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[FILM] Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan - Nicholas Meyer (1982)


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#1 BloodBoal

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 10:32 PM

And the trek continues with Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan...

 

9B8P1dY.png

 

This time, it’s war! Oops, wrong movie...

 

 

Both the theatrical cut and the director’s cut.

Well, it sure is a better film than the previous one. In pretty much every way (some would argue not the music, but whatever).  And it’s different in pretty much every way, too. The first film was a slow-paced contemplative picture, this one a breakneck pace actioner (with Horner’s music participating a lot in giving a sense of constant drive to the whole picture). And it works splendidly.

In a way, it feels like a reboot of the film series. There are absolutely no mention of anything from the first film and the first act of the sequel basically repeats what happened in the first film: Kirk is still an Admiral, he ends up on the Enterprise somehow and replaces the current captain (in the first film Decker, in this one Spock) to go on a mission where only the Enterprise can go because… well, because it’s the nearest ship in the sector. Of course, what follows is completely different, but the similarity in the premise is kind of funny.

This time around, the budget was four times less than what they had for the first entry, yet the film looks just as impressive, if not more. You can see how they managed to save some money by reusing footage here and there (it’s pretty damn obvious when Kirk takes the space shuttle to go on the Enterprise) and also by reusing the floating office from the first film and rebranding it as the space lab Regula I just by putting it upside down. But otherwise, it all looks good to me: the uniforms in particular look better. No more space pyjamas! The cinematography of the previous film was possibly a bit superior, though (there weren’t as many impressive shots here).

Another aspect that may seem minor but isn’t quite (since film is first and foremost a visual medium): this film is much more colorful (literally) than the previous one. TMP was mostly devoid of colors, which were basically grey, beige and pale blue, and felt rather dull in that regard. Here, you have the red of the Starfleet uniforms, the orange of Khan and his men, the blue and purple of the Mutara Nebula, etc. It’s another thing I preferred over the film. However, there is one major difference I noticed between the two cuts: the color grading is much, much better in the director’s cut than in the theatrical cut (but this may actually be a difference between the DVD and Blu-Ray, rather than between the cuts). It seems that on the Blu-Ray, a blueish tint was added throughout the whole film (it’s most noticeable in the Genesis cave scene, which is where I really noticed the difference), while the DVD looks much more natural and, well, better.

 

nXroPKa.png

 

Ricardo Montalban is pitch perfect as the grandiloquent Khan. I’m even more impressed by his acting knowing he never even faced Shatner while playing his scenes. Truly a great actor. And a great character, too. The scene where he reveals himself to Chekov and Terrell is chilling. That’s how you introduce a villain! The shot before that (when Chekov and Terrell see Khan and his men while trying to escape from Ceti Alpha V) is equally awesome. I love how he and Kirk keep outwitting each other throughout the film and how Horner plays with that idea, too. On a sidenote, it is funny to see Khan’s crew younger than it was in Space Seed. It’s also a bit odd that McGivers is never referred to by name. Khan only talks about her as “his wife” who passed away, and the crew of the Enterprise doesn’t really seem to care about her fate (yes, she betrayed them, but still!).

The characters are much more relatable this time around, as the acting feels much more natural, and their relationships are way more developed than they were in the previous film. McCoy is quickly becoming my favorite member of the crew. His constant cynicism and skepticism really resonate with me! Kirk is also more interesting in this one: he has a bit less of a cocky attitude, he doubts, he has to face the fact that he’s getting older (even though it’s kind of funny to see him says he feels too old for that shit, when he’ll still be in action 12 years later (probably more in the Trek universe) and in five more films). Spock completes the trio of main characters quite nicely, and you get to see more of his human side, with a slightly more nuanced performance by Nimoy here. It is a bit of a shame that his death can’t have as much of an emotional impact as when the film was released, when you know that the third film is called The Search For Spock and is all about getting Spock back. Still, it is a well done scene and perfectly acted by Kirk and Nimoy.

 

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There is one minor issue I have with the film: the Genesis device is a bit sidelined as the story goes on, to make room for all the action and revenge story between Kirk and Khan. I would have liked to see the characters talk a bit more about it and its implications: how do they feel about it? What consequences can such a device have on the entire universe? It is a bit touched upon in the scene where they reveal what Genesis is, but never do the characters talk about it in more depth later on, and I think that’s a missed opportunity here.

Apart from that, it really is a fantastic film from start to finish: a great villain, great characters, great music, great action, great themes (getting older, facing the consequences of past deeds, etc.), great visuals… A well-rounded entry in the Star Trek franchise.

 

8/10

 

FULL POWER! DAMN YOU!

 

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So, if I understand correctly, this is considered by many (everyone?) to be the best Star Trek film ever. So is there any point in watching the other ones, if they’re all not as good as this one? ;)

 

 

About the Director’s Cut: Well, yet again, the changes were minimal and didn’t add much to the overall story (if anything). The only worthy addition is the scene where they reveal Preston is Scotty’s nephew (which is something that should have been in the theatrical cut), as it explain why Scotty and Kirk are so affected by his death (whereas in the theatrical cut, you’re left wondering: “Why do they care so much about some random engineer?”). I suppose the director’s cut is the superior version because it develops the characters slightly more, but really, the difference with the theatrical cut is not major (even less than the difference between the TC and DC of the first film, which was already rather insignificant).

It is weird that two more interesting bits were left out of the director’s cut, though. Firstly, the bit of dialogue where Spock reveals that Saavik is half-Romulan. I guess it can be explained by the fact that, in the later films, she was considered 100% Vulcan, so restoring that bit of dialogue in the director’s cut of TWOK would have contradicted the way her character is portrayed in the next films. Still, it would have been a nice addition, and would have explained why she cries at the end of the film. The other bit that would have been nice to see is the “subplot” (don’t know if it’s really an appropriate term here) regarding Khan’s son. It’s unclear how important this story thread would have been in the final film, or how it would have worked in the film, but it’s an oddity I’d like to see.

 

 

On a sidenote: the poster of the film offers a funny ‘WTF?’ moment by depicting the Enterprise shooting at the Regula I space station for no reason whatsoever. Also, Saavik looks bit more like Robin Curtis than Kirstie Alley on that poster.

 

On a second sidenote: one thing I noticed is that there are two funny similarities between the first two Star Trek films and the first two Alien films. The most obvious one is of course that Jerry Goldsmith scored both first films, while Horner composed the music for both sequels. The other similarity is that both first films are slow-paced atmospheric pictures, while the sequels made the franchise take a 180°turn by offering fast-paced actioners. This, of course, explains the tagline at the beginning of this review.

This random musing was brought to you by BloodBoal Inc.

BloodBoal Inc, providing the world with random musings.

 

On a third sidenote:

 

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Khan Noonian Stiff


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#2 Jay

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 10:40 PM

One addition I really like in the directors cut is a line Kirk has that goes something like "the only reason we're alive is because I knew more than Khan about these ships", or something like that. Should have been left in the theatrical.

I didn't know the BD release of the film is tinted blue. That's annoying.

Apparently the DC of the film is available in HD on iTunes, or at least it was for a while. That would be the ideal one to watch I guess

#3 king mark

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 10:58 PM

It's the opposite of STTMP. Everything is better but the visual effects look shoddy and cheap



#4 BloodBoal

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 10:58 PM

One addition I really like in the directors cut is a line Kirk has that goes something like "the only reason we're alive is because I knew more than Khan about these ships", or something like that. Should have been left in the theatrical.

 

Well, things like that are nice additions, but they're not vital.

 

 

I didn't know the BD release of the film is tinted blue. That's annoying.

 

Well, it's not THAT much noticeable (but it's the kind of thing that once you see it, you can't unsee it). It's really in the Genesis cave where I finally noticed the difference. Take a look:

 

Director's Cut/DVD
d6sjfmF.jpg

 

Theatrical Cut/Blu-Ray

uY9afzF.jpg

 

 

It's the opposite of STTMP. Everything is better but the visual effects look shoddy and cheap

 

Nah. They look fine.


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#5 Eblobulator

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 11:25 PM

There were a couple of additions to the director's cuts that I didn't like...

 

One scene with David, Carol and some of the Regula I personnel talking about who and why would want to take Genesis and about Reliant (the "We must have order in here!" part).  It was mostly David's lines for that scene since it seemed way different compared to the theatrical version.

 

The "That young man, he's my son!" - Kirk "Fascinating" - Spock addition, that was painful.

 

The extra scene between on the bridge with Saavik, Kirk and Spock when they're racing towards the Mutara Nebula (where they looped the music).

 

Other than that I liked the rest of the Director's Cut and actually do like it more than the theatrical edition.


     GAC2.jpg

 

Kathryn Janeway: "Time travel. Since my first day on the job as a Starfleet Captain I swore I'd never let myself get caught in one of these godforsaken paradoxes - the future is the past, the past is the future, it all gives me a headache."
 

#6 Wojo

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 11:29 PM

It's the opposite of STTMP. Everything is better but the visual effects look shoddy and cheap

 

I think the effects make the environments look lived in, more real.



#7 BloodBoal

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 11:30 PM

The "That young man, he's my son!" - Kirk "Fascinating" - Spock addition, that was painful.

 

Yeah, that felt useless.


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#8 Wojo

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 11:54 PM

Think about it.  This man, Kirk, has gone, well, David's whole life not knowing he had a son.  Spock's his best friend.  Kirk is gushing, beaming with joy, and this is the first chance he's had to tell his best friend.  My Director's Cut DVD is packed away or I'd rewatch that scene.



#9 Joey

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 06:03 AM

And it originally released without a number in the title.
If it isn't high concept the it's not worth watching believed the pseudo superior one.

#10 Jay

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 07:00 AM

Director's Cut/DVD
d6sjfmF.jpg
 
Theatrical Cut/Blu-Ray
uY9afzF.jpg


That's a pretty jarring difference with the DVD looking significantly better than the blu. Kinda wish I hadn't bought the box set now.

#11 Stefancos

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 07:25 AM

The film always looked a bit too red. I'm pleased to see the blu ray fixed that

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#12 Richard

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 11:45 AM

The "colour" of "ST:II" has always been red, as the "colour" of "ST:III" is blue, and the "colour" of "ST:IV" is orange.

 

Blood, coming to the franchise with a fresh eye, your reviews are welcome, but it still doesn't stop me thinking that "ST:TMP" is a magnificent achievement, and that "ST:II" looks like a flat, cheap, 2-dimensional, made-for-TV movie, given the widescreen treatment. It's the emotional core and the bond that the 3 main characters have that is "ST:II"s real strengths.



#13 BloodBoal

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 11:54 AM

I'd agree that the first film felt more cinematic (and as I said, in terms of cinematography, it looks better). But the sequel has much more to offer overall in terms of story, characters interactions, action, etc.


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#14 Richard

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 11:57 AM

Yes. Agreed on all points.

Ps, you could use a shower (you'll understand that in good time).



#15 BloodBoal

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 04:56 PM

That's a pretty jarring difference with the DVD looking significantly better than the blu. Kinda wish I hadn't bought the box set now.

 

I do wonder why the director's cut hasn't been released on Blu-Ray. I mean, for the first film, the reason is that the new special effects were done in SD, and they'd have to redo them in HD, but here, for TWOK, the added material only consists of extended dialogue scenes, so surely that wouldn't be much of a problem to transfer it to Blu. Hmmmm...


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#16 Stefancos

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 07:49 PM

It wasn't initially released on DVD also. Same with the DE of Trek 6

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#17 Eblobulator

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 07:52 PM

I thought I read a while back that Paramount was considering releasing the Director's Cuts of 2 and 6 on Blu-Ray.  Star Trek The Motion Picture is another story since ILM would have to go back and redo all the new effects in higher quality high enough for Blu-Ray.


     GAC2.jpg

 

Kathryn Janeway: "Time travel. Since my first day on the job as a Starfleet Captain I swore I'd never let myself get caught in one of these godforsaken paradoxes - the future is the past, the past is the future, it all gives me a headache."
 

#18 Richard

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 03:24 AM

I thought I read a while back that Paramount was considering releasing the Director's Cuts of 2 and 6 on Blu-Ray.  Star Trek The Motion Picture is another story since ILM would have to go back and redo all the new effects in higher quality high enough for Blu-Ray.

 

i'm sorry. Why would ILM have to redo the SFX?



#19 Eblobulator

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 03:27 AM

Because at the time they did them for the Director's Cut they didn't think of saving them at a high quality rate.  I don't remember which rate it was but it's way to low for a Blu-Ray release.


     GAC2.jpg

 

Kathryn Janeway: "Time travel. Since my first day on the job as a Starfleet Captain I swore I'd never let myself get caught in one of these godforsaken paradoxes - the future is the past, the past is the future, it all gives me a headache."
 

#20 Richard

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 04:14 AM

Are you sure that ILM did the SFX for the Director's Cut?



#21 Wojo

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 04:58 AM

I don't think ILM had anything to do with the director's cut. http://en.memory-alp...ctor's_Edition)

#22 Eblobulator

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 07:47 AM

Whoever the company used for to make the updated effects didn't save them at a high rate.  They would have to go back and redo them from scratch to make it high enough for a Blu-Ray release.


     GAC2.jpg

 

Kathryn Janeway: "Time travel. Since my first day on the job as a Starfleet Captain I swore I'd never let myself get caught in one of these godforsaken paradoxes - the future is the past, the past is the future, it all gives me a headache."
 

#23 Jay

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 02:24 PM

All the special effects for the Director's Cut of Star Trek 1 were rendered at 480p only.  They've have to be completely redone for a blu ray release.  



#24 Stefancos

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 02:53 PM

480p

Seems stone age now.

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#25 Eblobulator

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Posted 14 November 2014 - 11:30 PM

480p

Seems stone age now.

Yup.


     GAC2.jpg

 

Kathryn Janeway: "Time travel. Since my first day on the job as a Starfleet Captain I swore I'd never let myself get caught in one of these godforsaken paradoxes - the future is the past, the past is the future, it all gives me a headache."
 

#26 BloodBoal

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 11:10 PM

That's a pretty jarring difference with the DVD looking significantly better than the blu. Kinda wish I hadn't bought the box set now.

 

Here's another DVD vs. Blu comparison I stumbled upon (when looking for a comparison of The Voyage Home, actually), where the difference is even more striking:

 

DVD

mKHnvKf.jpg

 

BLU-RAY

riwwKC5.jpg


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#27 Eblobulator

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 12:08 AM

I don't know why they had to add that blue tint to "Blu-Ray" releases....


     GAC2.jpg

 

Kathryn Janeway: "Time travel. Since my first day on the job as a Starfleet Captain I swore I'd never let myself get caught in one of these godforsaken paradoxes - the future is the past, the past is the future, it all gives me a headache."
 

#28 Wojo

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 12:12 AM

I see what you did there.

#29 Eblobulator

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 12:15 AM

I see what you did there.

 

Who are you referring to?  My post was a legit post...


     GAC2.jpg

 

Kathryn Janeway: "Time travel. Since my first day on the job as a Starfleet Captain I swore I'd never let myself get caught in one of these godforsaken paradoxes - the future is the past, the past is the future, it all gives me a headache."
 

#30 Stefancos

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 07:45 AM

But also with irony

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#31 Drax

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 11:25 AM

It's like talking to Data.

#32 Richard

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 11:40 AM

Because it's blue!!!

 

What was Meyer's original intent? How did he want the scene to look? I would say that, given the film's "red" look, the top still is the most accurate.



#33 BloodBoal

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 12:53 PM

Well, the DVD screencap is from the Director's Cut, so it's most likely the way Meyer wanted it to look.


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#34 Drax

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 02:48 PM

I kept all my 2-disc ST DVDs and cherish all of them. The BD versions not only dropped a lot of extras from the earlier editions, the picture quality on most of them is like an upscaled DVD anyway.

If you have TMP on BD, you'll be amazed to see the trailer has better image quality than the main feature.

#35 Jay

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 06:42 PM

That's a pretty jarring difference with the DVD looking significantly better than the blu. Kinda wish I hadn't bought the box set now.

 
Here's another DVD vs. Blu comparison I stumbled upon (when looking for a comparison of The Voyage Home, actually), where the difference is even more striking:
 
DVD
mKHnvKf.jpg
 
BLU-RAY
riwwKC5.jpg



Wow. The DVD looks natural. The BD looks likes a Hobbit film

#36 Faleel

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 06:44 PM

It makes the green screen stick out.



well my words is made of fire time to burn

 

 

Among all the things I have done in my short and pitiful life, becoming an inside joke on JWFAN is the one I'm the least proud of.

The additional passage was interesting but not really something I would consider absolutely essential.

 


#37 Eblobulator

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 07:20 PM

I definitely noticed the blue tint for the Genesis cave.  I personally prefer the look of the DVD.


     GAC2.jpg

 

Kathryn Janeway: "Time travel. Since my first day on the job as a Starfleet Captain I swore I'd never let myself get caught in one of these godforsaken paradoxes - the future is the past, the past is the future, it all gives me a headache."
 




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