Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan
Or, "How to make BAD SCIENCE look GOOD with a $Gazillion Special FX Budget"
Well, where to get started on this one... The premise is actually pretty cool! It's Stardate 8130.3, meaning 2285AD, 4:15 AM EST, Bad Space Guys lead by the incomparable Ricardo Montalban, from the original TV Star Trek episode "Space Seed", come back to be a PIA to Kirk. Try to take over Universe by stealing a "Doomsday" thingee; a thing that, coincidentally, has been invented by one of Kirk's many past lovers and his illegitimate sissyboy son. Yeah, that would happen in the Universal scheme of things... Bad Guy makes fatal mistakes due to his overbearing sense of vengeance even though his is the "superior intellect" and he has bigger pecs than Kirk. Spock "dies" saving the ship. Bad Guy dies while reciting poetry. Kirk pontificates us to tears.
All sarcasm aside, tho... This is, in my humble opinion - and you are entitled to your wrong opinion... - the best of the Star Trek movies. Ricardo Montalban does just such an outstanding and believable job reincarnating his Khan character; he of "superior intellect". Shatner, who usually either sleepwalks through a role or overacts to the point of looking like a high school production, keeps up with Montalban step for step. My suspicion is that Montalban just exudes such a large stage presence that Shatner HAD to keep up with him... Anyway, the humor and action and subplots and overall acting was the best of the series! It certainly beat the snot outta Star Trek I!
Check out the ORIGINAL Khan from Episode 25!
Well, a few errors and/or problems were noticed along the way;
- With all their sophisticated detectors and scanners, why is it that they always fail to sence life forms when they are dangerous? The landing crew of the Reliant, sent to a planet dubbed Seti Alpha VI to check it out as a possible site for a Genesis Project experimant (more on that later), had no clue there were life forms on the planet until they were there and saw the left over equipment from the Botany Bay, the shuttle that Kirk had, 18 years ago in 2267, sent Khan and his group on a one-way trip to an uninhabited, but livable world named Seti Alpha V. Unfortunately, a neighboring planet, Seti Alpha VI, exploded and Seti Alpha V's weather patterns were thrown into chaos and the entire planet became desolate. Are you following all this Seti Alpha Stuff? Good! Hmmm. Let's see here;
- Is it a coincidence the planet system is named Seti? SETI is the group Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence lead by Dr. Jill Tarter who was portrayed loosely by Jodi Foster in the movie Contact. I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at Drexel University last year. Quite a sharp Lady!
- How in the world didn't Capt Chekov know about the change in the planet configuration? Let's see... Visit a planet system that they already know about. They don't notice one of the planets is missing? Hmmm. I'd give him an 'F' in class... See, Chekov thought he was landing on Seti Alpha VI, but it had exploded long ago and he was actually on Seti Alpha V and getting brain eating bugs put in his ear! Yuck!
- If there is no indigenous life forms, including vegetation, on this planet, how in the world did these guys and gals survive for 18 years?
Coincidentaly, Botany Bay Australia is the name of the spot where the British sent there criminal element. Also, coincidentally, Botany Bay Australia started out as a farmers paradise due to its lush flora. However, it was discovered soon that the ONLY things that would grow there were, indeed, those indigenous flora. Making the farming prohibitively difficult. Seeing it as desolate, the British thought it was just too far from home to worry about and sent their social "refuse" there. Sorta kinda almost like the way Kahn's group was treated.
- A GREAT aside: In the original TV episode, after Kirk has marooned Kahn and his gang of genetically engineered warriors on Set Alpha V, Spock says, "It would be interesting, Cartain, to return to that world in 100 years and learn what crop had sprung from the seed you planted today." Is that poignant or what! Spock, wattaguy!
- The mysterious Genesis devise! Ahhh! A "devise" is dropped on a "dead" planet and Voila! Instant life complete with ecosystems and biodiversity! Nice trick! Problems!
- This eco-generation happens too quickly! It's just like the fast cloning done in Arnold's 6th Day or the immediate DNA changes that make Peter Parker into a wall crawling spider-man. These things, known collectively as evolution, are being ignored in this science fiction concept. It would take eons and eons, give or take a millenium, to grow an entire ecosystem from "dead" material. Kirk's ex-girlfriend, Carol Marcus, and sissyboy son, David, make one in a matter of months and she claims, "Can I cook or can I cook?" Great line, but the activity could NOT happen...
- Given the impossibility of the immediate growth, how did so many of the same plant grow at diferent spots? Don't the same species/genus' need to reproduce to spread? What are the chances that the Genesis Devise spontaneously generated many of the same kind of plant or animal at many different locales? More than astronomical! More even than the chances that OJ did it!
- This is actually a GOOD thing: During the chase through the Mutaran Magnetic Nebula, neither the Enterprise nor the Reliant could see the other. Spock mentions, "His [Kahn's] thinking is two dimensional." At this, Kirk orders, "Z minus 10,000!" This is a GREAT example of vectors for your Fizzix or Pre-Calc class! What this means is the Enterprise will now "drop" their position from the xy-plane by 10,000 meters. Since Kahn is thinking that the Enterprise is either in front or to the side of him. Then, as the Reliant passes overhead, the Enterprise pulls back up behind them and blasts them into reruns! Now,
- If they couldn't see each other before, how can the Enterprise know when to "pop" back up? Good writing...
- Also, along the same vein, how did they know where to shoot? Hmmm....
- Aside - Several great one-liners are contained in this science-based movie.
- "The needs of the many outweight the needs of the few - or the one." - Spock just before dying... Sob - sob - weep - sniffle...