A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 323 – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – January 17th, 2011

Our Star Trek project continues tonight with what it widely regarded as the best Star Trek movie, featuring the well-known and oft-referenced KHAAAAAAAAAAN! Okay, it’s Khan Noonien Singh, from an episode of the original series, but it’s kind of impossible not to quote Kirk at least once. It’s a memorable movie, with plenty of great moments and action and lines and it was a lot of fun to watch tonight. So much fun that we immediately went and found the reboot and put it in. Not to review, but just because. Ahh, Trek, I love it so.

Where the first movie had the distinct feel of a somewhat bloated episode, this movie flows so much quicker. It’s an episode too, and a rather obvious one, being a follow-up to The Space Seed, where Kirk left Khan and his fellow genetically engineered supermen stranded on a deserted planet. Khan returns here, quickly grabbing hold of the opportunity to take revenge on Kirk and obtain a powerful piece of leverage/weaponry in the process. Of course, it’s a wildly overpowered Macguffin, but that doesn’t matter. It has to be overpowered in order to be an object of desire and it ends up destroyed anyhow. Regardless, it’s a good plot, with some real tension and drama.

We start out with yet another “getting the band back together” type situation, with Kirk no longer the captain of the Enterprise and all. Chekhov has his own command, Spock is running a shakedown flight on the Enterprise with a whole bunch of untried ensigns, and Kirk is running the Kobayashi Maru test. The thing is, while this movie has to get everyone back on the Enterprise, it doesn’t take an hour to do it. It just does it. They need to be on there, and so they are. And I like that. I like how tight the movie is. We get the introduction of the bad guys, we get a quick overview of why Khan’s so pissed and what his background is with Kirk. We meet some secondary characters who have the Genesis project, the Macguffin I mentioned, and then off we go on our rollicking adventure.

One thing I think really distinguishes this movie from the first one is that the enemy is so personal. He’s one man, and he’s a man with an agenda. Yes, V’Ger from the first movie is vast and menacing and overwhelming, but there’s no passion there. It’s almost too alien, despite its eventually revealed origins. Khan, on the other hand, is and always has been a foil for Kirk. He’s brilliant, strong, passionate and sociopathic. And soon enough, he has not only a ship but control over a key crew member. He’s an enemy on Kirk’s level, and that feels more immediately dangerous. Of course, that does mean that it feels less cinematic and more episodic, as I mentioned, but I think it moves better than the first movie did. I’m willing to sacrifice the huge grand scale of the first movie for the more intimate feel of the second if it means such an improvement in pace. And too, they fixed the uniforms, giving everyone a nice rich burgundy. Lovely.

Overall, I think this movie deserves its reputation, fake Ricardo Montalban chest and all. It introduces some good material, follows up on a rich character from the series, has some nice moments for the key cast and also one of the best and most emotional endings I can think of. Spock’s sacrifice and Kirk, McCoy and Scotty’s reactions to it are amazingly well written and well acted and definitely shift the movie from episode to film status. Not to mention that it neatly sets up a pointer to the future. I like how this movie plays with relationships and I like how it takes the best stuff from the series and spins it out. I only wish I’d seen it on the big screen. Still, even on the small screen it’s got a good impact, which is really all I could ask.


January 17, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , ,


  1. [nerd]Chekov was first officer on the Reliant; the guy who disintegrated himself was the captain.

    Also, that wasn’t a fake chest – Ricardo Montalban actually looked like that when he was 62. According to IMDB, he did a -lot- of push-ups.[/nerd]

    I do agree that this is the best of the Trek movies, but I say that not having seen the last few.

    Comment by st_darwin | January 18, 2011 | Reply

    • Re: Chekhov – duh, yes, right.

      Re: the chest – I read the same trivia and I call shenanigans and do not buy it.

      Comment by ajmovies | January 18, 2011 | Reply

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