Thursday, June 5, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock turns 30 Years!

It's time for another Throwback Thursday entry, and it celebrates the 30th year of one of the most memorable Sci-Fi films I've been lucky enough to witness and see for my generation!

One of the most decorated franchises in Science Fiction media, TV, and Film history has definitely got to be Star Trek, and Gene Roddenberry's brainchild was truly a concept ahead of its time. Teaching many to "Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before", the series started out in 1966, following the voyages of the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise under the command of Captain James. T. Kirk (William Shatner), which would include decorated officers like Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelley) among the cast. The series would run for 3 years, and it's popularity would be explored anew in a short lived animated series, as well as other shows over the decades that featured another generation of explorers and facets set in the universe the original show introduced.

However, one of the most memorable experiences of most Star Trek fans including myself was with the films released by Paramount Pictures, the first six of which prominently featured the The Original Series crew, including Shatner, Nimoy, Kelley, and of course George Takei, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, and Walter Koenig back and continuing their adventures well beyond their younger days and five-year mission to explore strange new worlds. Beloved among them was is easily considered to be the unofficial "Spock Trilogy" - which started in June 4, 1982 with "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan". Kirk and his crew not only had to face a deadly enemy from their past who returned to unleash havoc, but also had to deal with the consequences of their victory... Namely the death of their Half-Human/ Half-Vulcan friend, Captain Spock.

To note everything in a nutshell would be challenging, but this post is here to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of one of the most important sequels in Trek history, which challenged the beyond and set upon Trekkies the return of one of the most important characters in the series - Star Trek III: The Search For Spock.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock - Trailer

Released in June 1, 1984, The Search For Spock was directed by Leonard Nimoy - the legendary actor who played the part and immortalized the role himself. intended to undo the heart-wrenching conclusion that its predecessor had by resurrecting Spock and reuniting him back with his dear friends. Unfortunately, the path to his second chance at life was both mind-boggling and difficult to comprehend, as Admiral James T. Kirk and his loyal crew of the Enterprise had to go through great lengths to complete that task. Before he nobly sacrificed himself to save the ship for destruction, Spock mind-melded with Dr. McCoy and imparted his Katra - "his living spirit" onto his other good friend, ensuring a part of him would be remembered and passed to his father, Sarek. Unfortunately Kirk and his crew did not know that, and also left Spock's body in the newly born planet Genesis, which was to be his final resting place after their battle with the madman Khan Noonien Singh.

Spock's Death in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Despite Spock's passing due to excessive radiation exposure from the Warp Core, his body miraculously "became one" with the Genesis planet. This effect is noted by Kirk's son David Marcus, who created and goes to the newly born world aboard the U.S.S Grissom along with Saavik. This "miracle" however is overshadowed by the fact that the illegal "Proto-Matter" used is slowly causing the planet to wither away and combust, and the convenient intervention of a group of Klingons led by Kruge, who believe Genesis is a weapon by the Federation against the Klingon Empire and intend to steal its secrets for themselves.

The Destruction of the U.S.S Enterprise

Following suit, going against direct orders, and stealing the Enterprise to go to Genesis and reclaim Spock's body, Kirk faces Kruge and the Klingons and is able to succeed in retrieving his old friend who is rejuvenated and back among the living. Unfortunately this is not without great costs, as the Enterprise is destroyed to prevent it from falling into Klingon hands and David is killed while trying to protect Saavik. The noble sacrifices made however ensured Spock's resurrection though, as his Katra is reunited with his healed physical self, much to the joy of his family and friends in Vulcan.

If you enjoy Science Fiction and fantasy, I would definitely recommend watching "The Spock Trilogy", and the Star Trek films of that era truly showed that travelling into the great unknown and facing overwhelming odds is what makes it exciting to behold. The J.J. Abrams 2009 reboot and it's 2013 sequel draw lots of inspiration and literally make nods to the films, and arguably they wouldn't have existed without the success and fandom they have enjoyed through the decades. While Wrath of Khan was LITERALLY the epitome of what a fantastic Trek movie should be, The Search for Spock is the sequel that carries things forward and brings us to a new chapter in the lives of the crew of the U.S.S Enterprise.

Happy 30th Anniversary, Star Trek III!

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