Star Trek

Star Trek

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

"Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" (Part II)

"Star Trek III: The Search for Spock"
Original Theatrical Release Date: June 1, 1984
Rating: PG
Stardate: 8210.3

Sorry for the late post. Travelin' and stuffs.
This post brought to you by free airport wi-fi and layovers.





Part one of this film is here.
tl:dr: Spock died at the end of movie #2. Kirk unwittingly dropped his casket off at Planet Genesis, where evolution and growth is sped way, way up. We have now discovered that Spock has regenerated like Doctor Who, only as a child version of himself. Before dying, he transferred his soul into Dr McCoy, who is now walking around with split personalities. Sarek, Spock's father, has requested that Kirk get Bones and New Spock to Vulcan to transfer Spock's soul back into his new body. Kirk has agreed, and is going to Genesis illegally, to get New Spock from Saavik, the Vulcan scientist, and Kirk's own son, Dr David Marcus, who helped created the Genesis planet. Unfortunately, a Klingon named Kruge really wants the Genesis device for himself, to be used as a weapon.

Party on Genesis, friends. BYO Romulan Ale.

*******



When we left off, Saavik and David had just found Lil' Spock shivering naked in the snow. Saavik calls the Grissom to report their findings, and requests a beam-up for them and for Lil' Spock. Captain Estaban is hesitant, and wants to get Starfleet's opinion first. But the communications officer reports that their signal is being jammed.
Oops, it's Kruge. The war bird de-cloaks in front of the Grissom, and Kruge orders the gunner to take out the science ship's engines. But the gunner is overzealous and blows the Grissom out of the sky. Kruge, pissed off that he didn't get to take prisoners, vaporizes the gunner. Another Klingon points out that there are three people on the planet's surface who would probably make good prisoners.


Saavik, who is apparently prescient, decides that the Grissom is not answering her calls because they were destroyed by enemy fire, and that they should move, as the enemy will most likely be coming after them next.

On the bridge of the E, Scotty is telling Kirk that they should have enough power to get to Genesis in a few hours. Kirk asks if anyone is following them, and Spock's vice says "Scanning. Results are negative."
Kirk, Scotty, and Sulu glance back at the science station to find Bones sitting in that chair in front of the controls.



Back on the planet, Kruge and two others have beamed down and are looking for Saavik, David, and Lil' Spock.
Saavik decides that it's time for David to come clean: she thinks there's something weird about this planet, and he isn't saying. he admits that he used protomatter in the Genesis device, and she exposits for the audience that protomatter is something that's completely unstable and totally illegal. he tells her it was the only way to make the Genesis device work. She points out that, like Kirk, he changed the rules to fit his own goals. Then she tells him that he was a total asshole, and that his impatience could get people killed. David has the good grace to look sorry.
The Klingons come across the torpedo casing and the organisms that grew off the surface. The organism things are now huge, and instead of walking away, Kruge decides to wrestle with one and crush it until green goo erupts from the place where he grabbed it. Then he sends a dick pic back to his ship to prove that it's huge and mighty and that he's some kind of badass. I roll my eyes because that scene was completely unnecessary.


The sun sets very suddenly. And when I say "suddenly" I mean that it was daylight one moment, and then pitch dark the next.
Saavik and David have moved Lil' Spock to a nearby cave.
She walks away from caring for Spock to talk to David. She has noticed that, as the planet ages quickly, Spock is aging as well. he guesses that the planet will age and die within a few days, or maybe as few as several hours. She notes that Spock's situation is about to get shitty fast.
"I don't understand," he says in response to her remark about Spock.
"No!" I yell at the screen. "No more awkward Vulcan birds and bees moments!"
I had my fill with "Amok Time", thanks.


Fortunately, she doesn't get the opportunity to go into details, as they hear some kind of howl off in the distance, and he runs off to see what it is.

The E drops out of warp, and Chekov reports that he's eavesdropping on Starfleet's warning to the Grissom that the E is heading for Genesis. But the Grissom isn't responding. Kirk asks Chekov to call the Grissom, but Chekov reports that no one from the Grissom is responding to him, either.

Back on Genesis, Spock has hit about 14 years old and is starting to go through Pon Farr. She asks if he trusts her, then they do that two-finger hand-stroke thing that Spock once did with the female Romulan commander.
...dude.


The E enters the Genesis system, and spotting them, the Klingon war bird engages their cloaking device. But Chekov is quick and has noticed that they were there before they cloaked. he reports it to Kirk. Kirk asks him to try calling the Grissom again.

Saavik and Spock are holding hands and sleeping when the sun comes up again, and they are rudely awakened when those two flunky Klingons drag them out of the cave and dump them on the ground next to David, who is sporting a black eye.
Kruge is pissed off because he came to check out Genesis and these were the crappy prisoners he was presented with. Saavik lays it out for him: the planet is tearing itself apart, and the Genesis device is a failure. David looks like he wishes she had sugar-coated that response a bit more.


Kruge doesn't believe her, but why should he care either way? He wants a weapon. Sure, it's no good if you actually wanted that planet at a later date, but if you just wanted to punish an entire planet? Still a damn fine weapon.
Saavik is wearing her comm still, and everyone overhears that the E is in the system, trying to call the Grissom.
Kruge beams back up. 
So the war bird sees the E, but...
No, wait. Kirk and Sulu see the shimmering of the cloaked Klingon ship on the viewscreen.
Kruge preps to drop the cloak and fire on the E. He warns the new gunner not to blow the whole damn ship up, but just to cripple the engines. Dude is still hoping to take good prisoners.
Kirk has them put up red alert, and they fire phasers just as the war bird drops its shields.



The war bird is crippled. Kruge is super-pissed off, and unfortunately, his targ is killed. dude is out for blood. The E's shields fail, as Scotty did not anticipate going into battle. Seriously, Scotty? Kirk is commanding, and you're driving a stolen ship.
Always. Anticipate. Battle.
Kruge fires on the E, crippling our heroes.
Okay, so now everyone is a lame duck.
Kruge is wondering why the E isn't finishing him off, when one of the flunkies says that Kirk is calling to talk truce.
"The fuck?" asks Kruge. "Yeah, put him onscreen."
Kirk comes onscreen, but I guess it's only one-way? He tells Kruge that his being there and firing on them is an act of war and violates treaties between the Klingon Empire and the Federation. Then he insists that Kruge surrender his ship.
Kruge tells one of his flunkies that Kirk is full of shit and guesses that they crippled the E. Then he calls Kirk back.
"Bitch, you guys started this. You built an ultimate weapon. Beeteedubs, I have three people on the planet who are my prisoners. They're scientists who developed the weapon. I'll let you talk to them. Gonna execute them one by one unless you give up the Genesis device."
They put Saavik on the comm.
"Heeey, Kirk. It's me, Saavik. Also David. Also, this secret Vulcan boyfriend of yours that I just banged. He's alive, but, you know, acting weird. Also, he's aging with this planet, which is breaking apart."


Then David gets on the phone. "Sooo, Saavik is right. This thing is a POS. I fucked up all the shit. Don't surrender, cuz the thing doesn't work."
Kruge decides to kill one of the prisoners, and he gives the word to his guys. "Pick one. One potato, two potato, if you want. Just kill one."
The dude flicks open a scary Klingon knife and is about to stab Saavik in the back, when David turns and attacks him. They struggle for the knife and fall over, and the Klingon stabs David in the gut.



He then makes Saavik tell Kirk that David is dead.
Kirk stumbles backward and falls on the floor, stunned.
When they were filming this scene, Leonard told Bill to react any way he wanted. No one is sure whether Bill meant to stumble backward and fall hard into the chair, or purposefully miss the chair, but miss the chair he did, and it's effective. He looks devastated.


He sort of half-sobs, "You Klingon bastard, you've killed my son!"
Kruge says he has two more prisoners to kill, and will do so unless Kirk surrenders. Kirk agrees. He asks for a minute to inform his crew, and Kruge, insisting that he's a nice guy, gives Kirk two minutes to "inform your gallant crew."
Fuck you, Kruge.
See, the thing is, Kruge is assuming that they have hundreds of people on board, rather than five. Once Kirk pulls himself together, he asks what the complement is for that particular Klingon cruiser.
"Like, a dozen guys," says Sulu.

On the cruiser, Kruge does indeed think that they have way more guys on the E. He orders his flunkies to take weapons and beam over, at which point they'll overtake the ship, use it as a flagship, and download the info on the Genesis from the E's computers. One of the flunkies protests because a few guys versus a few hundred... those odds suck.
Kirk calls the cruiser and tells Kruge he can beam over on Kirk's say. Then he orders Bones and Sulu to the transporter room while he, Scotty, and Chekov set the timer for the self-destruct.



The computer gives them one minute to GTFO, but is that really enough time to get from the bridge to the transporter room? I mean, they claim it is, but once again, I have to question the travel times within this ship.
Of course they make it, and Kirk calls Kruge to tell him it's cool to beam over. Our heroes beam off the pad seconds before the Klingons transport onto the E.

When they get back to Quo'nos, they're going to form a boy band called Sexy Ridge.

The Klingon away team walks through the ship, obviously looking for a crew compliment that doesn't exist. They make it to the bridge and the head flunky calls Kruge to report that the ship seems deserted.
"No way," says Kruge. "They're hiding."
Say what, now? Where the hell would they hide 450-plus people? In the lavatory?
The head flunky says no one is there, and he can hear a voice. Kruge asks him to take the comm over to where the voice is coming from so he can hear it as well. The flunky complies and Kruge hears the ship counting down, putting two and two together.
He screams for his men to get out of there, but it's too late. Flunky bits go flying as the ship explodes.

The unconcerned look on the face of this stunt double cracks me up.

The explosion sequence is actually pretty cool. It doesn't just go boom and disappear in a flash of light. The bridge dome explodes first, then there's a series of smaller explosions that go off under the surface of the hull on the saucer section. It crackles like fireworks. There's a larger explosion with the bright light, and the husk of the ship flies forward in space, missing half of the saucer section and chunks of the warp nacelles.
Our renegade crew watches from the surface of Genesis as their beloved ship hits the atmosphere and disintegrates in a firey ball of destruction.


Kirk Hamlets for a moment, then Sulu does a scan and reports in that the core of the planet is shot, and that life-sgns are nearby.
Back at the POW camp, life is really sucking for young Spock, whose aging process is tied to a dying planet. The planet, in turn, is pretty much on fire and falling apart. Trees are tumbling over, root systems and all. One of those dumbshit Klingons tries to grab Spock, despite Saavik's warning. Spock tosses his ass away like a dirty diaper out an airlock.


There's some wild movie-magic make-up here where young-ish Spock begins morphing into the middle-aged Spock we all know and love. The remaining conscious Klingon is kind of fascinated.


But then Kirk shows up, and the Klingon rises to fight him. Kirk is out of fucks to give and simply shoots the guy, knocking his stunned ass back into a pile of rocks. Kirk checks on Spock briefly, telling Bones to look after him, then he goes to David, laying his coat over the younger man's body.
"He gave his life to save us," says Saavik simply.
Bones finishes his scan on Spock, and says that his aging is tied to the planet, but his mind is a blank.
"I've got all his marbles," Bones adds.
Saavik is pretty sure that if they remove Spock, the aging process will slow to normal. There's a problem, though: the only ship available is Kruge's. Kirk picks up the abandoned comm unit and calls Kruge.
"Hey, forehead. I'm here on the planet. Sorry about your crew, but my ship had an accident. Anyway, I have the info you want, so you'll have to beam us up to get it."
Kruge beams down, disruptor in hand. He has Saavik and the E crew go to the beam-down coordinates, then has his remaining flunky beam them up.
"How about my boyfriend?" asks Kirk, gesturing to the unconscious Spock.
"No way," says Kruge. "Gimme the info, and I'll think about it."
"C'mon," Kirk tries. "The planet is going up. If we don't get out of here, we'll die."
Really, dumbass? Really? You appealed to a Klingon's survival instinct?
So of course Kruge gives Kirk some version of "today is a good day to die" and they start a fight.
Not gonna lie. It's essentially "Arena" with the Gorn swapped out for a Klingon.


They end up on a crumbling cliff, where the rock under Kruge gives way. he clings to the ledge, and Kirk screams at him to take his hand. Instead, Kruge grabs Kirk's ankle and tries to pull him over into... lava. 
Yep, Kruge is dangling over a river of lava. I can't decide if this is just following the natural course of planet development, or hackneyed writing. It's certainly no coincidence that the big fight comes right when the planet is melting down into one primordial fireball.
"So over your shit," remarks Kirk, and he kicks Kruge in the face with his free foot. Kruge falls into the river of lava.


Kirk grabs Spock and the comm, and yells at the remaining flunky in Klingon. "Beam us up!"
This is a pretty cool shot of Kirk and Spock just before transporting. I bet the special effects crew had a good job destroying that set. The ground crumbles into fire just after they beam out.


The door in front of Kirk irises open (it's a pretty sweet door, actually) to reveal Maltz, the lone Klingon left of this expedition. Kirk has somehow picked up Kruge's disruptor and has it trained on the Klingon. It's not really necessary, as Saavik also has a disruptor on Maltz, but it made for a nice entrance all the same. He passes Spock to Bones, who takes the Vulcan to sick bay.
"Help us or die," Kirk tells Maltz. 
Maltz is a Klingon and a prisoner, so you can guess his response.
"Cool, kill you later," Kirk replies.
There's a funny bit here where Kirk wants to GTFO, and our boys are having trouble deciphering Klingon well enough to fly the ship.

/

They manage to get away from the planet as its breaking up, setting course for Vulcan. Kirk orders Chekov to take their prisoner down below.
"You asshole," complains Maltz. "You said you would kill me!"
"I lied," shrugs Kirk.

We go down to sick bay, where Spock is still fully unconscious. Bones cannot coax him into waking and giving him better instructions. there's kind of a sweet Spockoy moment here.
"I've missed your green ass," Bones admits. "I don't think I can stand to lose you again."


Gone back to Vulcan, friends.
And check it out - the Ship Goddess and Sarek! Hells yeah!
Sarek tells Uhura to pass along the message to Kirk that they are ready.


Sulu gets to land the ship. Think about that for a sec - how often does one actually land a ship that's not a shuttle? Also, a ship whose controls are unfamiliar and in another language. Let's just take a moment and appreciate how fucking awesome Sulu is at his job.


Uhura meets them at the ship, where they carry Spock out on a stretcher.
A bit of time passes here, and everyone enters this huge outdoor temple.
Ooh, Vulcan vestal virgins. (Now say it ten times fast!) Note: they're not carrying the stretcher, they're levitating it. I don't know how I feel about that. It's cool, but it kind of hearkens back to the Magic Vulcan days in TAS: "Let's give Spock some cool extra powers because he's an alien and a relative unknown. No one will question it, because how would they know what Vulcans can and cannot do?"


The Head Old Lady Vulcan checks out Spock and asks Sarek what he wants to do about the situation. He requests the fal-tor-pan, or rejoining.
"Sarek, are you nuts?" she asks. "That's like, urban legend. You're being illogical."
"It's my kid. Cut me some slack," he replies.


The cutting of slack commences, and she asks who Spock's horcrux is. Bones steps forward and says it's him. Head Old Lady tells Bones that what they're gonna do is dangerous, and that he gets a say.
"Let's do it up," he answers.
They put him up on the other stone table and a dude rings a gong. (Just an aside here: look how hella fine Asian Vulcans are. I'm so super-stoked that Vulcans come in other races, yo. I was pretty stoked about Tuvok, too. Hey, Star Trek - how's about a Philipino Vulcan sometime?)


HOL puts her hands on Bones' and Spock's faces, and there's some lightning, and everyone bows their heads. Sarek, by contrast, tilts his head back toward the sky. Dude is clearly appealing to every Vulcan god there ever has been or will be. Can't say I blame him.
Kirk paces like an expectant father outside of the delivery room.

Drop the beat, Vulcan priestess.

After some time has passed, the HOL is carried out on a litter, and Bones tells Kirk that he has come through just fine. Kirk asks Sarek about Spock. Sarek replies that only time will tell if Spock is able to fully be himself again. The Vulcan vestal virgins clothe Spock in this white robe that I would kill for. He has not turned around yet.
Sarek thanks Kirk, but points out that the cost of his bring Spock back to Vulcan was very high, as he lost his ship and his only son.
"I had to try," says Kirk quietly.


Spock is on the verge of leaving with the other Vulcans, when he turns and lowers his hood, gazing back at the E crew. His hair is tousled, and the hood on that robe is made from a white, raw cotton. Leonard Nimoy is not young, but these things serve to make him seem young, fresh, innocent, child-like. It's very well-done. Spock is restarting his life from scratch, but not scratch, and his brain has yet to reset itself fully.


He steps down the stairs and goes to his friends... friends that he knows and doesn't know. Friends of that Other Spock. He pauses and looks each one in the face. Saavik looks away in embarrassment. He steps up to Kirk.
"My father says that you have been my friend." It's straight-forward and inquisitive, Vulcan and a bit innocent. he is also confused. "You came back for me. Why would you do that?"
Kirk takes a breath. "Because the needs of the one outweight the needs of the many."


Spock turns away as though he is going to leave, then pauses to look back at Kirk, struggling to say what he wants to say. "I have been, and always shall be, your friend?"
"Yes," says Kirk.
"The ship... is out of danger?"
"Yes!" Kirk replies. "You saved us! Do you remember?"
Another pause, then a step back toward Kirk. "Jim... your name is Jim."
Spock looks like he's going to cry. Kirk looks like he's going to cry.
I AM GOING TO FUCKING CRY.


THE EYEBROW GOES UP.


His friends surround him. Spock is back, bitches.


And you know what this means - the one with the whales, y'all! Hells yeah!




Fun facts:
-  I did not think you could beam onto a cloaked ship, as I thought both beaming and weapons were offline when a cloak was up. But after fishing through Memory Alpha, I found that the cloaking device is actually tied to the deflector shields, so those must be down when the cloak is up. One must also have shields down to use the transporter, so it would already be down if the cloak was engaged. And here I was all ready to rant about inconsistencies.
-  I was going to bitch about how there are only five people on board (and they're all standing next to Kirk) when he calls for red alert against the Klingons, but it turns out that it's not just a warning system - red alert bumps up the power to weapons and shields.


- A fire broke out on the set of "The Search for Spock," which Bill Shatner helped put out. Turns out his actions were mostly hilariously selfish: he was still filming "TJ Hooker" at the time, and was afraid a set fire would hold up filming of the movie.


*******
So this movie was mostly okay. Not great, but not terrible. It's also kind of overshadowed by the fact that movies 2 and 4 were balls-busting awesome. Let's compare it to 5 instead, okay? Movie 5 sucks. I'm sure you can figure out what I did and didn't care for here. The fight scene was boring. I will never not find fight scenes boring. It's just me. Sorrynotsorry. But the stealing of the Enterprise was hilarious and dead-on start to finish. We got to highlight our second-tier bridge crew, which always makes me happy.
Also, costuming was looking pretty good here. Not excited about Kirk's architectural blouse-thing mixed with the dark red suit, but it can be overlooked. That teal shirt is gorgeous on Sulu, and that high-heeled-boot-and-swingy-skirt combo on Uhura was dynamite.


I guess David's death was kind of sad, because he had just connected with Kirk, but... it was Red-Shirt Death sad. You feel for the people involved, but we hardly knew him at all. Actually, when Harve Bennett was writing the script, they batted around ideas over who to kill - David or Saavik. David didn't wend his way into my heart, so I didn't really feel it when he died. However, it did provide an excellent acting opportunity for Bill Shatner, which he took full advantage of.



The end scenes on Vulcan were fabulous. Frankly, I have never not been excited to see Mark Lenard on-screen. Vulcan aesthetics are clean and lovely, and the people austere. I really can't complain about the actors not having enough of a sense of humor here because there was nothing funny in these scenes. And the handling of Spock in the last scene was masterfully done. At this point, I have stopped being amazed at Leonard Nimoy's abilities. I think I'd be more amazed if his performance was crap. However, I am baffled at the absence of Amanda Greyson. Your kid died, and was resurrected - where the hell did you go, Amanda? Was Jane Wyatt not available to film this movie?
I also find myself wondering about the absence of Christine Chapel from the last two films, and I cannot find any reason listed in her bios as to why she was not included.

You know how, when you watch something, and there is literally nothing wrong with that actor in that part, absolutely nothing for you to complain about, but you still aren't totally down with it? Yeah, that's how I feel about Christopher Lloyd as Kruge. And there's really no reason for that feeling other than the fact that he was Doc Brown. I mean, what the hell? I took no issue with him as Uncle Fester. Is it because I've watched BTTF and Addams Family more often than Star Trek III? Sometimes my problems stem from them casting someone incorrectly as a Klingon, but I have no problem with that here, either. It's a mystery to me, friends.


The flip side of my Klingon casting woes is that I loved Robin Curtis as Saavik. She filled the role more easily than Kirstie Alley, which is a shame, because I otherwise really like Kirstie Alley. I think a lot of it has to do with how Saavik was presented in the second film versus the third. In movie two, she is supposed to be a Romulan-Vulcan mix, but that part goes unmentioned, so she comes off as some sort of aberrant Vulcan. There was also, originally, a weird love connection thing between her and Kirk, which later turns into Saavik crushing on David, the younger Kirk. This explains the uncomfortable lift scene between Saavik and Kirk. In movie three, they seem to have decided to ditch the mixed heritage, which seems to have been difficult to play, and didn't read well. They went for a straight Vulcan this time, and Curtis played the part well.


So let's address the squicky elephant in the room concerning young Spock and Saavik: did they or didn't they?
Ugh, they did.
It's left kind of deliberately vague, but then you get an absolute answer when you flip through the fun facts and find out that, in the original script, Saavik was slated to get knocked up from the encounter. So why does this bother me? Truthfully, there's a weird Mary Kay LeTourneu vibe. It would have been weird enough if it had been Spock/Saavik when he was middle-aged because they had a mentor-mentee relationship. But then the age difference would not have mattered much. Here, it was 20 to 30-year-old Saavik paired with 14-year-old Spock. It drags other questions to light: is 14 the age of consent on Vulcan? Does there even need to be an age of consent, given that they don't tend to engage in that sort of thing until Pon Farr? If one does not have a mate during Pon Farr times, does one just... take care of business? If so, then why did Saavik feel the need to jump in? Spock was not engaged to be married until he had reached either 35 or 42, which means he went through two Pon Farrs previously. Did he just casually hook up with T'Pring during those times, with their engagement meant to solidify things later? He did say that they had been engaged as kids. Just... it's one of those weird things I prefer not to think about. I'll just leave that to the fanfic writers.
Is there fanfic of that missing scene? I'm 1000% certain of it. Feel free to look for it. I'm certainly not doing it.




*******

This week was week two of "what the hell, let's drink holiday tea." Again, it's from Bigelow, and the packaging is more cartoony than other teas. So is the name: Eggnoggin'. I was hesitant, because I feel like it's really easy to screw up eggnog, and often something that claims to be eggnog-flavored doesn't taste like eggnog at all.
This tea did not taste too much like eggnog, but it was good. Slightly spicy, slightly creamy, a blend of green and black bases.
I won't feel bad about drinking the rest of this box of tea.





All of my projects have butt fur on them.

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