Whilst for the most part the “Star Trek” curse that every odd-numbered film sucks is true, “The Search for Spock” manages to remain the ahead of the other four original theatrical versions struck by this unfortunate title and though certainly not on par with the likes of ‘Khan’, ‘First Contact’, ‘Undiscovered Country’, etc. it still proves to be a pretty decent piece of dramatic science-fiction fluff despite some quiet spots.
‘Spock’ is the middle chapter in an unofficial trilogy of sorts – all its story threads pick up directly from & revolve around events in ‘Khan’ as well as pave the way for what takes place in ‘Voyage Home’. Both those films have much stronger stories on their own which has always left this one feeling like an ‘interim chapter’ rather than a stand-alone movie which all the other films in the series are.
Attempts to give this film its own storylines such as “Back to the Future” star Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon commander out to find the secret of the Genesis planet are fun (certainly a lot more than the klingons in film #5) but ultimately weak. Still the cast give it a good try and for both its limited budget ($12 million at the time) and first time direction by Nimoy, it holds up surprisingly well even to this day thanks to a good cast and a few quite creative elements.
Robin Curtis tries her best to fill Kirstie Alley’s shoes and indeed its hard to picture Alley as Saavik in this, but the “Cheers” star is still better in the role. FX are decent, Lloyd makes a surprisingly solid villain and James Horner’s great music again rings with majesty. There’s a lot to like about ‘Spock’ but problems of pacing, editing and rushed storytelling have marred it from standing tall on its own. Still a quite watchable entry in the series and worth seeing after watching Khan again.