Thoughts: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is possibly the most improved sequel compared to the previous film in the series. It is considered by many to be the best Star Trek film, although I still prefer First Contact, it is still one of the best. Wrath of Khan picks up on a story setup in the episode "Space Seed", which I have not seen, but the movie does give the audience enough information for things to make sense. Also it is not necessary (or even recommended) to watch the previous Star Trek film, which is fortunate, because it was terrible.
In the recent Abrams Star Trek there was a Starfleet test named "Kobayashi Maru" that trains cadets how to handle a "No Win" scenario, however Kirk discovered a way to win by cheating. I did not know at the time that it was a reference to Wrath of Khan, which makes the other movie better in retrospect.
Now about the villain Khan or as Kirk would say "KHAAAAAAAN!" played Ricardo Montalbán, who reprises his role of from the episode "Space Seed". He is a very flamboyant and absurdly over-the-top villain. Although he is fun to watch, it is sometimes difficult to actually take him seriously (more on Montalbán's performance below)
Directed by: Nicholas Meyer
Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure,
Release Date: June 4, 1982
Running Time: 112 minutes
MMPA rating: PG
The Good: Much improved compared to previous movie, Top notch performances, Excellent and unexpected ending, Good use of humor, James Horner soundtrack,
Plot: The following plot summary is copied from Wikipedia.com.
The film opens with Lieutenant Saavik (Kirstie Alley) in command of the starship USS Enterprise. The vessel is on a rescue mission to save the crew of a damaged ship in the Neutral Zone along the border with Klingon space when it is attacked by Klingon cruisers and critically damaged. The "attack" is revealed to be a simulator training exercise known as the "Kobayashi Maru"; a no-win scenario designed to test the character of Starfleet officers. Admiral James T. Kirk oversees the simulator session of Captain Spock's trainees. Celebrating his birthday, Kirk is later joined for drinks by Dr. McCoy, who advises him to get a new command and not waste his career behind a desk.
The USS Reliant is on a mission to search for a lifeless planet for testing of the Genesis Device, a torpedo that reorganizes matter to create habitable worlds for colonization but can also destroy planets. Reliant officers Commander Pavel Chekov and Captain Clark Terrell beam down to the surface of a possible candidate planet, Ceti Alpha VI, where they are captured by genetically engineered tyrant Khan Noonien Singh. The Enterprise discovered Khan's ship adrift in space fifteen years previously; Kirk exiled Khan and his fellow supermen from 20th century Earth to Ceti Alpha V. Khan reveals that after they were marooned, Ceti Alpha VI exploded, destroying Ceti Alpha V's ecosystem and shifting its orbit.
Watch the movie to see what happens next.
Plot: 8.3/10- While there are a few dumb moments that Star Trek always has like sending the most important officers to recon on dangerous planets, but it is forgivable considering that it almost always happens in Star Trek. Although the pacing could have picked-up in a few areas, the concepts and themes were well executed. According to another critic's analysis, there are many allusions to classic works of literature such as Moby Dick.
Action: 6.4/10- There is not much action, however the space battle is well filmed similar to how submarines fought during World War II. There are a few short fist fight as well.
Acting: 8.0/10- William Shatner's was not nearly as corny as he was in the other movie or TV series and gave a solid performance. Leonard Nimoy as Spock gave an excellent performance, unfortunately he does not have significant screen-time until the later portion of the film. One of my favorite characters, Doctor McCoy played by DeForest Kelley, was hilarious as usual with his sarcastic wit and humor. Ricardo Montalbán's performance as Khan was campy and mostly fun to watch, even if he was not a very serious villain.
Special effects: 8.2/10- While I usually do not mind dated design and special effects, some of the spaceship's interior looked kind of cheesy. The other effects were solid overall but nothing compared to Star Wars five years earlier. Fortunately the Starfleet uniforms look much better than the previous film's ridiculous jump-suits.
Soundtrack: 8.0/10- Since famous composer, Jerry Goldsmith, was busy scoring other films, a relatively unknown composer at time by the name of James Horner composed the soundtrack. As any film score buff should know, he would later go on to compose scores for films such as Braveheart, Avatar, and The Amazing Spider-Man. His score was good, mostly taking cues from Goldsmith's classic theme.
Comedy: 7.8/10- While there is not a lot of humor throughout, what is there never feels out of place and works well within the context of the film.
Would I Watch This Again: If I decide to re-watch the Star Trek movies again, which I enviably will, this will definitely be worth a second viewing.
Overall: 8.0/10- Overall Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is easily one of the best Star Trek films to date and an excellent addition to the franchise.
Closing comments: Although I consider Wrath of Khan slightly overrated, nonetheless it was so much better than the previous entry in the franchise but the near perfect ending really makes the movie great.
Recommended for: Sci-Fi fans,
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