Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Dir: Nicholas Meyer
“Galloping around the cosmos is a game for the young”
That’s far more like it! This second big-screen outing for Star Trek is much better than the first. ‘Khan’ cleverly makes a start on a bigger story arc, one that has been regarded very well amongst Trekkies for decades.
Admiral Kirk is suffering a mid-life crisis, not content with his promotion, he wants to be out exploring the universe looking for new life forms and new civilisations. Thus, he boards the Enterprise again to inspect the training that is being done under Captain Spock, however the old crew and the newly training cadets are plunged into a rescue mission when one of Kirk’s old flames calls to have a go at him but the communication is interrupted. With Kirk back in command, they set off to secure the Genesis project and keep it out of the hands of moral enemy Khan who Kirk banished to a life of exile many years before.
This film has thankfully resolved many of the issues I had with the first Trek, primarily that the pacing needed huge speeding up to condense the action and make it more of a thrilling adventure rather than a nostalgic meander with old friends. We meet the villain Khan (Ricardo Montalban) within the first 25 minutes or so, and the scene is quickly set.
The film also focuses a lot on Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and for those who know what happens it’s pretty clear why, for those that don’t I’ll try to avoid spoiling it all. The character of Spock is known for his ability to distance himself from emotions as is the Vulcan way, and so that could easily be problematic when trying to get audiences to relate to him or even just to like him, and though for those who like Trek it’s not hard to love Spock as he’s now considered a fan favourite and cult icon, this storyline still put in extra effort to make him likable.
I now need to continue with the rest of the films in the series and see how things develop, as to say that this film ends on a bit of a cliffhanger would be a massive understatement. What’s interesting for me now is both continuing with watching these original Trek films, while at the same time enjoying J. J. Abrams’ reboots, with ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ out now too… I wonder if they will make use of any pieces of this storyline?