STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN
Reviewed July 18th, 2000 by John Randall
Arguably the best of all the Star Trek movies, the eagerly awaited Star Trek II has finally arrived on DVD. Was it worth the wait?
Back with the original series aired, there was an episode called “Space Seed” where Khan Noonien Singh (the great Ricardo Montalban) is found on a ship far out in space. He’s been asleep for 200 years and when he awakens, he tries to take over the Enterprise and kill then Captain Kirk.
At the end of the episode, Khan and his crew of about 80 are left on a deserted planet to start a new life.
The movie takes place 15 years later.
First you find most of the crew of the old Enterprise teaching at Starfleet Academy on Earth. On a routine training mission, they get called to active duty. It seems a science expedition working on a project called Genesis, has brought the USS Reliant (another starship) to the planet Ceti Alpha VI (a wasteland of sandstorms) to see if that planet is dead enough to test Genesis on it.
The landing party from the Reliant (Checkov and the Reliant’s captain) discovers a bunker that obviously should not be there. The team ends up finding out that Khan and the rest of his crew have been stranded there since the real Ceti Alpha VI exploded six months after they were left there. Khan and his people were actually on Ceti Alpha V.
The rest of the story takes place when Khan takes over the USS Reliant, maroons her crew, goes after project Genesis and ultimately tries to kill Admiral Kirk.
This movie is wonderful. It has some of the best space battles ever shown on the screen. Of all the Star Trek movies, this one has the best costumes, best acting and by far the best soundtrack.
However, watching the movie again after a few years, I have come to realize that it is seriously flawed in a few ways. For starters, filmmakers need to realize that people and little insects do not make noises after being evaporated by phasers.
Also, Khan recognizes Checkov when they meet up, however, Checkov was never in the episode Space Seed (though I guess he could have been on the ship). Don’t forget about Scotty taking the half-dead guy to the bridge instead of sickbay.
And lastly, Khan repeats a “Klingon proverb” that says, “revenge is a dish that is best served cold”. If he lived in the 90’s as the “Space Seed” episode explained, and then slept for 200 years, I guess it might be believable that he could know what a Klingon was, but hard to swallow that he’d know a proverb of theirs.
Despite these few little imperfections, this still is a great movie. I just wish the DVD had been better.
The video is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is far the best ever seen outside of the theatres, but it does have problems. Some of the scenes are not clear, and some of the space scenes there does seem to be some smudges. The movie is 18 years old now so this is about as good as we’ll ever get to see it. Black levels are dead on the color is good throughout.
The audio is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 and is just ok. It too could have been a lot better. There is very little bass or directional effects, but the audio is relatively clear and the score sounds better than ever. DD 2.0 English and French tracks are also included.
The only extra is an original trailer (which is actually fun to watch).
Overall, this is a wonderful movie with a better than average disc. The quality of the movie makes this purchase highly recommended. Star Trek II is rated PG and runs about two hours.
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