Monday, September 21, 2015

Short Treks Movies - 3

Star Trek III
Release Date: June 1, 1984
The Search for Spock

Even dead, Spock continues to be “the franchise” as the first bridge crew member appearing (in a flashback) for the third film in a row. 

Hey, the “Breach in Spock’s Quarters” alarm uses the image of Enterprise from the Technical Manual! Yay!

Kirstie Alley did a fantastic job, but I prefer Robin Curtis as Saavik.  Possibly it’s because she looks more Romulan, plus she says, “Fascinating,” like one would expect Spock’s daughter to.  Even without the support of one of my crazier theories, her 80’s perm is a much better fit with David’s “totally new wave” look. 
Y’know, it’s a shame we never got to see Saavik let loose the prodigious Vulcan strength Spock showed on the occasions when he lost control. It would have been a hoot seeing her toss John Larroquete around like a rag doll.

After continuously shoveling out “evidence” for my Extra Galactic Invaders conspiracy, it would be natural to expect that I’d accuse them of bringing back everyone’s favorite Vulcan for their own, conspiracy filled ends.  However, for the second film in a row, I’m crediting the character’s inherent awesomeness with pulling off the impossible.

Seeing each officer get their moment to shine is what makes this film the outstanding character piece it is.

Sulu’s “Don’t call me tiny,” is his main one, but he also gets to take the conn again, even though his ship has been (temporarily) given to another.

After reconnecting with his mentor, Chekov’s back to navigation and filling in at science officer. He’s also instrumental in figuring out the Bird of Prey controls.

Uhura’s handling of “Mr. Excitement” was magnificent.  Also notice that she’s the one that goes to Vulcan to set things up.  As the communications officer, but more importantly, as Mr. Spock’s old flame, she’s the most knowledgeable about the language, customs and history.

Scotty gets the only on screen promotion we’ve seen for this gang. On Enterprise, though, he’s still called, “Commander.” I’d guess he prefers the lower rank on HIS ship than “Captain of Engineering” on any other.  He must have gotten a heck of a kick stopping up Excelsior’s drain, you can see it in his eyes when he says, “Up yer shaft.” Although that may just be an actor’s joy at telling off his director. (Nimoy voiced the elevator.)

Aside:  Speaking of that ship, man this era’s vessels are beautiful!    They still look military, but are sleeker, shinier and more high tech than on the show.  
The Excelsior and the Klingon ship are my absolute favorites. 
OK, the Grissom is goofy looking, I’ll give you that.  Considering Captain Esteban acts more like an overcautious Next Generation era commander, I guess he would have been ahead of his time, if he didn’t get smitherened. 
That is also one spectacularly large space station.

Aside inside the aside: Janice Rand gets a cameo on board that behemoth.  She’s only looking distressed at the state of her former vessel, but she’s wearing a Commander insignia now….and she doesn’t accidentally kill anyone this time out. A definite improvement. 

Mr. Scott demonstrated back in “The Doomsday Machine” he could rig a starship to be run by one man, so having one run by a handful must have been cake. Yet, I have to wonder about some of his decisions. Does routing all of the control to the bridge automatically mean the control panels explode if the engines are hit? Maybe he copied the Federation’s standard, highly dangerous, safety protocols.  I also have to wonder why Kirk orders him to go to Red Alert when all the weapons systems and shields are on manual control.  He must like the flashing lights and noise.

It’s an interesting comment on where his true home lies that Kirk’s civilian clothes very closely resemble his uniform. (It’s an even more direct comment that Scotty is never shown in civilian clothes at all.)

That “To Absent Friends” toast has certainly gone from a bittersweet moment to a gut wrenchingly depressing one awful fast hasn’t it?

Shatner has his greatest emotional moment with, “You Klingon bastards, you killed my son!” but there are some subtle ones afterwards that deserve mention.  He refuses to lean on McCoy, or take any assistance from him directly following his heartbreak. It’s only after he’s gotten the crew safely on the planet and blown up Enterprise (*sob*) taking most of the enemy with it, that he leans on his friend.  

Speaking of those antagonists- how about the Reverend Jim and Dan Fielding leading the last group of Empire sponsored Klingon antagonists we get to meet?  One last awesome combat fling before the peace process starts. The Organians continue to not give a rat’s patootie about the conflict they manipulated matter across half the galaxy to stop.

It’s nice to know their technology has remained consistent all these years. The color coding of Klingon and Federation transporters is still red and blue.  They can beam while cloaked now; I wonder if that’s the first step to the firing while cloaked ship they develop a couple of films down the road. 
Wow, those disruptors they fire sure look to hurt like the dickens as they disintegrate you, don’t they? 

Kruge seems to have been absent from warrior class the day they taught the proverb, “Only a fool fights in a burning house.” His delivery concerning the imminent destruction of the planet of, “Exhilarating isn’t it?” is an outstandingly entertaining moment of crazy.

He probably shouldn’t have offed Valkris in the opening.  Mara gave Kang the guidance he needed to get out of his seemingly unwinnable scenario alive.

Kirk’s finishing move of kicks to the face with punctuated dialogue is legendary. It fortunately overshadows his penultimate combat choice of kneeing Kruge in the Klingon Jujubes.

Though a tad addled, McCoy gets his moments as well.   He is immediately recognized in the seedy bar.  We know it’s seedy, because money is openly discussed. That only happens in Star Trek when criminals or shady types are around. Not only is he obviously a regular, but the over made up, platinum blonde waitress in the light up swimsuit hits on him immediately.

Bones, you old dog you.

There are also Tribbles in the bar, which we know are safe thanks to the Doctor during the Animated Series.

Spock’s return is his awesome moment in and of itself.  Mark Lenard returns to throw some more awesome at that family tree.  Awwwww, he really does care.

Despite their constant barbs at each other, sharing the same melon cements my belief that Spock and Bones have the strongest actual friendship of the Big Three. Spock could have picked the more like-minded Mr. Scott for the transfer, and probably both had an easier time of it. Instead he made an emotional choice based on who he trusted most to care for his existence. The Doctor’s pointing to his own head when Spock returns is a magnificent gesture that speaks volumes of their relationship.

Spock probably could have mentioned the whole Katra/survival after death thing to his Captain and friend to prevent the need for the whole film. Then again, it’s not too surprising that he didn’t, considering he also kept secret his wedding, that he has protective eyelids, that he has a brother…etc.  I’m kind of amazed humans are stunned by previously unmentioned, weird Vulcan crap at all anymore.

Of the visiting Starfleet officers, only Saavik closes her eyes during the fal-tor-pan. Nice touch.

McCoy calls Kirk by his first name after the ceremony, signifying the bond between the men. However, it’s the newly revived Spock who gets one of the top two “Jim Moments” in history, which also serves as the only non-Shatner Awesome Ending Line.
A line that still brings a tear to this old geek’s eye.

“Jim…Your name…is Jim.”


longbow said...

Sometimes when I'm in swiftly deteriorating situation I call out "Chaw ee chew". But nothing happens.

Jeff McGinley said...

That's completely ridiculous.

Oh man, I'm going to be late again...


darn it, didn't work again.

thanx for reading, and sharing!