Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Questionable Trek vol. 2

Let’s continue with our Questionable Trek series. Today’s question comes from Scott and it’s about Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khaaaaaaaan! (1982).

Question From Scott: “You ranked Star Trek II as your second favorite film in the last question. Give me five criticisms of the film.”

Andrew’s Answer: Tough question Scott, but I am all about criticism, so......
1. The dialog actually gets pretty sloppy and there are moments where it makes no sense if you think about it. For example, in the classic scene where they get the Reliant to lower her shields, why does Khan interrupt Kirk and Spock? He doesn’t want anything and then he acts like Kirk interrupted him.

2. Kirk’s son is a whiny, wussy, waste. I’d phaser him.

3. There is a sense throughout the film that the original crew is too old. I wish they would have dropped this. It adds an unneeded element of depression to a film that is about action and vengeance and other extreme emotions.

4. This film starts the disrespect for the Star Trek history. Why did they let Khan capture Chekov and then claim he “never forgets a face” when he never met Chekov? How hard would it have been to use Sulu instead and respect the history of the series? This, like point 3, set a bad precedent.

5. I don’t like the way they refer to THE Enterprise as “Enterprise” and Savick as “Mr. Saavik.” This strikes me as an attempt to sound more military but it’s wrong and it sounds jarring.

Scott’s Response:
1. Fair enough IF you really stop to think about it, but the film is so well done (overall) and quotable that the viewer rarely has time to contemplate this stuff. To use another example I’ve mentioned before, Back to the Future has its share of time travel plot holes but because it’s done so well, we don't have time to think about them. Only when a film starts to drag does the audience start thinking about what they’ve just seen.

2. I don’t think he’s as bad as you think. I recall someone asking Nicholas Meyer during a Q&A session, "Why did you cast such a bad actor to play Kirk’s son?" He didn't dignify the question with a response!

3. I believe the midlife crisis subplot was done to compensate for the lack of character development in the first film (Spock notwithstanding) and I suppose the filmmakers simply wanted the characters to start showing their age. At least in this film, it’s part of the overall tone - Kirk’s surrounded by young cadets, Spock has a young protégé, Kirk meets his son, the MacGuffin is a device that can transform old worlds into new ones - it’s all part of a tapestry. Generations handles this in a more awkward fashion during the Nexus scene when Kirk asks Picard about retirement and tells him about making a difference - nice sentiments but it kinda comes out of nowhere. Nemesis handles this even worse with Data’s death. There was a great post-wedding scene with Picard and Data discussing human celebrations and the passage of time, which would’ve done a better job informing the death scene... except it was cut!

4. I never had a problem with Khan recognizing Chekov - most fans suggest that perhaps Chekov had been serving on the Enterprise during that episode, but below decks, where Khan could’ve encountered him. The bigger problem I have is, why didn't the Reliant know what planet it was?!?! They think it’s Ceti Alpha VI but it’s actually Ceti Alpha V. Author Greg Cox explained this in one of the novels but I know you don’t count that stuff. [smile]

5. I think the military stuff in this film works just fine. Star Trek VI is where I feel Nick Meyer went overboard with it (“Right standard rudder”?). Meyer initially had trouble relating to the Trek universe until he made the Horatio Hornblower connection. Trek, in his view, was gunboat diplomacy. To this day, fans still debate the nature of Starfleet: is it a scientific organization or a military one? Thankfully, Star Trek has managed to walk that line relatively well over the years.

Andrew’s Reply: On point 1, what bothers me is that these things would have been very easy to fix, but they didn’t. On the Ceti Alpha problem, that actually doesn’t bother me because I accept the idea the planet’s orbit shifted and it is now where Ceti Alpha VI should have been.


Tennessee Jed said...

David = Matthew Buttrick = Johnny Slash. . . . and that's all I'll say about that.

Tennessee Jed said...

I suppose I am being overly simplistic, but I always thought the five year "mission" was clearly diplomatic, including the dreaded "prime directive" which Kirk (and the writers) struggled with so mightily. That being the case, Star Fleet was not meant to be a suicide mission or, said differently, they were Ghandi like about violence. They could protect themselves and others. Was it the Arganians who were the ultimate non-violent guys who were essentially pure energy, and had to put up with Shatner and Tigh Andrews fighting for contol of their planet on their behalf?

Tennessee Jed said...

oops! - they were NOT Gandhi like about violence

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I thought the five year mission was basically a tour of duty. Then they ship would go in for a refit or whatever and would go on it's next five year mission. I never took it as the end of The Enterprise or anything like that.

I think you're right about the prime directive being a mess. At least in the original series it made sense as a general principle of non-interference. By the new show, however, it had become a sort of insane doctrine akin to a suicide pact.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I don't know Johnny Slash. I just looked it up and I've never seen Square Pegs.

ScyFyterry said...

This is actually a fascinating question. On the one hand, it is The Wrath of Khan, but on the other I agree there are things that could have made it a better film. I guess that's almost always true.

I don't like the idea either that the crew is too old and you see that throught the films. I many ways, it makes them feel like a very long retirement party rather than the sense of adventure the films need. I don't dislike the films at all, but I like them despite that.

AndrewPrice said...

Terry, I agree that it's an interesting question. I think it's always interesting to ponder a "what if". And with film, the biggest "what if" is always "how could it have been different"?

I agree entirely on the age issue. I think it permeates the films after this and I think it goes against the very sense of what they needed to achieve in the films, i.e. the sense of adventure.

Like you, it doesn't keep me from enjoying the films, but I think it weighs them down a bit.

T-Rav said...

Is this the one where that guy yells "Khhaaaaannnnn!!!!!"?

Andrew Following Heart Attack said...

Don't tell me you haven't seen it????!!!

tryanmax said...

If I had to criticize Wrath of Khan in any way--and this is barely a criticism--it is for leaning so heavily on a single TOS episode. In that sense, Khan separates the Trekies from the boys, so to speak. (Or is it the men from the Trekies? Ow! Stop throwing stuff!)

Yes, there remains plenty for the lay viewer to latch onto, but Khan is the first (and arguably deepest) foray into stuffing the Trek films with "ins" intended only for the über-fans. Put differently, Khan definitively establishes "Trekism" as a non-evangelical movement.

Tennessee Jed said...

There was a 20 page guide given to all prospective writers. Nature of original mission was galaxy exploration and investigation, 5 yr. duration."You will conduct this patrol primarily to accomplish:

1) Earth Security via exploration of intelligence and societies capable of gallactic threat."

b) Scientific investigation to add to Earth's body of knowledge."

c) provide required assistance to earth colonies in your quadrant and enforce applicable statutes affecting Federation commerce vessels and traders you may contact.

The first one does lend a certain military flavor to an otherwise " exploration of space: mission.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's interesting. I actually had never thought about that (probably because I'm a fan of the original series long before the films came out).

Not being a non-Trekkie, I thus have no way to tell if Khan is "too deep" to have turned off non-Trekkies? I kind of doubt it because the film itself doesn't really rely on much from the series, and when it does, it tells you what you need to know -- "you tried to steal his ship and murder him!"


Your point, by the way, raises something else that I've been wondering about. Kirk is largely a superhero. But if that's true, none of the films other than the reboot are really "origin stories"? I wonder if that helped or hurt the franchise? It keeps it from feeling like other superhero stories. That's a good thing.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I actually never knew that, but that does describe the show very accurately.

One of the things I always found so different between the original series and the Next Generation is right in that mission statement -- this mission statement contains within it a broad sense of adventure and exploration. "Go out there and see what's there."

By the time of the Next Generation, and even the later films, all Starfleet does it roam the universe "cataloging gaseous anomalies." What a joke. There's no sense of adventure in roaming around looking at space gas. And that meant the stories had to come to them, rather than them seeking them out. As a writing device that's bad because it makes the characters passive.

ScyFyterry said...

Andrew, Good question about an origin story. I don't think one was needed because the nature of having served a five year mission in what is basically a military organization, meaning they've served many other missions separately before that, wouldn't have worked. An origin story really only works when the character appears suddenly one day and runs right into all the characters who will populate the story. Although the reboot did it's best to fake a generic origin story.

AndrewPrice said...

Terry, That's a really good point. To do their story legitimately as a film, an origin story really wasn't possible -- not if they planned to keep the camaraderie intact.

Also, I think origin stories weren't that big of a deal at the time. There were some (like Superman) but most films did it in flashback mode or not at all at that point. At the very least, it hadn't become the formulaic requirement that it is today.

Anonymous said...

Jed is quoting from the TOS writers bible, which is basically a reference work and as I mentioned in my Generations article, no show can adhere to it 100%. Most shows today don't even do bibles since the creators know better than to establish a rule that they might have to break in a year or so. That's why, for example, the creators never developed a complete list of starship names, because some new writer would come in with one of their own.

The TNG bible starts out thusly:


-To expand the body of human knowledge
-To provide assistance as required to Earth/Federation colonies, commerce, and travelers
-To provide for Earth/Federation security
-To seek out new life, new civilizations
-To provide further understanding of the universe and humanity's place in it

Re: origin stories, I agree - they weren't that common back when the original series was on TV. If the show was airing today, then we'd probably get specific episodes that dealt with everyone's origin or perhaps one episode from Kirk's POV where we see how he meets everyone. Firefly did a great episode titled "Out of Gas" where we find out how Mal and Zoe meet the rest of the crew.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That may be the ship's mission, but it certainly wasn't something the writers followed. Specifically, I can't think of a single time they sought out new civilizations.

Kirk did that all the time. They were constantly going to new planet to see what was going on. But Picard and the team felt more like a cruise ship going between well-established ports and occasionally running into unexpected things on the way.

Also... gaseous anomalies? Good grief. To paraphrase from Ghostbusters: some space monster farts and you want to keep it?

As for the origin stories, I think they used to be handled differently, especially on television. Sometimes they were in the pilot, but more often than not, they came up in a later episode usually as a flashback usually when someone from the past arrived. I think the heavy focus on doing the first movie as an origin story is really a new invention and it strikes me as being done out of fear that the non-fan boy audience won't like the character if they don't see how they became the character. I think that's wrong.

Anonymous said...

The "cataloging gaseous anomalies" gag comes from Star Trek VI but only to set up the method in which they dispatch General Chang's ship later in the film. (I'm sure you knew that already.) :-)

Incidentally, I'm listening to the Star Trek II score as we speak. When he composed it, James Horner was younger than I am!

Yeah, looking back on it now (hard to believe the show is 25 years old!), the TNG crew did an awful lot of scientific studies and ferrying around of diplomats, etc. What's interesting is how often they went back to Earth - Kirk and Co. never did. We never saw Earth until the first film.

AndrewPrice said...

// nerd hat on

Don't get me started about them going back to Earth. The neutral zone is supposed to be weeks away from Earth, but they seem to be able to pop in whenever they want at a moment's notice!

//nerd hat off

You're right, Kirk never went back to Earth because that wasn't his patrol mission. He has a sector, right where the Romulan and Klingon empires met the Federation, and it was his job to act as marshall out there.

I liked the gaseous anomaly joke in Star Trek VI, but that's literally all anyone talks about in TNG. Arg.

The reason I had such high hopes for Voyager originally (and then for Enterprise) was the promise when they made the shows that they would "get back to exploring." They specifically admitted that TNG lost that sense of adventure and they intended to bring it back to the series. So I tuned in quite hopefully.

But then.... they went right back to the soap opera formula in both shows within a couple episodes. Sad.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if these complaints simply stem from the different forms of storytelling on TV: plot-based versus character-based...?

And yeah, Trek definitely became a soap opera at times. I don't know if this was due to the influence of Michael Piller or Jeri Taylor (Trek's first female showrunner) but it's obvious. In the last season of TNG, we had stories about: Picard's son (which was an enemy trick), Troi's mom and long-lost sister, Beverly's grandmother and son, Data's mother, Geordi's mother, and I may even be forgetting one.

As for Voyager, part of the blame should be shared with UPN. Unlike TNG and DS9, VGR had an additional level of bureaucracy to deal with and this often led the creators to make rather questionable decisions.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I'm not sure why it happened, but TNG really had multiple personalities. When it started, it seems like a rather dry and silly utopian space adventure (the Roddenberry years). Then it seemed to improve storywise and became more of a space drama. Then it hit its stride and came out with some really excellent thoughtful science fiction episodes. Then it suddenly devolved into a soap opera.

It wouldn't surprise me if they had different people in charge in each period.

On VGR, I suspect it was ultimately the concept which undermined them. If your goal is to return to Earth as quickly as possible, there isn't a lot of reason to go exploring and you aren't going to spend a lot of energy doing it. Plus, I can imagine that UPN wanted them to develop a recurring bad guy that would catch the public's imagination.

Enterprise, I think, succumbed to ratings-fear. I think the show started well in the first couple episodes, but didn't catch on, so they started reaching for exactly the things they said they wouldn't in the hopes of attracting viewers.

Doc Whoa said...

Criticism of "Wrath of Khan"? Isn't that against the law? ;)

AndrewPrice said...

Doc, We got government permission before we began! :)

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

Re: TNG's multiple personality disorder, you are absolutely correct. The first season was more or less a revolving door of writers.

The season 2 showrunner was a guy named Maurice Hurley who left after that year (and later wrote a rejected draft of Generations about which not much is known).

Michael Piller joined the show in season 3 where he instituted the open-door script submission policy which led to the hiring of guys like Ron Moore.

By season 7, Piller chose to focus more on DS9 and Jeri Taylor, who had joined the show in season 4, was promoted to showrunner.

So there you have it. :-)

To be fair, many shows suffer from problems like this.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That might very well explain each of the different periods. I would assume that each demanded a different focus from the writers or gave them different guidelines/restrictions.

Interestingly, the original series seems to have undergone a shift as well as you get into the third and final season. The episodes became more surreal and more strange. There were still some good episodes, but most of the turkeys came from that period. Oddly, however, I am led to believe that Roddenberry maintained firm control throughout that the whole show, so I can't account for the change unless it was just a change in the air or they were dumping material at that point as they seemed to be getting canceled?

Anonymous said...

Actually, from what I understand, Roddenberry more or less left the show due to NBC scheduling it at 10:00 Friday nights (the "death slot"). He's still credited but he certainly wasn't there day to day, nor were D.C. Fontana and Gene Coon.

Another producer was brought in along with some new writers, the budget was cut, and the show was later cancelled.

Man, when will NBC learn?! :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Ah. I haven't actually paid all that much attention to the behind the scenes stuff. I'd always heard Roddenberry was there until the end. But it wouldn't surprise me if they brought in a new team in the third season because the feel of the show really changed -- the episodes aren't as cleanly written and the episodes are both flatter and stranger. Thanks for the info! :)

tryanmax said...

Andrew, I was never afforded the opportunity to be a fan of the show before the films. Maybe that’s why I’ve always felt like a bit of a Trek outsider. Most of my opinions seem to go against conventional Trek thinking. (I like Voyager but I’m bored by DS9, I give high marks to Final Frontier, I don’t hate Captain Archer.)

Khan isn’t “too deep,” but when I finally got around to seeing “Space Seed,” there was a lot more “ah-ha!” than I expected. I still think it is the best of the films, but having seen it with both sets of eyes, it is a different movie depending upon your level of affinity for Trek. The fans themselves may have established the separation between Trekkies and everybody else, but this is the first film to cater to that separation and the tradition continued thereafter.

RE: the origins of SuperKirk – I think in general writers have lost the ability to begin a story in medias res. Some of that may be backlash against poor execution and misuse, but I suspect most of it comes from the simplistic mindset that “you start a story at the beginning.”

But besides that, TOS somewhat serves as Kirk’s origin story. He did not start out with superhero status; it was developed over the course of the series and even into the first couple of films. (I posit that Kirk achieved superhero status in Khan.) Kirk was originally presented not as an Olympian, but as a man of uncommon valor. For one like me, who met SuperKirk before regular Kirk, going back to the series was a much more enriching experience than a 2-hour movie.

T-Rav said...

Er....of course I've seen it! It's the one where that one guy yells "Khhaaaaannnnnn!!!!!!"

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Thank God. I thought I was going to need a heart transplant!

BTW, there's another T-Rav's votatorium tonight. :)

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That is honestly very interesting. Having seen the series long before the film, it honestly never occurred to me that there was anything in the episode that further explained the film? To me, the episode just was and the film seemed to stand on its own. I knew who Khan was, but it didn't seem to inform my understanding of the film.

Now I'm wondering how often that happens and how much things like being around during all the buzz about Star Wars changes my perspective from yours? Interesting question.

I think in general writers have lost the ability to begin a story in medias res.

This is a good point. Despite people like Tarantino showing how cool stories can be when they are told out of order, there seems to be a very simplistic mindset right now that stories must go in absolute chronological order, starting at A and working to Z.

That's too bad, because part of what's cool about characters is not knowing things. It's so much more interesting when they only hint at hidden powers or a dark past than when they lay it all out for you. In fact, many of the best films/episodes are about learning about a character's past. That gives the characters depth as it gives you something to think about.

tryanmax said...

I don't think I can comment as readily on Star Wars because I was born into a world pretty saturated by it. I had the toys, I had the breakfast cereal, all I was missing was my own Tauntaun to crawl inside. (Eww!) No, I never stood in a line blocks long to be the first to see, but when George Lucas stepped all over his beloved series of films, he was stepping on my childhood, man!

AndrewPrice said...

Tell me about it!

Did you ever get a chance to see it in theaters?

rlaWTX said...

(Star Wars childhood: we had the Ewok village. my brother & I - actually it was his, but we both played with it... I know that a lot of people don't like the Ewoks, but they are part of my childhood, and I like the furry little guys. My brother also got the "newsletter" that taught you Ewok words and stuff!)

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I was big into the toys as well. I have all the action figures and many of the ships. I had a paper route which gave me access to cash, so each month it was time to add to the collection. Plus, between the movies, I managed to save up.

Here's something the young members of the audience probably never experienced.

It used to be that you could get the toys early by ordering from the Sears catalog. So whenever that came out, I and my friends would get together and compare notes based on the Sears catalog.

We also traded the traded cards, hence "trading" cards.

Wow, those days are gone!

tryanmax said...

I'm trying to remember when I first saw any of them in the theater. I saw all of the "new and improved" versions in the '90s, but I know they did several re-releases in the early '80s. I would have been just a little guy, but I think I might have seen the second-run of Jedi in the theater.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Believe it or not I can remember when and where I saw about a dozen films. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to which ones, except a couple of them are big ones -- Star Wars, Empire, Raiders, Raiders III, Jedi, Ghostbusters and then some oddballs Time Bandits, Firefox, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heartsclub Band, etc.

I think seeing Star Wars in theaters makes a huge difference. I loved it when it came out and saw it probably 20 times as a kid (no kidding). Then it hit the television and I thought, cool now I can watch it all the time. Only, it wasn't nearly as good on television. For one thing, they showed it pan and scan and you miss a lot that way, but it also (I guess) is just a movie that's meant to be seen large.

I'm actually thinking of checking out the Phantom Menace in 3D just to see how it affects the film.

Tennessee Jed said...

Votatorium? Tonight??? T-Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaavvvvvvvvv

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Yep. Florida. Sunshine State Sockpuppetry!

Tonight could actually decide the race.

I've even prepared a new image of the players in honor of the importance... plus I got bored with the old one.

It'll post in about an hour, results expected at 8 PM.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"What's interesting is how often they went back to Earth - Kirk and Co. never did. We never saw Earth until the first film."

Actually, Kirk and Spock did go back to earth once, in TOS.

Remember the CIA secret agent guy?
The cold war? The Air Force freaking out over Spock? Can't recall all the details but it was set in the early sixties and they had to stop something or other from happening so their future could progress "normally."

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Of course Kirk had to use his charm to get vital information from a beautiful sixties chick as well.
One of Kirks superpowers was getting the ladies to talk or help him escape, for those who haven't watched the series.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, True. They went back twice. First in Tomorrow is Yesterday when they got thrown back in time and picked up the Air Force pilot... great episode. And again in the episode where they tried to set up a spin off for "Gary Seven" (Robert Lansing and Terri Garr). The episode was called Assignment: Earth.

But those were special cases, as compare to the TNG crew, who seemed to go home for weekends and holidays.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, That was Teri Garr, who was quite beautiful. :)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Nice post! I especially like all the inside information.

I got the impression Starfleet was both military and scientific depending on the circumstances.

I liked Enterprise (the series) until, as you said, they did what they said they wouldn't do.

The episode where Archer tortured the alien (one of the ones that were hellbent on destroying earth) to extract information to save earth was particularly courageous, I think.

I mean, when earth is facing annihilation and you can save it by torturing a bloodthirsty, psychotic alien there really isn't any question what most folks would do, IMO.

I was stunned that the episode got approval to air, however.

Anonymous said...

Andrew and USS Ben -

Yes, I forgot about those two episodes but they never went back to Earth in the 23rd century, only the 20th. :-)

Oddly, Teri Garr has less than fond memories of shooting that episode. I don't know why but I've read a few quotes here and there and she doesn't like to talk about it.

Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln returned in Greg Cox' two-volume book The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh where they try to prevent the Eugenics Wars (or something like that, it's been a while).

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ah yes, Teri Garr! I fell in love with her in that episode and again in Young Frankenstein. :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks Scott, that is a notable difference. Should'vbe known that's what you meant. :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

T-Rav: what gets me is that guy was acting when he yelled Khaaaannn!!! :^)

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I like Jed's version: T-Raaaaaaaaaaaaaavvvvvvvvvvvvvv!

I was a little surprised too that they let him torture an alien in the show. It seems very "un-Star Trek" to me. Kirk would do what it takes, but he wasn't the kind of guy to torture anyone. He was better at talking people out of doing wrong.

I always got the impression that Starfleet was a military organization which handled space exploration and anything (science, medicine) which was needed to handle the job. In the original show, the scientists were usually civilians.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I agree with your point -- they never went back to their Earth and showed you what the planet was like, unlike TNG who went back all the time for various reasons.

I don't know anything specific about Garr's complaints, but I have heard some bad things about the show including a rape.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"I don't know anything specific about Garr's complaints, but I have heard some bad things about the show including a rape."

Wow, I had no idea anything like that happened. Was that involving the staff or the actors?

AndrewPrice said...

The woman who played Yeoman Rand claims to have been raped by a producer.

Apparently, there was a lot of nastiness on set too. It's kind of depressing to read about because it goes completely against the image of what the show projected.

Individualist said...

Andrew and Scott

The only criticism I have about the movie is that no one kidded Checkov after it was all over about Khan "putting a bug in his ear"

Then again maybe the movie was better off without the groans that pun would illicit.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, LOL! I've never thought about that!

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: Actually, it was Merrit Buttrick, and I loved Square Pegs. LOL

I've mentioned before that I'm a fan of space opera, and though I see the criticisms of Khan, I still think it's one of the best space operas of all.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I'm certainly not saying the movie stinks. To the contrary, I think it's a great movie. I do think there are some flaws, but they are relatively minor.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I truly understood your position. That's why it's called "criticism," and I think you did a very good job of pointing out the flaws. But I never thought you were bad-mouthing the movie.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Lawhawk, I figured that's what you meant, I just wanted to make sure it was clear to everyone that I'm not denigrating this film at all. There are few things in this world that can't be improved upon in some way (i.e. perfection is rare) and I think it's valuable to discuss failings as well as successes -- though we should never lose touch with the bigger picture.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, what is your take on Trek II's reuse of visual effects shots from the first film? I'm honestly not bothered by it at all, even though fans would go crazy if a major summer blockbuster did that today.

Hell, Trek fans still complain about the reused Klingon ship explosion in Generations that the filmmakers recycled from Trek VI.

Nick Meyer is fond of the saying "Creativity thrives on restrictions" and this film is one of those cases where a bigger budget would not have necessarily made a better movie.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, In truth it doesn't bother me for two reasons. On the one hand, it's not really obvious unless you're really looking for it. Moreover, it's not like they stole something key to the story. It would be one thing if they recyled a lightsaber battle, for example, or the explosion of the Genesis device. It's quite another when you're just talking about some space station shot or a small Klingon ship exploding.

Especially in something like Star Trek where fans got the same phaser shot week after week in the series, they shouldn't be too concerned about a minor repeat from a prior film.

Now if some big budget special effects film did it, that would be different. But that's not the case here.

That said, by the way, if you're going to steal, it's best to try to cover it up someone.

Patriot said...


What struck me when watching Wrath of Khan was Ricardo Montalban. My image of him prior to this movie was urbane, calm, cultured and rich. Khan showed a range I didn't expect from him. His feral aggressiveness and temper. So much different. But then maybe all I was going off of was Fantasy Island (Fine Corinthian leather)

Always liked him though.....

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot true, that's where I knew him from as well and this was a very different role for him. Having since seen some of the Westerns he did when he was younger, I see this within him -- but it was a shock at the time.

I always wondered what made Corinthian leather so special. Without the internet at that point, I had no idea. Apparently, it's just marketing.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, this is somewhat non-sequitur, but the term "MacGuffin" was used in the article and that's what brings this up. Before I stumbled on to the site, I had no idea what a MacGuffin was. I know now, but I thought it might be useful to devote an article to great MacGuffins or make it the subject of a Great Film Debate. (My preference is for the latter.) Plus, it would be a more fun way to illustrate the concept than simply defining it.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That might be a useful article. Thanks for the idea. :)

Astronut said...

Honestly, seriously? I have no criticisms of this film, at least none that would have any effect on my appreciation of it. Sure, there are a few "off the mark" spots but I think those are mainly due to the lowered budget (film grain, which has been discussed.)

FANTASTIC piece of filmmaking though. Killer script + outstanding performances + great soundtrack + excellent direction + character nuances + effects = 5-STAR ACHIEVEMENT in my book.

One thing I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND: Read the book Star Trek Movie Memories and you will gain very detailed insight into the prodcution of ST II: TWOK as well as the other original series films. MUST READ, there is no other way to describe it.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Khan and Chekov...

Chekov's first episode is "Catspaw" from season 2, broadcast after "Space Seed" of course. However, "Catspaw" has a lower stardate (3018.2) than "Space Seed" (3141.9). Actual proof that Chekov was on board the Enterprise when Khan was found? Works for me.

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