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The Khan Quagmire
Despite its Flaws it Still Rocks!
By Robert T. Trate
May 26, 2009
Ricardo Montalban as Khan in Star Trek 2 The Wrath of Khan
© Mania.com/Robert Trate
As May is almost finished and the first month of summer movies is just about over, I believe it is safe to say that May 2009 belonged to Star Trek. J.J. Abrams new film kicked ass and relaunched Star Trek not only for a new generation but reinvigorated it for those that have watched Trek before. A couple of weeks ago Paramount released Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection to coincide with the new film’s release.Finally they areon Blu-ray but for some reason they only include the first six Star Trek movies. It is a real treat to get all six movies on Blu-ray with a ton of new special features. I’ve decided to review several of them individually so look for them in the coming days.
Skipping the long and drawn out Star Trek: The Motion Picture I watched for the greatest Star Trek movie first, Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan. What Trekkie doesn’t love this movie? It is a great adventure story, ties in to the old show perfectly and is the one we love to quote more than any other. This had to be at least my one hundredth time watching Wrath of Khan but my first time as a critic. Picture wise the Blu-ray for all it’s technical brilliance with 1080p High Definition was good but it didn’t really stand out like I hoped it would. The new 7.1 Dolby TRUEHD sound on the other hand was an incredible treat. James Horner’s score required a complete sit through of the closing credits and Leonard Nimoy’s voice cut through the air like never before. Maybe this is because it is the Summer of Spock but it was nonetheless incredible.
There is a great flaw with this release of Wrath of Khan that was corrected in the 2002 Special Edition release. All of Midshipman Peter Preston’s (Ike Eisenmann), or better known as Scotty’s nephew, scenes have been cut. I also noticed a few other things about the story in Wrath of Khan which, for my over one hundredth time watching it, I thought would be fun to point out. Problems with the script are easily forgettable as Khan (Ricardo Montalban) and Kirk (Shatner) battle around Regula One and the Mutara Nebula quoting Herman Melville, John Milton and Charles Dickens. To be fair it all started with my recent screening of the first season of Star Trek on Blu-ray (see review). I had watched Khan’s episode, “Space Seed” over again and with a critical eye I noticed that one member of the Enterprise crew was not present, Chekov (Walter Koenig).
When Khan and Chekov meet on Ceti Alpha 5 Khan tells him that he never forgets a face and then says his name. This is funny because they never met. Sure this could have been moment off screen but it nonetheless made me wonder. This might be nothing new to a hard core Trekkie but it threw up a red flag. Earlier in the film Lt. Saavik (Kirstie Alley) has an emotional response during her test of the Kobayashi Maru test. An odd moment from a pure blooded Vulcan and particularly odd because she knows that it is just a test. What about her crying at the end? Is she weeping for Spock as she would a bother like Spock did for Veger?
Chekov and Captain Terrell (Paul Winfield) apparently can’t emergency beam off of Ceti Alpha 5 nor put up much of fight from people who probably have no phasers after being marooned on a planet for fifteen years. Khan’s unmasking, through incredibly dramatic, is also strange as if he was either the last one to arrive or watched everyone else undress. Should I even start on Khan’s ageless, mid-twenties followers? They seem more like the prodigy of those marooned but that was only fifteen years ago. How come none of them have the power of speech, save one (Judson Earney Scott)? Did Khan cut out all their tongues?
Another moment occurs Doctor McCoy (DeForest Kelley) encounters a rat on Regula One. The slaughtered scientists haven’t been dead long enough for rigamortis to set in but the rats have already come out of hiding. Then several minutes later Captain Terrell does turn a phaser on himself but after he fires it the phaser evaporates too? There are more than just a few leaps in logic here.
I am not turning in my Trekkie card or telling you that I am more in the Star Wars camp than the Star Trek one. I still love the Wrath of Khan and upon my next screening all this will just fade away. Just this once I saw it with a critical eye and noticed the universal favorite of all Star Trek movies does have its problems too.
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Children of Men [Blu-ray] ~ Clive Owen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Julianne Moore
Crazy Girls Undercover ~ Clive Robertson, Nikki Ziering, and Simona Fusco
Falling Down (Blu-ray Book) [Blu-ray] ~ Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey, and
Falling Down (Deluxe Edition)
Jack Perrin Double Feature: Gun Grit / Hair-Trigger Casey ~ Jack Perrin
Killshot ~ Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Rosario Dawson
Lady Ninja Kasumi Volume 4 ~ Akiho Yoshizawa
The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk ~ Jet Li, Chu Kong, Adam Cheng, and Josephine Siao Fong-fong
Ludwig: Requiem for a Virgin King ~ Harry Baer
Powder Blue ~ Ray Liotta, Kris Kristofferson, Patrick Swayze, and Forest Whitaker
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves [Blu-ray] ~ Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Rickman
Rough Riding Rhythm ~ Kermit Maynard, Ralph Peters, Beryl Wallace, and Dave O'Brien
Spy Game [Blu-ray] ~ Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Catherine McCormack, and Michael Paul Chan
Ten Tigers of Kwangtung ~ Ku Feng, Ti Lung, Wang Lung Wei, and Phillip Kwok Tsui
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The Sky Crawlers [Blu-ray] ~ Rinko Kikuchi, Chiaki Kuriyama, Shosuke Tanihara, and Bryce Hitchcock
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Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1960s Vol. 1 ~ Top Cat, Atom Ant, The Peter Potamus Show, and Quick Draw McGraw
Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1970s Vol. 1 ~ The Jetsons, Hong Kong Phooey, Speed Buggy, and The Batman Tarzan Adventure Hour
We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story ~ John Goodman, Rhea Perlman, Jay Leno, and Charles Fleischer
Beneath The Flesh ~ Michael Whitney
Carnivorous ~ DMX
The Devil's Tomb ~ Cuba Gooding Jr.
Don't go in the Woods / The Forest ~ Jack McClelland, Mary Gail Artz, James P. Hayden, and Angie Brown
Gothkill: Satanic Special Edition ~ Flambeaux, Mistress Juliya Chernetsky, and Erica Giovinazzo
Mark of the Witch / Devil Times Five ~ Leif Garrett, Marie Santell, Robert Elston, and Anitra Walsh
Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus ~ Deborah Gibson, Lorenzo Lamas, Vic Chao, and Sean Lawlor
Murder in a Blue World ~ David Carpenter, Fernando Hilbeck, Sue Lyon, and Christopher Mitchum
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The Closer: The Complete Fourth Season ~ Kyra Sedgwick, J.K. Simmons, Corey Reynolds, and Robert Gossett
Gunsmoke-Season 3 Vol. 2 ~ James Arness, Milburn Stone, Dennis Weaver, and Jan Arvan
Land of the Lost: Complete Series (Limited Edition Gift Set) ~ Wesley Eure, Philip Paley, Kathy Coleman, and Spencer Milligan
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The Mod Squad: Season 2, Vol. 2 ~ Mod Squad
Chinese Bungalow ~ Paul Lukas, Robert Douglas Jane Baxter, and Kay Walsh
Isle Of Missing Men ~ John Howard, Gilbert Roland, Alan Mowbray, and Helen Gilbert
M. Butterfly ~ Jeremy Irons, John Lone, Barbara Sukowa, and Ian Richardson
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