The 25th of Star Trek 3, The Search for Spock

June 1st, 1984 — My gosh how could I forget that the 25th anniversary was today. So for the third movie installment we got a lot of great new things to feast our eyes on. The USS Excelsior, The USS Grissom, The Starfleet Space dock, The Klingon Bird of Prey, The destruction of the USS Enterprise, Christopher LLoyd as Kruge, Robin Curtis as the new Saavik, A new James Horner score. and the directorial debut of Leonard Nimoy. Despite the superstition of this one being an odd numbered film and not really well received by the fans, I loved it!!!  It took a while to get used to Robin Curtis because I was so in love with Kirstie Alley, but over time I decided I like her better. Here are some quick pictures to remember this great day In Star Trek theatrical release dates:

the poster

the poster

ILM at it's best

ILM at its best


Ralph McQuarrie designed the space dock for ST3

Dave Carson and Nilo Rodis designed the space dock for ST3

what an iconic image!!!

what an iconic image!!!

Bill George's USS Excelsior

Bill George's USS Excelsior


One of my all time favorite Trek ships

One of my all time favorite Trek ships

we were all a gasp at this shot,,, didn't know it was coming!

we were all a gasp at this shot... didn't know it was coming!


the planet Vulcan

the planet Vulcan


LLoyd as the legendary Kruge

LLoyd as the legendary Kruge

and Nimoy as Spock the director!

and Nimoy as Spock the director!

52 Responses to “The 25th of Star Trek 3, The Search for Spock”

  1. 1 deg
    June 1, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Oh yeah. I remember the day clearly. Went down to Water Tower Place (where Barbara Eden lives BTW) to see it all by myself. Sat through it twice. Still have my original movie-poster (ah Bob Peak) and teaser-poster, eh. A good day. 🙂

    • 2 johneaves
      June 2, 2009 at 4:47 am

      I saw it with some buds at the Manns Christown theater and while I was watching it I was burning inside to find a way to work on a Star trek movie!!! HAAA! now I am very happy that that part happened!!

  2. June 1, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Fantastic movie, remember rewinding my VHS so many times for the spacedock escape scene and the battle with the BoP that I trashed my my tape! It’s the little subtleties in hte film score that finish it off, just like the music when they raise to red alert when they suspect a cloaked BoP, pure class!

    My god that film was good on so many levels 🙂

  3. 5 Don
    June 1, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    I saw this at the Colony Theater in Cleveland in 70MM on opening night. This one defies the “odd-numbered movie curse” IMO. While it’s not as good as WOK – hey, what is?? – I think it’s an excellent installment and does a great job in moving our heros forward. Tons of great character stuff in this one, as well as adding more to define the Trek universe than any other movie. John’s list hits the highlights. Lots of fun!

  4. 7 Scott
    June 1, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Brought tears to my eyes when the Original Enterprise went out in a firey blaze of glory.

  5. 9 Matt Wright
    June 1, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Just re-watched this on Blu-ray the other week for my review of the boxed set. The Space Dock scene never fails to look big and amazing. The Excelsior also looks pretty darn good out in front of it before it stalls 🙂

  6. 11 Matt Wright
    June 1, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Oh yeah and I had that exact shot of the beat up Enterprise and the BOP as a poster in my room as kid 🙂

  7. 13 ety3
    June 1, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    In my mind, the “odd-numbered movie” thing never held water because of this film. TSFS isn’t as action packed as TWOK and, yes, Genesis very often looks like a stage play (because it kinda was), but this was a Star Trek film acutely focused on the characters. If you love the characters of Star Trek, you should love ST:III. (Even though Uhura disappeared for 2/3 of it.)

    I will say, however, one of the funniest criticisms I’ve heard of the film was, “The best action scene in the movie is them backing the Enterprise out of the garage.” Pretty much true, and I’d give James Horner the credit for making that scene as awesome as it was.

    (I almost don’t count the destruction of the Enterprise as an “action scene.” It’s a gut-wrenchingly painful thing to watch, as well done as it was.)

    • 14 Big Bill Cox
      June 1, 2009 at 5:32 pm

      The Enterprise being destroyed was a big dramatic gamble, but it really paid off. According to Shatner’s “Star Trek Movie Memories”, Roddenberry was really ticked off that they wanted to blow up the Enterprise in the 3rd film and passionately opposed the idea. On the other hand, Shatner himself felt that it made for a better film, and I agree with him. The final scene of the Enterprise burning up in the atmosphere hit me almost as hard as Spock’s death scene did in TWOK.

      • 15 johneaves
        June 2, 2009 at 4:39 am

        man was that a hard moment and I was secretly hoping that like Spock being rejuvenated by genesis that the Enterprise would do the same!!!!!!!!! Know wouldn’t that be ferrie magic, HAAAAAAAA!

    • 16 johneaves
      June 2, 2009 at 4:41 am

      Honer was born to score this one,,, I also love his reworking of Goldsmith’s Klingon theme when we are introduced to the de-cloaking Bird of Prey over the Genesis data Transferring vessel,,, just a brilliant composition!!!

    • 17 johneaves
      June 2, 2009 at 4:42 am

      Honer was born to score this one,,, I also love his reworking of Goldsmith’s Klingon theme when we are introduced to the de-cloaking Bird of Prey over the Genesis data Transferring vessel,,, just a brilliant composition!!!


  8. 18 James_M
    June 1, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    I agree with everything you said man, but would add the return of Spock. Spocks death scene really moved me, and i thought it was awesome how they brought him back. The whole idea of the planet’s accelerated evolution changing the bacteria on Spock’s tube into the creature that attacked LLoyd, and the regeneration of Spock’s body was awesome. And the new ships that appeared, I wore out all the Grissom and Excelsior scenes on my dad’s vhs tape. Has it really been 25 years?

    • 19 johneaves
      June 2, 2009 at 4:37 am

      the cast really matured in III nimoy and Shatner had such a genuine friendship that it carried over very strongly in their characters!

  9. 20 Matt Wright
    June 1, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Oh and the really cool practical effects the guys at ILM used to make the Enterprise blow up (and also take phaser hits on the side in TWOK) are really ingenious, yet simple ideas.

  10. 22 Jared Wynn
    June 1, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    dude i don’t mean to rain on your parade john, but mcquarrie never designed the spacedock in stIII, it was either dave carson or nilo rodis-jamero.

    • 23 johneaves
      June 1, 2009 at 4:10 pm

      I am so ashamed!!!! it has all the McQuarrie lines and details and had forgotten over time,,, I stand sadly and head down corrected!

      • 24 Jared Wynn
        June 1, 2009 at 6:36 pm

        this might sound weird but you are also one of my inspirations in pursuing an art career, so i am actually honored that you replied to my fanboy comment. if you don’t mind, i have a blog that i post my art on, so please check out my blog and leave a comment if you wish. http://dimensionaldachshundart.blogspot.com

  11. June 1, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    I wasn’t born till the 15th. 🙂

    Definitely in my top five of the movies. Great character moments, great effects, great quotable lines, great music, but I did always wonder about Uhura not being in most of it. Anyone know the story behind that? I suppose Nichelle Nichols was just busy with something else at the time?

  12. 27 Big Bill Cox
    June 1, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    I can’t belive it’s already been 25 years since STIII opened in theaters. I remember going to the Blue Prince Cinema on a Saturday afternoon to see it, and I was not disappointed. I’ve never really understood why people have bashed this film over the years. I thought Leonard did a great job directing it, and it was full of some really great designs. The story was great too, and it showed us how deep the friendship of the Enterprise crew ran. I think maybe it gets overlooked a lot because it is sandwiched in between the two best-received movies of the Trek franchise, sort of a middle child if you will.

    • 28 johneaves
      June 2, 2009 at 4:34 am

      Isn’t that something!!! This summer is also the 25th for Ghostbusters, the Last Starfighter, Gremlins, the 20th for Batman, and the 55th for THEM!!! not to mention the 50th for “Teenagers from Outerspace”

  13. 32 Buckaroohawk
    June 1, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    I never understood the “odd numbered films” curse for Star Trek either. TMP had its problems, but it was still an amazing visual experience, and it paved the way for the rest of the series. TSFS is a full-on character driven film, with all of the actors at their very best. The scene where Kirk learns that David has been killed chokes me up to this day. He stumbles back and MISSES HIS COMMAND CHAIR, toppling to the deck. That moment is so visceral and agonizingly painful. Shatner may take his lumps as an over-the-top actor, but his work in that scene shows just how powerful a performer he can be. The movie is jammed with exceptional character moments from start to finish and it’s a worthy successor to TWOK.

    jpearse (#14): In the movie, there is no stated explanation for Uhura not going with the rest of the crew when they beam aboard the Enterprise. The novelization of the film has a great sub-plot describing Uhura’s attempt to sabotage Starfleet’s communications array to aid the escape of the Enterprise. She then has to make it to the Vulcan embassy and claim asylum before the Starfleet Secret Service apprehends her. It’s a very intriguing sequence that fills the gap in the movie nicely.

  14. 36 evil_genius_180
    June 1, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    I dunno why some fans didn’t take well to this one (or the other odd numbered ones, for that matter) but I like it. It was really exciting to see all of those new models and a great preview for TNG because each of those models were used extensively on the TV show. I still love watching episodes of TNG, DS9 and Voyager and spotting that merchant ship when it pops up with a new paint job or some parts added, sometimes even in more than one configuration in a single episode. 🙂

    Apart from the models, the story is great; Kirk and crew saying “To hell with the career, we’re going after Spock.” Plus, some great moments, particularly the extremely well acted scene where Kirk finds out David is dead and, in shock, stumbles back and missed his command chair. It’s moments like that where William Shatner really shined. Plus, of course, the destruction of the Enterprise, the huge fight between Kruge and Kirk as the planet is blowing up and the rebirth of Spock. It’s all great. 😀

    • 37 johneaves
      June 2, 2009 at 4:31 am

      your so right!!! You know coming off of WOK I think the expectations were set so high that this story didn’t carry for the big follow up that fans thought they were going to get… and always when you replace a familiar role with someone else,,,(SAAVIK) you are throwing in a lot of new things to adjust too,,, Some time was needed to separate the films apart a bit so it could stand alone as a great movie instead of the film that came after Khan.

  15. June 1, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    This was a great film. It had a real emotional wallop. So much happened. The shot of the Enterprise burning up in the atmosphere as Kirk questioned Bones what he had done was poetry on screen.
    I wonder what it would have been like if Edward James Olmos had been Kruge.

    • 39 johneaves
      June 2, 2009 at 4:27 am

      at the time I don’t think he could have pulled it off!!! Olmos grew into a great actor and back then I don’t think he would have had the grit to really make that role work. He was pretty skinny then too. Today he would be an awesome Kruge.

    • 40 Matt Wright
      June 2, 2009 at 10:36 am

      Yeah he was about to become Crockett and Tubbs boss on Miami Vice, I’m not sure I could see that working too well. Of course crazy Jim Ignatowski from Taxi is something else too…

  16. 41 Simon Matthew Coles
    June 1, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Very underrated Trek movie, easily better than Khan, almost as good as The Motion Picture. Yes, I said it, better than Khan. But then I do have some wacky opinions.

  17. 43 Freak
    June 2, 2009 at 12:38 am

    This film was full of great moments.
    I love McCoy in the Bar trying to do the Vulcan Nerve pitch. Make me laugh each time I see it.

    I love all the visual affects in this film too. when the Ent blow up it me as hard as Spock death. I was seven when I first saw this film. LOL But saying that it still send a cold siver down my spin when I see it.

  18. 45 Carl
    June 2, 2009 at 5:24 am

    I remember seeing this movie when I was high school. Several great things stand out from this movie. One was the great space dock where the Enteprise is approaching it. My God! The size of that space dock compared to the Enterprise. And after the Enterprise goes inside the dock, there is the glimpse of the Excelsior! Whoa!! Another great shot is when the crew steals the Enterprise from the dock, and you can hear James Horner’s score gearing up. I was also quite taken to see the U.S.S. Grissom…something that was quite different. I was very please with the Bird of Prey ship as well. After seeing the movie, I was hoping there would be a model of the Excelsior and the Bird of Prey. Of course, I left the movie wondering what the new Enterprise would look like.

  19. 46 FSM-1
    June 2, 2009 at 5:25 am

    I remember hearing the rumors that they were going to destroy the Enterprise and I couldn’t believe it. Later, sitting in the theater, I was literally in a state of shock when I saw the ship actually start exploding and breaking up. It’s strange, but I still look at TWOK, TSFS and TVH and think of them as having the most TOS spirit and interaction of any of the movies, or series for that matter. I can’t belive that 25yrs has whooshed by. God, I feel old.

  20. 47 Buckaroohawk
    June 2, 2009 at 7:29 am

    By the way, I forgot to mention something. Kruge’s name is never once mentioned during the course of the film. His crew members all call him “My Lord” or “Commander,” and when Kirk asks him to identify himself he says “My name is unimportant.” We only learn his name when the end credits roll. Interesting that every Trek fan knows his name despite it never being uttered in the dialog, isn’t it?

    • 48 moocowe
      March 11, 2010 at 11:36 am

      The only time that his name is mentioned is from Valkris on the merchant vessel transferring the Genesis data. It’s the only time she uses english when she talks to Kruge.

  21. June 2, 2009 at 9:14 am

    One of my favorite memories of this film happened not at the initial screenings, but at the 1986 WorldCon in Atlanta. That year, the movie room was a ballroom that had been fitted with a 35mm projector, so they ran actual FILM – Trek III was one of them.

    During the scene where Kirk hears that the Klingons have killed David Marcus, my friend J.J. Johnson said, very loudly and MST3K style, “You Klingon sonufa… you killed my bastard!”

    Got quite a large bit of nervous and relieved laughter from the crowd… 🙂

  22. June 2, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    I can’t believe it’s been 25 years already,I was 14 then. The great thing about this movie is even with it’s low budget it really opened up the universe with 4 new ships and a ginormous space station. It also continued the line of loss and sacrifice started in TWOK ending with redemtion in TVH. If I remember right I believe the part of Kirk falling down was improvised by The Shat.

  23. 51 the bluesman
    June 2, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    TSFS was a very good entry into the series.

    The scene where Kirk stubmbles back when he finds out David had just been killed was very gut wrenching, and then the Enterprise going out in a ball of fire was very emotional to watch.

    I will admit, I didn’t cry when Spock died in TWOK, but I was a little verklempt when the Enterpise re entered Genesis and Kirk says to McCoy, “My God, Bones, what have I done?”

    And Kruge is one of my favorite Klingons along with Koloth an Kang. Kruge was a warrior sure, but he was also elegant,cold, brutal and classy like the TOS Klingons.

  24. 52 Si
    June 3, 2009 at 5:37 am

    Urgh, what can I say…just a masterpiece! Bloody brilliant movie.

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June 2009

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