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Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan [Director's Cut]
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|Genre||Science Fiction & Fantasy|
|Format||Dolby, Subtitled, Director's Cut, Widescreen|
|Contributor||William Shatner, James Doohan, Nicholas Meyer, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley|
|Runtime||1 hour and 56 minutes|
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It is the 23rd century. The Federation Starship U.S.S. EnterpriseTM is on routine training maneuvers and Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) seems resigned to the fact that this inspection may well be the last space mission of his career. But Khan is back. Aided by his exiled band of genetic supermen, Khan (Ricardo Montalban) - brilliant renegade of 20th century Earth has raided Space Station Regula One, stolen a top secret device called Project Genesis, wrested control of another Federation starship, and now schemes to set a most deadly trap for his old enemy Kirk with the threat of a universal Armageddon!
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
- Product Dimensions : 0.7 x 7.5 x 5.4 inches; 1.83 Ounces
- Item model number : 35383304
- Director : Nicholas Meyer
- Media Format : Dolby, Subtitled, Director's Cut, Widescreen
- Run time : 1 hour and 56 minutes
- Release date : June 7, 2016
- Actors : William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan
- Subtitles: : French, Spanish, Portuguese, English
- Studio : Paramount
- ASIN : B01AI7QPM6
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #8,079 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- #109 in Science Fiction Blu-ray Discs
- Customer Reviews:
Reviewed in the United States on February 17, 2020
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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.
What is perhaps most impressive about Meyer's feat (which is enhanced by Montalban's intense performance) is that one doesn't even have to view "Space Seed" beforehand to easily grasp who Khan is and the dark motivations behind his hellish vengeance sought against Kirk for the death of his beloved wife, a former Enterprise crewmember. With that said, the balanced script for this second Star Trek movie is nothing short of superb in poignantly portraying Admiral Kirk's ongoing mid-life crisis. We can grasp his initial restlessness supervising the newly promoted Captain Spock and the other veteran Enterprise crew members serving as instructors on an ominous cadet training voyage. Further, the plotline effectively integrates several new characters, such as Kirstie Alley as Saavik; the late Merritt Butrick as David Marcus (Kirk's previously unacknowledged son); Judson Scott as Joachim; the late Paul Winfield as the ill-fated Captain Clark Terrell; and the late Bibi Besch as Dr. Carol Marcus (who may perhaps be the true reason behind Kirk's failure at long-term romances). Most notably, Leonard Nimoy's final scenes as Captain Spock are no doubt the best ever filmed for his beloved character, and his last exchange with William Shatner in the Enterprise's engine room is arguably the most poignant moment in the franchise's storied history.
On a side note, one of the film's best underrated elements is the Kirk-Carol Marcus relationship. Specifically, it is spelled out that Kirk knows they secretly have an adult son whom he deliberately chose to stay away from during the boy's youth, per Carol's wishes. This mature plot twist is well-played, as it wasn't a cliché back then that middle-aged action heroes had long-lost sons. Years later, TV's "Six Million Dollar Man" Steve Austin and MacGyver, DC Comics' Batman, and even Indiana Jones, among others, all would have these long-lost sons, but none of them come close to the poignant believability that Shatner, Besch, and Butrick bring to this subplot. Then, Khan has his own surrogate son, Joachim, which serves as a skewed mirror image to the turbulent Kirk-David relationship. As much as the film's unforgettable ending is Star Trek II's legacy, Kirk's mid-life loneliness is what brings "Star Trek" closest to real life.
With startling ease and on a modest, streamlined budget no less, Meyer concocts a highly intelligent, literate adventure film that deftly weaves timeless adult themes of untested youth, the inevitability of old age, vengeance, death, grief, and even possible rebirth together. Despite a major character's climatic demise, the film leaves audiences with a spiritually uplifting experience about graciously embracing old age, with the vibrant enthusiasm of seemingly eternal youth. Khan's fatal obsession with destroying Admiral Kirk is also reflected by quoting Herman Melville's "Moby Dick." Montalban's seething delivery makes the use of such literary quotes seem perfectly believable. Additionally, Kirk quotes two famous lines from Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities," bracketing the film as bookends reiterating how life and death are not just simply the beginning and the end. Rather, it is the philosophical manner in which one chooses to face them along the way. Upon hearing Leonard Nimoy's ghostly echo via the closing captain's log followed by the first bars of the end credits from James Horner's memorable, nautical-flavored score, you will recognize witnessing a first-class, science fiction film that doesn't insult viewers with tedious cliché-fests and unnecessarily gaudy special effects. This is the reason that "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," remains the bar by which all other Trek films have been measured and rightfully so.
Rating: 10/10 stars. Appropriate for ages 10 and up (for occasional profanity and some mild gore).
P.S. The numerous special features include vintage cast interviews, trailers, documentaries, etc. They complete an excellent package for consumers.
Top reviews from other countries
This film stars Ricardo Montelbarn from Fantasy Island fame though he isn't accompanied by t.A.T.u this time, he's got a crew of hard-o's who are all looking for revenge on Admiral Kirk. First of all, on a hot/cold planet he pops an auld slug in the ear of a Russian boy. Then Montlebarn (Khan) leaps on to the spaceship and he wants to find Kirk and give him what for. Then there is a project called Project Genesis where Princess Leia and a bronzed Dutch exchange student want to pop a a special tube on the moon and make it "reyt nice for tourism". Interesting. Then Kirk finally gets there with his elfin friend and after a bit of hassle, they manage to get the slug out the ear and they tell Khan to "back off a bit". Really nice to see Nanci Rogers in this film, I loved her in Cheers.
Picture is very good a little soft in parts but generally an improvement over the previous Blu-Ray in terms of colour, which has been corrected to look warmer, previously everything had a bluish tint on the previous release.
Not a fan of the cover art, the original poster art was more than good enough, so much that they decided to use it for the steel-book version
Bennett made sure to watch all the episodes before starting work and he and Meyer brought fresh enthusiasm to the series [both would contribute to future films]. The various script ideas were brought together to create an entertaining story-line stuffed with ideas. With necessity being the mother of invention, the focus shifted to character rather than effects to the betterment of the film and to the enjoyment of the cast.
Some of the effects have dated at little [such as the filter added on the outdoor Ceti Alpha V scenes] and the pacing is fairly slow but this is still very effective. Ricardo Montalbán [who already made an impact in Khan's first appearance in the TV episode 'Space Seed'] is an memorable villain and the regulars are as good as ever [in particular at the emotional ending]. Kirstie Alley as Spock's prodigy Saavik fits in very well [it's a shame, for various reasons, she never returned to the series]. The space battles are engagement as well as the general themes of the story.
The impact of this film has been diluted with inferior rip off's [Nemesis, Into Darkness] and it's formula being reused in other Trek material but it still holds up and is great for fans and I think casual viewers should enjoy it too.
Eschewing the conceptual tone of ‘The Motion Picture’ for a flat out revenge thriller infused with literature and historical nautical battle tropes and galaxy threatening science fiction devices, the blend still creates an exhilarating adventure that so many Trek films since have tried and often failed to recapture as Kirk’s greatest enemy, Khan Singh, returns from the past seeking only vengeance….
Extras feel like ones seen previously (three commentaries across the two cuts of the film, and hours and hours of various production bits and bobs, interviews, storyboards and trailers etc) but as with the other four releases just now £12.00 is a good price for the standalone disc. Especially as (which is the biggest plus for me) they come with the original artwork.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the first broadcast of a STAR TREK episode in 1966, this SteelBook features art based on the original theatrical poster, plus commemorative 50th Anniversary logo. One of the most celebrated and essential chapters in STAR TREK lore, ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’ is now presented in this spectacular Director’s Cut from legendary filmmaker Nicholas Meyer. On routine training manoeuvres, Admiral James T. Kirk seems resigned that this may be the last space mission of his career. But Khan is back, with a vengeance. Aided by his exiled band of genetic supermen, Khan [Ricardo Montalban] brilliant renegade of 20th century Earth and has raided Space Station Regula One, stolen a top secret device called “Project Genesis” in order to wrested control of another Federation Starship, and now schemes to set a most deadly trap for his old enemy Admiral James T. Kirk . . . with the threat of a universal Armageddon!
FILM FACT: Leonard Nimoy’s “Live Long and Prosper” hand gesture came from the actor’s Jewish background. As a child, he saw Jewish holy men use the gestures during a religious ceremony.
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Bibi Besch, Merritt Butrick, Paul Winfield, Kirstie Alley, Ricardo Montalban, Ike Eisenmann, John Vargas, John Winston, Paul Kent, Nicholas Guest, Russell Takaki, Kevin Rodney Sullivan, Joel Marston, Teresa E. Victor, Dianne Harper, David Ruprecht, Marcy Vosburgh, Laura Banks (uncredited), Steve Bond (uncredited), Brett Baxter Clark (uncredited), Tim Culbertson (uncredited), John Gibson (uncredited), James Horner (uncredited), Dennis Landry (uncredited), Cristian Letelier (uncredited), Jeff McBride (uncredited), Roger Menache (uncredited), Nanci Rogers (uncredited), Judson Scott (uncredited), Deney Terrio (uncredited) and Philip Weyland (uncredited)
Director: Nicholas Meyer
Producers: Harve Bennett, Robert Sallin and William F. Phillips
Screenplay: Gene Roddenberry (television series STAR TREK), Harve Bennett (story), Jack B. Sowards (story/screenplay), Nicholas Meyer (screenplay) (uncredited) and Samuel A. Peeples (story) (uncredited)
Composer: James Horner
Cinematography: Gayne Rescher
Video Resolution: 1080p [Color by Movielab]
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 [Panavision]
Audio: English: 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Surround, English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo, French: 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish: 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono and Portuguêse: 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguêse
Running Time: 116 minutes and 113 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Paramount Pictures UK
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: As its title suggests, ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’ has a much stronger plot than its predecessor Sci-Fi film. That helps, but it's not the only improvement. This film also has the gamesmanship that the first one lacked, a quality that helped win the ''Star Trek'' television series and its amazingly devoted Trekkie fans. Maybe it's just that there are more and brighter blinking lights on the control panels of the Starship U.S.S. Enterprise this time, or that the costumes are so much cleverer, or that the special effects are so good they don't call undue attention to themselves. Perhaps it's the directorial switch from director Robert Wise with the first STAR TREK film to the brilliant director Nicholas Meyer has brought the material more pep and a breath of fresh air. In any case, this time something has mostly assuredly got it right, but despite this I still loved the first STAR TREK film.
“’It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,’” reads Admiral James T. Kirk [William Shatner] from the book “A Tale of Two Cities” that [Spock [Leonard Nimoy] gives as a birthday gift. How appropriate that Dr. McCoy [DeForest Kelley] gives Admiral James T. Kirk a pair of antique reading glasses. Both gifts sends Admiral James T. Kirk into a ruminative state, forcing him to consider his life, his age and impending death, and how he wants to continue go on living. Fortunately, ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN,’ which as we all know is widely regarded as the best of the entire STAR TREK film franchise, allows Admiral James T. Kirk to work out his existential crisis. This thoughtful and exciting picture from 1982 happily revitalises the STAR TREK spirit established originally by Gene Roddenberry’s pivotal science fiction television series, emphasizing the undertone space-buccaneer themes to create a full-fledged swashbuckler in the stars. Incorporating adventure and humour, and stressing the character dynamics that would accompany future films, for loyalists of the Starship U.S.S. Enterprise’s original crew, this sequel is the bible against which all other STAR TREK films would be judged by.
It is the 23rd century. Admiral James T. Kirk is feeling old; the prospect of accompanying his old ship the Starship U.S.S. Enterprise, which is now a Starfleet Academy training ship on a two-week cadet cruise, is not making him feel any younger. But the training cruise becomes a deadly serious mission when Khan appears after years of exile and holding the power of creation itself...
It’s an idea touched on many times during the film’s first act, as Admiral James T. Kirk oversees a training simulation gone awry and then hands the captain’s chair to Lieutenant Saavik, a Vulcan who is expected guide the Starship U.S.S. Enterprise through a three-week training voyage with her new crew. Admiral James T. Kirk is accompanied by Spock, Dr. McCoy, Uhura, Scotty, and Sulu, and when his old nemesis Khan makes his entrance, Admiral James T. Kirk is forced to assume command of the ship and rely on some help from his old crew and friends to save the day.
Admiral James T. Kirk is also forced to deal with the appearance of his son, David, who has been working on a secret project called the “Project Genesis” device with his mother, Dr. Carol Marcus, Admiral James T. Kirk’s ex-lover. In the meantime Khan has stolen the “Project Genesis” device and commandeered the “Reliant,” a ship where Chekov, another of Admiral James T. Kirk’s old crew members, has been serving as a science officer. Khan takes Chekhov and another “Reliant” crew member along for the ride, and the story becomes an intense battle between the two Starfleet ships during acts two and three. As Nicholas Meyer notes in the new interview, he saw the climactic battle inside a nebula as something akin to duelling naval subs during World War II.
‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’ has been released on Blu-ray before, but now Paramount Pictures UK has brought out this beautiful exclusive Limited Edition 50th Anniversary SteelBook as part of a collection of the Ten STAR TREK Sci-Fi films, and the video quality has been vastly improved over the previous Blu-ray releases, and this Blu-ray disc also features the high-definition release of Nicholas Meyer’s Director’s Cut, which was previously available only on an inferior DVD. While the four minutes of footage added to ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’ is a vast improvement, which of course gives you a much more insight into a few things, such as establishing a dead crew member as Scotty’s nephew. If you are paying close attention, you’ll probably notice that two lines of dialogue were actually removed from the earlier version of the Director’s Cut which was released in 2002, at Nicholas Meyer’s behest. It’s an exchange in which Admiral James T. Kirk tells Spock that David is Admiral James T. Kirk’s son, to which the half-Vulcan replies, “Fascinating,” which of course us the audience already knew this information, so slightly confused why Nicholas Meyer wanted this deleted.
With an original film score by the brilliant composer James Horner and an impressive array of visual effects showcasing what sort of eye popping things can be done entirely with models, and ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’ is a visual and aural feast. Phasers flash throughout the cosmos and torpedoes flare in what can only be described as the ultimate duel of wits and intelligence. James Horner’s film music score is totally awesome and dramatic with just the right touch of lightness necessary for any humorous twitches involving pointed ears that might pop up here and there.
In addition to bringing back Ricardo Montalban's over the top Khan, which is a great fun performance to watch, principally because it's so camp, ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’ introduces three significant new characters. The first is Saavik [Kirstie Alley], the sexy, half-Vulcan protégé of Mr. Spock. Then there are a couple of figures from Admiral James T. Kirk's past, a son he did not know about and an ex-lover.
‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’ is a top-notch, fast-paced adventure that can be enjoyed equally by fans of the series and those who have never seen an episode. There are several tense, well-executed battle sequences that feature impressive special effects and a soaring score by James Horner. The ending, which I won't reveal, which all STAR TREK fans already knows it by now, is very tender and poignant, proof that STAR TREK can still touch the heart. ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’ shows the potential inherent in the STAR TREK franchise concept as applied to the big screen. It's unfortunate that none of the other films in this long-running series have come close to the level achieved by this marvellous example of brilliant entertainment.
‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’ has never been so alive or looks as good as it is here in the capable hands of director Nicholas Meyer. Gene Roddenberry’s vision has never been so clear, so gripping, so mind blowing, truly cinematic experience. ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’ is a Sci-Fi film that transcends it’s genre, it’s format, it’s STAR TREK fan base to really get inside the hearts and heads of people across all barriers the world over. This is the way to make STAR TREK films look so RIGHT and even today the folks at Paramount Pictures are today trying to slowly help to recapture the magic of the original Sci-Fi films and of course you now have a new set of audiences. At the centre of the most successful Science Fiction franchise in history is the Starship U.S.S. Enterprise and her noble crew. At the centre of this Sci-Fi film, to STAR TREK film Trekkie fan’s it is a universe that is one fantastic experience called ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’ which will also be loved by another set of new audiences to enjoy and preserved on this new remastered Blu-ray discs. ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’ takes a natural progression forward, easing the viewer into the filmic medium by embracing the sheer entertainment value of Gene Roddenberry’s original creation. Doubtless this is why so many Trekkies ignore the existence of STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE’ altogether and why many of the subsequent entries in the STAR TREK series naturally became films worthy of cinematic merit. ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’ does something that Sci-Fi films based on television shows have tried to do, but have often failed to accomplish, whereas the STAR TREK Sci-Fi film elevates the material from TV to film with appropriate gravitas. Nicholas Meyer embraces the show’s mildly campy quality at times, but he also elevates the material for later films to build upon to great effect.
Blu-ray Video Quality – Paramount Pictures UK has pulled out all the stops and brought us this 50th Anniversary Blu-ray release with two versions of the film and delivered a new and stunning "digitally remastered" 1080p transfer, which you would think it was a new film that is outstanding with the quality and an equally impressive 2.35:1 Panavision aspect ratio that holds up very well. Trouble now is that you see Spock and Khan’s heavy make-up, which adds to the realistic image we view and gives a very filmic look. Surrounding textures don't really leap off the screen, but general definition is solid. Surface details around the different ships, whether it is the worn and battered derelict Botany Bay or the cleaner pre-attack lines and surface areas on the Reliant and Enterprise, almost always satisfy. Little touches on the button clusters on consoles or less immediately obvious, but very much appreciated, details like surface scuffs, and material details on the silver plates seen at the beginning of a scene in which Admiral James T. Kirk and Saavik discuss her regulation hairstyle and the Kobayashi Maru test, are very impressive. Colours are particularly punchy, but there is certainly a broad consistency to them. The primary colours come from the red Starfleet uniforms and the deep blues and purples within the Mutara Nebula. The blue text of the opening credits is gorgeous, with good defining vibrancy. For fun, try and find the curvature of the planetarium ceiling onto which the star field was projected and filmed. Black levels are excellent, yielding positive depth and shadow detail. Details are maybe a hair sharper across the board. Again, those red Starfleet tops are amongst the best example with a finer, though by no means intricate, appearance, improving on a comparatively smoother look on the old image on the earlier video releases. By the way, the intimate Vulcan talk between Saavik and Spock is the only subtitles you get to see in the film and they are very clear white lettering. So overall this is a massive improvement on all levels and well done Paramount Pictures UK.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – Paramount Pictures UK has pulled out all the stops and brought us the 50th Anniversary Blu-ray release with and amazing 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Surround that really enhances the audio experience, as the soundtrack is very solid. The opening theme sounds of James Horner’s score are very clear and truly effective to really enhance the film and really set the scene for the rest of the film you are about to experience. The music score has good stereo separation and the sense of musical instruments stand out for me. Dialogue is also very good via the front speakers and you can really hear all the words. Surround usage is limited, especially during the massive battle action scenes, especially with the explosions on the ships and seem to me remixed more aggressively. Phaser and transporter effects sound really crisp and clear, and certain high-pitched sounds are well delivered. The sound design makes very effective use of silence in the final battle scene. Fidelity is really great for a 1982 Sci-Fi film remastered, and sounds even better than when the first film when it was released. So once again, thank you Paramount Pictures UK for a really professional job.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Director’s Cut and Theatrical Version of the Feature Film.
Audio Commentary by Director Nicholas Meyer [Director’s Cut]: Here Nicholas Meyer introduces himself and states the obvious that you are watching ‘STAR TREK II:THE WRATH OF KHAN’ with him and informs us that since the age of five he has been writing from that early age and also informs us that he is foremost a storyteller first and a filmmaker second. Nicholas also informs us that he has written several novels, especially when the Writers Guild of America went on strike originally in 1972, and in that time he produced several screenplays. Nicholas also informs us how he eventually got to direct STAR TREK II and of course goes into great detail of how STAR TREK II evolved throughout the whole production, and especially how the Trekkie fans also got involved and of course were totally outraged at hearing at the end of the film that Spock dies, and Nicholas got so much abusive E-mails and correspondence. We also get tons of information about technical details about why certain shots were attained and why. Nicholas also gives great praise about the actor Ricardo Montalban and how professional he was in knowing his lines so perfectly. Even though Nicholas viewed some STAT TREK TV episode and the first STAR TREK film, but he felt most of it was very pompous and felt that because he was not a fan of STAR TREK, he felt his film should give a much more objective view of the STAR TREK lore and genre and also felt his film should have much more input of word play scenario. Because Nicholas was so dedicated in getting STAR TREK II right, that sometimes he never saw daylight, especially arriving at the studio before the sunrise and going home very late at night, plus always checking that days shooting and also going to the cutting room to make sure he was getting the results he wanted for STAR TREK II just right. Nicholas tells us that he had a big battle with the Paramount Pictures Executives in wanting to spend more money on the special effects, especially in the cave of the planetoid of “Regula,” as he felt it looked false, especially when the Executives turn round and complain it does not look real. On top of all that the Executives wanted Nicholas to shoot the film in 49 days, whereas Nicholas demanded that he would need at least 53 days to finish the film. So ends another interesting audio commentary and Nicholas Meyer hope you also enjoyed the audio journey with him viewing ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’ and also says he really enjoyed making the film.
Audio Commentary by Director Nicholas Meyer and Manny Coto [Theatrical Version]: Just as we get past the Titles at the start of the film Manny Coto, who is an American writer, director and producer of films and television programmes introduces himself after Director Nicholas Meyer did his introduction and of course both of them are sitting in the viewing room watching and doing the audio commentary to STAR TREK II, which both proclaim is one of their favourite STAR TREK film. What inspired Nicholas Meyer to work on this film was seeing at the cinema ‘START TREK I: THE MOTION PICTURE,’ which despite getting loads of negative comments, but for both of them they really liked the film and thought the director Robert Wise did a brilliant job. Nicholas also heaps great praise on the very professional editing by William Paul Dornisch and tells us he was a really wonderful man who really knew his craft. This was a very enjoyable experience.
Special Feature: Text Commentary by Michael Okuda and Denise Lynn Okuda [Director’s Cut] Here you get to view a panel at the bottom of the screen describing lots of relevant and very informative information and especially relating different information about hidden aspects of what you view in the film that you night not of noticed. It is also very helpful that you have a choice of four languages, which are English, French, Spanish and Portuguêse. You also get lots of information on all technical aspects of how the special effects were produced and the information is so informative and fascinating. Denise Lynn Okuda is also co-authored of the 1996 Paperback “STAR TREK Chronology: The History of the Future.”
Special Feature: Library Computer [Theatrical Version] The Library Computer is an interactive experience that allows you to access information about People, Technology, Locations and more, at the moment each item appears in the film. Switch to Index Mode to scan the entire database and jumps directly to the items of interest. All content is divided into the following categories: Culture; Science & Medicine; Starfleet Ops; Miscellaneous; Life Forms; Planets & Location; People; Technology and Ships.
Special Feature: The Genesis Effect: Engineering ‘The Wrath of Khan’  [1080p] 1.78:1] [28:20] This newly-Produced documentary for the Blu-ray of ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN,’ where director Nicholas Meyer offers an in-depth exploration on the development, production, and release of the film as well as its impact and enduring legacy. Topics discussed include an overview of how the project came together, working with the stars, and on top of all that Nicholas Meyer claims that William Shatner had no ego but a lot of vanity, the themes of the film, but hated the script, and Gene Roddenberry's total displeasure with the movement towards militarism in the STAR TREK Sci-Fi film franchise. All in all this is a really wonderful insightful documentary.
Special Feature: Production: Here you get a selection of five different features and they are as follows: 01. Captain’s Logo  [1080p [1.78:1] [27:20] A very good special feature about the “Genesis Project” and the story behind it, and especially choosing the TV Episode 'Space Seed' as the basis of the plot. The director asserts emphatically that those were indeed Ricardo Montalban's real pecs. 02. Designing Khan  [1080p [1.78:1] [23:55] This is a an in-depth look at the production and costume design, the efforts to differentiate the Reliant from the Starship U.S.S. Enterprise, and Nicholas Meyer's intent to bring a more nautical theme to the Sci-Fi film. 03. Original interviews with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley and Ricardo Montalban  [480i] [1.33:1] [10:57] This is a vintage promotional interviews and were shot in 1982 to promote ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’ on its initial release. At the end you get some really nice black-and-white and colour promotional rare photographs. 04. Where No Man Has Gone Before: The Visual Effects of ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’  [1080p [1.78:1] [18:15] Industrial Light & Magic staff discuss the use of early CGI, building the models, and the fun of blowing stuff up. 05. James Horner: Composing Genesis  [1080p [1.78:1] [9:33] Here we have this brand new interview with the late great film music composer, who we get a very up close and personal interview about developing the musical themes and motifs for the scoring the STAR TREK film. At the start we get a surprising confession, that when he was asked to compose the music score James he did not know much about STAR TREK. But in the process he met Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams who help James out a great deal and saw how these masters of composed film music taught him that you have to match what you see on the screen. Despite being very short, it was still fascinating in hearing James Horner’s way of working to produce the composed music for STAR TREK II.
Special Feature: The STAR TREK Universe: Here you have three separate categories that have to be viewed separately and they are as follows: 01. Collecting STAR TREK’s Movie Relics  [1080p] [1.78:1] [11:00] Here we get to meet several “Trekkie” nerd collectors who boastfully show off their favourite props and costumes, including some from the aborted “Phase II” project. We also get contributors from Alec Peters [C.E.O. Propworx] who talks about the 1,000’s of STAR TREK memorabilia that were auctioned by Christie’s Auction House. 02. A Novel Approach  [1080p] [1.78:1] [28:56] Here we get to meet two more over the top so called "professional Trekkie" creepy and unsettling nerds, who shamelessly plug their lame “STAR TREK tie-in novels and they are Greg Cox who is an American writer of science fiction, including works that are media tie-ins and lives in Oxford, Pennsylvania and Julia Ecklar who is a John W. Campbell Award winning science fiction author including the novels Minus Ten and Counting, Horse-Tamer's Daughter, and Genesis. 03. Starfleet Academy SCISEC Brief 002: Mystery behind Ceti Alpha VI  [1080p] [1.78:1] [3:07] This is the second in a series of plot recaps hosted as though they were Starfleet instructional videos at the Starfleet Academy, Ex Astris, Scientia, San Francisco MMCLXI. In this episode, Starfleet Science Officer [Sarah Backhouse] from the 24th century briefing the audience from the Admiral James T. Kirk Lecture Hall at Starfleet Academy and the female host is basically giving us a Starfleet instructional video. In this video, an unnamed Starfleet Science Officer examines events that happened in ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’ and particularly the damage to the planet Ceti Alpha VI.
Special Feature: Farewell: A Tribute to Ricardo Montalban  [1080p] [1.78:1] [4:43] Here we get a very personal tribute to the actor Ricardo Montalban by writer/director Nicholas Meyer and delivers some really nice praise for the late actor. Nicholas Meyer also talks about the love of films in general and also seeing films of Ricardo Montalban in his different characters and also opposite his leading ladies like Lana Turner.
Special Feature: Storyboards  [1080p] [1.78:1] You have thirteen separate categories that can only be viewed individually and they are as follows: Main Title Concept; Kobayashi Maru; CETI ALPHA V; Regula I; Chekov and Terrell find Khan; Admiral’s Inspection; Khan’s revenge; Kirk Strikes Back; Finding the Genesis cave; The Mutara Nebula; Sneak Attacks, Genesis and Honored Dead.
Theatrical Trailer  [1080i] [1.78:1] [2:21] This is the original Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN,’ that gives you a tantalising flavour of what to expect when you get to finally get to view this particular STAR TREK Sci-Fi film.
Finally, ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’ is a really tremendous motion picture, a classic within the Science Fiction genre, and with the added bonus with this Exclusive UK Blu-ray release of having both the Director’s Cut at 116 minutes and the Theatrical Version at 113 minutes. Fans who haven’t upgraded to a high-definition version of ‘STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN’ will find this new 50th Anniversary SteelBook release a great excuse to do so. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso