Monday, April 15, 2013

MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan

I recently watched the original Star Trek film (the 1979 version) and was definitely not a fan, so of course, I was quite apprehensive going into "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan". Thankfully, this sequel was a major improvement.
The plot of this film sees Admiral Kirk and his Enterprise crew do battle against the evil Khan, who gets his hand on a device (called "Genesis) that is able to manifest life. As they try to stop him, we embark on an exciting journey through the cosmos.
The film starts out slow, showing signs of the dull talky nature of the first film. However, it quickly picked up the pace and kept getting increasingly more engaging as the film went on. Unlike the previous film, the quiet moments here are able to build anticipation for the inevitable battle scenes. These sequences are worth the wait too, as they are well-executed and provide lots of thrills and excitement.
A great sci-fi adventure always needs a memorable villain and Ricardo Montalban is certainly up to the task. He plays Khan as suitably devious and maniacal and it's very fun to watch. His actions also bring some surprising dark elements that lent some much needed seriousness to the otherwise "PG" atmosphere. Also adding some depth to the film is the fascinating scientific theory behind the creation of life. Much like "Jurassic Park" (a film I recently re-visited), it poses the question "even if we develop the ability to play God, is it ethically justified?". I love when sci-fi digs into meaningful scientific debate and this is definitely an interesting topic for this film.
Other than these thematic elements, there are other more specific things that made this film standout for me. In addition to the aforementioned Montalban, William Shatner is very magnetic as Kirk. I love the sense of humanity that we get in this film, especially when it comes to Shatner's relationships with the other members of his crew. Notably, his relationship with Spock brings some big emotional pay-offs. Spock himself is a surprisingly compelling character. Despite being stone-faced throughout, Leonard Nimoy manages to make you care deeply for Spock.
Like many other young boys, I once dreamed of becoming an astronaut and this film perfectly captures the reasons why. You've got the cool outfits, funky gadgets, slick production design and the endless possibilities for adventure. It was a treat to watch this splendid cinematic recreation of my youthful imagination. It's what dreams are made of.

This film is part of my List of Shame.


  1. Now we're talkin! This is my favorite of the series. Khan is a badass, the adventure is palpable and the movie has several memorable scenes. This movie really gave Star Trek a boost and I'll be a fan of it for years to come. Are you going through the films in order or something? Good luck with 3....

    1. I actually wasn't planning a marathon. I watched the first one in order to get to this for my "List of Shame". I may decide to check out some of the other ones though.