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Star Trek: First Contact (1996) Dir. Jonathan Frakes

STFC1At last we come to my favorite of all the Star Trek films, Star Trek: First Contact.  I think this is an extraordinary movie.  It’s got a great story, great character development (every cast member from the series is given their due), a memorable villain, and something I never expected from a Star Trek movie, moments of tension and horror.  I remember my experience seeing this movie in the theater.  The Borg in this film are truly scary…the stuff of nightmares.  The elements are all interwoven and blended together to create a unique and believable storytelling experience.  From comedy, to drama, suspense, action, and adventure, this movie works on all levels.

STFC3The best element of any movie is when the protagonist has an issue he/she is dealing with and the rest of the movie is there to help support it.  In this case, it’s Jean Luc Picard having to fight with his trauma of being assimilated to the Borg six years prior to the events in the film.  Here, Picard’s trauma reflects the majority of his decisions, including telling his crew men to wipe out any other crew members that have been assimilated by the Borg, saying they will be doing them a favor.  Of course this reflects his true desire, which is to see all of the Borg wiped out, erasing them from his existence like the terminator.  Picard has often been in denial over many things based on his code of Starfleet ethics.  He believes that his sense of humanity has grown past the desire for revenge, but he’s very wrong as pointed out by Lily (Alfre Woodard).  In comparison to Ahab and Moby Dick, his fighting desire to stay and fight off the Borg leads to one of my favorite scenes in the movie, where Picard has the brass to call Worf a coward, and Worf’s retaliation, “If you were any other man I would kill you where you stand!”  You know something is wrong when even Worf knows a mission is suicide, and the Klingon whose blood lives for battle understands when it’s time to walk away.  It’s a great scene.  I even love Picard’s apology scene later.  Picard: “Mr. Worf, I regret some of the things I said to you earlier.”  Worf: (annoyed) SOME.

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Picard’s story about getting through and surviving his trauma is successful for the same reasons that Kirk’s story about his fear of death in Wrath of Khan resonate with us to the day.  We are able to witness in First Contact how the adventure brings out the best (and worst) in Picard and helps him find balance again in his life.  The story never forgets that, and all the other plots of the film come together to support the main arc of Picard’s journey.  This is the first Next Generation film where the cast is finally allowed to come into their own.  Each of them has a memorable moment.  Crusher calling the EMH Doctor to block the door from the Borg.  Troi doing Tequila shots.  Riker and LaForge helping Zephram Cochrine carry out his warp flight.  And my personal favorite is Worf who just kicks ass in this movie.  Data is also much more tolerable in this film, as is his story regarding his emotion chip.  I suppose the only thing I was left wondering by the end is whether or not Data really learned anything about the worthiness of his quest to be more human.  The Borg Queen (while using a manipulation tactic) tries to get him to embrace his machine side by doing the exact opposite…giving him what he wants and making him more human, grafting skin on his body.  While it’s tolorable, it’s still probably the only aspect of the movie I don’t care for because I don’t find anything really interesting about Data’s desire to be human.  I have several problems in this which I talked about in my Star Trek: Generations Review.  The Borg Queen’s tactic is clever, but we know in the end Data isn’t going to force himself to really think about what happened to him, and as a result, nothing really changes about his character by the end of the film.  The android is just too stubborn to really think about what he could be capable of in his machine side.

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One of the lighter comical highlights of the film is James Cromwell’s portrayal of Zephrem Cochrine, the man who invents warp drive.  He’s given a wonderful arc in the story, as a man who doesn’t care about the future or making history, and just wants to find a peaceful place where he can be left alone.  That all changes when the Enterprise crew comes in to convince him to carry out his mission so they can go back to their own future.  One of the sequences that makes me laugh is when Lt. Barclay (Dwight Schultz) can’t contain his fandom at getting to work with their history’s greatest legend.  It’s funny because it makes Cochrine even more resistant to his destiny, when he just wants everyone to leave him alone.

Also shining in this film is Alfre Woodard’s Lilly, who develops a great relationship with Picard.  She is not just the lone outsider, but the one keeping both her men (Picard and Cochrine) grounded.  I have two favorite scenes with her.  The first is when Picard opens the bay door with the view of Earth, showing her that she’s “not in Kansas anymore”.  The second is when she fights with Picard to blow up the ship, telling him he’s become Captain Ahab on a quest to destroy the whale.  The most endearing part of the scene is near the end when Picard quotes Moby Dick.  “Actually”, she says, “I never read it.”

I do have to say that out of all the Star Trek films, Wrath of Khan is the best story.  But this film will always be my personal favorite.  It’s just a wonderful, exciting, and action packed adventure.  I’ve always been more partial to TNG because it’s what I grew up with.  But this is the only feature they made where everyone really gets to shine.  It’s a good, well told story, and it’s too bad that we never got another film like it after this.  STFC4

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Star Trek: Generations (1994) Dr. David Carson

STG1So begins the feature film debut of the Star Trek: The Next Generation crew.  Much like Star Trek: The Motion Picture, things are already off to a wobbly start.  I find this movie to be frustrating because it has a lot of good things going for it, some of it is just mediocre, and some things about it are down right awful.  One of the problems I have with Generations is that it seems to have some trouble transitioning from television to feature film.  There are aspects of it that feel like a TV subplot, especially the storyline concerning Data, which doesn’t contribute in any way to the rest of the film.  As far as villains go, while I’m a fan of the two Klingons of the Duras family, Lursa and B’etor, I never found them to be particularly memorable in this film.  In fact, after watching it just now, I completely forgot they were in the movie, which goes to show how much their contribution to the story meant.  The film starts out promising enough as we transition from the disaster of the Enterprise B to the TNG crew.  Captain Kirk’s interactions with Chekov and Scotty are fun with some well written banter.  I would even argue that the opening sequence is probably the best part of the film because we are already accustomed to the TOS crew, and there is still great chemistry between the old Star Trek leads.  It also does a good job as a compelling set up.  The rest of the movie however disappoints, and never quite manages to establish all the TNG characters as feature film players to really make this movie their own.

STG4The first thing I need to get out of the way is what I consider the worst part of Generations:  Data.  I’ve always liked Data in the series, but he is seriously annoying in this film and not in the way he was intended to be.  His story in this film really opens a hole for me in the idea of why Data desires to be human and doesn’t embrace his machine side.  People are always arguing to Data why he would chose to be less than what his machine parts make him capable of…such as intense concentration, his super-intelligence, willingness to learn, not to mention super strength.  He is the anti-Spock, where Spock chose to embrace his Vulcan side over his human half which he constantly struggled to deal with.  Why does Data want to be human?  Why does he assume that human emotion has all the desired answers to the universe?  Speaking as a human, I have always embraced my passionate, emotional side, but it is not the end all be all answer to what lies beyond it.  Sometimes I think Data’s problem is that he doesn’t appreciate his own diversity.  He is alone, being the only android of his kind.  But he is also unique in that he can establish for himself how he wants to conduct himself as a single life form.  He is capable of so much more, and yet as everyone says, he desire is to be less than what he is fully functionally capable of.  It may be more of a curse than an asset that his creator embedded his programming with the desire to be human.  His desire to be human limits him to an extent.  If Data chose to ignore his humanity program, that doesn’t entirely mean he would suddenly go to the dark side and be cold and calculating.  He has much he can learn from humanity, but he shouldn’t need to embrace it.  I have noticed a few times in the series when Datas machine side has taken over, he doesn’t know how to control it, and he winds up doing frightening things.  His attention has been so focused his “humanity”…on being something he’s not, that he loses focus on his own instincts as a machine.

So I couldn’t help but watch in Generations that somehow, when Data puts the emotion chip in, he’s unintentionally taking a step backwards.  He feels the need for it because he thinks he’s exceeded his capacity as a machine.  But has he?  The emotion chip seems to constantly distract him and makes him function inadequately as a machine.  As for all the attempts to show Data as being not funny to the rest of the crew, it succeeds all to well on the audience too, because Data is not funny.  He’s annoying and quite frankly embarrassing to watch.  From a storytelling perspective alone, if they couldn’t succeed to make Data a compelling character in his struggle to understand humanity, that means there’s something wrong with the story.  Like a bad episode of the TV series, this tells me that this was a path Data was not meant to go, because the audience reaction is generally resistant to all of his actions.  It is in my opinion a step backwards for the character, and it’s the one thing that really brings this movie down and keeps me from wanting to revisit it.

Less annoying, but never that engaging is Picard dealing with the death of his brother Robert and his nephew Rene in a fire, only to discover he has no heir to his family.  I found Picard’s story to be somewhat frustrating in that there’s nothing he really learns from the adventure to help him deal, except what he moralizes about Time at the end of the film.  Picard’s personal problems never impact his judgement as captain, and don’t contribute anything to the rest of the story.  It’s only in the Nexxus where he’s simply given the opportunity to let it go.  But the problem here is that the resolution happens too soon and leaves nothing for the death of Kirk, which doesn’t have any impact on Picard.  Unlike the Wrath of Khan, Spock’s death tied into Kirks own fear of aging, and the scene was powerful because it meant something to both Spock and Kirk.  Picard and Kirk in this film never develop much of a relationship.  Picard doesn’t really know him apart from what he’s read in history books, and the film struggles to generate some meaning of Kirk’s death.  But really, since Kirk is out of his time away from everything he knows, he gets the one thing he’s always known he’s had coming:  he dies alone.  I know the creators probably want to forget Star Trek V, but this is the one thing Kirk acknowledged about himself, and if he were to die alone, this could have been brought back in some way to make the scene more powerful.  As it stands, his death scene is more disappointing than anything, and it would have been nicer if he could have been proven wrong in some way.

Apart from the two main story lines, the rest of the Enterprise crew just isn’t given enough to do.  The villains are also particularly weak.  While Malcolm McDowell is a great actor, his character Dr. Soren just isn’t that menacing.  I remember Soren’s particular species made an appearence on DS9 (played by Chris Sarandon) in that they were “listeners”, but that ability is never put to any use, and his emotional side is never really explored.  There’s some interesting backstory about the Borg destroying Soren’s homeworld, and Picard tries to tie that in with the fact that his plan to enter bliss (i.e. The Nexxus) means the genocide of millions on a planet.  We never understand enough about Soren’s pain to be frightened of him or make him a compelling threat.  And like I said about the Klingon women, Lursa and B’etor, they are completely forgettable as villains in this movie.  The other thing I noticed is that the opening sequence with Kirk, Chekov, and Scotty seems to last much longer than it should have, just to get the film started and then to send the TNG crew on their way.  The actual adventures the TNG crew seem shorter in this movie since so much time is taken up with the opening and the lengthy time we spend in the Nexuss.

Star Trek: Generations is a troubling film.  It’s mediocre at best, and often times I’ve found mediocre films to be worse than some movies that are just downright bad.  The concept to bring the two captains together just isn’t well executed.  There’s probably a better movie in there, but it just doesn’t compliment well with the rest of the series mythology.

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Moviecappa One Year Anniversary!!

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Hot damn!  Moviecappa is One year old!  I missed it by two days, it was actually on May 10th, 2012 that I first started this site.  I for one am very grateful that I have kept this site going for that long.  I started this site because I have always had running commentary in my head when I go to the movies as well as when I see what goes on in the industry.  It’s a place for me to talk about why I think the movies are important, and what we can do to see them get better.  It’s also been my vision that this could be a place for filmmakers to come and talk about movies, and discuss the thing we want most out of them:  good storytelling.  This site was created out of passion, and I hope to see more discussion and bigger things to come for this site in the future.  If you have been an ongoing reader of the site, thank you so much for coming back and for your support!  Greater things are yet to come!  So stay tuned!

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Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) Dir. Nicholas Meyer

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So now the Captain Kirk era of Star Trek comes to a close with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.  And for the crews swan song, I will say it’s an enjoyable outing.  I take back my remarks in my Star Trek V review where I said the cast members stopped giving a shit.  This film holds some of the better performances from crew members Chekov, Uhura, Scotty, and Sulu.  Sulu especially is given a meatier role as the captain of the Excelsior and probably for the first time ever in Star Trek, George Takei actually gets to display his acting chops!  Too bad it happens in the final Star Trek outing, but I was glad to see him given his due.

This Star Trek plays more as a political thriller than a space adventure, but one of the reasons I like this film is that for the first time it shows the seedier underbelly of the Federation…it’s dark side if you will.  This is something that would eventually be explored further in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  But a few characters who were upstanding officers in Star Trek IV, such as Admiral Cartwright (Brock Peters) become corrupted here by refusing to allow peace with the Klingons and bring them into the Federation.  The real villain here isn’t just one man, but several individuals on both sides in a corrupt scandal between the Klingons and the Federation.  I also enjoyed the presence of Rene Auberjonous as Col. West, and later revealing him as an assassin disguised as a Klingon to assassinate the Federation president.  Auberjonous as most of you Trekkies know would later go on the play security officer Odo in DS9.  I also enjoyed the presence of General Chang (Christopher Plummer), and no, his obsession with Shakespeare never bothered me.  Here he is an effective villain, although I would have liked a little more explanation as to why he disagrees with the two sides uniting.  It would have given him a little more grey area than just making him outright villainous.

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Occasionally some of the humor is a little forced, such as the somewhat unnecessary scene where the crew is frantic to translate Klingon to an unsuspecting ship in the area, claiming that the universal translator would be detected if they spoke English.  That was never a problem when characters on other shows had to fake being a freighter ship of the same species.   The other thing that surprised me with this film is that the frame up attack on the Klingon ship was the result of a prototype Klingon ship that could fire torpedoes while it was still cloaked.  Why was this technology not developed in later series like Star Trek TNG or DS9?  Being able to fire while cloaked seems like important technology to have not developed after all this time.  My argument is that it’s a bit of a stretch here, because this sort of technology has not been worked into the mythology of Star Trek.

The visual effects in this film however are a definite step up over the last few Star Trek films.  I still find the morphing CG effects used in this film to be impressive.  This is during the age when morphing effects were developed more at ILM, as two years prior we had the water creature from The Abyss, and the same year as this film we had the T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgement Day.  The plasma explosion from the Klingon moon in the opening of the film is also a pretty impressive effect.  The production design and sets are a step up from previous Star Trek films as well.

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This isn’t one of my favorite Trek films, but I still like it quite a bit.  I admire the political aspect more in that it makes it a different kind of story from all the previous Trek films.  This one actually stands on its own and does so pretty well.  It’s a fairly decent story, and it’s got a few fun surprise cameos in it, including Christian Slater, who appears briefly waking up Sulu for a communication report.  Michael Dorn also makes an appearance as an ancestor of Worf, defending Kirk and McCoy during the trial scene.  Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, sadly don’t have as much of a dynamic in this film, but it’s not too big of a deal.  I didn’t find McCoy to be terribly useful during the scenes where he and Kirk were exiled on the planet, apart from giving Kirk somebody to talk to.  I think it would have been a little more interesting if Kirk were alone, which coincides more with his fear of dying alone, and especially his worst nightmare, being killed at the hands of the Klingons.  The same fate he would receive as his son.

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This concludes my reviews of the films featuring the original series crew.  Coming up are the films of Star Trek: The Next Generation. To conclude the TOS section of my reviews, I’d like to know what you think is the most Underrated of all the Star Trek Features (Not your favorite!) Give it some thought and check below!

The Dead Zone (1983) Dir. David Cronenberg

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I’m taking a short break before returning to my Star Trek reviews, but I thought I’d take time to talk about a film I saw recently, The Dead Zone.  It’s directed by David Cronenberg, based on the Stephen King novel and stars Christopher Walken.  If there ever a reason to do a remake, this is one story I’d like to see done right.  I’ve seen some of the Michael Pillar TV series, which isn’t that compelling, and as far as this movie goes I wasn’t that impressed with it.  It’s an interesting idea, and in good Stephen King fashion it has the capacity to go to some dark compelling places.  But I found the movie the Dead Zone to be a little too episodic, and choppy in its narrative to sustain its feature length.

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From what I understand, during this time Stephen King wasn’t terribly happy with a lot of the movie adaptations made from his novels.  After seeing this film I really don’t blame him.  There’s nothing wrong with showing the different aspects of how Johnny Smith (Walken) is able to use his abilities, but at times the film seems to have trouble building the narrative for its main character.  At times I found the story would slow down too often while we wait for something to happen.  Probably the best sequence in the film is the police search for a local murderer, and I thought there was a great use of haunting imagery.  I especially liked the ending of the sequence where the killer commits suicide impaling his mouth on a pair of sharp scissors.  But when it comes to the films biggest sequence, where Johnny has to stop a corrupt senator from becoming president and starting World War 3…what originally was a great idea quickly turns into a cartoonish scenario.  I didn’t like how Greg Stillson (Martin Sheen) was almost cartoonishly evil when we see him as president about to let the missiles fly.  It’s a shame because the rest of the film is grounded in a more solid reality, and there is a lack of motivation or sympathy to show Stillson as a more believable character.  Making him evil makes it too easy for Walkin to kill him.  Even the vision of Stillson after he’s ruined his career committing suicide is a bit on the silly side.  It just doesn’t seem like enough time was spent to develop him into a more rounded character.

Almost just as forgettable is Johnny’s relationship with his former girlfriend Sarah, with whom he was going to marry before getting into an accident and being stuck in a five year coma.  The drama starts out interestingly enough, but seems to get put on hold as soon as Johnny sleeps with her, and might I add, behind the back of her current husband.  He never finds out, which I found a little annoying, which just made Sarah disloyal to her current lover.  She doesn’t play any further part in the story after that, apart from returning after Johnny’s been killed at the end.  We wind up losing their storyline halfway through the film.

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The Dead Zone has a few enjoyable moments.  I liked Johnny’s relationship with the young rich boy, with whom he becomes a mentor.  I liked some of the imagery when Johnny sees into the future, present, or past.  The discovery of the girl in the burning house is great.  I also enjoyed the presence of Dr. Weizak (Herbert Lom) even though he seems pretty underutilized in the story.  But one of the big problems is that Johnny discovers the Dead Zone a little late in the film, where it could become more of a plot device to help him change events as they happen.  The story amounts overall to a kind of slice of life story with Johnny basically going through the motions, and nothing outside of that bringing all of these events together.  Also in my opinion, I thought they killed off Johnny’s mother too quickly, played by the great Colleen Dewhurst.  The first Act of the film sets up everything pretty well and promises us an interesting ride, but then somewhere along the way it starts to lose itself, which finally leads us to the buffoonish, cartoon climax.  The film was not too big a disappointment, and as a fan of King, I found some of the darker elements intriguing.  But overall the movie was just lacking, and if a remake is every considered, I hope eventually they will figure out a way to get it right.

 

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) Dir. William Shatner

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After the popularity of Star Trek IV, it’s a shame that the most unpopular Trek film had to follow with Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.  For all intents and purposes it has to be said that, yes, Star Trek V is a terrible, awful film.  But I like it.  Yes, it’s pretty stupid, with Kirk, Spock and McCoy singing Row Row Row Your Boat.  Yes, the whole idea of the Starship on a journey to find God is pretty silly and redundant.  But for all its dumbness, I feel a certain nostalgic connection with this film.  My parents took me to all the other Star Trek films, but I was too young to remember them.  This is the first Star Trek feature I saw and actually remembered.  I was about 8 years old when this movie came out.  I knew enough to know it wasn’t a great movie.  But for what its worth I liked it.  And to this day, I think it’s a underrated.  I could watch this movie more times than the boring and long winded Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  It’s certainly more tolerable to me than the mediocre Star Trek: Nemesis.  This is definitely a crappy film.  But I did learn something while I was in film school…you are allowed to enjoy shit, as long as you recognize in the back of your mind its shit.  Star Trek V is a shitty film.  But I love it.

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I don’t know exactly on what level this movie appeals to me.  Maybe it’s the search for God aspect that I find intriguing.  I always found it funny that the Great Barrier might have supposedly been this far off place, but with the time they spend traveling it seems like it’s right on their back doorstep.  They’re also just as surprised when they manage to fly a starship through it.  You’d think somebody would have sent a probe in to analyze the interior.  Oh well.  There’s logic gaps galore in its story.  The main threat of the Klingons is some punk kid Klingon who for some reason has enough power to overrule his elder Klingon crew who clearly know he’s an idiot for trying to take on Captain Kirk.  There’s Sybok, whose power to mind control people is never really explained.  There isn’t really much in the way of character work either.  I don’t think anyone really learns anything from this experience, except for Sybok who finds out he was duped this whole time, and whose sacrifice doesn’t really do squat to stop the alien “God”.  I suppose you could say it’s the adventure nobody really asked for and it turned out nobody needed after all.  Nobody’s really on a search to renew their faith.  It’s basically an inconsequential haphazard Star Trek adventure.

But I think there has to be at least one Star Trek film that takes us into the realm of the silly idea.  After all, The Original Series was loaded with silly episodes (Spock’s Brain anyone?), or the one where we discover the Greek Gods are actually aliens that came to Greece long ago.  Tribbles.  Need I say more?  This is the one reason I like this film so much…because it is a silly pointless adventure.  I don’t think it really takes itself that seriously either.  It’s got the best, most silly line in all of Star Trek.  Kirks, “What does God need with a Starship?”  There is the one thing that I think keeps this film together in the spirit of Star Trek, and it’s the bonding between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy.  For all the people who hate the sing a long campfire scene, it’s a silly scene yes.  But the friendship and bond between these men is true to the series.  Kirk brings up some sentiments that he keeps them around because he feels its his fate to die alone.  It’s why I find some charm in the end, after Spock saves Kirk from the alien presence at the end, Kirk says to Spock, “I thought I was going to die alone.” Spock: “Impossible.  You were never alone.”  These guys are family.

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It’s kind of funny too that the Enterprise falling apart seems like a perfect metaphor for this movie, where everything is broken and nothing really works right.  You almost have to wonder if this might have been a nod to the film itself.  To be just outright bad as a film is a gift that only The Original Series could bring.  You don’t find enough episodes that are bad in TNG, but worse they are just mediocre.  A mediocre film to me is far worse than a film that’s just straight bad.  With a mediocre film, there’s always a promising idea but poor execution and not firing on all thrusters.  A bad film will fire on all thrusters and wind up blowing up the ship.  Some films are just made that way.  But while the thing is going down in flames….it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the ride.

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This film was also getting near the end of the Original Series films, and you can see the cast was starting to wind down and probably wanted to make a film that didn’t have to be taken too seriously.  I actually think The Undiscovered Country has more of the “We don’t give a shit anymore” feel from the cast than this film does, despite having a better story.  But I always felt that I could take the worst Star Trek film over the worst Star Wars prequels any day.  At least there’s some attempts at acting in this movie.

Overall my consensus is, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is a giant turd.  And what a beautiful, glorious flaming turd it is too.

Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984) Dir. Leonard Nimoy

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My countdown to the release of Star Trek Into Darkness continues with a look at Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. I don’t know how much hope or potential Star Trek III may have had when it was first released in 1984. It certainly has a lot to live up to compared to its predecessor, The Wrath of Khan.  This movie is not a bad film, but it’s not terribly great either.  The difference here seems to be that Star Trek III is driven more by plot than character.  It tries to be as big and epic as the first two films, even going so far as to kill Kirk’s son and blowing up the Enterprise.  It tries really hard to be just as captivating and memorable as number 2, and in some ways tries to duplicate its success by creating another bigger than life villain with Christopher Lloyd’s Klingon Kruge.  But the energy of this film never really builds or goes anywhere that interesting.  This ship is running on impulse folks.

I guess I’ll start with Kruge as a comparison to Khan.  It’s sort of funny, because Kruge comes up with the perfect way to destroy Kirk that Khan would have done if he’d known:  killing his son.  If Khan knew Kirk’s son was there and killed him, it would have completed his revenge.  But in Star Trek III the death of his son doesn’t really mean anything.  For one, Kirk has no relationship with Kruge as a villain.  He doesn’t even meet him until the very end when everyone shows up at the Genesis planet.  Kruge’s mere presence as villain doesn’t serve much of a purpose in the film except to make Kirk sacrifice something for bringing back Spock.  Kruge’s motivation to get the information on the Genesis device seem pretty futile.  How exactly would he use it as a weapon?  And who can he really ask for information on how it works or how to build one?  He kills David, the only person around who actually knows anything about the Genesis device.

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I think my biggest disappointment with the film was that by the end of it didn’t feel like a whole lot actually happened.  Compared to the previous film, there really isn’t a lot of action in part 3.  Everyone sets about doing their task.  By the end of the film, I’m not sure what the adventure really means to anybody.  I felt there could have been a lot more exploration into McCoy having to share his mind with Spock, and the maddness that could have ensued within him.  It doesn’t really seem to affect him that much at all.  He has no life affirming moment because of any of this.  And after a few crazed out moments in the beginning, he’s acting normally for the rest of the film.  As for Kirk, he’s driven to go back when he finds out that Spock’s body is regenerating from the Genesis planet.  But problems arise when we see he has no relationship with the villain or his son, which doesn’t really give us a reason to care.  Somehow I keep thinking this would have been better if they could have gotten Carol Marcus to be in this film and have her killed instead. We at least know that Kirk has a history with her, unlike his son which in the time span of the two films he’s probably known him for about two weeks, and he hasn’t done much in the way of bonding in either films.  I’m not saying Kirk wouldn’t care if his son was killed, but the relationship isn’t given enough screen time to make us, the audience, care what happens to him.

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The film has its share of cleverness to it, but there just isn’t anything that memorable about the movie.  The characters are just basically going through the motions.  No one particular character is driving the story.  There was some missing potential here with Bones going mad with Spock’s essence trapped in his mind.  Kirk could suddenly be faced with losing another close friend, this time to maddness, and his drive to go back to the Genesis planet was the need not to just save Spock but Bones as well.  It would have been more interesting throughout the film to see Bones jumping back and forth between the Spock personality, and getting the crew into more problems.  This is a film that probably should have been much darker, but we’re never given the chance to explore this side of the characters. As I was watching the film, I just felt pretty much indifferent to everything that was happening.  The consequences seem more arbitrary to the plot than driven by the characters.  It’s not enough however because there isn’t any motivation behind the consequences.  In the long run, non of it will really mean anything to the characters.

Star Trek III is a pretty weak entry in the Trek series.  I think it ranks slightly better than the first film, which is horribly slow at times and way too serious for its own good.  This film has a few enjoyable moments to it.  Sulu beating up that huge guy.  Uhura putting that obnoxious cadet in the closet.  The scene with Bones in the Alien Bar.  Also, it’s always fun to watch Christopher Lloyd play a Klingon.  Although I felt Kruge could have been so much more outrageous and over the top.  My other complaint I want to mention with this film is the effects work which, so far, is the weakest in the series.  However, the one effects shot I like is the space station orbiting Earth, a really impressive and detailed miniature.  For the rest of the movie, there isn’t a whole lot else that seems worth mentioning.  Again, it’s not a bad film, but it’s a disappointment that could have lived up to a higher potential.     Trek3.4