‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’ (Film)

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‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Return of Khan and the Death of Spock

Khan is back!

‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’ is one of the best and most successful movies ever made in the history of ‘Star Trek’. It certainly is an improvement on ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’, as the plot is stronger; the characters are better written and there’s more dynamic action sequences featured in the film.

The film was made in 1982, under the watchful eye of executive producer Harve Bennett. The film was also directed by Nicholas Meyer, who approached this ‘Star Trek’ film with an energetic and enthusiastic approach. It’s also a film that harkens to the classic episodes of the ‘Star Trek’ TV series.

I saw the original theatrical version of ‘Star Trek II’ on DVD with my parents back in Christmas 2004 when we were getting into ‘Star Trek’. Recently, I purchased the Director’s Edition of the movie on DVD. This is an extended version of ‘Star Trek II’, since it contains new scenes I’ve never seen before.

The Director’s Edition is a 2-disc set, with the movie on Disc 1 and bonus features on Disc 2. I saw this movie on Christmas Day 2004 with my parents before we even saw the first ‘Star Trek’ film. I’m glad that we saw ‘Star Trek II’ first, since we wouldn’t see the later ‘Star Trek’ films and spin-offs.

‘Star Trek II’ is actually a sequel to a very special ‘Star Trek’ episode from ‘The Original Series’. That episode was ‘Space Seed’ which featured the first appearance of Ricardo Montalbán as Khan in ‘Star Trek’. This was a nice link to have Khan returning in this movie as it kept with the ‘Star Trek’ continuity.

I also liked the characterisation of Kirk, Spock and Bones in this movie. It felt right and proper from the original TV series. There was more interaction between them as the ‘Star Trek’ trio and I liked the dynamic of Spock’s logic; Bones’ passion and Kirk’s interjecting between the two as their leader.

The story involves Admiral Kirk reflecting on his age and that he will never command a starship like the Enterprise again. That is until he goes on an inspection of the Enterprise and very soon they respond to a distress signal. A project called Genesis is threatened and Khan returns with vengeance.

Khan blames Kirk for leaving him and his people behind on the planet Ceti Alpha V and for the death of his wife following ‘Space Seed’. Khan sets his sights on getting his hands on project Genesis and to exact his revenge on Kirk. Kirk plans to outwit him. But will this mean the death of one of his friends?

As I said before, I liked all the links to ‘Space Seed’ with Khan and was pleased to see Ricardo Montalbán reprise his role from the TV series. I doubt that anyone who will see this film for the first time would have any problem with understanding what’s going on. It’s a good action-packed film.

An underlying concept throughout this film is the Genesis project. This was an interesting idea conceived in story terms about a kind of terraforming project, able to create planets within ‘six minutes’ according to Dr. McCoy. It seems optimistic, although people are playing God in this movie.

This film is also the start of a three-part film trilogy which I don’t think was the original intention at the start of ‘Star Trek II’. The Genesis project arc is what starts it off and it leads onto something with after-effects later. Suffice to say, the Genesis project is considered to be pretty ideal in this film.

The director Nicholas Meyer redresses the whole entire approach to the ‘Star Trek’ films compared with the first film. He goes for a naval ship approach in outer-space when he’s directing the movie. This can be seen rather nicely in the Starfleet uniforms, the movie’s music and the naval whistle.

I like the red Starfleet uniforms in the 23rd century first seen in ‘Star Trek II’. They’re an improvement on the Starfleet uniforms seen in ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’. Whilst they don’t match to the uniforms in the original TV series, they have a naval style from director Nicholas Meyer.

William Shatner excels as Admiral James T. Kirk in the movie. He’s not like the Kirk seen in the first ‘Star Trek’ movie. In fact, Kirk is resigned to the fact that he’ll never captain a starship again since that’s not what admirals do in Starfleet. It’s also his birthday and he’s finding that he’s getting older.

Eventually Kirk joins the Enterprise on a voyage as part of a Starfleet inspection by him as Admiral. When he learns of a distress call from a former flame of his, he tells Spock and is given command of the Enterprise. Kirk has a son named David from his relationship with Dr. Carole Marcus.

Leonard Nimoy is equally excellent as Spock, who is now Captain of the Enterprise. I was quite surprised that Leonard Nimoy had not intended to return to ‘Star Trek’ following ‘The Motion Picture’. But Spock’s journey in this movie and in the following films is the most interesting I’ve seen.

Spock is now Captain of the Enterprise and he’s slightly mentoring Vulcan crewman Lt. Saavik. Spock isn’t ambitious to captain the Enterprise and he allows Kirk to take command during the Genesis project crisis. Spock also states that ‘the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few’.

DeForest Kelley is equally great as Dr. McCoy, or Bones, in this movie. Bones is friendlier in this movie compared to ‘The Motion Picture’. His scenes with Kirk are scenes of good friendship between them. Bones celebrates Kirk on his birthday and he encourages him to be commander of a starship again.

Ricardo Montalbán steals the show as Khan in this movie. Having seen Ricardo before in the ‘Spy Kids’ films as a kid and seeing him as Khan in ‘Space Seed’, I was immersed by his performance in ‘Star Trek II’. He manages to balance his performance with menace and charm as the vengeful Khan.

James Doohan is good as Scotty in the movie. I can’t say that Scotty has a great character development in this movie, but he’s still reliable and loyal to Kirk as ever during the movie. I found Scotty’s distress over losing his relative as an engineering crewmember touching and moving indeed.

George Takei returns as Sulu and Nichelle Nichol returns as Uhuru. Likewise, these two don’t get much character development as they perform functional roles aboard the Enterprise. But Walter Keonig as Chekov rises up in the ranks as an executive officer aboard the starship Reliant in the film.

This leads me onto talking about a continuity error in the film. Chekov finds Khan first on the deserted Ceti Alpha V planet and recognises him. Khan recognises Chekov too. This is an error as Chekov was never in ‘Space Seed’. He joined the series in Season 2 of ‘Star Trek’. Correct me if I’m wrong! 😀

Bibi Besch guest stars as Dr. Carole Marcus, the scientist who is in charge of the Genesis project and once had a relationship with Kirk years ago. It was interesting to discover more of Kirk’s romantic affairs in this film and that he has a son in Merritt Butrick as David who he’s never met before.

Paul Winfield guest stars as Captain Terrell of the starship Reliant who Chekov serves under. Kirstie Alley guest stars as Lt. Saavik, the Vulcan trainee crewmember aboard the Enterprise. Kirstie is well-known nowadays for appearing in the sitcom ‘Cheers’ and I like how she plays Savvik in this movie.

I enjoyed the dogfights in space that took place between Kirk’s ship, the Enterprise and Khan’s ship, the Reliant. The way those scenes were shot with models and inside the ships aboard the bridges were spectacular. Nicholas Meyers knows how to direct action and adventure in this ‘Star Trek’ film.

I have to mention something that I found really horrific. The earwig-like creatures that enter the ears of Chekov and Terrell when forced by Khan on what he wants to know was very disturbing and gruesome. Even my Mum didn’t like that, although it was a very effective moment of threat and horror.

Of course, ‘Star Trek II’ is famous for the death scene of Spock when he saves the Enterprise from disaster. That final goodbye scene between Spock and Kirk when they’re separated from each other by glass in engineering was very touching and moving. I was reduced to tears from seeing that scene.

The music by James Horner was fantastic to listen to. I love his music during the opening and closing titles sequences of ‘Star Trek II’. The approach for the music was to go more naval-like and sailing out on sea (or in space) which certainly worked. James Horner’s music is easily recognisable to hear.

The DVD special features on the Director’s Edition are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a commentary with director Nicholas Meyer. There’s also a text commentary by Michael Okuda to enjoy.

On Disc 2, there’s a ‘Captain’s Log’ documentary focusing on the making of ‘Star Trek II’ with behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews. There’s also a ‘Designing Khan’ documentary focusing on the art design, production design and costume design of ‘Star Trek II’ with behind-the-scenes interviews. There’s also a ‘Visual Effects’ documentary focusing on the visual effects created for ‘Star Trek II’ with behind-the-scenes interviews. There are also original interviews with the stars of ‘Star Trek II’, ‘The Star Trek Universe’ documentary; storyboard archives and a theatrical trailer for ‘Star Trek II’.

The special features on the 2009 DVD for ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’ are as follows. There’s a commentary with Nicholas Meyer and Manny Coto; ‘James Horner: Composing Genesis’ and ‘Collecting Star Trek’s Movie Relics’. There’s also ‘A Tribute to Ricardo Montalbán’ and ‘Starfleet Academy: Mystery Behind Ceti Alpha VI’.

‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’ is one of the best ‘Star Trek’ movies ever made and is admittedly one of my favourites. It’s a great follow-up to ‘Space Seed’, a classic ‘Star Trek’ episode. It features a great performance by Ricardo Montalbán as Khan and it’s well-known for the tragic death of Spock.

I honestly felt afraid that it was end of Spock in that movie and that he would never return to ‘Star Trek’. It felt wrong somehow to have Spock die at the end of that film. I didn’t like it as he’s one of ‘Star Trek’s best-loved characters. But it wasn’t the end as ‘The Search For Spock’ was about to begin!

‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’ rating – 9/10


‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’
(CINEMA EXPERIENCE)

Originally written on the 22nd of November 2019.

It’s amazing to think how much time has passed since I saw this movie on DVD in 2004! I saw ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’ recently on the big screen at my local Showcase Cinema in Nantgarw. This was a limited re-release and I would be mad not to miss out seeing this film on the big screen here! 🙂

I have seen ‘Star Trek’ movies on the big screen before, what with the reboot trilogy including ‘Star Trek’ (2009); ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ and ‘Star Trek Beyond’. Although I like ‘Beyond’ a lot, this was the first time I’d seen a proper ‘Star Trek’ movie on the big screen. I didn’t think it would ever happen. 🙂

‘Star Trek II’ is definitely one of the best films ever made in the series and is one of my favourites! It’s amazing to think that this movie was released back in 1982 and it still holds up even to this day. From the movie’s opening titles and music, I was immersed into the ‘Star Trek II’ world in an instant! It was amazing!

I was disappointed the Director’s Cut of the film wasn’t shown on the big screen. I thought that would be the case when it was advertised on Showcase Cinema’s website. I would have liked to have seen the extended version of this movie on the big screen as with ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ in April 2018.

Despite that, I enjoyed seeing the original theatrical version of the movie on the big screen. It was amazing to see the details I hadn’t noticed before when watching the movie at the cinema. ‘Star Trek II’ feels epic and it’s a grand spectacle, full of well-directed character drama and action sequences.

It’s been four years since I saw this movie back in 2016 when I reviewed it on my ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog. I still consider ‘Star Trek: First Contact’ to be my absolute favourite ‘Star Trek’ movie, but ‘Star Trek II’ ranks highly with showcasing the best of what the original ‘Star Trek’ series and characters did.

In a way, ‘Star Trek II’ feels like a proper beginning to the original ‘Star Trek’ cast of Captain Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and the rest in the movies. I know it was ‘The Motion Picture’ that started it off, but that was a bland beginning. Here, ‘Star Trek II’ contains the essences of what makes a good ‘Star Trek’.

With the movie being a sequel to ‘Space Seed’; featuring Ricardo Montalbán as the villainous Khan; the cast led by William Shatner as Kirk and the superb direction by Nicholas Meyer, ‘Star Trek II’ manages to be a film that pleases both ‘Star Trek’ fans and non-‘Star Trek’ fans alike. It’s pretty amazing!

I noticed how many Enterprise shots in ‘Star Trek II’ were reused from ‘The Motion Picture’ but utilised for more dramatic and pacier effect. I also found how epic the musical score by James Horner was. It matches well with what goes on in terms of the action and the character drama featured throughout the film.

I also reflect on how I’ve already had a photo with William Shatner at the ‘Destination Star Trek Birmingham’ event in October 2018. It was surreal to see this movie, knowing that I’ve had a photo with him in real-life. Shatner’s performance as Kirk stands out well in the film as well as the rest of the cast. I’ve also had photos with Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koening from the ‘Destination Star Trek Birmingham’ event. 😀

I also found how emotional the film’s climax was when watching it on the big screen. I had tears in my eyes with seeing Leonard Nimoy as Spock giving a heroic sacrifice and dying in the radiation chamber whilst Kirk watches him. His final words to Kirk and the funeral scenes for Spock were very tear-jerking.

I know that Spock comes back in ‘Star Trek III’ next, but the emotional ending still holds up even to this day. I don’t know if there’ll be re-releases of ‘Star Trek III’ and ‘Star Trek IV’ at my local cinema. Probably not. But it would be nice to see those movies in order to complete that trilogy experience. 🙂

I greatly enjoyed seeing ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’ on the big screen lately. It was worthwhile! The performances of William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForrest Kelly, Ricardo Montalbán and the rest stand out well. So does Nicholas Meyer’s direction! It’s one of the best ‘Star Trek’ films ever made!

Even Timelord007 loves ‘Star Trek II’ still. I’m sure he’d… (Pause; ponders) What’s he up to lately?

– – – – –

Elsewhere in time and space, Timelord007 plays his ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 game.

Timelord007: “Excellent! I finally platinumed this amazing game! And it’s DLC!”

Suddenly, Timelord gets beamed out into space. He screams as he’s beamed across dozens of light years.

– – – – –

Eventually, Timelord ends up sitting in a chair in a dark room.

Timelord007: “Hello? Who’s disturbed my gaming time bringing me here?”

Suddenly, restraints on his hands and his feet clamp shut.

Timelord007: “What?!”

Timelord struggles to break free. He can’t get out.

Timelord007: “No! The ex-girlfriends have finally caught up with me!”

Suddenly, a voice speaks to him.

(evilly) Hello Timelord. Are you sitting comfortably?

Timelord007: “Who is that? Those Welsh tones sound awfully familiar!”

(evilly) Don’t worry, Timelord. It’s me! Tim.

Timelord007: “Tim? What’s going on? Why have you zipped me light years across space? You could’ve texted, you know.”

(evilly) Do not be alarmed. You are trapped in a dark room in the middle of nowhere.

Timelord007: (disturbed) “Tim, you’re sounding rather sinister buddy. Have you been watching ‘The Keeper of Traken’ again?”

(evilly) It’s time for you to watch a movie, Timelord. So sit back, relax and enjoy.

Timelord007: “A movie hey?” (shrugs) “That doesn’t sound so bad.”

A big movie screen switches on. The ‘Star Wars’ fanfare goes off as well as the ‘Star Wars’ title.

Timelord007: (realises) “No. No! NO!!!!!”

The opening crawl comes up and it’s revealed to be…’EPISODE VIII – The Last Jedi’.

Timelord007: (cries) “ARGH!!!!!!!!!!”

(evilly) Yes! That’s right, Timelord! You will watch this film to the very end! You will not be released until it’s over.

Timelord007: “Get me out of this chair!!! Why, Tim?!!! Why are you doing this to me?”

(evilly) Because I feel evil today! (Pause) And because I’ve done a review on ‘The Last Jedi’ recently for my ‘Star Wars Review Season’. That’ll be coming out next week.

Timelord007: “This isn’t ‘Star Wars’! This is an abomination!”

(evilly) You must see this movie before you see my review on ‘The Last Jedi’.

Timelord007: “Get me out this chair! I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than watch this abomination again!”

(evilly) No, Timelord. You will stay and watch ‘The Last Jedi’! And enjoy it!

Timelord007: “I’ll escape! And when I do, you’ll be sorry!”

Timelord continues struggling to break free.

(evilly) It’s no good, Timelord! You can’t escape so easily.

Tim laughs out loud evilly.

Timelord007: (pleads) “Tim, please! Release me from this chair! Don’t torture me like this! I beg you! Don’t make me watch this atrocious monstrosity! Release me from this torture!!!”

(Khan-like) I’ve done far worse than torture you. I’ve taunted you! And I wish to go on…taunting you!

Timelord realises what’s happening and becomes quite scared.

(continues: Khan-like) I shall leave you as this movie left you…left many ‘Star Wars’ fans. Marooned for endless debates…in the centre of total fandom diversity. (whispers) Terrified! Terrified!

Timelord gets mad.

Timelord007: (screams; Kirk-like) “TIM!!!!!!”

Timelord007’s scream echoes out into space…far away from where he is…in ‘Bradley’s Basement’ HQ…?…on Earth…?

Timelord007: (continues; screams; Kirk-like) “TIM!!!!!! TIM!!!!!!”

Tim sighs in victory.

– – – – –

Back with the real Tim in our universe…

By the way, that wasn’t me who kidnapped Timelord007. That was a Mirror version of me from the Mirror Universe! (Pause) I’m still doing my ‘Last Jedi’ review in this universe incidentally. (Pause; confused) Bit of a coincidence. (Pause; snaps out of it) Thankfully Deadpool rescued Timelord007 on my behalf to bring him back to our universe! 🙂

Deadpool: “Now Tiny Tim! I’ve held up my end of the bargain rescuing Timelord from a fate worse than death. Now it’s your turn to fulfill your end of the bargain. So, tell me, Tim. Where is Francis?”

Awkward silence.

(feels nervous; to audience) Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

Deadpool: “I’m waiting, Tim.”

Another awkward silence.


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12 thoughts on “‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’ (Film)

  1. Timelord 007

    I cry everytime at that scene with Kirk & Spock when Spock is dying from radiation poisoning even though i know he doesn’t really die.

    This is still my favourite Star Trek movie, it’s tense, exciting, action packed & emotional, Kirk is bored of being a Admiral & wants to get back out into space & i love how Bones tells him to get back out there.

    Here’s a glitch though, Space Seed was a season one story & yet Chekov doesn’t feature in the series until season two so how did Khan know who he was?

    As ever a great in depth review with some great photos, you summed this film up perfectly my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    Yes it is a pretty upsetting scene between Kirk and Spock, as Spock dies in that chamber and was very emotional when he told Kirk that ‘he shall always be his friend’ and ‘to live long and prosper’. I’m pleased that Spock was brought back to life in the next film, ‘Star Trek III’, as he is a well-loved character from the series.

    I knew this is your favourite ‘Star Trek’ film and I’m pleased you enjoyed my review on it. I have fond memories seeing this ‘Star Trek’ movie on DVD on Christmas Day in 2004.

    I liked it when Kirk goes on a journey through this movie and the next two films about how he gets from being an Admiral to commanding a starship again. I like the relationship between Kirk and McCoy in this film, as they’re good friends and Bones is concerned for his friend.

    Yes I noticed that too about Chekov and Khan recognising each other as I mentioned it in the review. I can’t understand why they had Chekov meeting Khan first and recognising him since he was never in ‘Space Seed’ from Season 1. Unless of course Chekov was on the Enterprise but lower in the rank during that episode. It would have been better to have had Sulu meeting Khan first instead of Chekov in that moment.

    According to Wikipedia, the film novelization of ‘Star Trek II’ by Vonda N. McIntyre has Chekov as an ensign assigned to the night watch during ‘Space Seed’ and he met Khan in an off-screen scene. This must make sense and I hope to read that novelization someday to find out.

    Glad you like the photos in my review and that you like my summary of the film.

    Thanks Simon.

    Tim. 🙂

    Like

    Reply
  3. Media Lover

    This is a great review Tim.

    I find Spock’s death scene to be very heart breaking. It is actually very reminiscent of Adric’s death in Earthshock (the exact same year). I’m glad he was revived in the third movie. I own all of the original series films and that of TNG in a Blu-Ray set called the Stardate collection. It also includes a table talk called The Captain’s Summit in which Bill and Leonard are joined by Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and Whoopi Goldberg to discuss the franchise. Apperently they said that Spock was written to say something to Bones during his death in order to set up his revival.

    I forgot that Kirstie Alley was in this. I liked seeing her on Cheers, although I haven’t seen a great deal of the reruns on Channel 4 recently as I am currently focusing on it’s sequel Frasier. Incidentally, Kirstie was the only surviving Cheers cast member that didn’t appear in Frasier.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi ML.

      Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘Star Trek II’. 🙂

      Yeah you’re right. ‘Earthshock’ and ‘Star Trek II’ were released in the same year. Two tragic deaths in two sci-fi shows. Except one stayed dead and the other resurrected in ‘Star Trek III’. Well, unless you count Adric returning in ‘The Boy That Time Forgot’ by Big Finish as a resurrection/return, but I’m digressing. 😀

      I’ve not got the Stardate collection featuring the 10 ‘Star Trek’ movies including the original series and TNG. That’s interesting about the table talk called ‘The Captain’s Summit’ with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and Whoopi Goldberg. I didn’t know about that. Thanks for sharing that with me. 🙂

      I’ve not seen Kirstie Alley in ‘Cheers’ yet. I’ve only seen like the first two seasons and some episodes of Season 3. I can’t say I got into ‘Cheers’ as a comedy show, but then again I might get interested in it again when it comes to revisiting it someday. My parents and I do have the complete collection on DVD at home.

      Many thanks for sharing your insight about ‘Star Trek II’, ML.

      Best wishes,
      Tim. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Media Lover

        That’s good Tim.

        Have you seen anything episodes of Frasier? It of course stars Kelsey reprising his character from Cheers, and also stars David Hyde Pierce (A Bug’s Life), John Mahoney who was in that film’s rival Antz, Peri Gilpin and English actress Jane Leeves.

        Frasier also has guest appearances from people that have been in Doctor Who such as Richard E.Grant (Curse of Fatal Death, Scream of the Shalka) and Brian Cox who played Sydney Newman in An Adventure in Space and Time. Other guest stars include Jim Norton (Father Ted) Anthony LaPaglia, Robbie Coltrane (Cracker), Michael Keaton (Batman) and James Earl Jones (Star Wars).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Tim Bradley Post author

        Hi ML.

        I’ve not seen ‘Frasier’ at all. Thanks for sharing your insight into the series. I had no idea stars from ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Star Trek’ like Richard E. Grant, Brian Cox and Patrick Stewart have been in ‘Frasier’. Interesting that Jim Norton, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Keaton and James Earl Jones have been in it too.

        Tim. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Timelord-007

    Spock’s death still makes me cry from when I first saw it on tv as a kid to my ripe old age of 45.

    It is still my all time favourite Star Trek film

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Yeah! ‘Star Trek II’ is still a great movie and one of my favourites along with ‘Star Trek: First Contact’ and ‘Star Trek Beyond’. Must get around to watching it again sometime soon.

      Many thanks, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

      Reply

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