The Search for Spock was the movie that first suggested the whole “even movies good, odd movies not so much” pattern, but give the poor sequel some credit. It was following on the heels of The Wrath of Khan, arguably the best of the Trek films, and one of the best science fiction movies of all times. That’s a lot to live up to, so I can’t hate on it too much for not rising to the occasion. But while it’s not nearly as bad as, say, Star Trek V, it is pretty forgettable.
Picking up hot on the heels of Star Trek II, The Search for Spock finds the Enterprise returning to Earth so they can hammer out all the dents Khan put in the ship. They can forget about enjoying a little shoreleave, however, because they soon discover Bones is walking around with a bit of Spock crammed in his noggin. Kirk realizes they must recover Spock’s corpse and take it to Vulcan, where they might be able to reverse that pointy-eared bastard’s noble death. Unfortunately, the Genesis planet is now a hot-button political issue and has been quarantined except for approved scientific researchers. So Kirk does what any self-respecting maverick starship captain would do: he steals the friggin’ Enterprise.
This whole sequence is fun, but it feels like it could have been “bigger.” That’s not saying I need a Michael Bay setpiece or anything, but the whole scam just seems a little too easy. If nothing else it suggests that Starfleet security may be trained by the same people who instruct Stormtroopers. I’m pretty sure Starfleet security would have got their asses kicked by ewoks too. There’s also a scene where a Spock-possessed Bones tries to hire a ship to take him back to Genesis, which involves him negotiating with an annoying alien who talks in Yoda cadence. It’s like somebody decided to drop McCoy briefly into the Star Wars universe, but it’s not nearly as funny as it thinks it is. The bit where Scotty sabotages the snazzy new ship Starfleet sends to pursue them, however, is worth a laugh.