on December 5, 2009
I'm relatively new to the whole Blu-ray thing; indeed, I resisted buying a Blu-ray player for a long time because I imagined that older movies (e.g., Wrath of Khan) would look grainy and dated in this format, which mercilessly exposes the flaws in older film prints.
So I was pleasantly surprised when "Wrath of Khan" ended up looking, to me, rather good on Blu-ray. It's by no means a perfect print; for example, there's usually some fuzz (or whatever the technical term is) visible on scenes with dark lighting, such as when the Enterprise bridge goes to red alert. But by and large, this print is much nicer than the previous DVD versions.
I compared some DVD scenes to Blu-ray ones to determine whether the upgrade was worth it, and I think it was. Check out the scene when Spock gives Kirk his birthday present; on Blu-ray, you can see all the fine details on that giant globe they're standing next to, whereas on the DVD print it just looks like some glass blob. Similarly, the nebula scenes look much clearer on the Blu-ray.
Some fans seem annoyed that "digital noise reduction" has been applied to the Star Trek movies. Again, I'm no technical expert, but I believe this means that the artifacting/fuzz/whatever-you-call-it has been digitally "painted out" to give the film a cleaner look. This has led some fans to complain that the ST films now look artificially painted over, or waxy, or whatever. I sympathize with this complaint, but I think there's a tough choice to be made here; either studios can digitally "paint out" flaws, resulting in a slightly artificial look, or they can leave the flaws in, resulting in a distracting grainy look. Based on my Blu-ray experiences so far, I favor the noise reduction; for example, the Star Trek Blu-rays look much nicer to me than Fargo, which looks like it was shot through a layer of gauze.
The only real disappointment is that "Wrath of Khan" is only available in its theatrical cut, not the (slightly) better extended cut. It's a shame that Paramount doesn't give you a choice between the two versions; for "Khan," I'd pick the extended cut, and for "Undiscovered Country" I'd go with the theatrical one, but so far Paramount has not released versions that offer the option of switching.
But still, I think "Khan" looks so much nicer as a Blu-ray that I'd rather watch this copy than the special edition DVD. I don't even have a problem with the much-loathed "Delta shield" menu, which may be basic, but has a certain elegance to it...
on July 28, 2002
I just bought this DVD..., and the verdict is in: It's a blast!!!
THE MOVIE: Certanily one of the best Star Trek movies. Although the main plot about revenge is a bit too basic, the sub-plots, including the addition of Kirk's ex-wife and son, makes the movie better. The action is well paced and the special effects are marevelous. Also, the "expanded director's edition" featured on this DVD adds about 5 extra minutes to the movie. The added footage does little to help the plot, but does a great deal to flesh out more of the minor characters, such as Kirk's son and Lt. Saavik. Also, the last 15 minutes of the film (some added dialogue was put in there to have a little bit more emotional impact at the end of the film) made me jump the grade of the film from a "B" to an "A+."
THE DVD: In addition to having a crisp, clear picture transfer of the film with oustanding sound, the first disc has a nice audio commentary from the director and an even nicer text commentary from Michael Okuda, co-author of the Star Trek Encyclopedia. (That guy knows EVERY SINGLE LITTLE DETAIL THAT OTHER PEOPLE WOULD NOT EVEN KNOW A THING ABOUT that regards to Star Trek.) The second disc contains the following:
1) The Captain's Log: A 27-minute documentary featuring brand new interviews with Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, director Nicholas Meyer, Ricardo Montalban, and others. They talk about how they originally intended to put the film together, how they eventually ended up completing that task, and other things.
2) Designing Khan: A 23-minute documentary that features interviews with director Nicholas Meyers, the costume designer, and the production designer. They discuss the transitions they made in costume and production design from the ST:TMP to ST2:TWOK.
3) Visual Effects: An 18-minute featurette that has interviews with the FX crew. They explain how they executed and completed the FX shots. (Big surprise there)
4) The Star Trek Universe: A 28-minute documetary that features interviews with two Star Trek novel writers. They discuss how they fill in the gaps between the movies with their books and where they get their ideas.
5) Original Interviews: Basically 10 minutes of interviews (from 1982) featuring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Ricardo Montalban, and Deforest Kelley.
6) Archives: The archives feature 10 original storyboard sequences. (That sure beats the storyboard archives on the ST:TMP DVD, which features a mere 3 storyboard sequences.) There is also a thatrical trailer.
So, there you have it. A great movie with a packed DVD equals a great purchase. Buy as soon as possible.
1982; 116 minutes; Rated PG for mild obscenity, some sequences of sc-fi action/violence, and brief shots of the aftermaths of brutal murders.
(I DO think this movie should have been rated PG-13, but the rating didn't exist then. See and judge for yourself.)...
on August 27, 2002
In the wake of Robert Wise's "director's edition" of STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, it was only a matter of time before Nicholas Meyer's STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN was awarded the same treatment. Half a year later, KHAN does indeed get the royal treatment with a 2-disc set loaded with extras and fan tidbits galore. The package includes a slightly extended "director's cut" of KHAN that restores a critical plot point (namely, the young cadet who dies in Scotty's arms is actually Scotty's nephew) and a few brief clippings of dialogue (mostly back-and-forth exchanges among the main cast); a commentary by Meyer in which he discusses both the film and his approaches to filmmaking; a text commentary by STAR TREK's long-time technical point man Michael Okuda that's packed with more fanboy knowledge than a game of Trivial Pursuit; cast interviews from 1982 (in which Leonard Nimoy wears a pink and white striped suit that makes him look like a pimp); three documentaries covering the making of the film; "A Novel Approach," a documentary where TREK authors Julia Ecklar and Greg Cox discuss how KHAN's plot elements spun off into the TREK novels; the film's FX storyboards; and of course, the theatrical trailer. Let's look at each of these:
THE DIRECTOR'S CUT OF KHAN - the film makes a bit more sense now that the scenes establishing the doomed cadet as Scotty's nephew have been restored, and the restored dialogue adds a little extra kick to the proceedings (it's especially funny to hear Spock respond to Kirk's telling him about his son with a disinterested "Fascinating"). But the film is still as tightly structured and fast-paced as it's ever been; the added footage does nothing to slow the film down or to harm the story (although some nit-pickers will make the hilarious claim that the whopping THREE minutes restored to the film "butcher" it and ruin the pace-how can this be when the added three minutes are spread out over the whole film?). Rather, it gives it a bit more punch. As for the look of the film, it's certainly a lot cleaner and brighter than most other prints, but even with the digital re-mastering, there's still a lot of visible film grain. Like STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE before it, KHAN looks its age regardless of the print quality. But this is a minor detail. Overall the film looks pretty good.
COMMENTARIES - both interesting and enjoyable. Meyer's regular guy vibe and insights into the making of the film are engaging, and Okuda's trivia-heavy text comments are a joy for anyone who thrives on knowing useless fanboy tidbits.
CAST INTERVIEWS - a unusual time capsule in which the film's leads plug the film. But let's face it; the coolest thing about this insert is seeing Leonard Nimoy dressed like a pimp. Spock in a pink suit is perhaps the greatest source of laughs you'll ever find.
DOCUMENTARIES - by far, the coolest of these is "Where No Man Has Gone Before," which covers the stylish FX work ILM did on the film. The giddiness with which the film's FX crew recalls their work on the film is enormously contagious. "Designing KHAN," about the film's costume and set designs, is pretty good, too. "Captain's Log," about the overall making of the film, is uneven though. Where Meyer, producer Harve Bennett, and Ricardo Montalban are discussing what went into the making of the film, William Shatner spends his time being a total wiseacre, either mercilessly razzing his pal Nimoy ("I think the death scene would have been better if we DIDN'T see him thru the glass!" and "Oh, he knew he was coming back, he set me up to think he was leaving...I'll get him one day!") or joking about how he used women's cosmetics to look younger. And Nimoy is no better, cracking wise about how much older Shatner is than he. (For those of you wondering, this is how they act around each other all the time.) The insight/clowning-around mixture simply doesn't jell. But to be fair, at least Nicholas Meyer is finally acknowledged as the author of KHAN's shooting script, not Jack Sowards as has been erroneously credited. "A Novel Approach" is interesting, but dry; it bogs down when the authors recite passages from the novels. The moments where they discuss how KHAN formed the backbone of their work and display their fan knowledge are the most enjoyable, even if the supertitles used during the film clips steer too much into jokiness.
STORYBOARDS - mind-blowing. We're treated to the conceptual sketches of the film's FX shots (including the combat sequences, which match those in the finished film almost exactly), as well as some terrific concepts for the opening title sequence and the "Spock monologue" finale that really should have been used in the film. Illustrated by the late Mike Minor, these storyboards read like a really good comic book.
THEATRICAL TRAILER - pretty dramatic for a teaser, and it gives a good idea of what the film was going to be.
Despite a couple of rocky patches, the "director's edition" of STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN is a worthy package to a really good film. Highly recommended.
Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan succeeds because it strikes the perfect balance of drama, action, humor, pathos, and depth. After the critical failure of the first Star Trek movie (which hit movie theaters before being properly completed), the producers took the trouble to view every episode of the original series to figure out what made it enduring. They replicated it successfully in The Wrath of Khan. Unlike the first film, the plot is driven by the actions and motivations of the characters. This is not a story about spatial anomalies or an excuse for technobabble and flashy special effects. This story is about the classic themes which have served drama well since ancient Greek theater: the quest for vengeance; lost loves; the alienation, anger and reconciliation of fathers and sons; and the realization of mortality. Of the many science fiction films I have seen, few have tugged at the heartstrings as deeply as The Wrath of Khan. The most powerful moments are the bittersweet reunion between Kirk and Carol Marcus, the death of Spock and Kirk's eulogy, and the long delayed embrace between Kirk and his estranged son David. These moments are so universal that any "science fiction" label for this film seems limiting.
The script is helped by what is undoubtedly William Shatner's finest performance as James T. Kirk. Shatner brings the perfect balance of bluster, brio, and vulnerability to the aging Admiral. Toward the end of the movie, Kirk, shattered by Spock's death, tears down his defenses and allows us to see the human being behind the uniform. Ricardo Montalban, in a blood thirsty, Ahab-like performance, proves that there is much more to his acting than what was seen on Fantasy Island.
The special effects, which are entirely at the service of the story, for the most part hold up remarkably well--two exceptions are the Ceti Eels and the Genesis Cave Waterfall, which look rather primitive by today's CGI standards. James Horner's crisp, vibrant score hints at the great things which were to follow from him--it's a pity he has not been used in more recent Star Trek fare.
This Director's Edition contains some additional footage which was not in the theatrical release. Among this are scenes which reveal why Scotty was so upset over the death of the Cadet in Engineering, as well as some minor additions. Unlike the DVD release of the first Star Trek movie, there have been no enhancements to the few dated visual effects, such as the Genesis Cave Waterfall. The bonus material features interviews with Shatner, Nimoy, Montalban, and Bennett, as well as several behind the scenes looks at the visual effects (this was the first film to make use of computer graphics) and production design. Less interesting is an extended look at the Trek universe as seen through various novelizations (which, as every Trekker knows, are not considered "canon.")
The picture and sound quality are identical to the earlier DVD release, a definite improvement over VHS and laserdisc, but not spectacular by DVD standards.
on April 24, 2000
Considered the best Star Trek film to date. The film is a virtual Horatio Hornblower in outer space. Wrath Of Khan is a gripping adventure reminisent of a 1957 WWII film "The Enemy Below." Ricardo Montalban is superb at Khan Noonan Singh, genetically modified super madman from the late 20th century. Awoken on a sleeper ship in the 23rd century by Capt Kirk and crew, only to be exiled on unstable planet. Khan seeks revenge on Kirk in the worst way, as he hijacks a Federation starship as well as a device that could literally destroy the galaxy. The best line in the film:
Admiral James T. Kirk: Khan, you bloodsucker! You're gonna have to do your own dirty work now, do you hear me? Do you? Khan: Kirk! You're still alive, old friend! Admiral James T. Kirk: Still, "old friend!" You've managed to kill everyone else but like a poor marksman, you keep missing the target. Khan: Perhaps I no longer need to try, Admiral. [beams the Genesis device away] Admiral James T. Kirk: Khan... Khan, you've got Genesis, but you don't have me. You were going to kill me, Khan. You're gonna have to come down here. You're gonna have to come down here. Khan: I've done far worse than kill you, Admiral. I've hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her: marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet, buried alive. Buried alive. Kirk: KHAAANNNN! KHAAANNNN!
Wrath Of Khan also stars Kristie Alley (of Cheers, and Veronica's Closet). It was Krisitie's 1st roll on the big screen, playing Lt. Saavik, Spock's protegee. Great acting by Montalban and terrific over-acting by Shatner. Star Trek II is a tour de force. A must have for the Trekkie and sci-fi collector.
on September 8, 2001
1982's STAR TREK - THE WRATH OF KHAN was a dream come true for TREK fans everywhere. The return of series' villain Khan Noonian Singh, consumed by his obsession to exact revenge on Admiral Kirk for the death of his wife, resulted in a TREK that was bolder and more dramatic than ever before, (or since -- take note, Rick Berman!) Key to the rebirth was the hiring of director Nicholas Meyer, an admitted novice to the STAR TREK phenomenon who nonetheless drew an astounding, best-ever performance from Shatner and created a taut, tightly-paced adventure in the tradition of the series' finest episodes. As usual, DeForest Kelley steals scene after scene.
From the very beginning, Paramount has lead the charge in packing their DVD's with supplementary materials, and this disc doesn't disappoint. For starters, there are two VERY cool behind-the-scenes documentaries: STAR TREK: RECAPTURING THE MAGIC explores the effort that went into ensuring the film FELT like STAR TREK, while the second documentary, IKE EISENMANN: FROM WITCH MOUNTAIN TO THE MILKY WAY, examines in exhausting detail how the actor went from child star at Disney to his tour of duty aboard the Enterprise in KHAN. Both shorts are interesting and informative, and above all, fun. But the studio didn't stop there; in addition to the documentaries, we get a pristine transfer of the film's original theatrical trailer, a generous collection of TV spots, and a rare, seldom seen teaser trailer created expressly for the Polish market. But the real jewel of the extras is the inclusion of an entire taping of The Merv Griffin Show from 1982 featuring Shatner, Nimoy, and Kelley, just prior to the release of the film. That alone would have been sufficient to make the disc a must-buy, but Paramount ups the ante by giving us not one, not two, but 25 audio commentaries!!! This treasure trove of extras, combined with the dynamic picture and sound of the film transfer, will have TREK fans everywhere rushing to beam this one up!
on October 21, 2012
Star Trek has had its high points and its low points over the years. There have been some tremendous storys told, and some... lackluster?... ones, and some just terrible ones.
Note that I grew up with the original series. Yes, there have been additional spin-off type series, supposedly set in the same universe, and they can be treated individually, but as far as I'm concerned, "Star Trek" is the original TV series and the movies based upon that, not "The Next Generation" or "Voyager" or "Deep Space Nine" or "Enterprise" or the new "reboot movie" done by JJ Abrams a couple of years ago. Those are all largely separate enntities, all of which (yes, including the new flick) have different characters, different situations, different storytelling techhniques, and so forth. This doesn't NECESSARIlY make those other spin-off ideas worse, or better, just different. You can make your own calls about the quality of each individual spin-off. In other words, I'm just defining my terms here.
That said, we can easily put the severan TNG-era movies into the comparison, as this movie far eclipses those as well.
In 1979, "Star Trek - The Motion Picture" came out. It was the big-screen continuation of the original Star Trek TV show, supposedly "updated." The quality of the visual effects was spectacular, and the new ship (it's not the same ship, it just happens to have the same name and the same general configuration) was pretty to look at. The same actors were playing the same roles.
But... the FEEL was all wrong. It lacked the real, HUMAN, interactions which were at the core of the original series' best storytelling. So we had a ship which felt dreary, depressing, and dehumanizing inside. We had costuming which might have been comfortable, but was visually dull and drab. We had dialog which occasionally "hinted" at the close "just like us" human interaction which the original series was so successful for using, but mostly, it was actors staring at pretty lights with badly-acted "awestruck looks" on their faces.
SO... despite being a technical masterpiece (for the most part), this first movie was not considered the sort of blockbuster which would have been required to make additional movies.
Fortunately, someone at Paramount realized that it wasn't the fault of the cast, or of the overall concept, but rather of the leadership for the production, which led to the storytelling failures of this film. And they realized that they had a lot of property, built for that first film, which would be able to be re-used at very little cost for additional films.
SO... they dumped the production team (including Star Trek's creator, Gene Roddenberry, who at this point had lost track of what he'd originally known so well when creating the original series!) and hired an entirely new production team. A team who had no attachments to Star Trek whatsoever.
They hired a well-known TV line-producer, Harve Bennett, as the executive producer (taking over from ROddenberry). Bennett was someone who understood budgeting, scheduling, and the proper way to "hire the right people and then get out of their way," all areas in which Roddenberry had failed, very badly, in while making TMP. Bennett held sway over the majority of the remaining original-series films, with just a couple of exceptions, and much of the success of the films he led can be laid directly at his feet.
They hired a really good director, who understood what the director of "The Motion Picture" had failed to grasp... science fiction is just set-dressing, and the storytelling must be about PEOPLE, not about "fantastic special effects" or "high-concepts" even if you're wrapped up in those things. All the "science fiction" trappings of the story are there for is to open up possible HUMAN storytelling which might not be practical in "real world" situations. Nicholas Meyer got that, and got it very, very well. He, frankly, didn't care at all about the "space" elements of this, but he clearly understood the CHARACTERS.
The budget was reduced, dramatically, from what was available in the first film. Nevertheless, they had enough budget to create a new ship (the Reliant, a sister ship to the Enterprise) to make new uniforms (which seemed more real, and were much more visually appealing, patterned in large part upon real-world military uniforms). They re-used quite a bit from the first movie (the two of the new sets... the space station transporter room and the Enterprise torpedo bay... were both repaints of portions of a set... the Klingon bridge... from the first movie, for example), they raided "stock prop" warehouses for set-dressing (the same "scifi set dressing" bits seen in this film were seen in dozens and dozens of other 1970s, 1980s and 1990s TV shows), and so forth. Heck, they made new "communicators" from found equipment from the local Home Depot!
They did hire Lucas's special effects house, "Industrial Light and Magic," to do the visual effects, and they did a fine job, Again, to save money, they re-used some shots from the first film, so while the model of the Enterprise did get a new paint job or this film, it still has the original paint job in quite a few shots.
My point is simple... they were FRUGAL in this film. Instead of planning out science-fictiony spectacle, as the first movie did, they focused almost entirely on the human storytelling. The other stuff was, as it should be, all "set dressing" to help the audience forget that they're watching actors on a soundstage. And it worked... magnificently. (A lesson which J.J. Abrams seems to have failed on, in my judgement, in his reboot movie.)
The storytelling in this film is what makes it rise head and shoulders above any other Star Trek film, and over most non-Star Trek films for that matter. We get characters who we can imagine actually knowing, and liking, in real life (something we had in the best examples of the original series as well, but lacked, entirely, in the first movie). We got drama from situations which, while wrapped in science-fiction trappings, were really about the most fundamental human emotions... a villain who has (understandable, if irrational) rage issues directed against the hero, and a hero who feels that his life is "winding down" and sees all the lost opportunities and mistakes behind him.
It's a trope that "Captain Kirk slept with every girl he met" in the original series (it's not really true, by the way, but it's a trope nevertheless). This movie showed the "leading man romantic" role he often filled in a very different light, by introducing the great love of his life, the "little blonde lab tech" he was mentioned as having "almost married" in the very first appearance of Kirk in the original series, and it turns out that he also has a son... a son who doesn't know that Kirk is his father. It actually explains quite a bit, and shows that there are consequences we all have to deal with for our choices. And, thankfully, this turns out OK in the end (at least in this film!)
The dialog is written so well, even with somewhat different visuals, there's no question but that these are the same characters we know and love from the original series. It's dramatic, when appropriate, funny (in a realistic way, not a slapstick way) when appropriate, and just COMFORTABLE all the rest of the time. No stilted "science-fictiony" dialog, just normal people having normal conversations about imporant things in their lives.
The acting also reflects the pinnacle of the Star Trek films, and is a key element to the above. Nick Meyer did a terrific turn as director, and as a result even some of the more lackluster actors turn in terrific performances. I'm not a huge George Takei fan overall ("Sulu"), and I never really liked the Chekov character (though I grew to love Walter Koenig, the actor who played him, through watching Babylon 5) but this film shows both of these guys at their best. Nichele Nichols, as Uhura, does a good job, but she's probably the most underutilized original-series actor in this film (a sad but necessary requirement of reasonable storytelling (the comms officer is seldom going to be a major player in real-life events, and in this film, the storytelling tool priority over "giving everyone their moment"... something later films ended up trying, way too hard at times, to do) James Doohan's turn as Scotty in this film was also "lightly written" but had some really good moments. But, as with the original series, this movie was built around the "big three trio," Kirk, Spock, and McCoy.
One of the things that made the original series work so well was that the big-three characters sort of grew into psychological archetypes... Kirk as the "superego" (The psychology term for the part which makes decisions, based upon the input of the other two elements), the "ego" (the logical, rational side of our mind), through Spock, and the ID (the emotional, feelings-based side of our minds) which obviously was McCoy. This is very clearly played out in a sequence in this film, set in Kirk's cabin, where they discuss the concept of "Genesis" in this film.
Finally, this film did something I LOVED. It took risks, and make "permanent" changes to the status-quo, in universe. (I put "permanent" in quotes because, unfortunately, some of these "permanent" changes got reversed later... so the brave choices made in this film largely got erased in later films, putting us back into the "status quo," which was just a horrible mistake as far as I'm concerned!)
The best films, but best TV shows, the best storytelling in general, must involve REAL GROWTH AND CHANGE. This is part of why Babylon 5 remains my all-time favorite TV series... and why, from a pure storytelling perspective, Deep Space Nine may in fact be the best drama told in the Star Trek universe. You have to have real jeaopardy, real risk. Characters... BELOVED characters... need to be at real risk, and occasionally may need to die... and STAY THAT WAY.
Otherwise, none of the storytelling ends up having any real impact.
This film made real changes. It introduced two three major new characters, all of whom should have become part of the "recurring cast" for future films (but one of whom was never seen again, one of whom was later removed entirely, and one of whom was badly recast... no offense to the replacement, but this character ceased to be the same character!)
The situation at the end of the film isn't the same as we saw during the original TV series, or at the beginning of the film. Characters have changed, new relationships are being formed... and new character dynamics would likely be present in future films. It was... perfect. It just works. Beautifully.
Later Star Trek movies were still fairly good, to varying degrees, but they lost sight of the "story first, above all" on occasion... needing to give every actor their "moment" in each film (even if it doesn't really serve the storytelling), or drawing back from taking big risks, or (worst of all) REVERSING the "changes" which this film gave us, instead putting us back into the "same thing, with no changes, but with older actors" situation.
The last "Original series" film was also the second best... "The Undiscovered Country." It's no shock that this film was also helmed by Nick Meyer, and while a bit lesser than this film, it's a fine film as well. And it also deals with real change, albeit in different ways.
If you only watch ONE Star Trek film, this is the one to watch.
This is a review of the DVD version. Unfortunately, as with the whole collection of the Star Trek DVDs, Paramount has done us a disservice by not adding anything extra to the movies, except for a trailer, and a French language audio-track and English and French subtitles. No commentaries by Harve Bennett, Leonard Nimoy, or any other directors, composers, special effects people, actors - nothing. Nada. If it wasn't for the better picture quality of DVD, I'd stick with the VHS version. I am very disappointed in this, and all Star Trek movies, as a DVD. Please, Paramount, show some respect for the fans of Star Trek who have earned you untold billions of dollars, and give us a decent DVD offering of the movies we love so much.
In terms of the movie itself, what can I say? This is great film-making, and great script-writing. People who don't like Star Trek might dismiss it out of hand, but I would suggest this one (and also Star Trek IV) as movies the non-trekkie, even the non-science-fiction fan, will likely enjoy. Of all the Star Trek movies, this one is the most mythic - using mythic in its proper sense, of characters who are beyond human, stretching in to the realm of true archetypes. Think Greek epic writing, and you'll get the idea. Khan as blind vengeance personified; Kirk as unstoppable but fallible hero; the meeting of Kirk with his unknown son; and Spock, the non-human, teaching us how to be human by sacrificing his life for the crew. It also has so much in it about death and life, and how we deal with situations that are no-win (such as Spock sacrificing himself). Great stuff. If you want to know about the plot of the movie, or more beyond that, you can read the other many reviews here. I only wanted to mention this is a great story, to watch and enjoy, and also something that could be used in a literature class in high school or college. The filing is beautiful, the soundtrack is phenomenal (ranks right up there with Conan the Barbarian and Star Wars for perfectly meshed film-and-music).
Also, if you do get the DVD, you must watch the movie with the French audio on, because none of the French actors they used to do the voices is appropriate, and it's simply hilarious. I don't know where thy found the actors to do the voices, but Khan sounds like a weenie, Kirk sounds like an accountant, and the others have no emotion or acting skill at all. Truly a bad voice-over, but, as I said, utterly hilarious. When Khan utters his "revenge is a dish best served cold" and in French he ends with "Foie", he says it with such a silly emphasis, I about rolled off my couch to hear it, and played it over and over before going on with the rest of the movie.
Great, wonderful, exciting and well-written Star Trek/adventure/science-fiction movie, my favorite of the Star Trek series, and the DVD is wonderfully clear and crisp, but offers nothing for which the DVD format is designed.
on July 17, 2000
A classic line in a classic movie. This is undoubtedly classic Trek.
For most fans of the Star Trek series, Star Trek II is the movie which set the standard for all the following films in the series. Nicholas Meyer's direction is a welcome change from ST:TMP, which plodded along, even for die-hard Trek fans. Ricardo Montalban's portrayal of Khan is what really steals the show, though. His single-minded purpose of destroying Adm. Kirk is both chilling and convincing. Besides Star Trek 6 (also directed by Meyer), this is the only Trek movie that feels we've "Boldly gone where no one has gone before."
The DVD edition is a flawless transfer. Its presentation is certainly the best transfer to date, though the sound fidelity sounds dated at times. However, even the sound is the best you've ever heard on this film. The only thing wanting in this edition is more supplemental material. Come on, Paramount, where's the beef! Though the theatrical trailer is a nice touch, the DVD could have had some added cast biographies and interviews. The sparse supplemental material keeps me from giving this DVD a full 5 stars.
Overall, I highly recommend this film to Sci-Fi/Action/Trek fans alike. If Hollywood invested more time in movies like this, a lot more people would be more satisfied in spending a day's pay at the theater.
on July 21, 2000
Like most fans, I recommend STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN as the best of the Trek film franchise, including the Next Generation films. Despite the lackluster STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, Paramount knew it had a franchise to compete with STAR WARS on its hands, and put Nicholas Meyer at the helm of the series' comeback.
Originally conceived as STAR TREK: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY (a tip to Spock's death -- the undiscovered country is the place where no traveler returns from -- and a title Meyer liked enough to resurrect for the sixth (and final) original cast Trek installment), the film had just about everything going for it: plot, acting (yes, I said acting), special effects, and an incredible sweeping musical score by James Horner.
The DVD is pretty much perfect, with some caveats. I agree with another reviewer about the lack of additional scenes on the DVD. What happened, Paramount? We know these additional scenes to exist (via network screenings of the film). One should note, however, the sound quality. It's stunning, especially in surround. Almost worth it for that alone.
It was also interesting to see the Trailer for the film again; I'd forgotten how cheesy it was. :)
Despite shortcomings (lack of additional scenes or any real extras on the DVD), this is one of the DVDs I've been waiting for a long time. A welcome addition to just about any DVD collection.