Written by Harve Bennett
Directed by Leonard Nimoy
Cinematography by Charles Correll and Robin Curtis
Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Merritt Butttrick, and Christopher Lloyd
- Commentary with director Nimoy, screenwriter Bennett, cinematographers Correll & Curtis
- Text commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda, authors of The Star Trek Encylopedia
- ”Captain’s Log”: an exhaustive making-of featurette, with new interviews with cast and crew
- ”Space Docks and Birds of Prey”: Interviews with ILM model makers and other production designers
- ”Speaking Klingon”: Account of the creation of both Klingon and Vulcan languages with linguist Marc Okrand
- Interviews with original costume designers and make-up artists about challenges of creating Vulcan and Klingon looks
- ”Terraforming and the Prime Directive”: Hard science documentary on the realities of terraforming research, with interviews featuring several leading NASA scientists
- Storyboard and photo archives
- Theatrical Trailer
My advice: Buy it.
After Mr. Spock’s (Nimoy) noble sacrifice to save the crew of the Enterprise at the end of The Wrath of Khan, the rest of the crew is summarily put out to pasture upon their return to Earth. Kirk (Shatner) sulks about his newly ground-bound existence, until a visit from Bones (Kelley), followed shortly by a visit from Spock’s father Sarek (Mark Lenard), gives the captain a glimmer of hope and the beginnings of a plan. It seems that Spock’s essence is trapped inside McCoy’s mind, and it falls to Kirk and the rest of Spock’s former crewmates to come together again in order to save their fallen friend.
Stealing the Enterprise and making for the forbidden Genesis planet, the crew race against time, their own Federation, and a devious Klingon captain (played brilliantly by Christopher Lloyd) to recover Spock’s body and bring it to Vulcan, in hopes of reuniting his body and mind, thereby saving both Spock himself and Dr. McCoy, whose madness is growing worse by the day.
While there are those that feel the miraculous resurrection of Spock was a blow to the franchise’s integrity, this third installment in the film series may be the only of the odd-numbered installments to dodge the “even=good, odd=bad” curse of the films (though the point is certainly debatable, this one certainly doesn’t belong in the same camp with number five).
This also represents Leonard Nimoy’s directorial debut, and the first time a film in the series was helmed by a cast member. Unlike later efforts, Nimoy had the luxury of being almost entirely absent from the film itself as an actor, so he could concentrate more on the directing side of the equation.
The DVD is absolutely loaded, continuing the line of quality DVD treatments that the first two films received. The commentary track provides real insight into both the directorial decisions that were made, as well as the visual composition and script elements. Unlike a number of “group” commentaries, nobody really gets lost in the shuffle here. The text commentary is a Trekkie’s dream, with exhaustive detail provided regarding not only the production of the film, but also a wealth of “facts” about the goings on in the Trek universe as related to the movie.
The second disc contains a wealth of documentary information, from interviews with cast and crew to a featurette on the current state of terraforming science with members of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Every aspect of the film is covered, including special effects, costuming, make-up, and the design of the Klingon and Vulcan languages. Topping it off is a collection of storyboards and still image galleries.
Trek fans owe this one to themselves, and fans of the sci-fi genre in general could certainly stand to add this classic to their shelves. This presentation is the best one could ask for in a DVD release, with a slew of bonuses and restored audio and video to please one of the most vocal (and demanding) subsets in all of fandom.
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