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and the surviving crew begin the long journey back to Earth. The Enterprise has sustained heavy damage, and Starfleet Command has determined that rather than go to the expense of another refit, she is to be decommissioned. Worse, Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) seems to be convinced that Spock is living inside his head, and the only way to heal him is to bring Spock’s body back from the Genesis planet to a sacred mountain on Vulcan. Can Kirk save his ship and his friend? At what cost?
The Wrath of Khan is, at least among my friends, regarded as one of the strongest Star Trek movies, which makes it a pretty tough act to follow. Search for Spock, unfortunately, misses the mark a little. Mostly, the movie is just too funny to be taken entirely seriously. Although some of it is intentional (for example, most of James Doohan’s dialogue) other aspects feel entirely accidental. I don’t think there’s any way to have a cast of ageing TV stars go up against the ever-insane Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon commander, while wearing a strange assortment of 80s leisurewear and looking for a pubescent Spock and have the final result be anything but comic.
The special effects are about where they were in Wrath of Khan, which is to say, miles better than they were in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. They may feel dated by today’s hi-tech standards, but, for the early 80s, they’re not too bad. Plot-wise, we’ve gone a little goofier. Kirk vs Khan was a classic revenge story, with strong Cold War undertones about nuclear proliferation and rogue states. Here, we get a solid story about friendship, but some of the larger political underpinnings are a lot less obvious, to the film’s detriment.
Parental concerns will be what they usually are for the Star Trek franchise. Sci-fi violence and mild profanity are the only real issues, with some minor social drinking thrown in. I grew up watching these movies, and they were about right for a 10 to 13-year-old. Not too scary, but with plenty of fun action to keep you busy.
This certainly isn’t the worst entry in the franchise, but it’s a long shot from being the best. In the Star Trek high school yearbook, this probably wins as “Most Unintentionally Comedic”, but that’s as good as it gets. It’s an important film in the arc of the franchise, but otherwise without much cinematic merit. Star Trek III may “boldly go where no man has gone before” but, fortunately, it’s not going to come back here again.Directed by Leonard Nimoy. Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley. Running time: 105 minutes. Theatrical release June 1, 1984. Updated August 13, 2019
Watch the trailer for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Rating & Content Info
Why is Star Trek III: The Search for Spock rated PG? Star Trek III: The Search for Spock is rated PG by the MPAA
Violence: Two ships are destroyed by Klingons, killing all aboard. A number of fistfights occur, in which individuals are variously punched, thrown, kicked, and strangled. An individual is shot and disintegrated. An individual kills an alien worm with their bare hands. A strange alien dog is killed when a ship is shot. An individual is stabbed to death. A number of individuals are killed when a ship explodes. An individual is shot with a phaser. An individual falls into a lake of lava.
Sexual Content: Spock experiences Pon Farr, which is the Vulcan equivalent of puberty.
Profanity: There is frequent use of mild profanity and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Individuals are shown toasting a fallen comrade with what is presumably an alcoholic beverage. Individuals are shown having drinks socially in a bar.
Page last updated August 13, 2019
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock Parents' Guide
Kirk risks everything for the chance of bringing Spock back. What would you do in his shoes? Do you think he made the right decision? Do you think Spock would have done the same for him?
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