Film Nerd’s Choice: Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan
Director: Nicholas Meyer
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Ricardo Montalban, Bibi Besch, Merritt Butrick, Kirstie Alley, Paul Winfield
Synopsis: Widely recognised as the best Star Trek film ever, this film sees the return of superhuman Khan from original series episode “Space Seed”. And he is not happy. What ensues is a battle of wits that has tragic consequences.
Okay, it may seem very convenient that I work this film into the 30 day film challenge a matter of hours after I write an extensive post on Geek Pride Day. However, as fate would have it, I had decided to write about this film last night before I even knew Geek Pride Day existed. This film is a case of reminding me of somewhere purely as an element of the impact watching the film had on me in the first place. That is right… the location itself, my grandparent’s sun-room, is not the significant element here. I just happen to remember that I was in that room with abandoned homework with nothing else to watch, and a life-long obsession was started.
Prior to this point, I had bought into the stereotype, that Star Trek was all about weird people watching it that dress up with pointed ears. It was a stage where I was perhaps already bullied for being a geek, yet had not truly accepted that I was one. This was not going through my head at the time, all I was considering was that I was bored, there was nothing on TV, and this film promised some explosions and sci-fi elements. It was a confusing show at first. I did not understand that the guy with the pointy ears was NOT the captain. I seemed to be missing a lot of back story, which I assumed was all in the first movie, completely oblivious to the preceding TV series. Yet slowly but surely, I picked up plot points, saw some intriguing battle maneuvers and stratagems, and finally saw a film with real heart.
I was lucky this film was my introduction to the franchise, as it embodies everything that the history of Trek has sought to promote. Entertainment is a part of that, but thematically it approaches questions of moral dilemma, self-doubt, and most importantly friendship. This is best highlighted by Kirk and Spock. They are beings of completely different schools of thought, yet they have a mutual respect and affection for each other’s abilities. In Kirk, Spock find’s someone who accepts him despite the fact he does not belong fully to either the Vulcan or the human race. In Spock, Kirk has an always reliable ally ready to support him, yet not afraid to give it to him straight when he needs it. This relationship is central to the film. It is the friendship of Kirk, Spock and McCoy that made the series special, and it is on fine display here. For a young lad whom at that stage found it very difficult to make friends, it was an inspiring vision, one I have never forgotten. I am fortunate enough to now find it very easy to form friendships, but I still value each one, knowing that it is through my friends that I can improve myself.
5 stars out of 5