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Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    85
    from 4 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Star Trek III concludes Genesis Trilogy with solid 4K, entertaining yet lacks urgency.

    Star Trek III: The Search for Spock 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    88
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock's 4K UHD release offers notable visual upgrades, with vibrant colors and richer details, despite some mastering flaws.

  • Audio
    84
  • Star Trek III's 4K reissue reuses the 2009 Blu-ray's Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track, lacking a new Dolby Atmos mix but impressing with clean dialogue, solid bass, and dynamically recycled Horner themes.

  • Extra
    83
  • Paramount's 4K Star Trek III release features vital commentaries, including rare insights from Nimoy, and a wealth of extras on Blu-ray exploring the franchise's universe and production intricacies.

  • Movie
    79
  • Star Trek III, directed by Nimoy, delivers a potent mix of emotional depth and sci-fi adventure, despite its flaws, continuing the saga with heart & unexpected directorial prowess.

    Video: 88

    Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" receives its Ultra HD Blu-ray release courtesy of Paramount, presented in a stunning native 4K image complemented by Dolby Vision HDR. The disc showcases a 3840x2160/24p BT.2020 image, maintaining the film's original aspect ratio of widescreen 2.4:1. It takes advantage of a Wide Colour Gamut (WCG), High Dynamic Range (HDR), and Dolby Vision, encoded via the HEVC (H.265) codec to ensure a visually impressive experience. Notably, this release marks a significant upgrade over previous Blu-ray versions, offering a remarkable level of detail in facial textures and uniforms, with colors that exhibit both depth and vibrancy. Despite some limitations inherent in the source material, such as variable grain and occasional softer shots, the overall clarity and color fidelity represent a marked improvement, bringing the visuals closer to contemporary UHD standards.

    The film, shot on 35 mm using Panavision cameras and finished in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, benefits immensely from the new 4K scan of original negatives, offering unparalleled detail in live-action footage and model photography alike. The introduction of HDR amplifies the film’s color palette, with particularly vibrant reds, blues, and greens, alongside impressively deep blacks and bright highlights. While some issues with grain management and minor digital noise reduction artifacts are noted, they do not significantly detract from the visual feast this release presents. The preservation of filmic integrity is evident, despite some challenges in mastering that introduce occasional fuzziness.

    Paramount's effort on this release might not set new bars for UHD presentations, but it does offer a commendably sharper and more dynamic viewing experience than its predecessors. The detailed textures, improved contrast, and enriched color dynamics afforded by Dolby Vision greatly enhance iconic visuals, including the ornately detailed Bird of Prey and the nuanced shifts in environment colors on the Genesis planet. Consequently, while some aspects fall short of the highest UHD benchmarks, "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" on 4K UHD Blu-ray presents the best home viewing version of the film to date, making it a valuable addition for fans and collectors alike.

    Audio: 84

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" presents its audio in a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless mix, a choice that has been carried over directly from the 2009 Blu-ray edition. This decision, while not pushing the boundaries with an advancement to an object-based audio track like Dolby Atmos, still delivers a commendable auditory experience. The soundstage showcases a medium-wide span across the front, with effective utilization of the surrounds to encapsulate music, ambient sounds, panning - particularly notable in spaceship flybys - and directional cues, such as the various environmental sounds on the Genesis planet and the intense sequences of explosions. Additionally, the viewer is provided with a clear and prominent dialogue, solid bass support, and the emotive score by James Horner is rendered with pleasing fidelity.

    Despite its age, the audio performance achieves a respectable level of immersion and dynamic range. Ship engines and occasional explosions output a satisfying low-end response, contributing to the film's atmospheric scenes. However, separation remains somewhat lackluster, and the added rear channels in the 7.1 configuration are underutilized. Still, moments of ambient sounds such as wind and storms on Genesis offer some directional quality. The soundtrack's richness is notably bolstered by James Horner’s themes, which despite being a reiteration from the previous film, enhance the narrative's continuity and emotional depth. Dialogue remains crisp, aiding in maintaining a clear narrative focus amidst the vibrant audio backdrop.

    The package also includes optional audio mixes in German, Spanish, and French 2.0 stereo in Dolby Digital format, along with Japanese 5.1 surround in Dolby Digital, accommodating a wide range of viewers. Subtitles are available in multiple languages, ensuring accessibility. Although the reutilization of the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track may seem a missed opportunity for an upgrade to Atmos, it nonetheless offers a solid and engaging listening experience that respects the film's original sonic qualities while presenting them with an enhanced clarity and balance suitable for modern home cinema setups.

    Extra: 83

    The 4K UHD release of "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" provides a comprehensive suite of features, primarily hosted on the accompanying Blu-ray, while two robust audio commentaries have been directly ported to the 4K disc for immersive viewing. Notably, the first commentary track features the insightful musings of director Leonard Nimoy, alongside writer/producer Harve Bennett, director of photography Charles Correll, and actress Robin Curtis, offering an invaluable behind-the-scenes look into Nimoy's directorial approach and the film's production nuances. The second commentary brings together Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor, seasoned Trek writers, who provide trivia and anecdotes reinforced by their extensive work in the sci-fi genre. The Blu-ray supplements this with a plethora of featurettes covering everything from production insights and the ingenuity of ILM's visual effects to the intricacies of Klingon and Vulcan cultures, propelling fans further into the Star Trek universe. Not to forget, the stills gallery and trailers that round off the extras with a nod to the legacy and continuing impact of this iconic installment.

    Extras included in this disc:

    Audio Commentary: With Leonard Nimoy, Harve Bennett, Charles Correll, and Robin Curtis.

    Audio Commentary: With Ronald D. Moore and Michael Taylor.

    Library Computer

    Captain's Log

    Terraforming and the Prime Directive

    Industrial Light & Magic: The Visual Effects of Star Trek

    Spock: The Early Years

    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 Gallery

    Storyboards

    Theatrical Trailer

    Movie: 79

    Star Trek III: The Search for Spock," directed by Leonard Nimoy, picks up in the immediate emotional and narrative aftermath of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," embarking on a journey that delves deep into the themes of sacrifice, friendship, and the consequences of immense power. The movie, despite its relatively small scale and somewhat constrained budget compared to its predecessors, manages to present a compelling story that revolves around the Enterprise crew's unwavering commitment to their fallen comrade, Spock. The inclusion of the Genesis Device as a plot element adds a layer of complexity, posing ethical dilemmas and creating a target for the new adversaries, the Klingons, who are depicted with more depth, aligning them as formidable Cold War-style adversaries to the Federation's ideals.

    Under Nimoy’s direction, the film achieves a balance between character development and plot advancement, allowing for moments of genuine emotional resonance amidst the backdrop of space opera hijinks. The decision to focus on the core characters, following their unauthorized mission to recover Spock’s body, provides a more intimate look into the dynamics of the Enterprise crew, highlighting their loyalty and the lengths they're willing to go for one another. Christopher Lloyd’s portrayal of the Klingon captain Kruge adds a memorable villain to the Trek universe, offering a personal challenge to Kirk that is both engaging and emotionally charged.

    However, "The Search for Spock" grapples with pacing issues and some narrative choices that might leave audiences longing for what could have been, had the plot been allowed to explore its more intriguing elements further. While it incorporates significant themes and delivers on the emotional promise made at the end of "Khan," it sometimes feels like an interlude aimed at setting up future installations rather than embracing its own potential. Nonetheless, it manages to carve out its distinct place within the Trek saga by emphasizing the power of friendship and sacrifice, hallmarked by Shatner’s significant performance and a momentous storyline that ultimately cements its legacy as more than just a bridge between its predecessor and sequel.

    Total: 85

    Star Trek III: The Search for Spock," situated within the heart of The Genesis Trilogy, secures its place as a compelling bridge between the iconic "Wrath of Khan" and the hopeful conclusion in "The Voyage Home." It capably ties up the narrative strands left dangling with a sense of commendable entertainment, even if it fails to fully capture the shock factor it reaches for. The film benefits from a solid focus on its core characters and presents the Klingons in a more fleshed-out, antagonistic light reminiscent of Cold War Soviet adversaries. While perhaps not the strongest in the Star Trek filmography, its role as a pivotal middle chapter affirms its necessity and value to the overarching story.

    Paramount's release of "Star Trek: The Original 4-Movie Collection" on 4K Ultra HD, available from 6th September 2021, includes "The Search for Spock" in a package that showcases the film in its finest form to date. The remastered native 4K video with Dolby Vision enhancement delivers an impressive visual experience, albeit not ground-breaking within the larger 4K landscape. Audio quality and supplements remain unchanged, preserving the original experience with high fidelity. This collection, especially for those unwilling to wait for a broader set, represents an essential acquisition for both enthusiasts and newcomers desiring to experience the series at its best quality.

    In conclusion, while "The Search for Spock" might not hold the title of the franchise's finest hour, its presentation in this 4K UHD Blu-Ray collection is notably praised. With a restoration that enhances but respects the original material, it offers both longtime fans and newer audiences an opportunity to witness Star Trek in unparalleled quality. The technical execution of this release underscores Paramount's commitment to honoring the legacy of the Star Trek saga, making it a commendable addition to any collection, and an indelible part of the series' storied history.