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.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Friday!

Hey, Trek fans -
Merry Christmas!
If this is not your holiday, then Happy Friday!


Multiple people have asked me if I planned a Holiday Hiatus for the blog, and my answer has been no. (My parents have a hiccuppy rural wi-fi, though, so I may experience some technical difficulties.)
"Why?" they asked.
"Because not everyone likes their family, and may get stuck spending an unpleasant time with others. Or maybe they're staring down an afternoon of "It's a Wonderful Life" and they're hoping that George Bailey would just freaking jump already. Also, I post on Mondays, and people have to work both the Monday before and after Christmas, and I suspect heavily that many people read this blog at work while they're supposed to be doing other stuff. I wouldn't want to deprive those readers of the opportunity to slack off on company time."

And I know that you're just dying to know that my sister bought me these Spocks for Christmas.




Monday, December 21, 2015

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Part I)

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




So just to catch everyone up, and to remind you that you walked out the last film wanting to slit your wrists, they open this new film with footage from Spock's death scene and funeral. The picture is tiny in a sea of back, and the footage is black and white, tinted blue for extra melancholy. The picture enlarges gradually, until the footage fills the screen, and it colorizes slowly, until full saturation is reached, about the time that Kirk gives his eulogy, and stumbles over the words "his was the most... human."



It's followed up by zooming in on the Genesis planet and Spock's casket lying there among the foliage while leonard Nimoy's voice-over of the TOS intro plays. The music swells when we reach the casket and we get the title.



There's an extra-long pause in the opening credits between William Shatner's name and DeForest Kelley, because that's where "Leonard Nimoy" would have gone, and WHY DO YOU HATE ME, STAR TREK?
I can't even with this crap.
Then, at the end of what seems like a ridiculously-long opening credit sequence -



SURPRISE, MUTHAFUCKAS!
He's back, but he's behind the camera now.

Kirk's Log, no stardate given: "Limping home with my busted ship. Going in for repairs because we broke it again fighting Khan, right after it was retrofitted for new missions. A lot of the trainees have gone, been reassigned, and Saavik and David are down on Genesis, exploring."
Kirk walks around the bridge while the voice-over log is playing. He's got a bit of empty-nest syndrome, and he follows up the thought that Spock's death "feels like an open wound" and that he "left the noblest part of myself on Genesis." He pauses by the empty science station with his hand on the chair. If he had said stuff like this on TOS, I might not have bought it. But here, it comes off as earnest rather than overly dramatic.
Go home, Kirk Classic. New Kirk is the better product.



Kirk needs someone at science, so he asks Chekov to fill in. Pavel pauses uncomfortably before agreeing. Engineering is called and Kirk asks Scotty how long until they're completely retrofitted.
"Eight weeks," replies Scotty. "But you don't have that, so I'll do it in two."
Kirk smiles wryly and asks Scotty if he's always overestimated his repair times by a factor of four.



On his way off the bridge, some cute, naive little trainee asks Kirk if there will be "some kind of reception" when they get back. Kirk sees through the crap. He knows this kid wants to know if they're getting a ticker-tape parade. Even though he's smiling at this twerp, you can tell that he's in no mood to party.

We switch ships to some little clunker elsewhere in space. The people running the ship are obviously some chick and a rag-tag group of guys she hired to bring her there. They can't find the ship they are supposed to rendezvous with, so she hails empty space and gets an answer. A Romulan warbird de-cloaks right next to them.



Only it's not Romulans. Early on, there was a plan in place to make Romulans the baddies in this film, but minds were changed after the model was built. "Oh, well," they shrugged. "It's already been established that the Klingons and Romulans share ships and technology, so we can keep the model and just say it was based on that." Remember why that tech-sharing thing emerged? It was because someone on the TOS set broke the Klingon ship model and all they had left was a Romulan warbird, so they added a line about the Roms and Klingons being quasi-buddies. That's right. Someone's utter clumsiness created canon that carried over and now Klingons are flying warbirds again.
And check these Klingons out. Pretty modern uniforms, and everyone has finger-print unique forehead ridges. Noice.
Also Kruge, our Klingon captain played by Christopher Lloyd, has a targ, this creepy dog-thing.



The chick with the hair is Valkris, and she tells Kruge in Klingon that she has the information on Project Genesis. They transmit it ship to ship, and she admits that she has seen it.
"Unfortunate," he says.
"Understood," she replies, and you know what happens next.
The hapless humans she hired want to know when she's going to pay them, then Kruge gives the word and blows the little clunker to space dust. By the parting words between Valkris and Kruge, it seems implied that she's his wife or mistress or something, and he regrets having to take the action. But Klingons, man: what're you gonna do?



The Enterpise arrives at the space dock, which is also a really nice model. And ridiculously huge. Not V'ger huge, but still. We get some loveletter shots of the ship as it pulls into dock, but those don't last very long, as the E crew instantly starts scoping the tall drink of Excelsior-class parked next to them.



This is the USS Excelsior (yep, they named the class after the ship), ready for trial runs, and Sulu nearly wets himself talking about how this new ship has "transwarp" and while it's never fully explained what that is, it sounds like, in racing broom terms, this new ship is a Firebolt while everyone else is riding Nimbus 2000s.



Scotty is unimpressed.



Kirk tells him jokingly not to rag on the kids with their newfangled ideas.
We get back to more loveletter shots, but they're marred a bit by the fact that the ship is all shot to hell. We see inside of the dock viewing areas while other workers watch the ship go by. They seem impressed until they spot the damage. And who has the best reaction? Rand, y'all. She makes this face that I found kind of annoying on her when she was younger, but which is now kind of funny. Subtle, but effective.

"Are you shitting me, Kirk?"
Also, the chick to Rand's left is wearing the shirt they had on Carol Marcus in the last film. Good job, Budget.


The bridge crew is preparing to dock when Chekov spins in his chair and aggitatedly tells Kirk that he's getting a life-form reading from Spock's quarters.
"WTF?" asks Kirk. "I ordered you to seal those quarters!"
"I totes did!" protests Chekov.
"I'm not crazy! It's there!" Chekov tells Scotty in Russian. Have I mentioned how awesome it is when crew members lapse into native languages? I love that shit.
Uhura says that security Reds are reporting that the door to those quarters have been forced. Kirk rushes down there. A pair of ridiculously-dressed Reds with weapons are standing there next to the door, just kind of doing jack.



 Seriously, is this a Star Trek-Megaman crossover?

So they're armed and doing nothing and the effing captain of the ship (and an admiral!) just blindly walks into danger. Is this his idea or theirs? Because either way, it's a bad one. Rand, how do we feel about this?



Kirk turns on a light, which illuminates almost nothing, and we get spooky string-instrument music. A gravelly voice says "Jim, help me."
"You left me on Genesis. Why did you do that? Help me."
A shadowy figure in a Starfleet uniform is sitting in a chair. Kirk rushes forward and grabs the figure, but surprise! It's Bones.


"Bones, WTF? I nearly shit myself!"
"I need to go home," says Bones, who is still acting oddly. "I need to go to Mount Selaya."
"What?" asks a baffled Kirk. "That's on Vulcan, you weirdo."
"I need to go home," Bones repeats, and he collapses in Kirk's arms.
Uhura calls over the PA that they've docked completely and that some other admiral is on his/her way to do an inspection. Kirk calls back frantically that he needs a medic.


The inspection wraps up in the torpedo bay a little later, with everyone on board lined up. This other admiral gives everyone extended shore leave, except for Scotty, because they need him to oversee the final run-throughs of the Excelsior. Mostly what this tells us is, "study hard, kids, but not too hard, or else you'll end up becoming the best of the best and getting screwed out of vacation time." 
Scotty is all, "That's flattering that you want me to work overtime while everyone else gets a break, but I want to see the re-fit of my ship."
"Oh, yeah," says this new admiral. "We're retiring the E, so get your ass over to the Excelsior."
"Um, the hell?" asks Kirk. "We wanted to go back to Genesis to check it out."
"About that," says the admiral. "While you guys were away, some major shit has started over Genesis. We don't have things squared away yet, so we want you guys to keep your mouths shut about it, mmkaaay? The subject is forbidden."



Back on the warbird, Kruge and two flunkies are viewing the tapes Valkris transferred to them. The tapes include Kirk's report to Starfleet, and parts of Carol Marcus' original proposal. When it ends, he asks the two flunkies what they think of the situation, and one says that it's impressive that the Federation are able to make planets. Kruge makes fun of him by weaving some image of Klingon suburbia, then excuses him. To the other, he confides that they are going to Genesis, because he can see the potential for destruction.



In the next scene, a different class of starship approaches a planet that looks like Earth, but the title cards are kind enough to tell us that it's Genesis, and they give us the stardate (though that last part is really not necessary).This is the USS Grissom, a science vessel headed up by Commander Esteban, and it's carrying David and Saavik, who are conducting research.
Ah, but it's a new Saavik. Instead of Kirstie Alley, we got Robin Curtis. Why? Kirstie asked for more money than they were willing to pay, so they simply hired a new actress. This Saavik also plays her emotions closer to the vest. They decided to play Saavik as though she's fully Vulcan rather than a mix of Vulcan and Romulan, and it just works better. Robin Curtis actually does a pretty good job of playing a sardonic Vulcan.
Anyway, David is practically skipping across the bridge when he tells Saavik to start scanning the planet, and she replies, "Just like your father, so human." So I guess everyone knows about the Kirk-David thing. No secrets in Starfleet. Just lovely, lovely gossip.

The bridge of the Grissom is a re-dress of the E bridge, but they put pink covers on the chairs to differentiate between the Grissom and the E. The E has grey chairs. Did they use pink and grey as a subtle homage to TAS director Hal Sutherland, whose colorblindness lead to making grey tribbles pink? I doubt it. Am I going to pretend that that was the case anyway? Fuck yeah.

They begin scanning the planet, area by area, and reporting what the computer finds there. There are deserts, rain forests, and snowy areas. The funny part is that there's a snowy area right next to a very warm desert. Then they find a "metallic mass" that they identify as Spock's torpedo casing. They had not meant to shoot it down there, it had been pulled into the gravitational fields. Esteban tells his communications officer to let Starfleet know that they accidentally jettisoned Spock's casket onto Genesis.
Then something creepy appears on the screen:


So, there weren't supposed to be any animal life forms on Genesis, and now it seems that there is one. David is baffled. Esteban is baffled. Saavik is intrigued. It isn't anything the computer can identify. While they're standing around going "WTF?" David says they should beam it up to check it out.
C'mon, David. You're smarter than that. You can't let shit loose on the ship.
What's more, beaming it up isn't Star Trek.
But Saavik is wearing her What Would Kirk Do bracelet, and suggests that they beam down.
We leave it there.

Now we gather in Kirk's quarters with Sulu, Chekov, Uhura and Kirk. They toast to "absent friends" (which is very Navy of them) and talk about the E. Chekov wants to know if they're getting another ship, like if the equipment is being retired, but the crew remains together. I'm pretty sure that doesn't ever happen. Kirk admits that no one is talking to him about it. He sounds hella bitter about it, too. I guess there's some kind of conference going on, so no one in Starfleet has time to talk to Kirk about being able to go gallivanting through the universe. 
Uhura asks about Bones, and Kirk relays that the doctors think it's exhaustion and that he's resting at home.

Kirk, are you going jogging later?

The doorbell rings, and Kirk thinks it's Scotty, but -


FUCK YEAH, IT'S SAREK! SHIT JUST GOT AWESOME!
He asks to speak to Kirk alone, and the others leave.
Turns out he's pissed as hell.
He found out about the casket on Genesis thing, and wants to know why Kirk would leave him on Genesis rather than bringing his body back to Vulcan. There's some confused back and forth, but basically, Vulcans have this spirit thing called a katra, and when they die, the katra is passed to a living person to keep safe. Sarek thinks that Kirk may have the katra because he and Spock were bros and because Kirk was the last person with Spock before he died. Kirk assures Sarek that he is not Spock's personal horcrux.
"I must have your thoughts," declares Sarek.
Dude. I know you're eager to find out where your son's soul is, but mind-melding is pretty invasive. Maybe don't go demanding that shit, Sarek.
Fortunately, he then politely asks if he can, and Kirk agrees.
They get into position, and Sarek sifts through Kirk's brain. He's kind of reliving the scene while Sarek goes over those last few lines. But they determine that Kirk is not holding Spock's soul.
Kirk now feels extra guilty because Sarek has said that when a Vulcan senses death is near, he'll give his katra to someone else... and he and Spock were separated by thick glass when he died.


Sarek gets up to leave, but then Kirk gets an idea. Maybe Spock gave his soul to someone else?
They go to some computer lab or something to look at footage from that time in engineering before Spock died, and they see him mind-meld with Bones.
"Yep, that's it," says Sarek. "You have to bring the doctor to Mount Seleya on Vulcan so we can separate them."
Kirk says that it will kind of suck getting Bones to Vulcan, but he promises to do so.

We return to the Grissom. David and Saavik beam down to the surface, and they find the torpedo casing pretty quickly. They find some kind of pink thingies that look like a cross between little manta rays and those flying rubber barf pancakes from "Operation -- Annihilate!" David does a scan and says that they used to be microbes from the surface of the casing, and which were on the E when the torpedo was shot into space. he looks mildly uncomfortable when she asks how the could have evolved that quickly.


David makes the executive decision to open the casing, which sounds like Bad News Bears to me. But when he lifts the lid, they do not find Spock's decomposing body. Instead, they just find the black robes he was wearing in that meditation scene on the E. I guess he was "buried" in them. There's nothing else in the casing.
An earthquake occurs, and the wind blows, carrying with it the sound of some kind of animal cry. They begin running toward it.

Somewhere on the other side of the universe, Kirk is having drinks with the Commander of Starfleet. He wants to take the E to Vulcan. The commander tells him that there's no chance of that happening, even if Spock's eternal soul is on the line. Kirk suggests hiring a non-Starfleet ship to take Bones to Mount Seleya. The commander also puts the kibosh on that plan. Apparently, going to Vulcan is cool, but getting Spock from Genesis is not. No one is allowed to go to Genesis except for the Grissom.
"Your life and career stand for rationality, not intellectual chaos," the commander says.
Dude, what show was he watching?


Kirk is all nice to the commander, "oh well, I had to try, right?" and leaves the lounge. He is met at the lifts by Sulu and Chekov.
"Got turned down, going anyway," he tells them. 
Chekov offers to alert Bones.

And speaking of Bones...
The good doctor walks into a bar, and I wonder when he found the time to go to the cantina on Mos Eisley.


No, seriously. There's a huge array of humans and aliens, people gambling and playing games, and is that Lando Calrissian?
The waitress, who is dressed as horribly as the waitresses from "The Trouble with Tribbles", seems to know him personally. He orders a drink he doesn't typically order, and when she points it out, he gives her a line about illogic in his best Spock voice. And props to De Kelley here - he does a mean Leonard Nimoy impression. When the waitress leaves to get his drink, some weirdo sits at his table.
This guy has the syntax of Yoda, and he seriously looks like the Night Hob from The Neverending Story.



So it seems that Bones is either ahead of his friends, or they've already talked to him about hiring a ship, because he's here to do so. This guy approaches him with the offer to fly him somewhere. They argue for a bit, and Bones admits that he wants to go to genesis, and will pay quite a bit for this guy to take him there. They get too loud, and Lando Calrissian sits down next to Bones.
He's actually plain-clothes Federation security, and has been watching Bones for a while. Bones grabs his shoulder a bunch of times in a goofy attempt to pinch him, but it only makes Lando give him a WTF look.


We switch back to planet Genesis, where Saavik and David are walking from rain forest into "snow-covered cactus" territory. They follow some footprints in the snow, and report that they are picking up a second life-form. The Grisson concurs.



Back on Earth, Kirk has gone to see Bones. They tell the admiral that Bones is going to be moved soon to "the Federation funny farm." Kirk makes a "fruity as a nut cake" joke, and the guard brusquely tell him "two minutes" in return. Dude, you cannot use the term "funny farm" then dickishly not even smirk when the person you're talking to makes a similar joke. The unfunny guard lets Kirk into Bones' cell.


The fuck it's not! That's hilarious!
Kirk tells Bones that he's "suffering from a Vulcan mind-meld."


Bones then says this is revenge for all those arguments that Spock lost. These lines are fabulous, you guys.
Out in the lobby or wherever the guards hang out, Sulu gets off the lift and says that he must see Admiral Kirk immediately, because the commander of Starfleet needs to talk to him. While the unfunny guard goes to fetch Kirk, the other one behind the desk yawns. Sulu makes a "working hard or hardly working"-type joke, and the dude stands up. He's pretty tall, and he tells Sulu "Don't get smart, Tiny." What a dick.
Unfunny enters the call to find Bones laid out on the table, and Kirk decides to use the sick prisoner gag. He only gets through half of his sentence before cold-cocking the guy.


Kirk, who has drugged Bones for the journey, helps him stumble out of the cell and into that open area near the lifts, only to find that Sulu has the big guard pinned against the wall. Then he flips that asshole onto his back on the floor and phasers all of the guards' consoles like a boss. They step into the side lift and Sulu says "Don't call me Tiny" as the Megaman-helmeted Security Reds pop out of the regular lift. Going down, y'all.

Do not fuck with Sulu.

In the lift, Kirk calls Chekov and tells him they're all set. They're calling their plan operation Kobayashi Maru. Oh, Lord.

On the Excelsior, Scotty hops into a lift just as Styles, the ship's captain, hops out. The captain is turning in for the night and they make some pleasantries before the captain cheerfully says he's looking forward to breaking the E's speed records in the morning. When he leaves, the lift asks Scotty where he's going. He directs it to the transporter room.



Now we move to the Old City Space Station, where Uhura is doing an hourly checking in with someone and filing paperwork. Her uniform here is a bit different. Her skirt is longer and looser, but damn, can she still rock those boots. With stiletto heels now, too. Yowza.


Her companion is some young d-bag who probably gets starry-eyed over Kirk's Kobayashi Maru results. He complains about being stationed here, and can't see why Uhura can stand it.
She cheerfully tells him that she likes the peace and quiet, and he is stupid enough to say that that's alright for her, because she's older and her career is winding down, but he wants adventure, and to get out of this backwoods hole.
She gives him this look, and he bleeds out on the floor.


He says he wants surprises, which is fortunate, because the door opens, and in walks Kirk, Bones and Sulu. They climb onto the transporter pads, exchanging pleasantries with Uhura while she sets their coordinates. Lieutenant Adventure starts babbling. She pulls a phaser and shoves the entitled little fucker into a closet.
Eat shit, kid. Nobody tells the ship goddess that her career is winding down.

Do not fuck with Uhura.

Uhura tells her boys that she'll meet them at the rendezvous, then beams them away.

We get an exterior shot of the E in space dock, and there's a funny little bit here where you don't realize that the lights of the ship are off until the lights in the bridge dome suddenly click on. On the bridge, our boys assemble. Scotty tells Kirk that he's rerouted the functions so that a skeleton crew could fly the ship, and Kirk tells them that they really don't have to continue on with him, that only he and Bones must make this trip. Chekov says they are wasting time, and Kirk smiles and tells them to get to stations.


As they are pulling away, Chekov reports that the Commander of Starfleet has ordered him to surrender the vessel. (Poor Walter, stuck saying "wessel" the rest of his life.) Kirk tells him not to reply.
We cut over to the Excelsior, and Captain Styles is in his quarters... filing his nails. Now, I really really hate stereotypes, and perpetuating them, but this guy is a pansy.


Anyway, they let him know that someone is stealing the E. The station also goes to yellow alert, and there's a funny shot of a guy resetting the tables in an empty dining hall while the E slowly backs out of its space. You almost expect to hear those high-pitched back-up alarms.


The Excelsior powers up with orders to stop them, and Styles enters his bridge with his chest all puffed out because, you know, he'll chase down that old ship PDQ, and then he'll be a hero and whatnot.
There are a few tense moments as Scotty works to get the space doors open in time to back out of them, and no one is quite sure whether they're just going to bang into them or not. They do start to open, but no one is quite sure if they'll open wide enough and in time. Jimmy Doohan makes this fabulous face as the Enterprise pretty much slides out by the skin of its teeth.



The E pulls out and turns, heading away from the station at full impulse. And here comes the Excelsior, whose captain seems to have a "this'll be easy" attitude. The line up of matte paintings and three kinds of models is awesome in this shot.


Kirk readies for warp drive, and Styles calls him to remind him that he's gonna get into all kinds of trouble if he doesn't turn around. Kirk warps away. Styles readies his ship for transwarp, and then it literally goes splutter, splutter, splutter, putt, putt, putt. Full power available, but... well, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition, and no one expects Scotty sabotage. The transwarp screen goes blank, and a cheerful "Good morning, Captain" pops up instead.

Do not fuck with Scotty.

There's a funny bit here, back on the E bridge, where Scotty likens ship innards to plumbing and tells them it was easy to "stop up the drain." He hands Bones a bunch of parts he harvested from the transwarp computer, saying "from one surgeon to another."
"Nice of you to give me a heads' up," grumps Bones.
"That's what you get for missing staff meetings," Kirk quips.
And they set sail for Genesis.

Back down on the planet in question, Saavik and David have encountered a snow storm. They follow the howling sound, scanners on and phasers drawn, when they spot the source of the sound: it's a little kid. He's naked in the snow, so Saavik puts the black burial robes on him. She tucks his hair behind his ear to reveal points and slanted eyebrows.
"Heeey, Grissom. We found that other life-sign. It's a Vulcan kid, and based on the fact that he's here, we think he might be a regenerated Spock."



WHUUUUU...?

And that's where we're gonna leave off for this week.
tl;dr: Bones is walking around with Vulcan schizophrenia, the bridge crew of the Enterprise has stolen the ship to go to Genesis, the Klingons are also on their way, and Saavik and David have found a tiny soulless version of Spock in the snow of a weird planet.

Sounds about right for Star Trek.

Fun Facts:

- Nichelle Nichols was initially unsatisfied with her smaller part in this film and considered not doing it at all. But then she read the full script and decided that her small part was awesome as hell.
- George Takei had similar complaints about being called "Tiny." He changed his mind when the film was screened and people busted up at the line "Don't call me Tiny."
- Grace Lee Whitney isn't listed in the credits as Rand. She's listed as "Woman in Cafeteria." Whatever, yo. That's Rand, and we know it.
- That little punk-ass bitch that Uhura locks in the closet is listed in the credits as "Mr Adventure."
- This film marks the first time that a cast member of Star Trek has ever directed a film or episode.


*******

I've decided to go with a "why the hell not?" policy when selecting teas of late, and to that end, grabbed up two seasonal teas, both from Bigelow. The one I tried this week is called Ginger Snappish, and featured gingerbread men on the box. I expected not to like this tea because... well, I don't really like gingerbread. The spice palette is overwhelming. But the description said it was mostly lemon with ginger, which I am willing to consume with an open mind. lemon is okay, ginger is delightful.
You guys, this tea is awesome. It tastes like lemon chiffon cake, all light and airy and lovely. No cinnamon and no god-awful clove. I was hesitant when I saw licorice root listed, but I don't really taste it at all.
Sometimes I buy a box of tea at the store and think, "Well, this will be one where the remainder of the box sits in the cupboard forever," and I kind of relegated this tea to that category in my mind, but I take it back now.
It's fabulous. If you're into lemon chiffon, you should get some.