Star Trek The Original 4-Movie Collection: Star Trek II The Search For Spock - 4K Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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Star Trek The Original 4-Movie Collection: Star Trek III The Search For Spock

Movie: :3.5stars:
4K Video: :4stars:
Video: :3stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :4stars:
Final Score: :3.5stars:


It’s kind of a running joke among Star Trek fans that the even numbered movies are usually great, while the odd numbered movies were not the best. Ironically, up to a point, that is true. At least for the first 6-8 films that pattern held true. Paramount would release a mediocre opening film with The Motion Picture, then follow it up with the stunning Wrath of Khan, drop the ball a bit on The Search for Spock, then knock it out of the park again with The Voyage Home and so on and so forth.

Well, it had only been two years since The Wrath of Khan revitalized Star Trek back into a mainstream event and Leonard Nimoy wanted to direct the next film. The movie starts off just after the events of Spock’s death in Wrath of Khan, with a grieving Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) coming home after giving Spock (Nimoy) to face his father Sarek (Mark Lenard) where it’s uncovered that Spock’s eternal soul is trapped within McCoy’s (DeForest Kelley) mind. The only way for said soul to find peace is to go back to the planet Genesis and retrieve his body where the Vulcans can let Spock’s mind and body go.

However, Starfleet command is not about to let Kirk go back to the forbidden experimental planet and he’s given strict orders to stand down. Orders that the Admiral gleefully disobeys with the help of Sulu, Uhura, Checkov and Scotty as they steal the Enterprise (still damaged by their battle with Khan and his genetic super soldiers) and head deep into space. The easy in and out mission that they embark on suddenly becomes a lot more dangerous when a “rogue” Klingon commander (Christopher Lloyd) also has plans to acquire the Genesis project information and sees his opportunity to learn more from Kirk and the Enterprise. Now it’s not just an extraction mission, but a battle for their lives as the weakened human forces have to fight off a cruel and crafty Klingon commander who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

The Search For Spock is actually not that bad. It’s not the greatest of Trek movies, but it is far from the flop that is Star Trek V: The Final Frontier or as mediocre as The Motion Picture. Directed and controlled by Nimoy, it has the basis for a good movie but suffers from Nimoy’s inexperienced hand behind the helm. The idea of Spock coming back to life was something Paramount really wanted, but the cheesy effects, cheesy hammy acting from Lloyd, and a slightly nonsensical storyline really hampers the film. I will admit though, it has one of the most iconic and hilarious lines of Kirk’s career. You know, the infamous “I’ve...had...just about...Enough… of YOU!!!!” as he kicks Lloyd’s Klingon antagonist over the edge of the cliff in pure Shatner glory.

Honestly, I still enjoy The Search for Spock. It was an experiment that didn’t live up to the legend, but added an extra dimension to Spock and Kirk’s relationship. One that would be more fully explored in The Voyage Home a few years later. The film itself is hammy and a bit weak, but still popcorn fun. Especially when you consider that it sets up the reason for Kirk's loathing hatred of Klingons that would be explored in in the fantastic The Undiscovered Country

Rated PG, Parental Guidance Suggest by the MPAA

4K Video: :4stars: Video: :3stars:
I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure that this is a genuine NEW remaster of the film, as it looks nothing like the old Blu-ray master that was aging when we got it back in 2009. It’s nice and clean, with a gloriously grainy source that isn’t perfectly crisp and clear due to the filming style, but is a total breath of fresh air. When aboard the Enterprise or on the bird of prey we see a very clean and well defined image, with only mild crush. I do notice softness around faces that have stuck with the previous films due to the filming style and optical effects used, but the colors are amazingly clean and much more rich and vibrant, even if the overall brightness is less than the Blu-ray. The matte composition shots are great for the most part, but it’s not hard to see the infamous matte lines around ships, or big giant set pieces during motion. Nothing that can really be considered a problem with the encode, but rather the side effect of the effects used during the time period. Good transfer and a MASSIVE improvement over the Blu-ray.

Audio: :4stars:
Once again, we get the same 7.1 Dolby TrueHD track that the older Blu-ray got, and it’s a solid entry. It’s relatively faithful to the old 2.0 stereo mix that was the theatrical mix, just with a slightly opened up sound stage. Even the 7.1 mix, as good as it is, is a little front heavy and bass lite due to the source. Background activity is sold though, with some great “swooshes” through space from the Enterprise or the Bird of Prey, and a few bits of rattling debris in the background when Kirk is avenging his son’s death at the end. Good mix, nothing wild, but definitely still a solid contender.

Extras: :4stars:
• Audio Commentary featuring Leonard Nimoy, Harve Bennett, Charles Correll, & Robin Curtis
• Audio Commentary featuring Ronald D. Moore & Michael Taylor
• Library Computer Viewing Mode
• Production
-- EASTER EGG! Ken Ralston on Models and Creature Effects
-- Captain’s Log
-- Terraforming and the Prime Directive
-- Industry Light & Magic: The Visual Effects of Star Trek
-- Spock: The Early Years
• The Star Trek Universe
-- Space Docks and Birds-of-Prey
-- Speaking Klingon
-- Klingon and Vulcan Costumes
-- Star Trek and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame
-- Starfleet Academy SCISEC Brief 003: Mystery Behind the Vulcan Katra Transfer
• Photo Galleries
• Storyboards
• Trailer

Final Score: :3.5stars:

The Search For Spock is a mixed bag. It’s got more of the high flying space adventure that made The Wrath of Khan so good, but some of the cheesier moments in the franchise, which was never eclipsed until the infamous Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The 4K UHD disc certainly looks great though. It’s not a perfect 4K disc, but it VASTLY outclasses the aging Blu-ray transfer and is worth the price of admission alone as those of us who have been suffering from that bad Blu-ray transfer for years.

Technical Specifications:

Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, George Takei, Majel Barrett, James Doohan, Robin Curtis, Robert Hooks
Directed by: Leonard Nimoy
Written by: Gene Roddenberry (Based on), Harve Bennett
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 German DD TrueHD 2.0, French DD 2.1, Japanese DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Studio: Paramount
Rated: PG
Runtime: 105 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 7th, 2021

Recommendation: Great Buy (Whole Set)

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