Say it with me, 3.5 readers. “KHAN!”
Before I get to this review, let me discuss this little project.
I’m a recent subscriber of Paramount Plus and to be honest, I was thinking about not re-subscribing. However, Paramount makes Star Trek, so if you are a Trekkie, you’ll find all the movies and TV shows here, ready to stream where no stream has streamed before.
I’d say I’m at best half a Trekkie, maybe even a quarter Trekkie. The films were big in the 1980s when I was a kid and I have fond memories going to see them with my ‘rents, who sadly, are now dead. So that’s not fun, but it was fun when they were alive, except when you watch the films and realize half the cast are freaking dead now too. Ah, but maybe they aren’t dead. Maybe they’re just off living it up in that Undiscovered Country somewhere.
Wow that got morbid fast. Anyway, in the great annals of sci-fi flicks/TV, Star Trek is the father, but then Star Wars is the kid that grew up, did good, and bought its dear old Dad a new house. Oh, you thought they were in competition? Well, they were. But look at it this way. Without Star Trek getting viewers interested in space, you wouldn’t have had George Lucas tearing up the screen with kick ass special effects, then you wouldn’t have had the 1980s era studios pouring big bucks into sci-fi space opera fests. Some were schlock like Flash Gordon (though Ted the Teddy Bear liked it), some were middling like Battlestar Galactica (the original had a cult following though it didn’t quite kick ass until the 2004 reboot).
Ahh, but Paramount already had its space based intellectual property, it just needed Star Wars to pave the way to showing what can be done with special effects and wammo, the once cancelled 1960s show was back on film in new action backed blockbusters, albeit with a cast that ranged from middle-aged to elderly.
Anyway, my project is to review old Star Trek movies and shows from time to time. Why start with Wrath of Khan? A) it’s the best and b) it starts off a three movie arc where all the flicks are tied together.
Here, we have Admiral Kirk not really enjoying life behind a desk. He was made to be out in the space field, exploring new worlds and better yet, exploring fine ass tri-breasted green space babes. The aging Enterprise is now a training vessel and Kirk’s old BFF Spock is training the cadets. Blah blah blah, there’s a distress call from Ceti Alpha Whatever. Kirk’s old flame Dr. Carol Marcus and his heretofore unknown son David are leading the Genesis experiment, which boils down to shooting a special torpedo at a dead planet so as to resurrect it and make it lush and beautiful with life.
Meanwhile, vile genetically altered to be a super strong supervillain Khan (the always swarthy Ricardo Montalban) and his group of genetically superior super-underlings have been marooned on a dead planet for years, having been exiled there by Kirk during the original show for their crimes of d-baggery in trying to steal the Enterprise. Basically, these super-people have a long history of being forcibly exiled after using their powers for evil and so, mean as exile is, they totes deserve it.
Long story short, Chekov and his new Captain Terrell beam down to this planet to investigate, only to become Khan’s unwitting slaves thanks to disgusting bugs that can be placed into the brain via the ear canal, rendering the subject amenable to all commands. I still remember being a little kid in the movie theater and being totally grossed out by this scene.
Blah, blah, blah, Khan takes control of the Genesis device, turns it into a weapon (if it grows new life wherever it erupts, it could repave an existing society with trees and fauna).
Bottomline – Spock croaks in the ensuing chaos but not forever? That brings us to Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Kudos to the film for finding ways to embrace the cast’s age rather than ignore it. Here, Kirk is an elder Federation statesman but despises the role because he’s still young at heart and as long as the body is willing, the mind will always crave adventure (often even when the body is unwilling).
Spock’s a cadet trainer. The rest of the cast get roped into the mission in various ways. It does tie into the original series. There is an episode where Ricardo Montalban plays Khan and tries to oust Kirk as Enterprise captain.
Though it seems unlikely Kirk went this long without knowing he had an adult son, it does tie in with the character, i.e. he was a dude who bagged babes throughout the galaxy, never stopping to give them an intergalactic call to see how they were doing or if they had any lifeforms growing inside them that were his.
All in all, Kirk’s shouting of “KHAN!” when he realizes his old enemy has beaten him makes the movie. It is a meditation on revenge and whether it is ever the right option, for there are many moments where Khan has the upper hand. He and his hench-people can escape and live great lives, but like Captain Ahab (referenced in the film) he simply cannot stop hunting the white whale that is Kirk.
In conclusion, “KHAN!”