[[caption-width-right:350:[[LiteralMinded He's right over here!]]]]

->'''Sulu''': The word, sir?\\
'''Kirk''': The word is no. [[ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight I am therefore going anyway]].

''Star Trek III: The Search for Spock'' is the third movie in the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' film series, released in 1984.

'''Incoming LateArrivalSpoiler''': in ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan'', Spock was killed, meant to be KilledOffForReal. But Nimoy changed his mind and decided he didn't want to leave the series, as working on that film was such a great experience. Thus room was left at the very end of that film for him to come back, and this film was all about this. [[Creator/LeonardNimoy Spock himself]] sat in the director's chair this time and did so again for [[Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome the fourth film]].

You see, Spock put his ''[[OurSoulsAreDifferent katra]]'' into [=McCoy=] before he died, so now the good doctor is SharingABody with the late Science Officer. Now, if only Spock's body could be raised as well. No wait, his body landed on the Genesis Planet, so now it's a living empty shell! The RapidAging down there means he has to repeatedly go through [[AllPeriodsArePMS Vulcan PMS]] and MateOrDie. Fortunately, Saavik happens to be there. Now, the obvious thing would be to reunite Spock's body and soul, but the {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s say no. The crew [[ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight sets off for Genesis anyway]], of course, where the Klingons are waiting, headed by [[ChristopherLloyd Commander Kruge]].

Not actually that bad considering the whole plot is just a vehicle for bringing Spock back. In particular, the scene where the crew steals the ''Enterprise'' from spacedock, leaving the newfangled ''Excelsior'' and its smug captain in the proverbial dust, is awesome. Overall it's probably best classified as SoOkayItsAverage, and about the only ''Star Trek'' film that no-one really admits to loving or hating[[note]]unless the people in question are the Kirk/Spock slashers, in which case the film is not only universally adored but solid proof that the SubText is actually just plain ''text''.[[/note]].

Oh yeah, the Enterprise goes down in a ball of flame in her final "[[DoNotGoGentle F&#$]] [[TakingYouWithMe YOU]]" to the Klingons.
!!Tropes seen in ''The Search for Spock'' include:

* AccentUponTheWrongSyllable: This is the first ''Star Trek'' production to feature the full Klingon language, and so a lot of the word pronunciations are different to how they would sound in TNG onwards -- for example, listen to how Kruge says ''Qapla''' (with a more phonetic sound) just before Torg's boarding party leaves for the ''Enterprise''. The most common explanation for this among fans is that Kruge just has an odd regional accent.
* AliensSpeakingEnglish: Although the Klingons are shown speaking their own language at first, [[TranslationConvention for simplicity's sake they speak English to each other]] for the majority of the film. Only [[BigBad Kruge]] and [[MauveShirt Maltz]] are shown to actually be able to speak English though. [[spoiler: This becomes a brief plot point when the Klingon troopers board the Enterprise and don't recognise the computer counting down from 9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...1...]].
** It was also referenced that this was modeled after WorldWarI French naval traditions, when officers would speak English amongst themselves while the crew spoke French, so the officers could communicate amongst themselves about matters of urgency or a sensitive nature.
*** Inverted when Kirk imitates Kruge's Klingon command to beam someone up.
* AllThereInTheManual: Kruge's Bird of Prey has more in common style-wise with a Romulan ship (bird like) versus a Klingon ship (boxy and utilitarian). As a way to use PropRecycling in the original series an episode suggested a brief Klingon / Romulan treaty where they shared technology and ship designs; it allowed them to represent the Romulans by using a (previously made) Klingon D-7 cruiser. This brief alliance (the two factions are later very antagonistic to each other) is also the source of Klingon cloaking technology and the Bird of Prey ship design first seen in this movie. Incidentally, that ship style became far more recognizable as a Klingon vessel later in the franchise.
** WordOfGod is that a dropped plot point from the movie would have been that Kruge stole this prototype bird-of-prey from the Romulans.
** There's also WordOfGod that the initial plan was for the villains to ''be'' Romulans. In other words, the movie went from 'Romulans using a cool new Romulan starship' over 'Klingons using a ''stolen'' cool new Romulan starship' to 'Klingons using an oddly Romulan-style (including cloak and name) cool new Klingon starship' in the final movie. This changing of the plans for the movie had an enduring effect on Klingon design aesthetic for the remainder of the franchise.
** The novelization reveals that Saavik and David became lovers after the events of ''Star Trek II'', [[spoiler: making his murder doubly tragic and his sacrifice even more meaningful (he gives his life to save the woman he loves when he realizes the Klingon is about to kill her).]]
** Sulu's comments about how awesome the ''Excelsior'' is, as well as Scotty calling her a piece of junk, were part of a subplot concerning Sulu being promoted to Captain of the Excelsior (Styles was in command temporarily until Sulu returned from the training mission). Scotty's comments were good-natured ribbing at Sulu, saying that the new ship was a lemon.
* AndTheAdventureContinues: The end caption is exactly these words.
* AssholeVictim: The ''Excelsior''
* AvengersAssemble: The scene where the crew get back together and beam aboard the ''Enterprise''.
* AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther:
** Spock and Sarek were always at odds with each other, but when T'Lar questions Sarek's logic in resurrecting Spock through fal-tor-pan, Sarek answers "Forgive me, T'Lar. My logic is uncertain where my son is concerned."
** The same goes for Bones and Spock, but the former gives a quiet little speech to Spock's body that he missed him while the latter was dead.
* BackFromTheDead: Read the title.
* BadBoss: Kruge. See EvenEvilHasStandards below.
* BattleAmongstTheFlames: Kirk vs. Kruge as [[spoiler: Genesis rapidly collapses]] during the film's climax.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: Uhura says this word for word to her adventure-seeking co-worker in the transporter room, moments before shoving him in a closet while she beams the crew to the ''Enterprise''.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:Yeah they get Spock back, but Kirk loses his son David and destroys the Enterprise in the process, and leaving the fate of himself and his immediate crew in serious doubt.]]
* BlownAcrossTheRoom: On the Genesis planet, when Kirk shoots a Klingon with a phaser.
* BodyHorror: Spock's RapidAging is not a pleasant thing to watch. And the screams he yells out adds more to the effect of what is happening to him.
* BookEnds: In the previous film, Spock died to save the ''Enterprise''; in this film, Kirk destroys the ''Enterprise'' to save Spock.
** Also in this film Kirk refers to the others as "My Friends" as they commit themselves to risk everything to save Spock, and again in the next film [[spoiler: directly after the resulting trial]].
* BrokenAesop: But replaced in a ''good'' way. [[spoiler: Sometimes the needs of the one actually outweigh the needs of the many]].
* CallBack: Several:
** The destruct sequence used is the same one mentioned in the TOS episode "[[Recap/StarTrekS3E15LetThatBeYourLastBattlefield Let That Be Your Last Battlefield]]".
** And of course Spock at the end repeating his dying words from the end of ''Film/{{Star Trek II|The Wrath of Khan}}''.
** A bit of a BrickJoke also: in ''Wrath of Khan'', after the Kobayashi Maru scenario, Kirk asserts that Klingons do not take prisoners. In this film, Kruge ordered the attack on the ''Grissom'' with the specific aim of taking prisoners.
*** Since they destroy the ''Grissom'' by accident, [[FridgeBrilliance possibly they don't get enough practice at it?]]
*** Worf and other Klingons later state that Klingons don't take hostages - keep in mind, Kruge was a ''renegade'' Klingon.
**** Also keep in mind that Worf's idea of what Klingons are supposed to do often contrasts with what Klingons actually do.
** In ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan'', Bones growled at Spock, "You green-blooded, ''inhuman''..." In ''III'', he gets to complete the insult.
** Some of the patrons at the bar have tribbles.
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Where did Carol Marcus go between ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan'' and this movie?
** The {{Novelization}} deals with her, as well as the Novelization of ''Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome''. Short story: she spends most of the time in a HeroicBSOD[[note]]She had been romantically involved with one of the scientists killed at Regula, and was only just coming out of it when David was killed[[/note]].
* CasualDangerDialogue: While Kirk and Kruge are fighting hand to hand on the rapidly disintegrating genesis planet, Kirk shouts that they'll both die if they don't help each other to escape. Kruge eagerly agrees and calls it exhilarating (since dying while fighting a worthy foe is the most awesome thing a Klingon could ever wish for).
* ComicBookAdaptation: DCComics adapted the film, though fans would have to wait until the 2010s for the first part of the trilogy (''Wrath of Khan'') to be made into a comic book.
* ContinuityNod: Saavik is left hanging on the Genesis planet because Captain Esteban (of the ''Grissom'') wants to do things "by the book". Having learned that lesson last movie, she's almost a PhraseCatcher, there.
** A more distant one is that the destruct sequence codes shown in the film are the same as those used in the TOS episode "[[Recap/StarTrekS3E15LetThatBeYourLastBattlefield Let That Be Your Last Battlefield]]".
* CoolStarship:
** Subverted with the cool-looking, but utterly useless science vessel ''Grissom'', and the ''Excelsior'', which was intended to be an obnoxious too-modern contrast to the good old ''Enterprise''. Gets RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap a few movies later when [[Film/StarTrekVITheUndiscoveredCountry Sulu is in the center seat]].
** Played straight with the utterly badass Klingon Bird-Of-Prey, and the ''Enterprise'', of course (battle damage be damned).
* CriticalStaffingShortage: Scotty has Jerry-rigged the ship to operate with only five crew. The ''Enterprise'' is supposed to have a crew of hundreds. At least the automation breaks down later. Scotty says "The automation system's overloaded. I didn't expect to take us into combat, ya know...!" It's understandable that simply moving in a straight line could be done with a far smaller crew than usually necessary.
* DarkerAndEdgier: The chief reason, according to Harve Bennett, that [[Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome the next film]] had to be LighterAndSofter.
* DavidVersusGoliath:
** The undermanned, still-battle-damaged ''Enterprise'' is basically The Little Starship That Could compared to the big, menacing ''Excelsior''.
** This was Kruge's gambit when firing upon the Enterprise when they first meet over the Genesis planet. He is convinced that he is outgunned "ten to one" and is flabbergasted that the Enterprise didn't finish him off after the opening salvo. He doesn't realize that one shot was enough to disable her completely.
* TheDayTheMusicLied: The Transwarp sequence has all of these awesome, booming drums and trumpets as it's getting ready to pull off the maneuver and the second the order is given to "execute", it dies out except for the sounds of strings that you can barely hear within the malfunctioning computer.
* DeathIsCheap: Undoubtedly the filmmakers must have known that once they decided to bring back Spock that it would undermine the emotion of his HeroicSacrifice from the previous film and with it the theme of how despite his greatness Kirk can't always save everyone, which would probably explain why [[spoiler:they killed off Kirk's son David, in order to balance out Spock's return and retain the theme of Kirk's fallibility.]]
* DemotedToExtra: Uhura, for most of the film. Mind you, her big scene in the transporter room is [[Awesome/StarTrekIIITheSearchforSpock pretty awesome]], but there is literally no reason for it ending with her being left behind other then that they didn't need her character for the rest of the film. The previous film, when everyone beams from Regula I to the caves inside Regula while leaving no one behind, shows that transporters can be operated on a time delay. This very film later also shows this, as none of the ''Enterprise'' crew remain behind when they beam off (while simultaneously beaming the Klingons aboard) before ''Enterprise's'' self-destruct. So there is ''no'' reason Uhura couldn't have put a short time delay on the transporter and joined everyone else on their mission to Genesis. (Fortunately, [[TheBusCameBack The Bus Comes Back]] just before the end of this film, so that she can be along for [[Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome the next one]].) The film's novelization gives Uhura a little more to do, as she scrambles Starfleet's communication channels during the ''Enterprise'' theft, hightails it to the Vulcan embassy on Terra, and joins Sarek in convincing the Vulcan government to pre-emptively grant Kirk and crew asylum there, instead of just handing them over to Starfleet authorities when they arrive.
* DisneyVillainDeath: See PunctuatedPounding and/or TakeMyHand below for more details.
* DramaticSitDown: [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries Kirk]] stumbles backward in shock when his son is killed, missing the command chair.
-->'''Kirk''': "You Klingon bastards, you killed my son." (Kirk tries to sit, missing the command chair entirely) "You Klingon bastards, you killed my son!"
** This is a famous example of a ThrowItIn. By the script, Kirk was supposed to sit down in the captain's chair, but Shatner missed it. He stayed in character to deliver his lines, and Nimoy (who was directing this time out) felt the result was too powerful not to put into the finished movie.
* EarthShatteringKaboom: Genesis Planet shattering kaboom, anyway.
* EightiesHair: Robin Curtis' (Saavik) bouffant-like perm/mullet hairstyle.
* EmptyChairMemorial: During Kirk's log entry, he paces the bridge, briefly stopping to pat the empty science station chair Spock previously occupied.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Kruge shoots his gunner and calls him an animal after he explains his destruction of the ''Grissom'' as "a lucky shot".
** It's more that [[IWantThemAlive Kruge wanted prisoners]] and [[StupidEvil the gunner disobeyed a direct order from his captain just so he could get his rocks off by destroying the (at best, lightly-armed) science vessel and murdering everyone on board. And on top of all that, had the nerve to think the old "oops, my finger slipped" excuse was going to save his ass.]]
** In the novelization, the gunner begs for his life, an act of cowardice which prompts the shooting and the "Animal!" comment.
* FaceDeathWithDignity: Valkris makes no attempt to beg for her life or flee when she realizes Kruge is going to kill her for seeing the Genesis data.
** It becomes a combination of ShootTheHostage (the freighter crew probably thought they were safe so long as Kruge's girlfriend was on board) and a PreMortemOneLiner.
-->'''Captain:''' What's going on?! When do I get paid?\\
'''Valkris:''' ''(coolly with no sarcasm whatsoever)'' ''Soon'', Captain.\\
** Saavik, knowing that the Klingons are going to execute her, doesn't even blink [[spoiler:until David performs his HeroicSacrifice and dies in her place]].
* FamilyUnfriendlyDeath: David getting stabbed in the throat has a NothingIsScarier feel because of the GoryDiscretionShot.
* FanserviceExtra: All the female Vulcan acolytes during the Fal-Tor-Pan ritual are wearing... somewhat sheer outfits, and apparently no bra from the looks of it.
* ForegoneConclusion: Let's face it, when your movie is called ''[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Search For Spock]]'', it's not going to end with Admiral Kirk turning to the viewers and saying ''"Sorry folks, we didn't find him"''. As William Shatner put it, if they had done so, "people would have thrown rocks at the screen."
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Sulu seems to admire ''Excelsior''. [[Film/StarTrekVITheUndiscoveredCountry He would eventually become its Captain]].
** It's HarsherInHindsight if you read the novelization: Sulu was supposed to take command of the ''Excelsior'' following the training mission from the previous film (he had only taken the helm as a personal favor to Kirk) and his actions in helping Spock mean that he is denied his promotion until several years later as punishment.
* GiveMeAReason: After Kruge executes a mook [[YouHaveFailedMe for failing him]], his first officer asks for his attention while he's still in full bloodlust mode.
-->'''Kruge:''' ''Say the wrong thing'', Torg!!
** Kruge quickly cools off when Torg points out there are people on the planet that could be taken prisoner. This appeases Kruge and prevents him from killing his apparently only competent crew member.
* GoryDiscretionShot: [[spoiler:David is stabbed to death behind a bush.]]
** Averted to hell and back with the gunner who destroyed the ''Grissom''. While there is no gore, we see him ''burn to death from the inside out''.
* HellBentForLeather: The uniforms worn by Kruge and his men look like they were designed by Gene Simmons.
* HeroicBSOD: Kirk when [[spoiler:his son David is killed]] and arguably again with a literal MyGodWhatHaveIDone while watching [[spoiler:the wreck of the ''Enterprise'' burning up in the Genesis planet's atmosphere]]
** This entire movie is a long string of {{HeroicBSOD}}s for Kirk. He started the movie with the one he suffered from Spock's death in Wrath of Khan, had a short one when he heard the Enterprise was due for decommission, and the above mentioned two. Kirk's really [[EarnYourHappyEnding earning the happy ending]], and facing down situations he's so used to cheating his way out of.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:David]].
* HeyThatsMyLine:
-->'''Big-Eared Alien:''' To your planet, welcome!\\
'''Bones:''' I believe that's ''my'' line, stranger.
* HowManyFingers: "That's not very damn funny."
* IAmXSonOfY: "[=McCoy=], Leonard H., son of David."
* IAmYourOpponent: Kruge, to Kirk.
** Literally a line in the movie: "Admiral Kirk. This is your opponent speaking!"
* ILied: When the captured Maltz declares he doesn't deserve to live, Kirk promises to kill him later (let's get away from the exploding planet first). When Maltz demands he make good on it, Kirk has him taken away.
* InTheOriginalKlingon: This was the film that began the Klingon Dictionary, when Marc Okrand was brought on to create a language based on some of the brief Klingon improvised by James Doohan in ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture''.
* InvisibilityCloak: While cloaking technology was used in TheOriginalSeries, this movie gave it the ripple effect that has greatly influenced the way around VisibleInvisibility in media. Although, here it is a plot point as Kirk recognizes something is wrong when they reach the Genesis Planet and was able to visually point out where the ship was.
* [[IWillFindYou We Will Find You]]: the point of the entire film.
* LargeHam: [[WilliamShatner Shatner]] with a side of [[ChristopherLloyd Lloyd]], which leads to...
** HamToHamCombat: Figuratively, literally, and [[UpToEleven Taken to Eleven]]. The acting and fight choreography are so over the top that an entire planet is destroyed.
* LethalLavaLand: What the Genesis planet gradually turns into as it decays.
** FridgeBrilliance / FridgeHorror: That's not lava. ''That's the planet's core.''
* LittleNo: Echoed from [[Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan the previous movie]], when Sarek leads Kirk (or vice versa) through the memory of Spock's death.
* MagicCountdown: The Enterprise's 60-second countdown to self-destruct lasts 100 seconds on-screen, and even that is compressed to exclude people moving around.
** Possibly a ShoutOut to the previous film, as Khan's countdown was similarly extended, but Khan had valid reasons for extending it (he was fooled into thinking he was about to get valuable technical info handed over), while a computerized countdown shouldn't be altering its time.
* MateOrDie: Spock, as he's aging up.
** MySecretPregnancy: According to the {{Novelization}} of ''Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome'', Saavik was indeed impregnated by Spock.
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: A number of aspects of the movie play with this, even though this is science fiction.
** Spock's ''katra'' (speaking through [=McCoy=]), asks why Kirk left him on Genesis. The ''katra'' had no obvious way of knowing that Spock's body was there, as he was given a standard space burial. That the torpedo casing soft-landed, and that Genesis regenerated Spock's body, came as a surprise even to David and Saavik when they were investigating the planet. This implies that it was not merely a bunch of transferred memories, but an actual ''soul'' with awareness that its body was still alive.
** When the Vulcan priestess T'Lar begins the ''fal-tor-pan'' ritual, lightning dramatically flashes. This could just be a coincidence of timing and the volatile Vulcan weather, or representative of her doing something with larger metaphysical impact than a simple mind meld.
* ''"[[MyGodWhatHaveIDone My God, Bones, What Have I Done?]]"''
** ''"[[YouDidTheRightThing What you had to do. What you always do... turn death into a fighting chance to live.]]''"
* MyGreatestFailure: David feels this, on using protomatter for the Genesis matrix.
* MythologyGag: The ship's self destruct code from the third season episode "[[Recap/StarTrekS3E15LetThatBeYourLastBattlefield Let That Be Your Last Battlefield]]".
* NervesOfSteel: In the GiveMeAReason moment above, Torg calmly explains to Kruge that there are lifesigns on the planet that could mean potential prisoners, placating Kruge. You get the impression he's dealt with such mood swings before.
* NeuroVault: It turns out Spock implanted his soul/essence/memories in [=McCoy=] at the end of the previous film, just before his HeroicSacrifice
** Considering he didn't expect to be [[ItWasHisSled resurrected and have his soul and memories returned to him]] and the effect it has on [=McCoy=] (driving him batshit insane), [[FridgeLogic it was kind of a dick move]] on [[JerkAss Spock's part]] at the time.
** This is even lampshaded by [=McCoy=]. "That green-blooded son of a bitch! It's his revenge for all the arguments he lost."
** Presumably, another Vulcan familiar with katra transfers, like his father, was supposed to figure out what he had done after news of Spock's death and [=McCoy's=] symptoms reached Vulcan and take custody of the katra, or Spock just didn't know what a half-Vulcan's spirit would do to a human physiology.
** Another common theory is that Spock's katra upload was supposed to include instructions for [=McCoy=] concerning what to do with Spock's body, but [=McCoy=]'s allergy to mind melds prevented him from understanding the message.
*** The book confirms that [=McCoy=]'s reaction was uncommon. Seems that he's allergic to mind-melds.
*** "Dammit, I'm a Doctor, not a Tape Recorder!"
* NeverTrustATrailer: "The final voyage of the Starship ''Enterprise''" indeed.
** True, for [[ExactWords some values of "Starship Enterprise."]] more pointedly, a huge TrailersAlwaysSpoil.
* NoNameGiven: The lieutenant who Uhura drives into the closet is just called "Mr. Adventure" in the credits.
** Averted in the novelisation - his name there was Lt. Heisenberg.
*** So his name remains [[IncrediblyLamePun uncertain]].
** [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] by Kruge, whose name is never actually spoken in the film, when he refuses to give his name to Kirk.
* NoSell: Immediately after being almost strangled to death by a mutated snake like creature, Kruge calmly reports to the ship that they haven't found anything significant as of yet.
* NotNamedInOpeningCredits: William Shatner. [[spoiler: Leonard Nimoy.]] [=DeForest=] Kelley. Rest of the cast. ([[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by a slightly longer than normal gap between when Shatner's name fades and Kelly's appears.)
* NotSoStoic: Sarek. Despite his differences with Spock, and his own strict Vulcan beliefs, he was still a grieving and anguished father who just lost his son. When he went to pay Kirk a visit, he checked logic at the door and demanded answers. He confessed to the High Priestess of Mount Seleya herself that his logic is "uncertain" where his son is concerned.
* NowYouTellMe:
-->'''[=McCoy=]:''' Hell of a time to ask.
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: Admiral Morrow. It's established that he and Kirk are old friends, but Morrow still refuses to help. Kirk is "therefore going anyway".
* OhCrap:
** When Kruge hears the SelfDestructMechanism on the ''Enterprise'' counting down, he yells at his men "'''GET OUT! GET OUT OF THERE! GET OUT!'''" Too late, though.
** When Kruge's pet growls loudly as he's walking away, Kruge spins and tells one of the crewmembers, "Feed him!" Cue a frightened look on the crewmember.
* OneSteveLimit: Averted .... Which might have confused casually watching viewers who see a character named David and identified as Kirk's son die, then 20 minutes later hear Bones identify himself as '[=McCoy=], Leonard; son of David'.
* ThePasswordIsAlwaysSwordfish: The final password for the self-destruct is 0-0-0-Destruct-0. Granted, it was the fourth password of a set of four, but still.
** It's implied in the ExpandedUniverse that 0-0-0-Destruct-1 will cause a slightly different kind of self-destruction.
** AllThereInTheManual: There is an official guide book that states that the 1 code would cause what could be described in the TNG era as a warp core breach, with the equivalent destructive force of a very large atomic bomb, potentially [[TakingYouWithMe obliterating]] the nearby Klingon ship (i.e., their only means of escape). Also, Scotty said in ''Film/StarTrekTheMotionPicture'' that such a self-destruct would have a force of 100 megatons. About as much as overloading the impulse engines in "[[Recap/StarTrekS2E6TheDoomsdayMachine The Doomsday Machine]]". Destruct-0 "only" sets off charges in the hull to render the ship a useless hulk.
*** FridgeBrilliance: The bridge is destroyed by destructive charges first - which is basically the ''first'' part of the ship you'd want destroyed in a hostile situation.
** Also, they've apparently been using the same password for [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries twenty years]]. (With voice/biometric authentication as well, but come on.)
* PeopleFallOffChairs: Kirk, a moment after he's blindsided with notification that his son David is dead. The script called for him to slump into his chair, but after a misstep caused Shatner to miss, [[ThrowItIn they changed it]] for the extra pathos of the normally unflappable Kirk being devastated.
* [[PetTheDog Pet The Targ]]: Captain Kruge, literally, several times.
* PlotHole: It's never made clear why Kirk has to go get Spock's body from Genesis, especially because he already has Spock's ''katra'' and no way of knowing that Spock's body has been reborn.
* PrecisionFStrike: The scene [[spoiler:where David dies.]]
** See SharingABody, and you'll see [=McCoy=]'s always had a pretty foul mouth.
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: See PunctuatedPounding below. Kirk even kicks the BigBad off a cliff [[IncrediblyLamePun to boot]].
* PunctuatedPounding: "I... have had... enough of YOU!"
* RapidAging: Said word-for-word by [=McCoy=], about Spock, on the Genesis planet.
* RealityEnsues: Turns out however awesome the act itself is, stealing a twenty year old spaceship that's just suffered major battle damage with less than a skeleton crew is a horrible position to put yourself in when you have a fight on your hands.
** The fate of David Marcus is a chilling reminder that just because you're the son of one of the most BadAss officers in the history of Starfleet that doesn't mean that you yourself will inherit all those great qualities that, with training and experience, helped make your famous father the BadAss that he is.
* RecycledSoundtrack: In a particularly shameless example even for JamesHorner, the movie's end credits music is ''exactly the same'' as [[Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan the previous one's]].
* RewindReplayRepeat: How Kirk realizes Spock mind-melded with [=McCoy=].
* ScottyTime: Lampshaded when Scotty tells Kirk that refit will take "eight weeks, sir. But you don't have eight weeks, so I'll do it for you in two." Kirk asks if he multiplies all estimates by four. Scott says he has to, "how else would I keep up my reputation as a miracle worker?"
* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight: Kirk and friends steal the Enterprise and defy Star Fleet orders to not return to the Genesis planet in order to rescue Spock.
-->'''Sulu''' "The word, sir?"\\
'''Kirk''' "The word is 'no'. I am therefore going anyway."
** This becomes an ongoing plot thread. The moment in Spacedock where Chekov says "Commander Starfleet on emergency channel. He orders you to surrender this vessel," and Kirk scoffs, "No reply, Chekov," is the sole reason Kirk ends up being [[Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome demoted later on,]] and one of the key elements Chang uses against him at a trial, [[Film/StarTrekVITheUndiscoveredCountry many years after the fact.]]
* SelfDestructMechanism: [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone "My God Bones, what have I done?"]]
* SentimentalSacrifice: A doozy of one, the Enterprise herself was self-destructed so that the Klingons wouldn't get her. This is the same ship that, on multiple occasions, has been treated [[CargoShip almost the same]] as a LoveInterest for Kirk.
* SharingABody
-->"That green-blooded sonuvabitch. It's his revenge for all those arguments he lost."
* [[HeKnowsTooMuch She Knows Too Much]]:
-->'''Valkris:''' Transmission completed... You will find it useful.\\
'''Kruge:''' ''(shocked)'' Then you have seen it?\\
'''Valkris:''' I have, my lord.\\
'''Kruge:''' Unfortunate.\\
'''Valkris:''' ''({{beat}})'' Understood.
* ShoutOut: The seedy bar [=McCoy=] goes to is pretty clearly inspired by the [[ANewHope Mos Eisley Cantina]], complete with a smuggler for hire (who talks like a bad Yoda impression).
* SmugSnake: The [[JerkAss dick-ish]] Captain of the ''Excelsior''.
* SpaceClothes: Mostly averted, continuing from the previous film, but there are some glaring exceptions, such as the bar waitress's "Space leotard", and the security guards have outfits so ridiculous they look like intentional parodies of this trope.
* SpaceFriction: When the ''Excelsior'' breaks down, it grinds to a halt relative to Spacedock.
* SpoilerOpening: Averted. In the opening credits, there's an extra long pause between Creator/WilliamShatner and Creator/DeForestKelley's names, where Creator/LeonardNimoy's name usually appears.
* StaffOfAuthority - Captain Styles of the USS ''Excelsior'' is often seen carrying a swagger stick.
** Possibly also a ShoutOut to the actor's ''Series/HillStreetBlues'' character Howard Hunter who also carried one.
* StealthPun: ''Excelsior'' is a dubious technology prototype -- in other words, a [[https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Excelsior strange device]].
* StockFootage:
** To a much lesser extent than most of the other 80's ''Trek'' movies, natch; all the special effects shots are new for this film, and the stock footage from the previous movie is actually justified somewhat, since Kirk is watching it on a security log.
** A few shots of the Bird of Prey flying towards or away from the viewer are re-used within the movie itself. The shots are not particularly noticable, except for one where the ship's wings are clearly in attack configuration when in the previous shot they were not.
** The 2002 DVD release has a rather odd example. For some reason they were apparently unable to get anyone to record an actual commentary for the film, and so resorted to taking audio clips of Leonard Nimoy, Robin Curtis, writer/producer Harve Bennett and cinematographer Charles Correll from the "making of" documentaries and stitching them together in such a way as to make them sound like a real commentary. If you listen carefully, you'll notice that at no point does anyone in the "commentary" directly reference what's happening on-screen.
* StolenMacGuffinReveal: The bits and pieces that Scotty pulled out of the Excelsior computer to cripple its transwarp drive.
* TakeAThirdOption: Kirk and [=McCoy=] on the surface, watching the ''Enterprise'' explode and burn up with all the Klingons:
-->'''Kirk''': [[RuleOfThree My God, Bones, what have I done?]]\\
'''[=McCoy=]''': [[IDidWhatIHadToDo What you had to do]]. What you always do. Turn death into a fighting chance to live.
* TakeMyHand: Kirk to Kruge.
** TakingYouWithMe: Kruge's response.
*** Followed by the aforementioned PunctuatedPounding.
* TimeshiftedActor: All the young Spocks.
* ToAbsentFriends: Kirk's toast in his apartment.
* TookALevelInBadass: Uhura. Holy ''crap''.
** "...I'm glad you're on OUR side!"
** Sulu as well. A towering security guard, who took exception to Sulu's sarcastic remark about his work ethic (or lack thereof) menacingly growls "don't get smart, Tiny". Cut to Sulu easily kicking his ass. "Don't call me 'Tiny'."
* TooDumbToLive: Maltz is SO dumb that even HE realises he deserves to die for his stupidity.
-->'''Maltz''': I do not deserve to live.\\
'''Kirk''': Fine, I'll kill you later.
** {{Deconstructed}} in that, [[IfYouKillHimYouWillBeJustLikeHim while Kruge very well might have killed Maltz, Kirk had no intention to]], [[PapaWolf even though he had every reason to]].
---> '''Maltz''': Wait! You said you would kill me!\\
'''Kirk''': ILied.
*** In the ''Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome'' {{Novelization}}, it's revealed Maltz did manage to commit suicide.
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: If you listen to the DVD commentary, Harve Bennett mentions that he really wanted the ''Enterprise'' getting blown up to be a total [[{{HSQ}} shock to the audience]], so he asked the people cutting the trailer together to please, ''please'' omit it from the trailers. What's the first trailer they come back with? "The last voyage of the ''Enterprise''", the FacePalm must have registered on the Richter scale, though it did increase interest in the film from fans who wondered [[LikeYouWouldReallyDoIt if they'd actually do it]].
** It actually ramped up the tension when ''Film/StarTrekVITheUndiscoveredCountry'' was billed as the last adventure for the original crew, and showed Kirk being vaporized.[[note]]It was Marta, but no one knew there would be a shapeshifter involved.[[/note]]
** '''Titles''' Spoil: as remarked upon by Creator/RogerEbert: "It's called ''The Search for Spock''. What, do you think they ''don't'' find him?
* TranslationConvention: Bizarrely, the scenes with the Klingons only use it on about half the lines.
* TrueCompanions: The senior crew of the Enterprise. While Scotty rigs the Enterprise so that Kirk can man it himself, Scotty, Sulu and Chekov insist on continuing on with Kirk and Bones. This loyalty, while not surprising, visibly moves Kirk.
* TurnOutLikeHisFather: "So like your father, you changed the rules."
* {{Understatement}}: As befits a [[PlanetOfHats race who habitually understates]], Sarek's line, when asked about his intentions to reunite Spock's mind and body, is to say that his "logic is uncertain where [his] son is concerned". Mark Lenard's subtle body language gets the point across that Sarek is grief stricken to the point he is grasping at straws.
* VehicularSabotage: Scotty "performing surgery" on the USS ''Excelsior'''s transwarp drive.
* VillainousBreakdown / OhCrap: When the Klingon boarding party arrives on the bridge of the Enterprise... and all they find is the computer talking to itself.
-->'''Torg''': It is the only thing speaking.\\
'''Kruge''': Speaking? Let me hear.\\
'''Computer''': Six. Five. Four. \\
'''Kruge''': ''[[OhCrap GET OUT!! GET OUT OF THERE!!!]]''\\
(Torg looks confused)\\
'''Computer''': Three. Two. One. \\
** This makes more sense when you remember that Kruge is the only one who understands English. Though, honestly, one can tell a countdown strictly via ''context''. (See ''Film/{{Predator}}'' as Evidence A.)
* VulcanHasNoMoon: In an early episode of ''Series/{{Star Trek|The Original Series}}'', Spock tells Uhura this in response to her flirting. However, ''Star Trek III'' shows a massive "moon" in the Vulcan sky. {{Justified|Trope}} in that it's so big, in fact, that [[FridgeBrilliance Vulcan does not technically have a moon;]] Vulcan is a binary planet. [[ExactWords This specificity]] is quite within [[LiteralMinded Vulcan character.]]
** This is also a callback to the animated episode "Yesteryear". Dorothy Fontana specified in the script there be no moon in the sky. So, huge object in sky = sister planet.
* WackySoundEffect: Several, when the ''Excelsior'''s transwarp drive fails.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: And Maltz was never seen again.
** He committed suicide, according to the {{Novelization}}.
** However, in the Expanded Universe he's still around in the 24th century, ninety years later, having spent some time as a Federation prisoner before being released, and atones for his past failure by helping out when someone gains control of the Genesis information. See ''Literature/StarTrekTheGenesisWave''.
** ''[[AllThereInTheManual The Klingon Dictionary]]'' credits Maltz for assisting in the Federation efforts to translate and to understand the Klingon language.
** The ''VideoGame/StarTrekKlingonAcademy'' PC game has an entry on Maltz in the library computer. It insists that Maltz died heroically and that [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial there is absolutely no truth to the rumors]] that he survived and is currently assisting Starfleet with Klingon language translation.
* WhatTheHellHero: Saavik's reaction to David when he reveals he used [[AppliedPhlebotinum protomatter]] in the Genesis torpedo, in order to solve problems that might not otherwise have made the project possible. This comes out as a result of their discussion as to why the planet is so unstable (disregarding the fact that the planet was created from the Genesis torpedo detonating [[Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan inside a starship, within a nebula, and created that planet and its star from said nebula]], but that doesn't change the impact of this trope).
** The {{Novelization}} takes things a bit differently. David explains that it was the development team, not him, who used protomatter in the Genesis device. While David did have misgivings and even verbally objected over the protomatter, Saavik berates him as he ultimately [[AccompliceByInaction did nothing to stop his colleagues]].
*** It's not quite like that. In the {{Novelization}}, David notices mathematical errors in the Genesis code that he believes ''may'' lead to the planet degenerating into a substance called [[AppliedPhlebotinum protomatter]] under certain circumstances (as opposed to using it as a secret ingredient), but his [[HeroWorshipper reverence for the other scientists]] and his own self-doubt prompt him to [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone keep his mouth shut]]. Saavik still [[NiceJobBreakingItHero reams him out for it]].
** The writers likely needed to render the Genesis project ineffective to ward off explaining why they're not using it all over the place in the future.
* WhyIsntItAttacking: See Genre Savvy above.
* WorfHadTheFlu: The jury-rigged ''Enterprise'' was still badly damaged after the last film, and Scotty didn't anticipate being in a combat situation, thus being disabled by Kruge's bird-of-prey after its circuits overload. Kruge is surprised when he wins, since the ''Enterprise'' outguns him ten-to-one.
* YouFool: Kirk calls Kruge this for fighting him on a burning planet instead of trying to escape. This makes an interesting CallBack to the original series, given that [[Recap/StarTrekS3E7DayOfTheDove Kang never told him that "only a fool fights in a burning house."]]
* YouHaveFailedMe: Kruge shoots his gunner for destroying [[spoiler: the USS ''Grissom'']] because he wanted prisoners.
* YouWouldDoTheSameForMe: Between Kirk and the newly resurrected Spock.
-->'''Spock''': My father says you have been my friend. You came back for me.
-->'''Kirk''': You would have done the same for me.
* {{Zeerust}}: When viewing the footage of the engine room, Kirk rewinds the recording, and it looks like a VHS tape rewinding instead of instantly jumping back.
** Another example is the fighter plane computer game played by the human and the alien in the bar [=McCoy=] goes to.
*** How many holographic arcade games do ''you'' play?
** The screens, largely (though not entirely) starting with this film, are clearly [=CRTs=]. Great for making screens feature motion, but they look less like modern screens than the still-image projections and backlit photos that came before.
-->[-"Jim... Your name is Jim."-]