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STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK

STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK ($30) is another of the films in the STAR TREK series that suffers from the curse that afflicts the odd numbered films in the series. For those unfamiliar with the curse, the best way to describe it is to say that all of the odd numbered films are a bit deficient when compared with their even numbered counterparts. However, in spite of some preposterous dialogue and a somewhat miscast villain, STAR TREK III is an entertaining outing for any fan wanting to take a ride on the final voyage of the Starship Enterprise. STAR TREK III picks up shortly after the events of STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN, with Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) and his crew having to deal with the fact that Captain Spock (Leonard Nimoy) gave his life to save them all.

Limping back to Earth in the battle scarred USS. Enterprise, Kirk hopes that after some repairs he will be able to take his ship back to the Genesis planet, which is also the final resting-place of Spock’s remains. Unfortunately, Starfleet considers the twenty-year-old Enterprise past her prime and plans to decommission her. Additionally, the technology that created the Genesis planet has stirred up a galactic controversy, which has made the planet being off limits to everyone by the science team surveying it. If the loss of his best friend and his ship weren’t bad enough, Kirk also has to deal with the fact that Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) has begun to suffer some sort a mental breakdown. Further complicating matters is the arrival of Spock’s father, Ambassador Sarek (Mark Lenard), who is seeking his son’s "Katra" or living spirit. When Sarek doesn’t find Spock’s "Katra" with Kirk, it becomes apparent that McCoy’s mental problems stem from the fact that Spock’s essence has taken up residence inside the good doctor’s head. Of course, the only way to cure McCoy and preserve Spock’s "Katra" is to retrieve Spock’s body from the Genesis planet and return with it to Vulcan. This is easier said than done, since getting to the Genesis planet requires stealing the mothballed Enterprise and going head to head with an obsessed Klingon (Christopher Lloyd), who is determined to get his hands on the secrets of the Genesis device. The cast of STAR TREK III also features James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Merritt Butrick, Judith Anderson, Robin Curtis, Phil Morris, John Larroquette, James B. Sikking and Miguel Ferrer.

Paramount Home Entertainment has done a very good job with their DVD edition of STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK; offering fans the best looking home presentation of the film to date. While the 16:9 enhanced presentation is generally excellent, there are certain decencies in the original film elements that no transfer can overcome. The most obvious being several grainy sequences that continue to appear grainy on the DVD. Additionally, there are occasional shots in the film that looks a little soft. Other than these minor problems, the 2.35:1 image is usually quite sharp and provides a very good level of detail. Colors are very well saturated and the flesh tones appear exceedingly healthy. Strong reds, which were problematic on the earlier Laserdisc editions of the film, are perfectly reproduced here, without a bit of chroma noise or bleeding. Blacks are faithfully recreated, although there is a somewhat reduced level of shadow detail that will remind one that STAR TREK III is a 1984 film release. Contrast is very good throughout the presentation and the film element utilized for the transfer displays only minor blemishes. Digital compression artifacts maintained a low profile and never become particularly noticeable.

STAR TREK III sports a newly mixed Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack that is a definite improvement over standard surround. The forward soundstage seems wider and reproduces with an openness that a matrixed track cannot duplicate. Dialogue reproduction is clean and always intelligible. The surround channels provide a whole lot of ambient sound, which include the rumbling sound of the spaceship engines, plus the rears add a good deal musical fill. While the rears are fairly active, I couldn’t detect any split surround information in the mix. Bass reproduction is fairly solid, although it doesn’t go down to the lowest octaves, like a newer soundtrack. James Horner’s score is very well reproduced, without ever sounding harsh. Overall, this is an excellent soundtrack for a film from 1984, however there is a slight shallowness to the sound that will remind one that the original recordings are over fifteen years old. English and French Dolby Surround soundtracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English subtitles.

The interactive menus are basic, providing access to the standard scene selection and set up features. A theatrical trailer is the DVDs only supplement and is accessible through the menu system.

STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK isn’t the best of the STAR TREK films that featured the original cast (numbers 6 and 2 get my vote), however it is an enjoyable adventure that fans will want to own on DVD because of Paramount Home Entertainment’s first rate presentation. Recommended to Trekkies, Trekkers and everyone else who enjoys a bit of sci-fi.

 

 
STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK 



ENHANCED FOR 16:9 TELEVISIONS 

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DVD reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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