Saturday, 28 February 2015

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Dedicated to Leonard Nimoy.

I love this film, to me Star Trek II isn't just the best Star Trek film, nor just one of the best sci-fi film's ever, it is one of my all time favourite films due to its epic story that really raised the stakes for the Enterprise crew.

The film is less a sequel to Star Trek: The Motion Picture and is a continuation of the episode Space Seed from the first series of the show. Space Seed was about the crew of the Enterprise finding the SS Botany Bay adrift in space, a ship launched from Earth during the 1990's, on board they find Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban), a genetically engineered superhuman who once ruled a quarter of Earth. Khan and his crew, along with the help of the Enterprise's historian Lieutenant Marla McGivers attempt to take over the Enterprise, they fail but Captain Kirk shows mercy. Going against regulations Kirk chooses to drops them off on Ceti Alpha V instead of taking Khan and his crew to be imprisoned on Earth.  Ceti Alpha V is a harsh world but one suited to Khan and his fellow superhuman's skills that he can form his new kingdom over, he also allows McGivers, who has fallen in love with Kahn to go with them saving her from a court-martial. The episode ends with Spock noting it would be interesting to return in 100 years to see what Khan and his people have made of the planet.

A good episode and satisfying end for Khan and his people, but little did fans at the time know that fifteen years latter they would see the after math of Kirk's blatant disregard for the rules. Producer Harve Bennett watched every episode of the original series in preparation for Star Trek II and gravitated towards the character of Khan, choosing to bring him back for the villain, writing the first treatment for the film.

In the film we see Chekov aboard the USS Reliant, doing survey work to find a planet suitable for testing 'the genesis device', he and his Captain beam down to what they believe is Ceti Alpha IV, at first they find what they expect, a desolate desert, but soon discover some cargo containers. After exploring the containers and Chekov's realisation that these are the containers from the Botany Bay they are captured by Khan, who explains that Ceti Alpha IV exploded, shifting the orbit of V making it this uninhabitable wasteland. After seeing most of his crew die at the hands of parasite creatures, including McGivers who Khan had married, he has vowed revenge against Kirk, blaming him, now him and his crew have stolen the USS Reliant he sets out to have his revenge.

There is so much to the film I don't even know where to start, as well as the themes of revenge and the past coming back to haunt there is also themes of age, loss, obsession and sacrifice, and they are all woven into a tight knit story. Khan is a great villain, never believing what he is doing is wrong or evil, he thinks his revenge is just and never realises how consuming his obsession has become.

The space battles are awesome too, not the high speed jet like battles but slower, more nautical like two submarines, the tension builds and builds and I'm on the edge of my seat no matter how many times I watch it. The first time Reliant attack the Enterprise, nearly destroying her the dread is high and the moment where Kirk agrees to discuss their surrender is a shocking moment, we rarely see Kirk at the end of his rope like that.

Oh course the famous KHAN! scream is one of the films most famous moments, and despite how it has been parodied over the years in context the scene is epic, the video of the scene is at the bottom, check it out yourself!

Oh course one of the most memorable and shocking scenes was Spock sacrificing himself to save the ship, followed by his funeral and Kirks moving eulogy. Even though I know he comes back to life in the next film I still tear up ever time Kirk says; 'Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most... human.'

I could go on all day about what I love about this film, I haven't even mentioned Savvik, David and Kirk's emotional scene at the end of the film, the scenes when Kirk, McCoy and Savvik beam aboard Regular I, and so many other great moments. This is a film I recommend everyone watch, even if you are not a Star Trek fan!

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