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Star Trek 2 - The Wrath Of Khan (Blu-ray Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000119249
Added by: Si Wooldridge
Added on: 9/8/2009 18:33
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    Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan



    In the time since the V'ger crisis in the original cinematic excursion of the Enterprise crew, James T.Kirk (William Shatner) has accepted promotion to Admiral and along with most of his original crew now run training simulations at Starfleet Academy for new recruits.  Amongst this latest set of recruits is Saavik (Kirstie Alley), a Vulcan being groomed for command by Captain Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and  tested with the seemingly unwinnable Kobayashi Maru scenario.  Kirk doesn't appear to be happy though, instead seemingly in the midst of a mid-life crisis and dismissing the wishes of his old crew of Dr McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Uhura (Nichelle Nicholls), Scotty (James Doohan) and Sulu (George Takei) to head back into space with a command, stating that galloping around the cosmos is a job for the young.    

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    Meanwhile the USS Reliant is on a routine surveillance mission for the scientists working with Starfleet on the ecological programme codenamed The Genesis Project, an experimental terraforming tool still in development.  Command officer Chekov (Walter Koenig) and his current captain, Clark Terrell (Paul Winfield) are on the lookout for a barren planetary body in order to move testing to the third phase, and think they have it with Ceti Alpha V.  Beaming down to a barren and sandstorm-laden landscape, the Starfleet officers discover their error too late; they have in fact beamed on Ceti Alpha VI by mistake, home of genetically modified super-warrior Khan (Ricardo Montalban). Khan was marooned decades earlier by Kirk (in the original series episode Space Seed), after attempting to take over the Enterprise, along with a number of his followers and Marla, a female crew member who also became Khan's wife. 

    The intervening years have not been kind to Khan and his followers, the explosion and destruction of Ceti Alpha V was responsible for the dearth of life on Ceti Alpha VI, leaving only sand-burrowing dangerous creatures; same said creatures responsible for the death of Marla and a growing resentment of Kirk for his actions in marooning them there.  Using the young offspring of these creatures, Khan takes control of both Chekov and Terrell, followed by the USS Reliant and sets course for the space station holding the Genesis device.  The device is the work of Dr Carol Marcus (Bibi Besch), an old flame of Kirk's, and her team - which includes her son David (Merritt Butrick), who resents Starfleet and all it stands for. 

    And so, some time after their first encounter, James Kirk and Khan shape up for their next big fight, although with starships now rather than their fists… 

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    There's been some debate over the quality of the blu-ray picture on some DVD forums, although it seems to have focussed on the colouring rather than the sharpness.  For the most part, the picture looks really sharp but I thought the Ceti Alpha V footage was a little soft in focus.  That is a minor niggle though as it looks much better than before overall, with some quite stunning detail present - the one thing that really stood out for me was a transparent globe in Starfleet Academy just after the Kyboyashi Maru scenario. 


    Commentary with Nicholas Meyer 

    Commentary with Nicholas Meyer and  Manny Coto

    Library Computer - an attempt at a triva type track with part of the screen being sacrificed to give the illusion of a computer terminal with subject headings popping up at various points in the film.  You select each one in turn for more information in a box that appears at the bottom.  It's not a bad attempt at an extra but despite the inclusion of an index would have been better as a traditional trivia track as the screen gets too busy too quickly and you lose track of all the subject headings, and using the index you quickly realise that the trivia provided is mostly valid only for the point in the film during which it originally appears (very true for the character-based subjects). 

    Captain's Log - interviews with Nicholas Meyer (director), William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Harve Bennett (producer) and Ricardo Montalban on both the genesis and direction of Star Trek 2. 

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    Designing Khan - a look at the production design of the film and how Nicholas Meyer use his love of Hornblower to introduce more Naval influences to the Trek franchise. 

    Interviews from 1982  - original promotion interviews with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley and Ricardo Montalban 

    Where No Man Has Gone Before: The Visual Effects Of Wrath Of Khan - featurette focussing on the work of ILM, both model and CGI work with the latter very much in its infancy. 

    James Horner: Composing Genesis - a look at the work Horner did in trying to follow Meyer's sea-faring influences and the main themes of the soundtrack.  Horner does well with his soundtrack, the main theme kicking off with elements of the original theme before becoming a more majestic theme of it's own and the short blips of Khan's theme are also quite memorable, with Horner able to mix them at will during the battle scenes. 

    Collecting Star Trek's Movie Relics - a brief look at a few of the people who have put together collections of Star Trek memorabilia 

    A Novel Approach - interviews with Greg Cox and Julia Ecklar, geek Trek fans who now write Trek novels.  In all honesty, Cox just looks too pleased with himself and almost desperate to prove his Trek geekiness. 

    Starfleet Academy SciSec Brief 002: Mystery Behind Ceti Alpha VI - mini-episode with a Starfleet lecturer providing the viewer with explanations of what may have caused the devastation on Ceti Alpha VI that laid the foundations of events in Wrath Of Khan.  Very well done with some nice background special effects. 

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    Theatrical Trailer 

    It would appear that the majority of these extras have already been made available to Trek DVD buyers with the previous DVD release of the Director's Cut of Wrath Of Khan. 


    After the really beautiful but ultimately dull Star Trek - The Motion Picture, the Trek franchise really needed something special in order to save the series from extinction at the first hurdle.  They got it with producer Harve Bennett looking back to the future, rescuing psychopathic super villain Khan from Series 1.  Ricardo Montalban had been an acting tour de force in the Space Seed episode and his unfinished story proved to be the inspiration for the second film. 

    Wrath of Khan is almost certainly the best Trek film there is, adding to a story that was already there and reminding viewers of the things that made Trek so great in the first place.  The triumverate of Kirk, Spock and McCoy are back, although it's a little telling that McCoy is not as abrasive as he originally was, in fact in places he seems positively cheery rather than Victor Meldrew.  And despite Chekov starting the film in a different place (and incidentally, not part of the bridge crew during the original Space Seed episode), it's great to see the original crew back and enjoying themselves so much. 

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    Director Nicholas Meyer proved to be quite adept at seeing what made Trek so successful, despite not knowing anything about it when he first took the helm.  Meyer was a massive fan of Hornblower (which later became a successful ITV series) and could see similarities between Horatio Hornblower and James T.Kirk.  Meyer decided that the Starfleet of the original movie had moved too far away from the militaristic organisation hinted at in the Original Series and decided to notch it back up, rejigging the costume design and also introducing Naval traditions which went on the influence all of the Trek incarnations that followed.  Even the battle scenes follow Naval lines, whether the original skirmish as an out and out destroyer battle or the final battle more reminiscent of submarine warfare. 

    The themes of this film are many, but the main ones are age, friendship, sacrifice and the pointlessness of vengeance.  Kirk has aged considerably since his prime in TOS, hitting his fifties in this film, and isn't happy at his choice of accepting promotion.  His friends see his mid-life crisis and try to cajol him into doing something about it, but it takes the arrival of old nemesis Khan and a threat to a family he didn't know he had to jolt him out of it.  Khan, on the other hand, has had too much time on his hands and has spent that time brooding about Kirk and the hand that fate dealt him.  He wants vengeance on Kirk and will let nothing get in his way to achieve this, which ultimately is his weakness.  Khan allows his lust for vengeance to blind him, thinking only in two dimensions when anyone with a bit of nous realises that space has infinite height and depth as well as length (despite this rarely being an element of most filmed science fiction).   Oh, and while we're here, according to Harve Bennett, that really is Montalban's chest on display...

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    It was a brave move to focus part of the film on the age of the cast but in reality it needed to happen in order to get younger film fans to accept this crew in a more action oriented film and to see that not all action heroes need to be in their early twenties.  The same is true in real life, of course, as despite many of our armed forces being in their early to late twenties, those with command responsibility are normally much older.  Leadership is as much about mental faculty as it is about running about and punching people, which the younger Kirk did with much aplomb.   

    This was my first foray into blu-ray with Trek.  I'm happy enough with the remastered DVD's of The Original Series to not be bothered about upgrading those, but I may fork out for the third and fourth films.  This is the one to own though…

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