Part V: Bullseye!
Even if I end up hating every other Star Trek I see, this whole Trek Trek is all worth it because I’ve seen this movie! Truth. No words I say can do Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan (WOK) justice. Where as Star Trek: The Motion Picture (TMP) was a scattered mess of a film with a couple of fun ideas that go nowhere paired with an overload of visual stimulus, WOK is a genuinely well put together, beautiful and exciting story. The dialogue is fantastic, the action is thrilling, and the overall theme is heartfelt and engaging.
TMP’s theme was one of the dangers of technology… I think? Either way, it was nothing relatable. Furthermore, there was nothing connecting me to any of the characters other than that I already knew them from show. WOK’s story, on the other hand, was well thought out and constructed. WOK uses all of the Star Trek cast for who they are, and their relationships with each other to create a fantastic and emotionally driven piece. Lastly, WOK has a simple and relatable theme; life.
That being all sides of life. The film goes into creation of life, the experience of age, dealing with getting older, taking responsibility for the life you’ve lived, and ultimately death. It’s about aging men in a young man’s world. Who is dealing with these complex emotions? Why, none other than the previous film’s scoundrel, Admiral James T. Kirk of course. It seems his desperation from the last film has gone through the steps to acceptance in the years after. The film takes place an actor-age-appropriate 15 years since the events in “Space Seed”, the original episode first featuring Khan (see it!). Admiral Kirk’s vulnerability as he faces mortality returns him to being a sympathetic person. The idea of facing death is a theme throughout much of the film, leading to the sad and beautiful ending of the film.
As Admiral Kirk is in this self-reflective state, he receives the wake up call he needs in Khan. Khan’s only motive is to get revenge on Admiral Kirk. He is both absorbing and ruthless. The perfect kind of villain in that you aren’t sure whether you hate him or respect him more. Ricardo Montalban is, in fact, the man. If anyone has any bad things to say about him or his performance in this film, I will personally fight you.
The stakes are very real throughout this film. Lovable little Chekov spends most of this film in considerable danger. (Bug ear scene anyone? Awesome!) The Enterprise finds itself in a no win scenario that is discussed throughout the film. It takes the genuine ingenuity of Kirk, along with the wisdom and selfless logic of Spock for our heroes to overcome the obstacle that is Khan. This film is powerful, and I hate to use clichés, but I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat throughout. Like I said, there is little in the way of words I can use to ultimately get my point across as to how much I love this movie. Just watch it, whether you’re on a Trek Trek of your own or not, just watch it!