Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Factual error: According to "The Doomsday Machine", full impulse drive is one-quarter the speed of light. In the first two movies, Enterprise used thrusters as opposed to impulse drive to leave Spacedock, confirming the notion that impulse drive is far too fast to leave such a (comparatively) small structure. Styles, however, orders Excelsior to one-quarter impulse, which is 18,750 km/s. In one second, she will travel half again Earth's diameter. From the time he gives the order to the time we see Excelsior clear spacedock's doors is approximately 40 seconds. Even allowing 30 seconds to go from rest to one quarter impulse, spacedock must be 13-15 times bigger than Earth! That's some serious engineering. (00:23:45)

Grumpy Scot
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Suggested correction: The warp scale has been adjusted several times, so it is impossible to say precisely how fast this fictional technology is, and by extension, how fast impulse is.

Impulse drive speed on starships have been consistent. Although sometimes quarter impulse on a shuttle refers to quarter power and not speed. Even if the speed of quarter impulse is 10 times slower than suggested (and used in the series), spacedock would still be 1.3-1.5 times bigger than Earth, which it wasn't. "It's fictional technology" is usually only a valid correction if the technology isn't explained in-universe. However, when certain parameters regarding fictional technology are established (even if they set wide parameters such as warp speed velocities) violations or contradictions (through bad script writing or whatnot) are valid mistakes.


Revealing mistake: When Kirk and Kruge are fighting, a piece of the cliff breaks away and wiggles down the side of the cliff rather than falling like a rock. (01:22:55)


Continuity mistake: When Savvik and David first encounter Spock's photon tube "casket", they open it to reveal the burial robe rather nicely folded with the Vulcan lettering shown. When David reaches in to retrieve it, the robe is very disheveled, lying more lengthwise, and the lettering not so clear.


Visible crew/equipment: When the Enterprise is exploding, a Klingon is shown flying over the helm. When he lands, a person's arm can be seen on the right side of the screen, trying to grab his foot. (01:14:50)

Continuity mistake: The Enterprise looks way more damaged than it did at the end of II. In the Wrath of Khan, Enterprise takes nearly all her damage on her port (left) side. At the start of The Search for Spock, she is damaged about equally on both sides, and still more so. (00:12:05 - 00:13:20)

Continuity mistake: When Kirk, McCoy and Sulu beam aboard the Enterprise we switch to an outside shot and the bridge lights come on, a very bright white light that lights up all three windows, but when we go inside the bridge is very dark with only a few lights on. The main lights come on when they man their stations.

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Suggested correction: What is being described are not 3 windows, they are 3 lights for lighting up the ships registry and name. There are no windows in a Constitution class' Bridge, original or refit.


Continuity mistake: When Kirk checks the video logs to find the keeper of Spock's katra, the timestamp reveals that Spock melded with McCoy on stardate 8128.78. The Wrath of Khan begins on stardate 8130.3. (00:21:50)

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Suggested correction: The stardate system has never been precisely defined, so this is not a mistake.

While not precisely defined, it has been established in almost every episode that the numbers increase as time moves forward. (example in the Next Generation, the second number of the stardate corresponded with the season number, also in the episode The Best of Both Worlds, Picard gives a Stardate of 43992.6, then later 43996.2. So this mistake stands.


Continuity mistake: Early in the film when a lifeform was detected in Mr Spock's quarters, you see a blip on the screen inside the old Enterprise, not the new Enterprise, which was almost a complete rebuild, with a very different layout. Notice the outline of the ship - different engines. (00:13:30)

Revealing mistake: When Kirk enters Spock's quarters at the beginning of the movie, he hears Spock's voice calling out to him from a darkened area. As he walks into Spock's quarters, pay attention to the top right area of the screen. You'll notice the top of the walls and no ceiling. That lets you know that they were filming on a sound stage in a set with no ceiling. (00:14:50)

Revealing mistake: Obvious stunt double for Kruge during the fight with Kirk. (01:23:00)

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When David and Saavik approach Spock's tube on Genesis, you can see quite a bit of dirt covering the words' red lettering, but when it does another shot of the lettering, it is noticeably cleaner. (00:30:25)

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock mistake picture

Continuity mistake: In the scene early in the movie where Kirk is talking to Sarek the guns on the wall are suddenly rearranged. (00:23:50 - 00:24:45)

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock mistake picture

Revealing mistake: When the Enterprise explodes, some of the debris briefly turns transparent. (01:12:15)

Other mistake: On the backside of the DVD near the bottom is a series of six images purportedly from the movie. The second image shows the crew in uniform, including Mr. Spock, standing in the Federation Council chamber. This image comes from the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (after the crew has returned to Earth and is waiting to hear the Council's judgment).

Revealing mistake: As the Enterprise nears the space dock doors there is an outline around the ends of the nacelles that precedes them as it moves. This shows that the ship was superimposed over the shot of the inside of the space dock.

Movie Nut

Kirk: You're suffering from a Vulcan mind-meld.
McCoy: That green blooded son-of-a-bitch! It's his revenge for all those arguments he lost!

More quotes from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Trivia: Robin Curtis replaced Kirstie Alley as Lt. Saavik in this film as Alley, who had starred as Saavik in "The Wrath of Khan", was offered less money to reprise her role so turned it down

More trivia for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Question: When Commander Morrow responds to Kirk's protests he says "Jim, the Enterprise is twenty years old. We feel her day's over." In ST: TMP, Decker said "This is an almost totally new Enterprise." If the Enterprise was, for all intents and purposes, totally rebuilt from the original, with more space, better engines, etc., how could it be twenty years old?

Movie Nut

Chosen answer: The Enterprise may have been extensively refurbished, but that does not mean it is entirely new. The ship is still 20 years old. Also, that was Decker's comment, and it may have been an over-exaggeration. Newer ships were being designed and built in the meantime, so even if the Enterprise was still mechanically sound, the technology may have advanced so much that it was not possible or it wasn't economically feasible to continually retrofit older vessels.

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