Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) Poster

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STAR TREK, Done Right!
cariart25 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
STAR TREK: THE WRATH OF KHAN was another miracle moment in a franchise that has had more than it's share of such moments. Paramount never intended to make a sequel to STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (a philosophy it would continue to embrace, after each film!), and, when, after intense lobbying by Gene Roddenberry, a few 'Trekkers' in the studio hierarchy, and a lot of fans, the studio finally caved in, they reduced the budget, dramatically, almost daring the production team to create a film of quality.

In an inspired move, Harve Bennett, a television veteran, was brought in to executive produce, and his sensibilities, honed on the budgetary restraints of the small screen, helped to get the most out of the available funds. A director of the stature of Robert Wise was out of the question, but Bennett and Roddenberry were impressed by young Nicholas Meyer, and his one directorial effort, the cult SF favorite, TIME AFTER TIME, and the 37-year old leaped at the opportunity to tackle another SF film. Contrary to popular belief, Meyer was NOT familiar with the series, but he quickly immersed himself with the series' episodes, then looked at Harve Bennett's script outline, and the two of them then hammered out a shooting script. Gone would be the sterile, monochromatic future envisioned in the first film, replaced with warm colors, frequent references to classic literature, and the sense of camaraderie that had made the original series so popular.

Both men had been impressed by Ricardo Montalban's charismatic Khan, in the episode, 'Space Seed', and agreed in bringing back the superhuman, yet sympathetic villain for the film. Leonard Nimoy provided the film's theme; with rumors of a possible new TV series still circulating, the actor, not wishing to be subjected to the weekly grind, suggested 'killing off' Spock, in some heroic fashion. Bennett loved the idea, although he wisely left a 'hook' in the script, in case Nimoy changed his mind, and he and Meyer could now address both the passage of time, and death, issues that were relevant, as the original cast were beginning to show their years!

William Shatner, after the stinging reviews of his stilted performance in ST:TMP, needed a strong script to provide 'damage control', and he got it. In perhaps his finest performance, he dominates the screen, whether ruminating on his own mortality with McCoy, explaining how he 'beat' the Kobiyashi Maru scenario by cheating ("I HATE to lose"), discovering that after years as an interstellar lothario, he is a father (and by the one woman he truly 'loved'), playing 'cat and mouse' with Khan, or facing the death of his best friend, Spock. Both decisive and likable, Shatner's Kirk is the glue that holds ST:TWOK together, and he is brilliant.

Leonard Nimoy, getting every actor's dream, a chance to 'die' onscreen, gives Spock a poignancy that is, ultimately, heartbreaking; DeForest Kelley, excellent as Dr. McCoy, not only offers righteous indignation over the implications of the Genesis Project, but projects such an obvious affection for both Kirk and his 'sparring partner', Spock, that, far more than in the first film, you can see the nearly symbiotic link between the three leads. The rest of the original cast, despite small roles, still have far more to do than in the first film, and are obviously enjoying themselves (except, understandably, Walter Koenig's 'Chekov', when the parasite is put into his ear!)

Of the other leads, Ricardo Montalban lustily chews up the scenery as an 'Ahab'-influenced older Khan; a pre-'Cheers' Kirstie Alley gives Vulcan Lieutenant Saavik far more sex appeal than did her successor in the role, Robin Curtis; Paul Winfield makes the most of his brief role as Chekov's new boss, the doomed Captain Terrell; and Bibi Besch provides a combination of intellect, toughness, and affection playing Kirk's lost love, Carol Marcus. The only disappointment is Merritt Butrick, as Kirk's newly-revealed son, David; in a poorly-written role, he has little to do but gripe about Kirk, before and after he discovers their relationship.

The film score was composed by 29-year old James Horner, who was told not to incorporate any of Jerry Goldsmith's themes from ST:TMP; he later admitted that he sneaked a bit of it in, anyway, along with Alexander Courage's original TV themes. While lacking Goldsmith's grandeur, the music is evocative and sweeping, and Horner would return to score STAR TREK: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK.

Despite budget restraints, ST:TWOK had terrific FX (particularly during the Mutaran Nebula sequence), and was able to reuse the space dock and voyage sequences from ST:TMP quite effectively. The space battle scene between the Enterprise and Reliant is one of the best sequences in the entire 'Star Trek' film series.

ST:TWOK was a HUGE success, both with critics and fans, vindicating Gene Roddenberry's faith in the franchise, and the decision to use Meyer as the director. And in a twist worthy of Scheherazade in 'The Arabian Nights', Spock's death created such an uproar that Paramount HAD to keep the series alive, just to resolve the issue.

From a one-shot film deal, a THIRD film would be produced!
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In the genre, there is simply nothing better, and there never will be.
budmassey28 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Wrath is based on one of the best episodes of The Original Series of Star Trek. The episode, Space Seed, introduced Kahn Noonian Singh, a genetically engineered super-warrior from the 20th century who survived in cryogenic freeze until the crew of the Enterprise found his derelict space ship and revived him. Alas, his instinct to conquer survived as well, and only after an epic struggle is Kirk able to deposit Kahn and his band of supermen in permanent exile on a garden planet.

Fifteen years later, a cataclysm has left that planet barren, and Kahn bitter about his plight, when along comes the Enterprise, not knowing they have returned to Kahn's home planet. Kahn escapes and the game is on.

This is undoubtedly the best of the Star Trek movies, and in fact, the best of everything that was best about Star Trek TOS. There is heroism, epic conflict, a fully satisfying story, and deliciously over the top acting by Shatner, Nimoy and, the main course, Ricardo Montalban, reprising his original role, with all the menace and drama of, say, Sir Anthony Hopkins' Oscar winning turn as Hannibal Lechter.

The writing is great, and why not, it was by Harve Bennett, by way of Melville, and Roddenberry's unforgettable characters, as indelibly etched on our psyches as any fairy tale of our youth, were never brighter, more heroic, more magnificent. In the genre, there is simply nothing better, and there never will be. It took decades to hone and refine these characters, for us to come to love them, and for them to reach the point in their palpably real lives to reflect with self-doubt and angst on lives that we accept as being as real as our own. This isn't a movie, it's a documentary, and a time capsule, and a worthy monument to the best cast in the best Sci-Fi Western ever made.
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One of the better "Trek"s....
Mister-625 November 1999
I've always held a special place in my heart and mind for this second installment in the "Star Trek" movie series. Mostly, because this is a movie that appeals to both places.

Not only is this movie loaded with the original characters from the series, it also touches on such subjects as revenge, family, duty, age and, of course, sacrifice. That was the best thing about the series - that it touched on topics that were (pardon the expression) universal, no matter the species.

Everyone is uniformly fine right down the line, especially Montalban's Khan (returned from the "Space Seed" episode of the original series); all hatred, vengeance and single-minded of desire to see his enemy laid out before him. Namely, Kirk.

Alley is rather fetching as Saavik and it's a shame she wasn't carried over to the next film. I can't help but, seeing her on TV anymore, to expect her to raise an eyebrow in contemplation. Buttrick makes a complex character out of David, the son Kirk never knew he had. Hurt feelings and resentment meld somewhat explosively with a new-found father/son relationship.

And what can one say about Spock, Bones, Sulu, Chekov, Uhura and Scotty? They are characters all of us grew up with and, pivotal to the plot at hand or not, it's always good to see them.

For anyone who hasn't seen the movie, I won't discuss it in great detail. The story is simple enough (scientists find way to rejuvenate life on dead planets; Khan finds escape from prison planet, vows revenge on Kirk), but there is one plot point that will, if you are unfamiliar with it, blow you away. Suffice it to say, never has friendship been elocuted so well in this or any movie before or since.

Ten stars and a special Kobuyashi Maru simulation for "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan". Watch it: it'll make you feel young again.
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Best Trek Film
bat-529 January 1999
Warning: Spoilers
Star Trek II is the best Trek film. Why? The cat and mouse game between Kirk and Khan. The relationships of the Enterprise crew just keep getting better and better. The battles between the Enterprise and Reliant are tense and spectacular. The one thing that sets Star Trek II apart from all the others (which are good in their own way) is the death of Spock. I can never make it through the end without shedding at least a few tears. It starts to get you when Bones' voice comes back over the intercom instead of Scotty's, and when Kirk looks over to Spock's empty chair, you know something's wrong. The scene that follows is one of the best acted death scenes of all time, and it is also the saddest. Spock's final line is the kicker, and with that scene you understand the entire relationship that Kirk and Spock had and you feel Kirk's loss.

"Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most.......human."
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Moby Dick in Space
tieman6412 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"The Wrath of Khan" isn't a science fiction film as much as it's an old-fashioned adventure story dressed up in vintage science fiction tropes. The plot: the crew of the Starship Enterprise, led by the now iconic Captain James T. Kirk, find themselves embroiled in a deadly cat and mouse game with Khan Noonian Singh, a genetically engineered superhuman. The story is pure pulp, but don't be put off. Director Nicholas Meyer's work here is fabulous, and his screenplay beautiful.

Meyer, a great writer with a fondness for literary classics, bathes his film with references to everything from "Moby Dick" to "The Sea Hawk". As a result, the film has a very nautical feel. Spaceships trade massive broadsides, our cast's uniforms, dialogue and behaviour are now informed by that of the 19th century British Navy, and the film's climactic battle feels like a cross between a U-boat suspense film and Herman Melville's famous whale hunt.

Meyer has long had a special fondness for 19th century novelists. His first big splash came in 1974 with "The Seven Percent Solution", a Sherlock Holmes novel that hit the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller list, stayed on the charts for 40 weeks and resurrected the Holmes pastiche craze the way "Wrath of Khan" jolted new life into Star Trek.

He followed that up with two sequel novels, "The West End Horror" and "The Canary Trainer". The former had Holmes and Watson brushing shoulders with Bernard Shaw, Gilbert and Sullivan, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, and other Victorian theatre dudes. The latter gave a Holmesian spin to Gaston Leroux's "Phantom of the Opera".

So Meyer delights in weaving nods to great literature into modern narratives. His first directorial success was the time-travel escapade "Time After Time", a fun romp which featured H.G. Wells pursuing Jack the Ripper across modern San Francisco. He takes a similar approach with "Khan", retooling Melville's "Moby Dick" and placing Ahab's lines on the lips of Khan, the film's larger than life villain. A worn copy of the book even appears on Khan's shelf, alongside King Lear and the Bible. In the movie, a character called Spock also gives Kirk a copy of Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" for a birthday present.

Several years later, when Meyer returned to direct "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" (the last featuring the original crew and arguably the second-best film in the franchise) he gave it an Agatha Christie-style "cosy" murder mystery, Shakespeare-quoting Klingons (and a Shakespeare influenced title), named a Klingon prison asteroid after the penal colony that held Captain Nemo in Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", and had Spock both quote Sherlock Holmes and refer to the coolly logical Great Detective as "one of my ancestors." Meyers sure does love classical literature.

But woven into "Khan's" cat-and-mouse plot are also meditations that humanise the larger-than-life James T. Kirk. Here, at last, our long-time galactic hero faces the fact that he's not the young space cowboy he used to be.

Early in the film we're introduced to the Kobayashi Maru, a "no win scenario" in which every star ship captain must face death. Kirk, we learn, is the only person to have ever beat this "no win scenario". How? He reprogrammed various computer simulators, thereby changing the rules of the game. As a result, the film has a beautiful tension. On one hand we have the Captain Kirk who repeatedly wins all scenarios, who knows only success, who can't deal with defeat, who always finds a way to break the rules and change the terms of engagement. And on the other hand, we have Kirk's confrontation with his own mortality, his need for glasses, his unscheduled reunion with an ex-lover and his estranged son. This tension, between life and death, immortality and mortality, success and failure, is epitomised by the "Genesis" device, a super weapon in the film which has to power to both create and destroy.

Shortly after Khan's first attack on the Enterprise, which leaves a new crew-member dead, Kirk swallows the bitter pill that his own failures almost brought about their destruction. He goes on to find a brilliant way out of this particular "no win scenario", of course, but the consequences of his escape nevertheless force him to confront the holes in his armour. Our ageing admiral and crew may descend to self-parodying plastic action figures in some later entries, but in this movie they're allowed to be vulnerably human, as themes of pursuit, age, death, and regeneration appear through the phaser fire.

On the other side of the fence, we have Khan. Here's one mightily ticked-off arch villain, quoting 19th century literature and Klingon proverbs while slitting throats and placing space bugs in people's brains. Give him an eye-patch and it'd be "Arrrr! Avast ye!" all the way. Miraculously, though, Meyer keeps it all under control. Even that moody old bird Pauline Kael devoted extra column inches to praising the way these two classically trained actors chewed scenery and bounced off one another in "Khan".

If nothing else, "Khan" reminds us that sometimes, somehow, a Hollywood picture comes along and proves the creaky old notion that talent counts more than production dollars. There's got to be some moral in the fact that the Star Trek movie with the smallest budget (by far) and fewest resources is still the dominant favourite and the only one that doesn't feel, one way or another, like a factory-line franchise product designed solely to provide money for the stockholders.

8.9/10 - "Khan" has everything you could ask for in a good adventure film: sympathetic, well-drawn heroes, a terrific villain, exciting outer-space showdowns, wow factor, smart direction, a fine tuned script and a touch of reflective depth (the Enterprise crew finally faces up to age and mortality, and questions about the wisdom and consequences of playing God are hinted at). Oh, and the music is awesome as well.
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The ultimate Science Fiction Film and Star Trek's finest hour!
DandyDon25 December 1998
This sequel to the Star Trek TV series and first Star Trek movies is the ultimate film for any Scifi fan and a rivetting drama for movie fans in general. More action packed and interesting than the original Star Trek movie, it brings the TV show cast onto the big screen by meeting a villain from the TV show (Khan), obsessively portrayed by Ricardo Montalban. Equally obsessive is William Shatner in his finest role playing Admiral Kirk, an ageing man reluctant to return to command of the USS Enterprise, but a man who finds his first, best destiny is at the helm of his ship. The battle scenes are the most engaging of any movie, and the action only lets up long enough for the audience to catch their breath and to advance the storyline. Witty characters, clever plot devices and ingenious writing and, by late 1990s standards, subdued use of special effects make this movie meet and often exceed the quality of the original show. Even 16 years later, the movie's technoligy does not seem "dated" because of the subdued use of Computer "tricks"! And NO cast of characters(sorry "Next Generation" fans!) ever had the chemistry or style the original Star trek cast after 16 years together, a comaraderie showcased in this movie. I saw this movie while I was in High School during the movie's original run and it gets better every single time I see it! The best!!
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Revenge is a dish that is best served cold!
obiwancohen18 May 2000
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is a classic action film. It has heroic characters, a nasty villain and a sweeping adventure that is both engaging and entertaining. This is top-notch filmmaking, which just happens to be told via Gene Roddenberry's sci-fi world of Star Trek.

Acting: Shatner and the Enterprise crew are all in top form. It just so happens that this is the best material they have ever been given to perform and they execute it with class and style (a quality later incarnations of Star Trek lack). Also, Ricardo Montablan is the ultimate Star Trek villain as Khan Noonian Singh.

The special FX are also well-done. In this age of CGI it is refreshing to see the ingenuity and creativity of old-style model effects being used so effectively. And just to make this statement even more clear: ST II has THE BEST space battle sequences in film history. That's right, the best. It's not about the scope of a battle that makes it fun to watch, it's all about the pacing! This film exhibits the best cat and mouse battle in my mind and its well worth your time.

Go see this movie.
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Still the best Star Trek Film after over 20 years!
PJPair20 July 2004
There have been many Star Trek films but The Wrath of Khan is still the best. Second to none for thrills, action and adventure. With the best musical score by James Horner to keep us on the edge of our seats. If you haven't seen this at least 10 times go and put it on now!! The new special edition with previously unreleased footage brings the whole thing together in an even better way (no spoilers, sorry!). The regular cast are at their best but Ricardo Montalban steals the show as Khan. Done in true Star Trek tradition, unlike the disappointing special-effects-fest of the first Motion Picture, this film will go on to be one of the all time greats of sci-fi.
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Run Silent, Run Deep Space.
buckaroobanzai502 April 2004
Wrath of Khan owes a certain debt of thanks to Clark Gable's wartime thriller. Although it's easy to criticize, WOK is full of suspense and tension. The design of the costumes and sets is excellent, except for the cream and brown combinations. But what the hey, it was made during the heady days of the early 1980s. It is certainly more accessible to a mainstream audience than the first film was...but I liked that one too anyway.

I'm no trekkie...I'm not obsessed by the tech specs of warp drive, and transporters or beams and such...I just like Sci-Fi movies that are well done and entertaining. This is not the best movie ever made as another poster stated...but it is exciting and engrossing.

Buy the DVD.
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My favourite of all the Star Trek films
walsh-223 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Back where it belongs with this film, it has the right mix of science, character and action. I love the plot of the film and really enjoyed any scenes where it showed the cat and mouse game Kirk (William Shatner) and Khan (Ricardo Montalban) were playing with one another. It was really good to see the Khan's character reintroduced, as in the series, he was marooned on a planet and in the film, we get to see what life was like for him and his family and why he is out for revenge against Kirk.

I like the dark and light elements to the story. I enjoy Spock's character in this as it is good that the audience get to see a new dimension to Spock's character, he is less stern and even cracks a joke. There is a really moving scene at the end of the movie when Spock is dying and says to Kirk that he will always be his friend. It is a real emotional scene that has me in tears every time I watch it. It is also good that it can switch between the light and dark shades of the story effortlessly and the special effects are amazing to watch.
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The Best.
SilentJerry2 July 2002
Well, the best of the Star Trek films. True, a lot of people have recently declared Star Trek Frist Contact the best. There are others who love whales and political correctness declare Star Trek The Voyage Home the best of the Trek films. Out of all the Star Trek films; only two deal with the human element of Star Trek as well as the original TV series did and that's Star Trek 2 and 3. This is the one Star Trek film that I would recommend to people who don't like or watch Star Trek. It's probably one of the best Science Fiction movies of all time.

People will complain that it's too violent and dark. But that's a part of life. Anytime you deal with the darkest human emotions of hate and revenge; you will have starships being fired at and people dying. To say that in the future humans will be 100% peaceful is silly and naive. Themes of life and death are explored very well in this movie without getting preachy about it. Shatner and Nimoy are allowed to expand their characters and bring more life to them. Shatner turns in his best Trek performance since "The City on the Edge of Forever".

The special effects are good, but don't overshadow the story like they did in the first movie. Instead they service the story, as special effects should. The score is great; probably the best of all the Star Trek movies. The uniforms have been toned down and no longer look like pajama's from the first movie. I suppose if you really want to sum up this movie, it should be that this movie brings out the best from the TOS and makes a wonderful movie experience. Also it shows the potential that is in Star Trek that none of the other movies have been able to reach.
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Excellent well produced movie, great effects, directing, acting, One of The Best Sci-Fi's you'll ever see!
homie_g31 March 2000
The Wrath of Khan was a complete jump in quality, production and standard from first movie, The Motion Picture. Ricardo Montauban, a classic actor best known for his romantic films in his early years, 1950's. One of the best villains you will ever see in a science fiction movie.

The music was good, however not as good as the predecessor movie's music, but still good. The directing is also very good, great use of focusing techniques, close up's, action sequences well done, the usual high standard that comes from a proficient director like Nicholas Meyer.

The lighting, exterior and interior shots, were well done.

Its a pity that they haven't made a remastered tape, as the movie picture quality has degraded through the years.

William Shatner's acting was extremely real, moving, believable. Among with the other main cast, and unlike the previous movie, this movie brought together that atmosphere that existed in the Original Star trek series.

The dramatic plot that happens towards the end of the movie is indeed, one of the best scenes you will ever see in motion picture history. Proving that Star Trek still has emotion. I can not be more clearer than this unless by giving away the story. Watch it yourself, and you'll be moved by the greatest acting, heart touching scene ever made.

The special effects composed along with George Lucas were excellent, and in the year 2000, I feel they would come very close to our standard today. The better warp entering sequences, battle sequences, and the formation of the new Genesis planet are very good effects. The chase in the nebula, final explosion of the Genesis device are effects for you to watch for.

If your like me, you will love the script for its Shakespeare context which Khan uses effectively throughout the film. I highly recommend you to see this movie if you haven't already, it's one of the best.

Rating: 9.5/10
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This Movie Rocks the House
2001Rulz29 March 1999
Okay, let me start out by saying that this is the only Star Trek movie I have ever seen and that I am not a Trekkie at all. In fact, the only reason I decided to see this was because my dad went on about how good it was. And do ya know it, he's right??!! Even if you're not a fan of Star Trek or Sci-fi in general, I still think you'll like this movie, thanks to an excellent performance by Ricardo Montalban as Khan Noonian Singh. He is such a great villain, and my favorite of all movie villains ever! Forget Darth Vader, Khan rules, man! I also enjoyed this movie a lot more than any of the Star Wars movies. This film is really 80's, but, hey, every decade has its own style. I've heard that "The Wrath of Khan" is MUCH better than any of the other Star Trek movies, so I guess I won't be seeing them, or maybe I will, to see how bad they really are......anyway, if you like sci-fi, space, comedy, and a little bit of tragedy (actually, the saddest part was when Khan died--where is the Star Trek gang gonna get all their good villains now??) then you should definitely see this movie. Don't expect "Casablanca" or "Citizen Kane," but this is a good movie that practically anyone can love.

4 out of 4 stars for "Khan."

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Elswet26 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
One of the very best of this series, Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan gives you the battles and action for which you were so hungry.

A veritable feast for Trekkies, and all other sci-fi fans, alike.

Ricardo Montalban reprises his role as Khan; a genetically mutated humanoid who has powers and strengths beyond that of mankind. Longevity, apparently is one of those powers. Exiled on Seti Alpha 5, Khan and his crew were to have a chance at life in a place where they could no longer interfere with Star Fleet and the affairs of man. But Chekov inadvertently stumbles up on the shell of the Botany Bay, Khan's ship, and realizes immediately what a mistake he has made. He attempts to flee, but it is too late.

Khan wants to avenge the death of his wife; an event for which he blames Admiral James Tiberius Kirk, and he will not rest until he can extract his revenge. It seems Kirk never checked on Khan and his crew, and sometime after they were deposited there, Seti Alpha 5 became a desolate wasteland with murderous creatures which burrow and move beneath the sands.

Meanwhile, Kirk is going through what seems to be a mid-life crisis which is interrupted to deal with the travesties of space, and one of Kirk's many love interests, Dr. Carol Marcus, has developed the "Genesis Project;" a device which can create new planets from dead ones, asteroids, and the like. But were this device to be used where life already existed, it would destroy the present life in favor of the new matrix, thereby making it a very devastating and dangerous weapon in the wrong hands.

Khan has learned of Genesis, and seeks to lay his hands on it, thus tying the plot to the sub-plot, and making for a very entertaining endeavor.

The space battles are extremely well done. The effects are startlingly good, even by today's standards, and the effects of Genesis inside the Genesis Cave, are absolutely brilliant.

The new characters; IE: Savik, a Vulcan addition to the crew of the Enterprise creatively and beautifully portrayed by Kirstie Alley; Dr. Carol Marcus and her son; are very well developed without creating long, slow scenes in which to accomplish the task. There is one slow scene in the entire movie, and that comes just before we get to see the Genesis Effect inside the Cave.

This is the infamous movie in which Spock gives up his life to save the ship and his friends. I remember picket lines outside Paramount Studios for weeks after this movie was released, protesting Leonard Nimoy's retirement from the series in such a manner.

All in all, of the movies in which the original cast stars, I would have to say it is a toss up between 2, 4, & 6 for the title of "Best" of these movies. I do not believe I could choose a favorite among those three.

It rates a 9.2/10 from...

the Fiend :.
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Plenty to enjoy here
The_Void18 August 2004
I'm not a Star Trek fan. I have watched the show a few times, and I don't dislike it; but it's not the sort of thing that I would find myself watching week after week. Basically what I'm saying is: I'm not a Trekkie. I did, however, find lots to enjoy about this movie. The plot revolves around Captain Kirk, who has now been promoted to Admiral Kirk and is going through a mid-life crisis. However, his crisis couldn't have come at a worse time; as it has come on the eve of the testing for a new creation, known as 'Genesis', and not only that but a man named Khan has just been found on a planet that Kirk exiled him on, and he doesn't just want to give Kirk a friendly hug.

The acting in the film isn't great, actually, it's about the standard that you would expect from a TV show (which is no coincidence, I'm sure). I'm not sure if all the cast of the shows is present, because I didn't watch it often, but most of the main ones seem to be here; Spock, Kirk, Scottie, Sulu etc. Also joining them is Kirstie Alley, in the role of a young Vulcan commander and Ricardo Montalban who camps it up and dons a silly costume for the title role of Kirk's opposite number; Khan. His performance was the standout of the film for me; he's deliciously over the top, but despite that he comes across as believable as his mannerisms fit the character profile that he is portraying. Unfortunately, non of the show's best known baddies, the Klingons make an appearance. In fact, aside from the Vulcans, there are no aliens in the movie.

One thing that surprised me about the film is the meatiness of the characters. As it's a film of a TV show, I wasn't expecting any development or for the characters to step out of their character arks, but they are surprisingly well done. Some characters also go through a change during the movie (some more than others), which is nice to see. The pace is also a good thing about the movie, as it doesn't let up and manages to stay interesting all the way through. One thing that worried me before watching the movie is that I would get bored as I don't know the show, but that didn't become a problem at any point.

I am proof that you don't have to be a Trekkie to enjoy this movie. There's more than enough for the casual movie fan to enjoy about it, it's an entertaining romp and overall I give this Star Trek film a 'G' for 'good' rating.
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The TV edit was better
Kirk1905523 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
There has been a lot of comment on this being the best of the Trek movies with the original cast and I'm not going to get involved with that discussion.

The plot of the story is good but editing of the sub plots leave you wondering what the reaction shots of the characters were about. Who the heck was Peter Preston and why did Scotty seem so proud of him when he introduced him to the Captain during the Engine Room inspection? Think about it. The entire scene is meaningless unless the director wanted you to feel sympathy for the cadet when Scott shows up in sick bay later carrying him after Khan's attack.

That's kind of like the series when you're introduced to a 'red shirted' guy at the beginning of an episode and you know he's going to wind up dead by the opening credits. You're meant to feel bad but not as much as if he were a recurring cast member. Most of the time they only had last names like Lt. Rodriguez or Ens. Palmer. Surely no one picked these guys up and tearfully carried them to sick bay.

Well, unless you read the novelization of the movie, the only other way to know who Peter Preston was was to have seen the ABC version of the movie. As with their airing of Superman and Superman II, they were able to get their hands on deleted scenes and reinsert them, making some sub plots make sense. To my knowledge, that version hasn't surfaced anywhere, either on VHS or DVD. If so please let me know.

To put this sub plot in a nutshell, Peter Preston is Scotty's nephew. His sister's kid to be exact. He is Scott's only family heir since he never had children and this was his sister's only kid. The continuation of his family's bloodline rested with Parker. Part of the scene in the engine room inspection had Scotty introduce him to Kirk and why he was so proud that he took up engineering like his uncle. He was spunky and you couldn't help but like him.

That's why Scott's crying when he carries him to sick bay after the attack. In fact, he doesn't even understand what happened until Kirk tells him about Khan. Yep, that's all cut out.

There are some other scenes that are expanded but none that changed the story as much as Scott's. My guess is that they may have thought that it distracted from the Kirk/David Marcus story line. Of course, it could have been cut because they didn't want to take away any of the gut wrenching good-bye at the end. That might also be why Scott doesn't seem as effected by Spock's death as much as everyone else. He has his own personal grief to contend with.

Another footnote here about that story line; in ST III when Kirk is having Spock's wake, he makes a toast to 'absent friends'. He doesn't mean Spock, he means Scotty because he wasn't there. In fact, when the doorbell chimes, he believes that Mr. Scott has finally arrived when it turns out to be Sarek. Why was Scott missing? He was home in Scotland attending a memorial service for Preston at his sister's side.
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20th Anniversary of One of the Greatest Sci-Fi Films of the last 20 years
chiudennis25 July 2002
Warning: Spoilers
(Caution: This review will discuss in detail themes, plot and characters that may be considered spoilers. Do not read this review if you do not desire such information about this film.)

"Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" is one of the best science fiction films of the past 20 years. At its core, it is a story of vengeance, rebirth and sacrifice. Even more admirable is the script's sophistication in combining literary themes found in Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" and Melville's "Moby Dick".

The film opens with the administration of the Kobayashi Maru test at Starfleet Academy; the test is known to cadets and Starfleet officers as the "no-win scenario". In the test, an impossibly challenging situation is encountered, where the cadets tested must demonstrate their reaction to their own mortality. As Admiral Kirk notes to Lt. Savik, after Savik questions the purpose of the test, "Well, how we deal with death, is at least as important as how we deal with life, wouldn't you say."

As part of the test, the instructors who are the former senior staff of the Starship Enterprise fake their own deaths. This is the first hint in the film that symbolically Admiral Kirk and his crew are dead. He and his crew accepted promotion to teach at Starfleet Academy, and stopped being the explorers in command of a starship facing the unknown.

For his birthday, Spock gives Kirk Dicken's "A Tale of Two Cities" and Kirk reads the first line, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." This begins Kirk's journey in the film that parallels the themes of the book. In Dicken's story, Dr. Manette is imprisoned and symbolically dies until word arrives that his daughter, Lucy with brilliant gold hair, resurrects him into the outside world of France, which is disintegrating to social unrest under ruthlessness of the monarchy and royalty.

At the same time that Kirk sits in the prison of his own promotion, Khan is buried alive on a barren windy desert planet where Kirk had placed him decades ago. Khan is resurrected from his "death" by the chance landing of Genesis Project terra-formers who are working with Starfleet and the chance to revenge himself upon Kirk. The Genesis Project is a missile that when detonated will take all matter in an area and recreates it into a planet livable for human life.

Similarly to Dickens' story, Kirk is contacted by one of the terra-formers who is the mother of his son, because they face imminent attack from Khan who had taken control of a Starfleet research vessel. Kirk is given permission to respond with the Enterprise and the trainee crew and to rescue his son.

In addition to Kirk's rescue of his son, vengeance at this point becomes the catalytic event that resurrects Kirk and Khan from their symbolic deaths. Khan takes on the obsession of Melville's Captain Ahab in "Moby Dick" and relentlessly pursues Kirk for revenge, despite protestations that he could do so much more with his new found freedom.

The price of vengeance is death. After Khan's first devastating attack, a young engineering crewman dies. Kirk stands at his bedside and as the crewman reaches out for Kirk's tunic, blood smears on Kirk's white bib just before the crewman dies. In "A Tale of Two Cities" red wine or blood foreshadowed death for an aristocrat who killed a baby with his horse drawn coach.

Kirk and Khan at the end of the film engage in a battle to the death. However, just prior to Khan's death, Khan engages the Genesis device that will devastate all life and matter in the area, in its effort to reformulate the matter to make it a planet fit for human life. It appears that Kirk will die in the end as well. Spock makes the supreme sacrifice and repairs the ship at the cost of his own life, which allows the ship and Kirk to escape the Genesis explosion.

Spock's sacrifice mirrors Charles Darnay's and Sidney Carton's sacrifice at the end of "A Tale of Two Cities" where one person is hanged in place of the other.

Just as the film began with the first line of "A Tale of Two Cities", the film ends with the last line of "A Tale of Two Cities". "It is a far better thing I do, than I have ever done before. It is a better resting place, than I have ever known."

To study "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" is to delve into some of the most important human themes in English literature. It is a "Star Trek" film that aspired to be more than the mindless action films that come out every year. It is a study of characters' death and rebirth that one rarely finds in any film. Each of the characters are well acted and the direction and cinematography are outstanding. If one studies "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan", understands all that it attempted and succeeded in doing, I think without a doubt it will be considered one of the towering cinematic achievements in science fiction film history.
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From hells heart
Dandy_Desmond28 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not a Trekki but I love Star Trek 2 : The Wrath of Khan. A classic in my opinion. A movie I have grown up with yet still manages to thrill me whenever I occasionally dig it out of my DVD collection. William Shatner, however hammy, simply IS Captain Kirk, a leader of men, a decision maker and a fighter. Khan is a bitter vengeful man determined to kill the man who marooned him (kirk) and is a most worthy villain. Ricardo Montalaban is brilliant in his role as Khan eating up his lines and delivering them with a poetic madness. What is most impressive about this story is that it is simply not just a story about one mans obsession, hate and bid to avenge being marooned on a desolate planet. It allows characters to develop and grow (especially Kirk and Spocks bond) it builds the tension slowly and the showdown is exiting and very well executed by both the director and I also must say by James Horner for a terrific score to compliment the action. Overall Star Trek 2 has great characters, a good story, terrific action and best of all an exiting and ultimately tragic ending. Oh and Kirsty Alley is without doubt the hottest vulcan/romulan I ever saw! oo ah!
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From Out Of The Past
bkoganbing4 October 2008
I've heard some Trekkies argue that The Wrath Of Khan is the best of the Star Trek big screen productions and I'm for one am inclined to accept that. Of all the Star Trek films it's the only one to have origins directly from the cult television series.

And the origin is from the episode Space Seed where the Eneterprise finds a ship floating in space with cryogenically frozen people of all kinds on board. Their leader is Khan Nooriam Singh played by Ricardo Montalban. What they are is a group of genetically enhanced human beings who back in the day tried to take over. Earth justice at the time being what it was, they were not killed, but frozen and were out there in space for several hundred years.

William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk had a close run battle with this crowd again and they were sentenced to a different kind of exile, on a barren planet where they would have to struggle to maintain life itself.

Fifteen years later Khan is down, but not out. He's out for blood now because the wife he took from the original Enterprise crew is dead and he blames Kirk. Khan's also after bigger game as well, something called the Genesis Project, a thing that scientists Bibi Besch and Paul Winfield have been working on. A method of generating life itself on a dead world.

Khan's a genetically enhanced being both physically and mentally which makes him maybe the most dangerous foe Kirk faced on the three year run of the television series. He hasn't lost a step, but even a genius can't think of everything even if he's taken over a starship of his own.

With both the television episode Space Seed and the film the Wrath of Khan it could well be argued that Ricardo Montalban got his career role, maybe he's known for playing Khan better because of Trek fans than for being the inscrutable Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island. All the Star Trek regulars are in their accustomed and comfortable parts.

I'll let you in on a secret, The Wrath of Khan is my favorite of the Star Trek films and it will be your's if you see it.
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Light Years Ahead of Star Trek The Motion Picture
marxsarx20 June 2003
When Star Trek The Motion Picture was released, the masses flocked to it. Unfortunately, the first film outing for the crew of the USS Enterprise was about as exciting as watching paint dry.

Never underestimate Trekkies! This Second Star Trek movie was even more greatly anticipated than the first. Reluctantly, I went to see it. I was pleasantly surprised. Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan, in my estimation, is everything the first one should have been, and then some!

Captain Kirk, now an admiral, is experiencing some sort of mid life crisis. And of course, he ends up back in the command chair when a routine inspection and review of the rookie crew on the Enterprise runs in to unexpected trouble. The crew of the USS Enterprise is in fine form in this outing, and much of the camaraderie of the original TV series is recaptured. And when and old adversary of Captain Kirk shows up with revenge in his heart, this movie gets rolling. It has twists, turns and surprises aplenty. The ending is truly a surprise.

Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan is a wonderful complement to the original TV series and stands on its own as a very good space adventure film. I'd rate it a 89.5/100. If you want to see what all the full about Star Trek is, Star Trek II is a great place to start.
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DarthBill15 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Middle aged Admiral James T. Kirk is suffering a mid life crisis while overseeing the trainee crew of the Enterprise who are under the watchful eye of everyone's favorite Vulcan, Spock. Then Khan (Ricardo Montalban), the villain of the episode "Space Seed", escapes the planet turned wasteland where Kirk left him and his people, hijacks the USS Reliant and goes after Kirk with a death wish. But where does Project Genesis, created by an old flame of Kirk, Dr. Carol

Marcus (Bib Besch) and her son David (the late Merritt Butrick), have to do with all this?

A lot flashier and more adventurous than the first film, it none the less touches upon ethical topics such as taking control of the power of creation, good intentions turned into horrible weapons, the usefulness of our elders, and the self destructiveness of obsession followed by sacrifice. Ricardo Montalban is a memorable villain, full ham, fire, gusto and cold malice. Besch and Butrick are fine. Kirstie Alley makes her memorable debut as the lovely Vulcan babe Saavik and it's a part she plays well (too bad they couldn't hang on to her). The original cast of course, play their parts the way their fans expect them to play them and they play their parts fine. The late Paul Winfield is also good in his role as the ill fated Captain Terrell.

Special effects are pretty good, with two well executed space shoot outs, the second and more memorable one taking place in the Mutaran Nebula. The death and funeral of Spock is very touching, and the film is also highlighted by some very beautiful music by James Horner. Shatner brings out a lot of sympathy from his Kirk in this entry.
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Best Star Trek movie (and one of the best sci-fi movies) ever!
I rented the first three of the six original Star Trek movies a couple of months ago. After trying to sit through The Motion Picture twice, and couldn't, This one I expected to be similar. Quite contrary. While The Motion Picture (TMP) had bleak and dull lighting, costumes (bad costumes even for Star Trek) This starts off with Spock's Iconic ear, and we see a well done scene (The reason I knew what was going on is because I read Leonard Nimoy's biography, where he talks about the movie) Then we have Khan, the best Star Trek villain ever! Ricardo Montalban gave the best performance of the movie with great lines, and he was threatening.

This movie also broke new ground with one thing: Chekov (Walter Koenig) actually did something that progressed the plot! after two seasons of just saying "mother Russia" and occasionally giving an input, he actually progressed plot! I suppose that you know the ending by now (I won't say, just in case you don't. But even if you do know what will happen, you still will love the scene (If you just want to watch it, I first found it on YouTube, result of lack of patience to sit through the movie for hours when I just want to watch that scene) After watching the whole movie, I still loved it very much and almost cried.

Just watch this movie, It is the best Star Trek movie, with First Contact as a close second. The only advantage this movie has is it isn't actually a geeky movie like the other nine (or the five of which I have seen)
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Give Star Trek its due
jeremyglick10 November 2003
Few would disagree that Wrath of Khan is the best Star Trek movie to date. There are some holdouts for IV & VI, but even their proponents only go so far as to rate those "up there" with II. Besides, the fourth Trek gets more dated by the minute, and I think a lot of the good feeling about the sixth movie was just relief that they rebounded from V. And advocates for the first movie or the Next Generation offerings are just in denial.

So if Wrath of Khan is Star Trek's best contribution, the question has to be where Star Trek ranks in the annals of sci-fi. And the answer has to be "pretty high." The Star Trek phenomenon is unparalleled in the science fiction genre, or pretty much any other genre for that matter. When science fiction films suddenly became big business after 1977, this franchise was one of the first offerings made.

I wouldn't put Wrath of Khan ahead of seminal works such as Metropolis, Star Wars, or T2, but it's not far behind. Ironically, one of its strengths is that the story itself has little to do with science fiction. You can lift out this story about live, death, and consequences and put it in any timeframe. They just happened to blend it superbly into a 2283 AD setting and create a tale that holds up extremely well.

This movie still contains some of the best work ever from ILM, James Horner, Nicholas Meyer, and the entire cast. And for what it's worth, note that this movie contains a little Genesis short that could well claim to be THE BIRTH OF CGI.
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It took a while, but I finally came around...this IS a good movie
IrishWriter341 September 2002
Since its release in 1982, STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN has emerged as perhaps the most controversial film in the STAR TREK series, eclipsing even the much-debated first film. To some vocal fans, KHAN is a total violation of what STAR TREK is about, what with its paramilitary atmosphere, its use of revenge as a plot point, and the horrific violence caused by said revenge. Gene Roddenberry's rejection of the film on those same grounds has only intensified the debate between those who hold the film as a desecration of the mythos and those who regard it as the definitive entry in the saga. Up until a few years ago, I probably would have sided with the naysayers, simply because the violence in the film upset me as a kid. I was 4 when the film came out, and I thought it was the goriest movie ever made. But then I grew up, realized that there've been far bloodier films, and gave KHAN another chance. When I finally saw it again when I was a teenager, I realized that I actually liked the film a lot…and that its violence was actually pretty mild compared to most movies.

As written and directed by Nicholas Meyer (the "screenplay by Jack Sowards" credit is a misnomer), the film goes like this: Jim Kirk is now a desk-bound admiral suffering a mid-life crisis while the Enterprise is now being turned over to a team of cadets. Unfortunately for him, Khan Noonien Singh, a genetically-enhanced maniac he marooned 15 years ago, has hijacked a Federation starship and is about to (a) steal a terraforming project called Genesis that could be used as a weapon and (b) go after Kirk in a suicidal revenge campaign. (The garden planet Kirk marooned Khan on was ravaged by a cosmic disaster that turned it into a barren desert, and Khan's wife and many of his followers were killed as a result of the devastation.) Once the scientists working on the terraforming project-among them Kirk's son and his mother-are threatened by Khan, Kirk takes command of the Enterprise and proceeds to investigate the matter. Much to Kirk's surprise, Khan is waiting for him, and a series of harrowing encounters ensues, resulting in the controversial death of Spock.

The plot is pretty simple, but this works to the film's advantage. Meyer's script (from a story by Sowards and producer Harve Bennett) is tightly constructed, moving at a swift pace and not wasting a moment on useless details. Even though the film deals with such heady matters as old age and death (an unwinnable test scenario called the "Kobeyashi Maru" becomes a motif that brackets the film), it still finds time for gentle verbal humor and wordplay. Unlike the first film, which felt uncertain at times, KHAN is confident and relaxed with the characters. The core cast is much more at ease this time out, and their performances are all the better for it. William Shatner especially is at his best in this film; this talented actor finally drops the hammy shtick that has become the target for mockery (or self-mockery, as is the case with Shatner's recent work) and delivers a subtle, easy performance that hints at what might have been had he not given in to camping it up. Bibi Besch and Merritt Butrick (both of whom have passed on) are engaging as Kirk's estranged family (the death of Kirk's son in the third film is all the more regrettable for this), and Paul Winfield, as the brainwashed captain whose ship is swiped by Khan, is suitably tragic. There's also Kirstie Alley making her debut as Saavik, Spock's protégée. But let's not kid ourselves; this is Ricardo Montalban's movie all the way. Cool yet insane, murderous yet elegantly charming, Montalban makes Khan one of the most intriguing villains in film history. And despite Khan's limited screen time, Montalban makes the character an imposing presence that dominates the film. Aided by James Horner's bombastic pirate movie-esque score and some of ILM's most dynamic FX work ever (barring one stiff matte painting in the Genesis cave), the film generates an energized feel and mood that refuses to let up until the story has run its course.

Which brings me to the accusations made by those who claim this film trashes Roddenberry's vision. "Too paramilitary"? Sorry, Roddenberry had always said that STAR TREK was a high-tech Horatio Hornblower saga, and the original series had military underpinnings. "Violence has no place in TREK"? Then please explain why the original series was saturated in deaths and near-deaths, why everyone in a red tunic got iced in almost every episode, and why every last one of the crew members was constantly getting into brawls. "Revenge is not a theme that fits what TREK is all about"? Excuse me, but I thought STAR TREK was essentially about the human condition, and the nastier, darker aspects of humanity are a part of that condition. To ignore them would be to whitewash humanity and do TREK a disservice. This film is no grimmer than the classic episode "Wolf in the Fold," about Jack the Ripper's soul possessing people in order to carry on his killing spree. Really, KHAN doesn't do anything that wasn't already done on the series. As for Roddenberry's gripes about the film…well, it's been established that he became a control freak whose grip on STAR TREK nearly paralyzed it creatively. His complaints had more to do with Meyer and Bennett being allowed to bring a fresh voice to the series than anything that was actually in the film.

It took a while for me to wake up, but now I can see STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN for what it really is: a well-crafted adventure story and a worthy entry in the STAR TREK mythos.
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To say this is better then the original is an understatement.
callanvass18 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
(Credit IMDb) Admiral James T. Kirk is still in charge of a space fleet, but from behind a desk. Dr. McCoy and Mr. Spock convince him to take on a mission which sounds simple, but with the appearance of the mysterious Khan, things get a little tricky.

After the dreadfully boring original, the franchise decided to step it up, and give us a worthy Star Trek movie. While it's not a classic like fans claim, it's still very enjoyable and a memorable movie that holds up well. Ricardo Montalban gives a performance for the ages of Khan, and some of the scenes he had with Shatner are classical. Star Trek's main fault was that nothing of note ever happened really, here the filmmakers made sure to give us some entertaining things, and things we could pay attention too. The final showdown is great, and it was a fitting follow-up, considering the disappointment I felt with my Star Trek viewing.

Performances. William Shatner is great as Kirk. He's focused, likable, and managed to inject charisma this time around. Ricardo Montalban is utterly spellbinding as Khan. His menacing attitude I could never forget, and his actions where we first see him appear on screen I will never forget. DeForest Kelley and Leonard Nimroy both give fine performances as Spock and Dr. McCoy. Kristie Alley is actually pretty good in an early role. Unfamiliar Trekkies might be amused to see her here.

Bottom line. It's not the perfect follow-up many claim, but it's certainly great entertainment. For Star-Trek beginners, I would seriously recommend this film as your starting point.

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