Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
1982 was a good year. I was a year old, the Commodore 64 was introduced, and another Star Trek film was released. I like to think that I had a hand in helping to make this awesome movie…trust me, it makes for some interesting fan fiction. At any rate, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and take a look at the movie that breathed life into Star Trek once more: Star Trek II: The Wrath of…
Director Nicholas Meyer: “Bill, you promised…not yet!”
Bill: *Snicker* “Yeah…okay.”
Khan Noonien Singh, the antagonist of this movie, requires a little bit of background. In the Star Trek universe, there was a period in Earth’s history that involved questionable ethics to create the perfect human being. Through selective breeding and genetic engineering, a new race of augments were born. They had superior strength and intelligence, ended up rising to power, and almost plunged Earth into a new dark age. Khan Noonien Singh…
Khan Noonien Singh was one of those augments, ruling over most of Asia and the Middle East. Eventually, the human race rose up and overthrew the augments in what was known as the Eugenics Wars. Khan escaped during the war, hijacking a small space ship called the Botany Bay with some of his loyal subjects (also augments) and setting a course deep into space to one day rise to power again.
Ricardo Montalbán’s Dating Rule #267: Make the lady ASK to stay.
Kirk discovered their ship over two hundred and fifty years later in the episode, “Space Seed.” He found Khan and his crew in suspended animation, close to death due to faulty equipment. The augments aboard the Botany Bay were revived and Kirk attempted to be hospitable. Khan, as was his nature, caught up on twenty-third century technology and attempted to take over the Enterprise. Kirk eventually won out and sentenced Khan and the rest of the augments to live on a deserted planet in the Ceti Alpha system labeled Ceti Alpha V. Conditions were rough on that planet, but Khan was confident in his superior abilities to tame it and once again rule a society.
Superior intellect and strength are no match for William Shatner and a twenty-dollar prop.
Many years later, the USS Reliant goes on a survey mission in the Ceti Alpha system to find a planet perfect for the implementation of the Genesis Device, an experimental and highly classified device that can transform a dead planet into one full of life, solving the problem of overpopulation and hunger throughout the galaxy. Commander Chekov (former navigator of the Enterprise) and Captain Terrell beam down to Ceti Alpha VI, or what they thought was Ceti Alpha VI. Khan appears and takes them hostage…
Khan appears and takes them hostage explaining that Ceti Alpha VI had exploded, causing Ceti Alpha V’s orbit to change and lay waste to everything Khan and his society had built. Khan and a few others managed to survive the barren wasteland through Khan’s “superior intellect.” Khan recruits Terrell and Chekov to his cause through torture and brainwashing via little creatures that enter through the ear and make you open to suggestion. Khan eventually takes control of the Reliant and finds out about the Genesis Device, splitting his attention between finding it and taking his revenge on Kirk.
I guess they didn’t have therapists in the twenty-third century.
Cut to Starfleet Academy where Admiral Kirk and Captain Spock are assisting cadets in training. They later launch to investigate an odd distress call from Regula I, the science station in charge of the Genesis Project. The Enterprise is intercepted en route by the Reliant and is taken by surprise by Khan. Khan, in pure Khan fashion, begins to boast for about seven hours straight, only pausing to check his hair in the nearest mirror. Okay, maybe I’m exagerating…but Khan was proud of himself.
…Khan was proud of himself. Kirk manages to weasel his way out of the situation by tricking the Reliant’s computer into lowering its shields and drives the Reliant off. The whole exchange was very memorable and a nice change of pace from the heaping piece of space debris that was Star Trek II’s predecessor.
Yeah, you didn’t see THAT in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
One of these days, Starfleet Captains will quit cutting seatbelts from their budget.
Kirk: “Spock, prepare to upload a virus into the mothership.” Spock: “You’ve been watching Independence Day again…Sir.”
Cowboy diplomacy at its finest.
Kirk continues on course to Regula I and finds most of the station’s crew dead. He finds Chekov and Terrell stuffed in a locker and discovers that some of the scientists had managed to beam down to the asteroid below to hide during Khan’s attack. Terrell explained that Khan couldn’t find Genesis and would eventually have found it had he not have to leave to intercept the Enterprise. Kirk and company beam down to the asteroid below and find the remaining scientists. Kirk runs into his former lover, Doctor Carol Marcus, and discovers that they shared a son, David Marcus, also among the survivors. Kirk exchanges a brief communication with Spock using code, tricking Khan into believing that the Enterprise was still badly damaged and couldn’t be beamed back. Khan, in orbit along the far side of the asteroid…
Khan, in orbit along the far side of the asteroid, eventually is contacted by Terrell and Chekov. While holding phasers on a surprised Kirk and company, they indicate that everything was going according to plan and Khan beams up Genesis. Before Terrell and Chekov can kill Kirk, however, they manage to resist the creatures. Terrell kills himself and Chekov faints. Kirk taunts Khan, trying to get him to beam down to fight Kirk one on one. Khan, knowing that Kirk is unable to leave, says that he is marooning Kirk there as Kirk had marooned Khan on Ceti Alpha V. Kirk became pissed and started shaking uncontrollably…which led to one of the Internet’s most famous meme’s.
Director: “…Yes, Bill…now.”
KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!! Editor’s Note: Probably the most awesome thing ever. I want one. Now.
Shortly after, Spock calls Kirk and signals that he’s ready to beam Kirk up. The Enterprise is still wounded and wouldn’t last long in a fight, so they set a course for nearby Mutara Nebula where shields and sensors don’t work. The Reliant realizes this and backs off, though Kirk announces his escape from the asteroid and baits Khan into following him in to the Nebula. There, the Enterprise literally kicks the crap out of the Reliant and Khan, through one last desperate act, activates the self destruct in an attempt to bring down Kirk with him.
Khan: “Never fear, my superior intellect will triumph again!”
Pew Pew Pew!
Pew Pew Pew Pew!
Pew Pew Pew Pew Pew!
Pew Pew Pew Pew Pew Pew Pew!
Pew Pew Pew Pew Pew Pew Pew Pew Pew!
Pew Pew Pew…Okay, you get the idea. The battle was awesome.
The Enterprise’s warp engines were damaged in the prior battle so Spock sacrifices himself by going into a room full of radiation to repair the system and eventually saves the ship. The Enterprise warps out before the explosion and resulting Genesis Wave destroys the ship. The final scene was a death-blow to Trekkies everywhere as they watched Spock die and the funeral that followed. It was the equivalent of those who had just seen Empire Strikes Back in the theatres for the first time in 1980.
At any rate, they place Spock’s lifeless body into a torpedo tube and shoot it onto a planet formed by the Genesis Device’s explosion. This would later be known as the Genesis Planet in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
Spock: “No, really Jim. How many fingers am I holding up?”
Overall, I was very happy with this movie and come back to it at least once a year. It remains to be one of my favorite Trek movies, possibly THE best out of all six featuring the original cast. If you’re new to the Trek world and are relatively disappointed overall with the series, try this movie out anyway. It’s a classic and chances are, you won’t be disappointed, or at least not hate it to the point of vomiting.