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With this sequel, STAR TREK proved that it could indeed be a viable franchse for the film format. Unlike its predecessor, STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN is not dull in the least. It is a gripping, dramatic, skillfully directed (by Nicholas Meyer) feature with an engrossing plot and a memorably exciting (and heartbreaking) climax. In this "trek", a villain from an episode of STAR TREK, the super-human criminal Khan (the late Ricardo Montalban, in a memorably scene-chomping performance--although William Shatner's Kirk does get to do one overacted scream of "KAHN!" midway through the film), returns from five years of exile to exact revenge on Admiral Kirk and the Enterprise. Some parts of the film may be too intense or grisly, notably one sequence where Khan places disgusting eels in two officer's ears, but at the same time, the "shock" value of that moment gives a gritty edge to THE WRATH OF KHAN. The special effects are provided by George Lucas's Industrial Light & Magic, and are a huge stepup from those of THE MOTION PICTURE. James Horner's thrilling score is also a fitting compliment. Considered by fans to be the best of the STAR TREK movies (although I will debate that point since I've enjoyed III and IV--which happen to form a long arc equivalent to a trilogy--as well as VI), this is a great place to start if you're not familiar with STAR TREK.
Regularly ranked as one of the greatest sci-fi movies in history Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan has a lot to prove to 21st century cinephiles. Personally I really enjoy the film, but if I'm perfectly honest I remain baffled by the constant praise that is heaped at the film. For me it is a hugely entertaining movie, but it's not my favorite Star Trek film and wouldn't even be a blip on the radar of my favorite sci-fi movies. Maybe I'm just a heathen though!!!
Star Trek 2 is a direct follow up to an episode of the original series entitled Space Seed. In that episode Captain James. T. Kirk had abandoned an enemy on the remote planet of Ceti Alpha V. In Wrath Of Khan Mr. Checkov and his captain are doing tests on Seti Alpha VI without realizing that Seti Alpha VI was destroyed and Seti Alpha V has taken its place in the solar system (does nobody keep tabs on galactic spanning disasters any more?!?!?!). The pair are soon captured by Khan; the villain Kirk had abandoned on this planet 15 years prior, and taken back to their ship so that Khan can hunt down Admiral Kirk and take his revenge. Fortunately for him Kirk has grabbed a lift on the enterprise and is heading straight to the planet anyway.
As a stand alone story then The Wrath Of Khan is an interesting enough movie, but as a follow on to Space Seed it leaves a lot of plot holes open that should have been dealt with. Personally though I really enjoyed it and felt it a massive improvement over the original motion picture! I don't even care that the plot seems to be reliant on contrivances that should stand out more than they do. I don't even care that the enterprise youthful crew of trainees includes nearly every major player in Kirk's original crew, because the plot has been advanced with enough tongue in cheek humor to carry you through everything.
I challenge anyone to witness the fun William Shatner is having as Kirk and not grin along with him as he plays his mind games against Khan. There's one scene in particular involving Kirk's reading glasses where Shatner seemed to animate the entire room. Thankfully he is supported well by his faithful crew with both DeForest Kelly and Leonard Nimoy having some hysterical moments.
One area of the casting that I was disappointed with however was Ricardo Montalban as the lead villain Khan. Considering this guy is considered by many to be Kirk's joker I found him to be a little dull and lifeless. Montalban's attempts at an Indian accent were; frankly, embarrassing as they merged with his naturally Spanish accent to create an unbearable hybrid. I also found that he failed to portray any of Khan's supposed intelligence and cunning, instead coming across as a desperate man with no time for thinking things through. After hearing all of the controversy surrounding another actor playing the roll in a later film I remain confused as to why Montalban is considered untouchable.
In all other areas though the film remained a lot of fun. By relying more on contrivance director Nicolas Meyer has been able to keep the plot tight and the pacing taught. He's been able to give his focus to the personal drama between Kirk and Khan without worrying about hopping between galaxies. I was a little disappointed that this pacing prevented us from ever seeing Khan in action though. He's supposed to be a genetically improved human leading an army of genetically improved humans, but all any of them do in this is sit in their chairs barking orders!!!
Nevertheless that is a forgivable sin in a film that otherwise stands up really well. The returning cast have a lot of fun in their rolls, and the atmosphere that was missing from The Motion Picture is back in a big way. Even the effects; which are admittedly still dated, have held up well enough to hold your interest in the film. So I can happily recommend it as a film worthy of your attention, particularly if you have seen any of the later films and have any questions. Just don't expect a Sc-fi movie to top the likes of Alien and Bladerunner and you should be able to have a blast!
1982's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is widely seen as the best film in the venerable star hopping franchise (the whimsical and amusing Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is probably its closest rival) and the one that established the blueprint for how to make a Star Trek film. They never quite got the blueprint down again so effectively really despite making four more sequels after this (not to mention The Next Generation pictures with Patrick Stewart and his crew). The Wrath of Khan was directed by Nicholas Meyer and co-written by him with Harve Bennett and Jack B Sowards. Meyer wrote the final draft but is officially uncredited for reasons that escape me at the moment. After the less than estatic response to the first film and its lackadaisical somnambulant and somewhat pompous tone in the eyes of many critics, general audiences and even a few Trekkies, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was deemed the problem and elbowed out of the creative process for the sequel. Very ruthless but Roddenberry took Star Trek very seriously and they needed to lighten up and look at the fledgling film series in a new way. From what I've read no one thought that Roddenberry was much of a genius when it came to the film side of Star Trek or coming up with plots. Director Nicholas (Time After Time) Meyer proved to be a very shrewd choice to direct The Wrath of Khan but had never seen any Star Trek before at all, even on television, and yawned his way through Star Trek: The Motion Picture when it was screened for him by the studio. Once he'd woken up from his slumber, Meyer told the studio bosses he could make a far more entertaining and appealing Star Trek film that would cost them only half the money. He turned out to be right. Meyer felt that the sequel needed a big injection of humour, action and adventure, more character interaction and a memorable villain that everyone would remember. It was suggested that the villain could perhaps be an old adversary of Kirk from the television series who has returned after many years for revenge and upon trawling through old episodes they found the perfect candidate from the 1967 story "Space Seed". The evil genetically engineered genius Khan (Ricardo Montalban) - who once tried to take over the Starship Enterprise and was left marooned on a barren planet for his troubles with his small rabble of followers by Captain Kirk.
The story picks up with the USS Reliant in deep space and searching for a desolate planet to test the Genesis device - a torpedo that restructures matter to create habitable worlds. Life from nothing. Naturally though Genesis would be devastating to a world that already had life so is a highly guarded Federation secret that can never be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. Walter Koenig's Commander Pavel Chekov (obviously having a break from his Enterprise duties here) and Captain Clark Terrell (Paul Winfield) beam down from the Reliant to what they think is a likely candidate - a windswept rock named Ceti Alpha VI. Big mistake. Khan has been trapped there for 15 years since being dumped by Kirk and is now completely embittered and even more bonkers after the death of his wife on the planet. "THIS IS CETI ALPHA FIVE! Ceti Alpha Six exploded six months after we were left here. The shock shifted the orbit of this planet and everything was laid waste. ADMIRAL Kirk never bothered to check on our progress. It was only the fact of my genetically-engineered intellect that allowed us to survive. On Earth, two hundred years ago, I was a prince with power over millions!" Khan and his men capture Chekov and Terrell and put mind-controlling earwigs (ugh!) in their ears before escaping the planet by seizing the Reliant. He then attacks the Regula I space station - where the Genesis project is overseen by Kirk's former girlfriend Dr Carol Marcus (Bibi Besch) and his estranged son David (Merritt Butrick). Just as Khan has planned, Captain Kirk (William Shatner obviously) is swiftly on the way with the Enterprise. A classic duel and battle of wits between the old enemies will soon play out in the far reaches of space.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan proved to be a big hit with critics and audiences and rejuvenated the franchise after its uncertain first step. Meyer infuses much more action and tension into the story and much more humanity too. At the start of the film a grumpy Kirk is in no mood to celebrate what seems to be an important birthday (presumably his 50th but they never stipulate an exact number). He's feeling depressed, old and increasingly irrevelevant. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) urges him to get out of his funk and go and get command of the Enterprise again before it's too. "Jim, I'm your doctor and I'm also your friend. Get back your command! Get it back before you turn into part of this collection, before you really do grow old!" I think Kirk's arc is quite touching here. He must face up to getting older and confront things that he has always avoided to once again feel renewed and optimistic about the future again. The much derided Shatner does some of his best work in the picture. He's an old ham and cult comedy character but he's always fun and not as dreadful as everyone makes him out to be when he has a bit of modest thesping to sink his toupee into. Actually, Shatner did some good stuff when he was younger and was excellent in some sixties Twilight Zone episodes I've seen him in. We famously open this film with Vulcan Lieutenant Saavik (Kirstie Alley) taking the Kobayashi Maru test - a no-win scenario designed to test character. "How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life, wouldn't you say?" Kirstie Alley is very good by the way and makes a convincing Vulcan! This is a great intro scene that features all the regulars. We learn that Kirk was the only student to ever beat Kobayashi Maru and find out exactly how he did it before the film is over. You'll already know though this if you've seen JJ Abrams slightly overrated Start Trek reboot but never got around to The Wrath of Khan. The Kobayashi Maru supplies an iconic entrance for Kirk in the film.
The first film was determined not to be like the television series in any way but this one restores the humour and cameraderie - the general spirit of adventure and proves to be a lot of fun. The biege pyjamas of the first film are gone and the costumes have taken on a more nautical sheen. Meyer decided that as the Enterprise was like serving on a navy vessel - only in space in the future - then the costumes and general look of the ship should reflect this. Captain Kirk and the crew get collars and bright red uniforms with buckles and belts and these designs were deemed strong enough to keep in place for the rest of the series. Star Trek II feels a bit camper than the first film, more relaxed and at ease with itself. There is a greater sense of purpose. With stirring music by Jerry Goldsmith, The Wrath of Khan is simply a more entertaining picture than Star Trek: The Motion Picture. You get funky space battles (most famously a cat and mouse chase in a vaporous nebula) and a wonderful scenery-chewing villain who is Captain Ahab with Kirk his whale. "He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him! I'll chase him 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round Perdition's flames before I give him up!" Montalban (great voice) is clearly relishing being the villain in a big film and is great value. They must have used some sort of prosthetics for his manly chest! Notice by the way that Kirk and Khan never once meet face to face in the whole film. There is an enjoyably sardonic sense of banter between Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Leonard Nimoy has much more to do here than the first film and features prominently in the third act for reasons most people will be aware of by now. Star Trek II is rather poignant at the end and emotionally connects to the audience more successfully than the more ambitious but more aloof Start Trek: The Motion Picture. Meyer's film is more economical and layered, better paced, and more human than its predeccessor. The only minor complaint one could make about The Wrath of Khan is the reduced budget which makes it a less grand and lavish looking film than the first one. It still looks pretty good though even now and the special effects and sets are inventive and effective. It's pure popcorn cult campy fun and about as good as a Star Trek film can get.
Following the first entry into the Star Trek films franchise, the producers realized they needed a better plot and came up with this, The Wrath of Khan, which is vastly superior to the first film in every way. This is far more Stark Trek than the first, it has far more action, and one of the best villains in film in Khan. The film has far more in it that the first one, and moves at a very consistent pace all the way through, leading to a tense and very entertaining climax.
The USS Reliant is on a reconnaissance mission to find a planet that has no life on it in order to complete an experiment called the Genesis project. Captain Terrell and Commander Chekov arrive at a planet called Ceti Alpha VI, where they find a ship. Chekov realizes that they're in danger because he recognizes the ship, and before he and Captain Terrell can get away they are caught by a man called Khan, who is a very clever genetically modified man who is also a psychopath. He wants revenge on Captain Kirk, who was the man who placed him and his followers on the planet. He takes control of the USS Reliant and move towards taking the Genesis project.
Meanwhile Captain Kirk has been alerted that something is wrong with the Reliant and he and the Enterprise crew set out to stop Reliant, discovering the true effects of Genesis project leading to a dramatic and very explosive finale.
This really is several steps up from the first film outing. The screenplay is as sharp as a razor, and Director Nicholas Meyer does a fabulous job with the excellent screenplay. There is plenty of action in this, and it's pretty relentless at times. Certainly the plot is a far better one than before, and the idea of the Genesis project is a brilliant one.
The acting is as theatrical as ever, and it's always a pleasure to watch William Shatner and company as they tear through space getting into trouble. But it has to be said that the man who really steals this is Ricardo Montalban as Khan. He is stylized, and yet he is so compelling and believable. His acting is subtle, yet he is always the man who is present and steals the scenes. Khan as a character is one of the finest villains in film, let alone just the Star Trek films.
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan is one of the best sci-fi films out, and is second only to Star Trek 6, of the original series.
How do I objectively review my favourite film?
Probably very badly but I will do my best.
So, Star Trek: The Motion Picture burst onto our cinema screens in 1979 with an explosion of publicity. It was met with delight from the fans, most of which were blinded by their love for something that they had kept alive for 10 years. Critically, it wasn't so lucky. Still, it made $139 million worldwide and grateful studio greenlighted a sequel but not wanting to repeat the bloated costs and over-long schedule of the first film, they quietly moved Gene Roddenberry to a more "consultative" role and asked TV maestro Harve Bennett to oversee the production and Nicolas Meyer to direct. The budget was reigned back to around $11 million.
Bennett sat down and watched every episode of the original series and settled on the character of Khan, from the second season episode "Space Seed". The ending of the episode cried out for a sequel, ending as it did with Kirk's exile of Khan and his followers to a lonely planet. Even Spock's last line teases us by suggesting it would interesting to return in the future to see what world Khan makes for himself.
Nicholas Meyer agreed to write the script and finished it in an impressive 12 days.
Our story begins with the Kobayashi Maru simulation and the "pretend" death of most of our regulars under the command of cadet Saavik (Kirstie Alley). I sometimes wonder if anyone actually thought this was for real when they first watched it. Shortly after, Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) appears and after briefly lecturing the cadets on their performance and chastising his more seasoned colleagues on theirs, he recieved a birthday present from Spock (Leonard Nimoy). I believe it is suspected that this is his 50th birthday amongst fandom but it is not specifically mentioned here. Spock's present is a copy of "A Tale Of Two Cities", the first of many literary references to go along with the established theme of "growing old".
At the same time, another Starship, under Captain Terrell (Paul Winfield) and First Officer Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig), is searching for a suitable planet to test "Project Genesis". This highly secret project, developed by Kirk's former flame, Carol Marcus (Bibi Besch) and her son David (Merrit Buttrick).
Upon investigating an apparantely suitable planet, Terrell and Chekov discover Khan (Ricardo Montelban) and his followers. The exceptionally intelligent Khan learns of Genesis and uses this knowledge to trap Kirk and exact his revenge.
The film looks wonderful. Gone are the pastels of the first film. The new burgundy uniforms add colour and excitement to the ship-board shots. It's only when you re-watch the first film that you realise it is filmed on the same set. The special effects are amazing considering the reduced budget and are story-driven and not simply something to look at. After (many) repeated viewings, the hardened fan will spot a few reused shots from the first film but none are distracting. The demonstration video of the Genesis Project converting a moon was cutting edge in its day and still looks pretty good today.
The naval, "Horatio Hornblower" theme is continued in James Horner's music and themes vary from the thrilling to the jaunty throughout, punctuated by Alexander Courage's original theme at infrequent but poignant moments.
I love it to death. It has everything that was missing from the first film and displays a warm knowledge of the world of Trek. It was loved by fans and critics alike.
The death of a major character seems unimportant after all these years as even the title of the next film hints at his return. At the time, it rocked the Star Trek world but looking at the film today, with all that we now know, it has far less impact. The actual moment is emotional and exceptionally well acted by two fine actors.
I hope that was vague enough not to spoil it for newcomers!
As Trekkie, I quite naturally rate this as the best of the Trek movies...much better than the 2009 offering.
After the the debut of cinematic Trek with the underrated, but slow "Motion Picture", Star Trek excelled itself with this entry and placed itself well beyond the hokieness of the Original Series and the well made but slow and cerebral earlier entry. It quite simply ticked all the right boxes. Here was a movie that had great characters, a wonderful villan and a reason to feel sad, but at the same time uplifted by the closing credits.
As a Trek fan I get frustrated by how Trek is so often overlooked as a quality product. Its a shame that it has taken fandom to recongnise TWOK for the greatness is it. The late Ricardo Montalban excells as Khan and well acts his younger self (from the TOS episode "Space Seed") off the screen. Nimoy and Kelley are as wonderful as ever, but the standout performance comes from Shatner. Shatner became a psuedo comedian in his later years and his performance as Kirk from Star Trek V onwards became increasing tounge in cheek. However, here is draws on his classical training and delivers a truly great performance. Nimoy plays his death scene well, but it is Kirk you feel for, such is the quality of Shatner's acting.
Trek fan or not, this is an ummissable movie.
Everyone knows that the odd numbered Star Trek films are rubbish and the even numbered Trek films are excellent. That is certainly the case with the first six films that concentrate on the further adventures of the original Enterprise crew headed by Captain Kirk and Spock. The other evening I spent a couple of hours watching Star Trek: The Motion Picture which on the whole was pretty poor. All style and no substance. A couple of years later, having learnt the mistakes and the taken onboard what was good about that first film Star Trek 2 was a go.
Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) is overseeing a new crew of trainees that are due to take over the running of the Enterprise. Saavik, a Vulcan trainee, here played by future Cheers star Kirstie Alley is taking the Kobayashi Maru test. The test is a simulated program that is meant to train the new crew in a no win situation. You may also recognise this test from the recent updated film. After the test goes badly, the Enterprise is sent directly to investigate how the Genesis project has been stolen from Kirk's old flame Dr Carol Marcus/ It turns out that it is none other than Khan (Ricardo Montleban), a genetically engineered super freak who was last seen in 1967's original series episode Space Seed.
Khan also features the very first computer generated film sequence which shows how the Genesis terraforming device works. This is still quite amazing today, and probably was unbelievable back in the early 80's. I have read the budget was cut significantly from the last film, but that meant that more time had to be spent on character development - and element that was sorely lacking from the first film.
Whereas The Motion Picture was dull and boring, The Wrath of Khan is fresh and exciting. The humour that was lacking on the first film is there and it feels more comfortable, both in the pace of the film, but also for the actors themselves. Shatner inparticular is much better in this film, slowly getting his groove back as the swashbuckling Captain. He is funny, heroic and truly excellent in the dramatic final scenes. Kirk realises that he is getting old and that he won't last forever (he nearly does!). His attitude to his failing eyesight and his friends is to carry on regardless. I can understand why they introduced Kirk's son into this film, but because of the poor performances of his son and Saavik - it just goes to show that experience certainly comes before age.
Spock, here played again by Leonard Nimoy is also very good as Spock. He didn't have a huge amount to do in the last film. Here he is a much more rounded character who interacts well with both Kirk and his protagonist 'Bones' (DeForest Kelly). Again, those final scenes are some of the most memorable in Trek history. I won't go too far into the ending of the film itself for those that haven't seen it, but it was the worst kept secret in Hollywood at the time.
Yes the main crew are excellent with Chekov getting a much better role in this. I remember watching this film when I was very young and couldn't watch those scenes when the slugs go into his ears. Gross! It is Sulu and Uhura that blend into the background in this one with relative newcomer Saavik taking on a bigger role. Kirstie Alley is good as the Vulcan trainee but doesn't need to use her acting muscles very much (apart from her eyebrows).
Standout scene-stealer however is the legendary Ricardo Montleban. His Khan is one of the greatest screen baddies and is fantastic when he goes head to head with Kirk. Most modern action and sci-fi films tend to have some poor reasoning behind the bad guys motives. 'Revenge is a dish best served cold' utters Khan, in reference to an ancient Klingon proverb. Revenge is on his mind after Kirk marooned he and his crew on a desolate planet some fifteen years previously. Khan gets some of the best lines in this one too, getting to deliver such classics as:
"To the last, I will grapple with thee... from Hell's heart, I stab at thee! For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee!"
It's a great role and his Khan is certainly the best Trek baddie of them all.
The special effects also don't take over in this film, letting them speak for themselves rather than being the main focal point. The Genesis effect is a very clever plot device that the filmmakers would come back to in the following movie. This is a very well conceived idea that really is something that is worth fighting for.
Star Trek 2 is my favourite Trek film for several reasons. Firstly it's the relationship between the crew and the camaraderie that emanates through the film's dialogue. Shatner, Kelly, Nimoy and all are excellent in their roles that continue to develop as the series carried on. The visuals too are excellent, with the highlight being the Genesis effect. Thirdly, Ricardo Montleban's amazing and commanding performance as Khan.
The sets and costumes also look a huge amount better than the drab outfits that they wore in the first film. The whole ship is much brighter and crisper than the drab 70's 'Bless This House' decor that adorned the Motion Picture. Howard Shore's score is also exemplary and keeps the action flowing along nicely.
The film also begins a story arc that continues into the third and fourth film which again obey the Star Trek 'odd' and 'even' rules. Director Nicholas Meyer was the perfect man for the job as well, here compacting the films themes of death and old age into a solid film that everyone would enjoy - not just Trekkies. He would later return to the series with Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country- again another excellent, and final, entry for the original crew.
If there was a film that I would recommend to anyone who is interested in watching a Trek film, then it would definitely be this one. Highly commended.
After the dull monotony that was Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Paramount somehow made enough money to justify a sequel. But this time they had to get it right or the franchise would be effectively kaput. That meant using the characters, throwing in some action and getting a decent story and hoping like hell that they didn't screw it up. The resulting feature was arguably the best Star Trek movie ever made, even after 20 years.
It's the 23rd Century, and Kirk has been made a deskbound Admiral, again! He's in the midst of a midlife crisis, as his friends try in vain to cheer him up. But still, there is the opportunity to go back aboard the Enterprise, now a training ship half-filled with cadets to go on a quick jaunt around the galaxy. However, trouble looms as the starship Reliant, which has been searching for a suitable planet to conduct a terraforming experiment, has happened upon the survivors of a group of genetically engineered supermen. Khan, a warrior from the 20th Century had originally been defeated by Kirk, and exiled to a barren planet. The intervening years haven't been kind, and now the psychopathic superman has taken the Reliant and the ultimate weapon, developed by Kirk's estranged son, and is now looking to lay a little vengeance on Kirk
The movie is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and is flawlessly done. The original material comes through well and the picture is sharply defined and lush at all times. Unfortunately, little work has been done on the original material and it does show it's age. There are a few specks and scratches visible on the film. This isn't excessive or obvious, but it is something that could have been corrected. This film is 20 years old and it shows also in the effects. If you look carefully you will see the joins, and in today's world of CGI and similar effects, this film is primitive. But the story is so gripping and the film so well directed that you or on the edge of your seat and hardly ever concerned with FX shots. The FX are competent enough for you to suspend your disbelief and that is more than sufficient.
The sound is top notch; a DD 5.1 soundtrack is simply superlative. For instance, near the beginning of the film when Kirk comes out of the simulator room with Spock and walks into the atrium, you can hear faint bird song in the background. It's this level of sonic detail that breathes new life into a film and this movie has in this way been completely rejuvenated. The music of James Horner adds a resonating nautical theme. The music suits and uplifts the action keeping you thrilled till the conclusion.
Paramount hits its usual mark with extras yet again. On the disc you get the trailer and that is all, apart from a German soundtrack and several language subtitles of course. The trailer is remarkably pathetic and it surprises me that it was ever used. It reminds me terribly of adverts for the early eighties 8-bit computer games.
The cast of the world's biggest television franchise reunite here for their second big screen outing. This is what the fans had really been waiting for. The first movie had sacrificed characterisation for eye-candy, and the eye-candy in question had been less than appetising. Here, William Shatner, DeForrest Kelley and Leonard Nimoy reprised their roles as we remembered them. The magic was definitely back. Ably supporting them, of course were Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, James Doohan and Walter Koenig. Best of all, the cast weren't past it. In the later films they definitely showed their age, but here it was as if they were as young and vital as ever. A newcomer to the crew was the Vulcan, Cadet Saavik played by a young Kirstie Alley in her breakthrough role. However all eyes are drawn to the psychopathic Khan, played by the charismatic Ricardo Montalban. His portrayal of the fallen prince driven insane by revenge is chilling and he definitely is the star of the movie.
Star Trek II is an excellent film on so many levels. The actors are at their best and the script is excellent. The film touches on so many fundamental human emotions. The fear of loss and of growing old, regrets and missed opportunities, the raw power of vengeance and the ultimate sacrifice. In fact only the sequels cheapen Spock's death. This film if taken alone is poignant and touching and the final scene a fitting epitaph. The villain of the piece Khan is simply brilliant and thirsts for revenge out of the raw pain of loss and betrayal, not out of some alien motive or higher ideal. He blames Kirk for marooning him on a barren planet and for the loss of his wife. This simple feeling is something the audience can understand and draws them into the film. In later movies, the villains are invariably alien bugbears, Klingons, Borg etc, which serve as convenient bogeymen but fail to engage the viewers as well. The Generations film tried to go back to the personal vengeance idea with the character of Soran but his teeth were pulled by the weakness of the story. The story here is very strong and the film tightly scripted. There are no extraneous scenes and the pacing is spot on for an edge of the seat thrill ride. The direction is well done by Nicholas Meyer who would return for Star Trek VI. Best of all, you don't need any prior knowledge to watch this. In fact, watching this movie was what got me hooked on the Star Trek phenomenon in the first place.
Of all the Star Trek film, I watch this one the most
With the advent of the release of the new Star Trek film coming up at Warp Speed, I thought it was about time that I got around to reviewing a favourite of mine.
After the mixed review that was received regarding the slow pace and overall blandness of Star Trek - The Motion Picture, Paramount decided to give it another go and quite literally wanted to raise the bar with Trek and take Trek to another level entirely. Anything that Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry had wanted to do with a second film was immediately refused as it was the budget based on his initial scripts for the first film that were to become the deciding point and the plot of this one. So Paramount very subtly "moved" Roddenberry to the perch of Executive Consultant and bought in a new team to produce and direct the film. A bold move, but then considering the first film cost $46 million and the budget on this was just $8.5 million then this was a justified decision.
The film begins with an unknown female Captain of Vulcan ancestry orders Sulu to take Enterprise into the Neutral Zone on a rescue mission; all the familiar faces are present, with the exception of Admiral Kirk. The rescue attempts goes wrong and with the bridge exploding around them Spock, Sulu, Uhura and McCoy are all killed by the Klingons in a vicious attack upon the Starship. When the Vulcan Captain calls for the Enterprise to be abandoned in space, the exercise finishes and all the lights are turned on. The Kobiyashi Maru Test has now concluded. It turns out this was a training exercise to see how Lt Saavik, the Vulcan, would treat a no win situation in this case being to rescue the crew of the Kobiyashi Maru. Admiral Kirk enters the mock bridge and addresses the students. Meanwhile Commander Chekhov has been transferred to the USS Reliant. The crew of the Reliant are looking for a suitable planet that must be baron of life to test the Genesis device. On what they think is a baron planet, they discover is an old enemy of Kirk's from the past who wants revenge. His name is Khan Noonian Singh and Kirk exiled Khan for attempting to take control of the Enterprise 15 years before. Khan steals the Reliant to find Kirk. Admiral Kirk accompanies the now promoted Captain Spock on a training cruise with the full compliment of cadets. Without any notice Enterprise is met by the Reliant.....
This was a very clever twist being performed with the opening of the film and one that shows just how much the characters in the Star Trek universe have moved on as it sets a precedent straight away with who you see and who you don't see on screen. I thought it was clever also by the fact that it leaves the audience guessing as to what is exactly happening. From here we can deduce that the Enterprise has been reduced to a training ship for Starfleet Cadets with effectively Admiral Kirk as the Head Teacher.
Given that the original series ran for 79 episodes it was an inspirational choice to go back and make a sequel to the first season episode Space Seed. This episode on its own is entertaining and shows what can be done without a mass of special effects and decent acting. It is also interesting to note that the original actor who played Khan returned for this film. Actor Ricardo Montalban is allowed to go completely over the top in his portrayal of Khan. For a man who playing the part at 62 years old you see that he is in good shape although there had always been rumours that he was wearing a fake muscle chest for the role. The wide range of Montalban's acting range and scope allows him to play the part as if Space Seed was filmed yesterday and he just continues where he left off with the subtle delivery and manic whispering that projects the dark of his nature with the focus clearly on the death of Kirk by any painful means.
William Shatner plays Kirk from a different angle to that we have see in the past, he plays a Kirk with his back to the wall throughout the film and one who obviously appears bored of flying a desk at Starfleet Command. According to Trek canon, Kirk celebrates his 52 birthday in the film. This is another of the sub-plots as McCoy tells him that he shouldn't have accepted the promotion to Admiral, and it is in moments of high tension you see Kirk in a new light as he is refreshed and rejuvenated by what he is doing. Shatner was playing Kirk as a person who is uncomfortable with who he is and essentially bored with life. Although Shatner looks older than the first film it is in this one that we get to see Kirk as a fully evolved and emotional person to which Shatner manages to pull this off very well.
With the rest of the cast returning to reprise their respective roles for a second time, the script allows a more even paced film and one that allows the characters of Sulu, Chekhov, Scotty, Uhura and McCoy to have equal amounts of screen time rather than just effectively make cameo appearances. In most cases the secondary characters have their own stories in the film, Scotty being the prime example as he has a Cadet on board who is his nephew. Also it has to be mentioned that Kirstie Alley playing Saavik is really an inspired choice for this new character as she adds a much needed extra dimension and freshness to the story, and has a certain, yet noticeable, level of chemistry with Spock.
The whole presentation of the whole Star Trek universe has changed; the uniforms are now nodding towards a military flavour with a scarlet tunic and collared undershirt. Personally I think this works well and is a giant step up from the more pastel and laid back shaded jumpsuits that were used in the previous film, also the Enterprise itself has changed and been refitted to darker colours with a more claustrophobic feel to it, so much so that the innards of the ship tends to take on the characteristics of a naval submarine rather than a ship that travels through space. This for me works and it works very well, I have always thought that the bridge had been shrunk down as well as throughout the film this has a busier and taught atmosphere to it than what has ever been shown before.
Certain scenes reminded me of the film called Run Silent, Run Deep. I say that because in the film you see the two Submarine Captains planning and calculating the opponent's next move in an attempt to outmanoeuvre and outwit each other. In this case there are some tactics that Kirk uses not as an overall solution, but as a counter measure to buy the Enterprise some time and I felt that this was fresh territory to take the story to, it was balanced up as you see the impact that Khan entails upon Kirk as well, so these scenes aren't one sided. But please be warned that death is one of the continuous themes throughout the film and I know for some this could put a few people off, but after you watch this then I certainly hope that this is not the case.
The soundtrack to the film has a loud, broad, big orchestral sound to it that partners the tense and climatic moments to perfection and gently eases through the quieter moments where the story needs to slow down and take a breathe to catch up with itself. The soundtrack does pay respect to the Star Trek theme as well in a very profession and respectful manner.
Overall, Nicholas Meyer has delivered a great film Star Trek film, one that in my mind is still the best of the franchise. Strangely he had never watched an episode of the TV series before. I think that this was the secret of the film's success as he broke all the rules and expanded the limitations of the Trek universe. The budget was the main focal point to the production of the film and wasn't lost on the special effects as the effects here are suitable without being superfluous for means. In fact corners have been cut by using same the footage of the Enterprise leaving Spacedock as was shown in the first film!!
Also on a footnote, actors Shatner and Montalban never ever meet face to face, which some may say this is a dispointment, which I do, but this does genuinely add to the ambiance and raise the tension of the scene.
My copy that I purchased didn't actually have any extras on it at all. Since I purchased this, Paramount has re-released the film in different packages a number of times, the Collectors Edition, Ultimate 2 -Disc Directors Cut Edition and a boxed set along with the other nine films, so expect Blu-Ray versions shortly! Unfortunately I just have the bare bones edition of the film so to be absolutely honest I feel really cheated by this continuous re-issuing.
Meyer also delivers some curveballs with the script, not saying what they are or when they occur in the film as I don't wish to advertise spoilers. But needless to say that it was this film that gave book writers and producers of the following films in the series enough "gossip" about the characters to build on and cement a story together. This film is the catalyst for a plethora of the novels about Star Trek as this film was the one that finally fleshed out the characters and moulded them into something more human, bottom line is that the script gave the story a humanity that made the screen characters multi dimensional... something that Spock states in the film that Khan couldn't think in!!! This was the first film in the Star Trek Trilogy that culminates with Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home.
Why do I think this is the best Star Trek film ever made?
Why can I still remember most of the words to the film?
Why would I recommend this film to you without reservation....read on!
1. This is an excellent example of a tv series to movie cross over. The readmission of a character from the original series was a genius move.
2. We see the Enterprise going to warp in two different ways, the latter paving the way for future warp speeds!
3. The crew have great uniforms that again, were used through until Star Trek VI the undiscovered country. They look cool and are a great homage to the original series (love those boots!) much better than the motion picture outfits.
4. We get to see a different class of starship... just as cool as the Enterprise
5. We see Kirk making a fundamental error based upon his trust for all things Star Fleet, I cannot tell you how many times I have shouted at the screen ' just raise your shields NOW!!!'
6. We get to see GENESIS and it is great to see that we have the scientific know how to develop such a device, particularly when all we have seen of the future tech is a range of colourful screens and buttons - this can actually make a planet habitable!
7. This film employed amazing CGI work - It is rumoured that the Genesis explanation to six months to create.
8. We see the human side to Kirk, Bones and Spock...their friendship, that continues throughout the films is very strong here
9. Retina scans!
10. Khan and his crew are like eager young children on the starship Reliant...part of you just wishes they would run away with it though and go and have adventures!
11. The musical score is fantastic...you feel like you are on the open ocean fighting in a naval battle and then you get goose bumps when the music illustrates that all is not lost for the Enterprise crew...just perfect.
12. We learn that there are people prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to save their friends.
13. I learnt some basic Vulcan!
If you only ever see one Star Trek film...make it this one!
The Wrath of Khan is the only Star Trek film that stands in its own right as a great piece of work outside the context of the series - I'll allow an honourable mention for The Voyage Home - and it appears to take its cues from King Lear and Moby Dick rather than science fiction. For once the infamous techno-babble reaches for a biblical resonance in the shape of the Genesis project, and the heart-aching ending - in which Spock famously makes the ultimate sacrifice, because the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one - has genuine philosophical and psychological depth. That moment is the most iconic in the whole of the franchise, and has deservingly transcended it by passing into the wider culture, in a way that has eluded the rest of the cult.
The film makes a virtue of its limited budget - it was the cheapest to make of all the movies, and was actually produced by Paramount's TV division. The look of the film has aged well, thanks to the costume design and the art direction, and intelligent use of the limited special effects budget. There is even a wonderful new theme tune that tends to get forgotten. At the beginning, the film deals very effectively with the main character's sense of growing old, and the introductory scenes are full of warm personal touches and engaging naturalistic storytelling, of a kind not always evident in Star Trek's TV incarnations or the later special effects driven spin-offs. By the end, the characters are again dealing with a very different kind of loss.
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley are all outstanding, whilst Ricardo Montalban delights in a scene chewing performance as the villainous Khan, who stares obsessively into the abyss, like Captain Ahab - surely it's no coincidence that Kirk would would soon be chasing a whale of his own. The story has the virtue of returning to an original series episode for its source material, and the tightrope of suddenly introducing a son for Admiral James T. Kirk is just about navigated safely. More convincingly, Kirstie Allie provides a welcome addition to the crew of the Starship Enterprise, and presses Kirk to reveal something more about his character and his past.
Written and directed by Nicholas Meyer, this is the film that JJ Abrams has the unenviable task of matching when he relaunches the franchise in 2009.
Rel eased in 1982, STAR TREK II - THE WRATH OF KHAN is a sequel to both STAR TREK - THE MOTION PICTURE (released in 1979), and the episode 'Space Seed' from the first season of the original TV show STAR TREK. The first movie had not been well received by the critics, although it did quite well at the box office. Unfortunately its gross was not good enough for the studio in comparison for its budget so with the second movie they really were looking at the final outing for STAR TREK, unless they were able to come up with something both critically and financially more successful.
Whilst on mission training cadets, Admiral James T. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise is attacked by superhuman criminal Khan Noonian Singh and his followers, who had been banished to Ceti Alpha V during the aforementioned episode of the television series. Khan and his crew have escaped and are looking for revenge upon those who they feel wronged them - particularly James T. Kirk!
THE MAIN CAST
William Shatner is back as Admiral Kirk. Following the first movie Shatner had appeared in small roles in a couple of movies, and had just begun his new series as the tough police officer T.J. HOOKER, who he would go on to play five seasons.
Leonard Nimoy co-stars as Spock. After THE MOTION PICTURE Nimoy did some stage work and appeared in some well-received TV movies.
Deforest Kelley returns as Dr. McCoy. Between THE MOTION PICTURE and this film he appeared in only a couple of guest roles on TV shows.
Other regular cast members from the original TV show who returned for this movie were James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, and Nichelle Nichols. Ricardo Montelban co-stars as the evil Khan, reprising the role he had played in the TV series. Montelban was most famous around this period for his role as Mr. Roarke in the TV series FANTASY ISLAND.
STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN was directed by Nicholas Meyer, who also contributed to the writing of the script. Meyer would later return to the STAR TREK fold as writer of the 4th movie, and writer/director of the 6th.
MY VIEWS ON THE FILM
The slow moving STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE was not well received critically or financially, although it did make enough money for the studio to decide to make a sequel. However they decided that they needed to go in a different direction to the original movie and as such they decided to dispense with the services of series creator Gene Roddenberry. Roddenberry remained as 'executive consultant' but from now on he had little to do with the STAR TREK movies. Instead he would give notes on scripts and developments, but often as not his opinions were not listened to.
To replace Roddenberry as the driving force of the STAR TREK movies Paramount Pictures chose Harve Bennett. Bennett had done quite a lot of work in television, and he was before Trek primarily best known for his work on both THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN and THE BIONIC WOMAN. Bennett brought a sense of humanity and humour to the film, which was sorely lacking in the first movie outing. One of the main aspects of Trek which was missing from the first film was the friendly relationship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, and this was brought to the fore in this film. There are also developments in Spock's character which I won't ruin here, but which add a touch of heartbreak to the film. One of the best aspects of this film is the fact that the characters deal with the fact that they are getting older, which had been ignored in the first film. This theme would be picked up on with much greater weight in the sixth film, THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY.
THE WRATH OF KHAN breathed new life into the film franchise, and begins a storyline which continues through the 3rd and 4th films. Although I am also a fan of the first movie, if one wants a fun adventure then this would definitely be the more appropriate choice.
STAR TREK II - THE WRATH OF KHAN (THE DIRECTOR'S EDITION) is available on DVD from Paramount Home Entertainment. This features an audio commentary by the director, Nicholas Meyer, in addition to a text commentary by Trek expert Michael Okuda. Also included are some short featurettes, and cast interviews from the time the movie was made. This is a generous DVD package, and is a bargain at Amazon UK for only £6.98
Directed by Nicholas Meyer
STAR TREK Created by Gene Roddenberry
Produced by Harve Bennett
Music by James Horner
Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Ricardo Montalban
Well - here goes - I started with the first film and now I'm on to number 2! I may not be a trekkie, but I do have to sit and watch them so I might as well write my opinions down.
As said, this is the second of 10 Star Trek films spanning 30 years. This can be picked up on DVD at blah.com for as little as £5.99 (P&P free as well!). We certainly havent paid that little for it as my husband gets the films and various episodes sent to him as part of a collection, along with some really informative magazines (if you are into Star Trek that is - me I just find them boring!)
Anyway, I digress. An so on to the review....
For those of you who watched the original series of Star Trek, many may remember meeting Khan in one of the episodes. The Enterprise encountered the Starship Botany Bay adrift in space, its crew in stasis since the year 1996. On reviving the crew, Kirk and co found that Khan and his merry band of followers were genetically enhanced humans (superior minds and bodies!!! - I want one of those!). Khan and his followers were 'abandoned' on a distant planet (Seti Alpha 5) to live.
Set in the 23rd Century, a science vessel is searching for a barren planet in order than an experiment can take place. This is the Genesis Project, where a habitable planet can be created where previously the planet was lifeless.
Captain Terrell and Chekov encounter Seti Alpha 6, which seems to fit the bill, but find that there is life on the planet. On investigation they discover that this is in fact Seti Alpha 5, where Khan and his followers were abandoned by Kirk some years previously. Khan takes control of the ship and heads to Space Station Regula One, with the intentions of stealing Project Genesis and with the added agenda of wreaking revenge on his sworn enemy, James T Kirk.
We discover that the Doctor in charge is an old flame of Kirk's and their son (yes he had a child) is also involved in the project. Will Khan wreak the revenge he so desperately wants, or will Kirk outsmart him in the end. Will Genesis work? And why is Spock lying to his captain? We also meet another Vulcan, Lt Saavik (Kirstie Alley), who eventually finds out how Kirk was the only person in Starfleet to beat the Kobyashi Maru simulation.
All is revealed - but only if you sit down and watch the film!
As a definite non-Trekkie, I thought that this was just another, and I wasn't far wrong. Yes it is number 2 out of 10, but in those days who would have thought it would come this far! The special effects are pretty basic compared to modern day films but in its heyday, this film was at the forefront of special effects. However basic they may seem, they are still believable.
Shatner, Nimoy and co are all outstanding in their performances - apart from Kirstie Alley. I'm sorry to all her fans out there, but I felt that a wooden broom handle could have given a better performance as Lt Saavik. This was her only time playing Saavik and I am not surprised in the least. Whereas Nimoy gives an outstanding performance of Vulcanicity, Alley's portrayal is less than satisfactory to say the least.
Ricardo Montalban is fantastic as Khan. He gives the character his humanity and depravity superbly and very convincingly. Because Khan is supposed to be some kind of super human, Montalban was (in those days) a perfect choice for the role. Even his accent gives depth to Khan and makes you believe that he comes from a different era to Kirk and that they are exact opposites.
The soundtrack is pretty much in keeping with the Star Trek series from the television, pretty easy to listen to and did not distract from the film at all. In fact, in some places, it actually enhanced my "viewing pleasure".
For £5.99 it is pretty good value, but to be really honest I would have to say that to enjoy this you would have to be either a fan of sci fi movies or a complete Trekkie (like my hubby). I did enjoy it, but others may not. I am giving this one 4 stars, mainly because of Kirstie Alley's performance. For me, that really spoiled what would have been a great film.
Cast and Crew
Captain James Tiberius Kirk - William Shatner
Spock - Leonard Nimoy
Dr Leonard H "Bones" McCoy - DeForest Kelley
Montgomery "Scotty" Scott - James Doohan
Hikaru Sulu - George Takei
Pavel Chekov - Walter Koenig
Lt Uhuru- Nichelle Nichols
Khan - Ricardo Montalban
Lt Saavik - Kirstie Alley
David - Merritt Butrick
Captain Terrell - Paul Winfield
Thanks for reading! Diane xx
Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForrest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koening, Nichelle Nicholls, George Takei, Ricardo Montalban, Kirstie Alley, Paul Winfield
Directed by: Nicholas Meyer
What's it all about Alfie?: On a routine mission to train recruits the Enterprise is diverted to an empty space station. Turns out that one of Kirk's old adverseries is on a revenge mission. Jim, eventually, beats him up but at what cost???!!!
Out of the ten Star Trek films, where would you rank it: 1st
Can you give me an interesting bit of information about the film:
All of Khan's men were Chippendale dancers at the time. (from imdb.com)
After the first Star Trek film was completed most of the actors thought that that was it. Walter Koening (Mr Chekov) stated that he had thought when the series was cancelled it would be the last time that he would play the Davy Jones lookalike and the same after The Motion Picture. So imagine everbody's surprise when Paramount announced that Star Trek II would be made.
The story revolves around the revenge of Khan Nonnien Singh, last seen in the original series episode 'Space Seed'. Marooned on a planet by Kirk at the end of the episode the planet had been reduced to a sandy waste six months later when a neighbouring planet disintegrated. Khan, genetically superior due to genetic engineering in the 20th century (a warning there maybe) is 'rescued' when a ship bearing Mr Chekov appears to study the planet to see if it is ripe for exploding a device named 'Genesis', which can create new life, on it. After interrogating, in the worst form of the word, Chekov and his captain, Terrell, he escapes his dusty prison and sets off in vengeance.
Meanwhile on Earth, Spock is now the captain of the Enterprise and, with Kirk in tow, is on a training exercise with new recruits,including another Vulcan, Saavik. When a distress signal is received from the laboratory where Genesis had been produced, from one of Kirk's former squeeze's no less, the Enterprise sets off to find out what is the matter. On arrival they are attacked by Khan but, even though the ship is virtually crippled, still stave off the attack. Beaming down to the laboratory and then the planet below they find the squeeze, Chekov and Terrell. However, both the officers are under the influence of Khan. After giving Khan the co-ordinates of the Genesis device, Terrell kills himself rather than assassinate Kirk and Chekov falls into a coma, revealing that they had both had their minds controlled by eels that Khan had implanted earlier. Amongst all this the squeeze informs Kirk that her son is also his son, leading to cries of "What, he only has one? Surely rhere are 1000's scattered across the galaxy"?
Space battles then ensue as Khan and Kirk try to outhink and outbluff each other. Naturally, even though Khan is genetically superior in every way, Kirk's homespun Iowa intellect enables him to outsmart his advesary and everybody goes home. Except for one, highly influential, character who dies saving the Enterprise from obliteration after Khan's dying act is to set the Genesis device off.
I know that you know who if anybody comes to this and doesn't know I'm not going to spoil the surprise.
Without a doubt the best film in the Star Trek series this eradicates all memories of the first film. No mention is made to it, even the uniforms are different and the story is now focused back on the main protagonists from the original series. It is made doubly excellent by the unashamedly macho performance of the then 62 year old Ricardo Montalban, all long hair and puffed out chest who manages to have more testosterone than the whole Enterprise bridge crew put together.
The story manages to pull the film series back towards the television series whilst still opening it up enough to invite non Star Trek fans in. You don't really need to know the Space Seed story to enjoy it and there is no discernible weak spot in the screenplay.
Nicholas Meyer's direction is excellent, allowing Shatner and Montalban to go mano e mano, even though they never actually meet face to face. More screen time is given to the other regulars, especially Chekov, and the idea that Kirk actually has a child is well handled, especially on the death of that character that I'm not talking about. The introduction of another Vulcan could have taken the emphasis away from Spock but the interplay between Saavik and Spock, and the humour every time this Vulcan, who hasnt been around humans as long as Spock has, talks to Kirk is well placed. It is a shame that Kirstie Alley refused to play Saavik after this as she didnt want to be typecast. Whatever happened to her....?
All in all one of the best science fiction films ever made. Whether you are a Star Trek fan or not this is definitely a film to see. If you only see one Star Trek film, this is it.
The Wrath of Khan was directed by Nicholas Meyer and his influence over the look and feel of the film, as well as that of the set designers, costumers and writer Harve Bennett, makes more a much more appealing and understandable future than the antiseptic chalk-toned Utopia of the previous film. Starfleet uniforms were now dark red and more military in style, while the bridge of the famous Enterprise was darker and more akin to a submarine even than in the original series. This submarine design would certainly come into use later in the film, with the sequence often described as "submarine battles in space" with Kirk against Khan in the Mutara nebula.
Following the success of the first, disappointing Star Trek movie released in 1979 it was inevitable that a second film would follow. While "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" had seemed too driven by technology and special effects at the expense of most peoples' favourite aspect of the original series, I'm talking about the characters although you may have only tuned in to see the scantily-clad alien temptresses, the second film took a completely different direction and is widely recognised as the best Star Trek film.
The plot of Star Trek II follows on, in a way, from the original series episode "Space Seed" although as with most Star Trek films and episodes, a background knowledge is not required for the full enjoyment. In that episode, the Enterprise picked up cryogenically frozen Middle Eastern men who, it turned out, were the genetically engineered superhumans responsible for the devastating Eugenics Wars of 1992 - 1996. (I know, I can't remember them either, but Star Trek did predict that the first moon landing would be on a Wednesday in 1969 s
o who knows?) The leader of the soldiers, Khan Noonien Singh, was eventually banished with his crew, and a member of the Enterprise's very fickle crew who had decided she was in love with him, to Ceti Alpha V: a planet which Kirk promised would be visited periodically with supplies.
It's over fifteen years later, the year 2285 which I depressingly know without having to look it up, and the USS Reliant is investigating what it believes to be the decimated remains of Cati Alpha VI. Unfortunately for the crew, who are either killed or turbed into controllable zombies by 'ceti ells' inserted into their ears, the planet is actually Ceti Alpha V and a rather disgruntled Khan decides to take this chance to become all powerful again. When the distress call goes out that there's something afoot, the Enteprise is called out of cadet training service and back into commission, albeit with a crew made up of inexperienced cadets and obese old men called Kir, Spock, Scott, etc. The film is a quest to stop the ingenious madman from obtaining the Genesis device, a constructive device which has been developed to terraform "life from lifelessness" on a dead planet in a matter of days, but which could also be used to eradicate an entire planet of its population. There's always a snag isn't there?
CAST & CREW
The adventurous plot and bold characters made this a huge box office success to the point that even my A-Team loving Dad can remember phrases such as "Kobayashi Maru" and several story points, and finally did justice to the sixties show. As well as the return of everyone's favourite characters from the sixties show there are some interesting additions to the cast, namely Ricardo Montalban reprising his role a
s Khan - you may know him from "The Naked Gun" or one of the sensible films he's no doubt been in - and Kirstie Alley as the Vulcan Saavik. Kirsti Alley is best known from her role in "Cheers" and every single American film released between 1982 and 1987, excluding Star Trek III in which she was replaced by someone who fit the budget more.
As well as the afore-mentioned great sets, the special effects are excellent, especially for 1982. The phaser and photon torpedo blasts look convincing, the ever-changing transporter and warp effects look nice and there's even a section which won some kind of special effects award showcasing the potential of the Genesis device; this lengthy computer-generated scene was deemed slightly too unrealistic to feature in the actual plot and was instead shown to be a computer animation prediction. It still looks amazing though, no wonder it was repeated in the next two films. Even the musical score is fitting and enjoyable, with the regular Jerry Goldsmith replaced for some reason by James Horner. Suiting to his name he does like to ad a lot of horns, and his music for the nebula battle is great. I won't do a joke about him feeling 'horny' because... oh, I am sorry.
The recent Star Trek: The Next Generation feature, "Nemesis," was largely based on this film due to its success. There's the captain against an intelligent foe in command of a weapon of awesome destructive power, the death of a major character and even a battle sequence inside a nebula; I can imagine Brannon Braga or one of the less talented Trek writers remaining after the close of the excellent DS9 explaining "It's not the same, it's a green nebula this time, so it's obvio
usly different isn't it."
Even if you despise Star Trek and hate everything that it stands for... well no, in that case you'd probably despise this film. But even if you're not a Star Trek fan, but enjoy a bit of space adventure with great characters, I would definitely recommend this film. For the fans who know it's the year 2285 without even having to research it there's a very interesting special edition DVD version out which is crammed with about a day's worth of extras so I'll certainly be buying that soon. Along with 1996's First Contact, which got me interested in Star Trek in the first place, this is my favourite Trek film. A brief summary of my opinions and general opinions on the Trek legacy:
STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979)
Disappointing SFX extravaganza. It won awards for its effects but it was a dull and lengthy plot with annoying sets and complete lack of character development.
STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982)
You didn't read my review did you?
STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK (1984)
Continuing the story in the same style this is an enjoyable film, aided by one of my favourite actors Christopher Lloyd, but not quite as compelling.
STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME (1986)
The Enterprise on Earth in the 80s. Funny and popular, but not as good a Trek film as some. You can't help but be in
trigued by Spock in hippie clothes.
STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER (1989)
Directed by ego-maniac William Shatner (Kirk), this is my worst Trek film and is often regarded as boring, unimpressive and embarrassing. They go to find God. Again.
STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY (1991)
A return to grace, this was made up of all the same ingredients as Star Trek II in terms of production. Loads of Klingon action and great planets, a contender for best Trek film.
STAR TREK GENERATIONS (1994)
The first Next Generation film, Generations seems too much like an episode for it to be a successful movie. Made too soon, and the metting of Kirk and Picard isn't too great.
STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT (1996)
An action film in Earth's orbit a little bit in the future. I love this film as it sums up a lot of what Trek's about while showing a lot of Borg-blasting at the same time.
STAR TREK: INSURRECTION (1999)
Overlooked and not as good as it could have been. Picard and crew go against naughty Starfleet, but the scale isn't epic enough and there's an annoying kid.
STAR TREK: NEMESIS (2002)
Enjoyable but a blatant rip-off of Star Trek II. Showing the downfall of Star Trek sinc
e Voyager was the only show on the air, but the special effects are excellent.
The later Kirk & crew romps seem a little silly due to the crew's age but are nonetheless still (on the whole) worth watching. I personally hope that the next film will be Deep Space Nine related, but that's probably not going to happen. In 1982 the Star Trek franchise was going strong, even enough to contend with Star Wars though this was never the intention. Can't we all just get along? Possibly a message of Star Trek II, a great emotional film with something for everyone. Even if you hate Kirk and his bunch, watch it.
Inspired by the "Space Seed" episode of the original series, the classic swashbuckling scenario of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was much more of a success with fans than the somewhat turgid drama of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The film reunites newly promoted Admiral Kirk with his nemesis from the earlier episode--the genetically superior Khan (Ricardo Montalban)--who is now seeking revenge upon Kirk for having been imprisoned on a desolated planet. Their battle ensues over control of the Genesis device, a top-secret Starfleet project enabling entire planets to be transformed into life-supporting worlds, pioneered by the mother (Bibi Besch) of Kirk's estranged and now-adult son. While Mr. Spock mentors the young Vulcan Lt. Saavik (then-newcomer Kirstie Alley), Kirk must battle Khan to the bitter end, through a climactic starship chase and an unexpected crisis that will cost the life of Kirk's closest friend. This was the kind of character-based Trek that fans were waiting for, boosted by spectacular special effects, a great villain (thanks to Montalban's splendidly melodramatic performance), and a deft combination of humour, excitement, and wondrous imagination. Director Nicholas Meyer (who would play a substantial role in the success of future Trek features) treats the film as "Horatio Hornblower in space", and then adds lots of spicy seafaring Moby Dick references, plus a sprinkle of Shakespearean tragedy and World War II submarine thriller, all driven along by one of composer James Horner's finest scores. Wrath of Khan set the successful tone for the films that followed. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com