Forming the middle portion of a trilogy with Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home, Search for Spock picks up immediately after the events of Khan, with the Enterprise crew still mourning the loss of their former Captain Spock (Leonard Nimoy). Upon returning to space dock, the crew is given a commendation and extended shore leave (except poor Scotty, who has to report to the new Excelsior engine room to help with their transwarp drive). The crew is resigned to the fact that the Enterprise, being over twenty years old, is going to be decommissioned, but a visit from Spock's father Sarek (Mark Lenard) leads Kirk (William Shatner) to believe that while Spock's body may be dead, his consciousness is alive in someone else... Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley).
Kirk and a skeleton crew (Scotty, Sulu, Chekov & Bones) set out in the Enterprise to return to the Genesis planet and retrieve Spock's body, in hopes of returning it to Vulcan. What they have yet to find out, however, is that Lt. Saavik (Robin Curtis) & Kirk's son David Marcus (the unfortunately named Merritt Butrick) have discovered, on Genesis, that Spock has been reborn as a child. Further complications arise when a Klingon ship, commanded by Kruge (Christopher Lloyd) gets wind of the failed Genesis project and travels there in hopes of stealing the technology for the Klingons.
Okay, we need to get this out of the way immediately; The Search for Spock is not a very good film, even by Star Trek standards. It suffers from horrendous budget restrictions which first time director Nimoy couldn't shoot around as well as his predecessor, Nicholas Meyer. A lot of the recycled sets & costumes look terrible, and really distract on the 2009 blu-ray high def transfer. It's likewise hindered by being sandwiched between arguably the two best Star Trek films ever made, and can't help but feel like a trifle compared to the other two. It's got more substance than I remember it having, but the stakes are relatively low from beginning to end, and the sense of danger imposed by Khan in the previous film is just not met by the Klingons in this film.
All that being said, the film is actually much better than I remember it being, if for no other reason than the script is actually surprisingly well written. The dialogue and interplay, particularly between the Enterprise crew is as good as it's been in any of the films, and the humor throughout (much of it by, or at the expense of, Bones) is pretty reliably funny. The two truly emotional moments in the film (Kirk learning of the death of David & Spock's recognition of Kirk at the end) still land incredibly well and make up for some of the more ridiculous acting choices made by the other actors throughout the entire film.
[Photos via TrekCore]