Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is the second movie in the Star Trek film series, released in 1982.William Shatner and Ricardo Montalbán fight to see who is the Largest Ham in the galaxy.You see, the charismatic Khan Noonien Singh of the original series episode "Space Seed" is back, fifteen years later. Khan escapes his exile with revenge against Kirk as his goal and using a stolen Weapon Of Mass Destruction to make good on it. Meanwhile, Kirk has fallen victim to The Peter Principle and is facing a mid-life crisis. It doesn't get any easier for him when a Hot Scientist he once knew turns up and her son says Admiral You Are My Father. Kirk doesn't like to lose, but this time he may only be able to achieve a Pyrrhic Victory. The film's Bittersweet Ending was created with the assumption that Nimoy would be leaving the show for good, but ironically, he liked making this film so much that he wanted to come back, and the next film revolved around mashing the Reset Button.Star Trek II is considered by many fans to be the best movie in the series, and it's the yardstick against which all other installments are measured. This is largely attributed to the direction of Nicholas Meyer, who had previously penned the best-selling Sherlock Holmes novel The Seven Percent Solution and directed the film Time After Time, as well as the work of Harve Bennet. While Meyer hadn't actually seen the show before, he managed to watch all of the original series's episodes before sitting down to work, concluding that the premise was essentially "Horatio HornblowerIN SPACE!," and did a Re Tool to emphasize the Space Is an Ocean angle. Some of Harve's work included getting rid of the ridiculous Space Clothes used in the previous movie (which took guts considering the small budget; to their credit, they still found a way to get extra mileage out of a lot of those pieces).Outside the world of Star Trek, Wrath Of Khan is notable for containing two big breaks. Kirstie Alley made her acting debut in this film playing the young Vulcan Saavik, even getting the onscreen credit "and introducing Kirstie Alley". This was also the first major motion picture to be scored by James Horner, who would go on to do The Land Before Time, The Rocketeer, Braveheart, Titanic, and Avatar. As Nicholas Meyer once put it, they hired James Horner to do Star Trek II because they couldn't afford Jerry Goldsmith, but by the time Meyer returned for Star Trek VI they hired Cliff Eidelman because they couldn't afford James Horner. (Horner would succeed Goldsmith on another sci-fi franchise, modifying one of his cues from this movie to great effect.)While not flawless, it is a rousing (and emotional) adventure movie and is even now considered one of the best examples of a Surprisingly Improved Sequel.No relation to the aborted Star Trek Phase II TV series, whose pilot became Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Also has no relationship with Star Trek Into Darkness. Or does it not?
Artistic License - Music: During Spock's funeral, Scotty plays Amazing Grace on the bagpipes. It is very obvious (especially if you are an actual piper) that James Doohan isn't actually playing them, but merely holding them and twiddling his fingers. Not that it breaks the drama in any way.
Awesomeness by Analysis: Saavik in the Kobayashi Maru scenario, but only in the novelization. She takes on a dozen Klingon fighters and might have actually won by running away, if it hadn't been for the last three. (She gets her ass handed to her far more quickly in the movie.)
Khan: I've done far worse than kill you. I've hurt you, and I mean to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her: marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet. Buried alive. Buried alive.
Black Dude Dies First: Not quite, but of the two Reliant crewmen affected by the Ceti Eels, guess which one commits suicide? Of course, it helps that Chekov's a main character, and that the Black Dude has a noble motive for his suicide - to avoid killing Kirk on Khan's eel-enforced order.
Birth/Death Juxtaposition: "And yet it should be noted, that in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world, a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect."
Breakout Villain: Before this film, Khan was just a Villain of the Week for the show. Ever since this film, he's been arguably the most memorable and highly regarded individual villain in the entire franchise.
Deconstruction: The subtitle of this movie could just have easily been The Deconstruction Of Kirk. Most of the core traits associated with Kirk and what their consequences in Real Life would probably be are examined and pulled apart. The adventurer who faces a problem on a weekly basis, solves it and promptly forgets it ever happened is suddenly brought face to face with one of those problems from a decade and a half before, and discovers the consequences of his thoughtlessness can be measured by the body count. The suave lady-killer with a girl in every port discovers that one of his conquests (and it's implied that it's the only one he ever truly loved) has resulted in a son he's never known and who hates him. His tendency to play fast and loose with the rules leads to his ship being crippled and a score of dead cadets, all of which could and should have been avoided by simply raising the shields, and his trait of finding novel solutions to intractable problems ends the life of his best friend and trusted right hand. It also shows what happens when you take the dashing, devil-may-care heroic adventurer, let him get old and put him in a desk job: a full-blown mid-life crisis.
Bones: Dammit, Jim. Other men have birthdays. Why are we treating yours like a funeral?
Dying Moment of Awesome: Khan and Spock get one each, activating the Genesis device and saving the Enterprise respectively.
Emotional Torque: You're not going to find many films that attempt what this film does with a popular franchise and still be regarded as a masterpiece. People say that Nicholas Meyer giving Kirk reading glasses savedStar Trek. Why? Because it works so well.
The full story- before Nick Meyer was hired as director, there had been five different previous drafts of the script (four written by Jack B Sowards, one by Samuel Peeples) — all with considerably different plots and all unsatisfactory. The special effects company needed to have a proper screenplay for the film within twelve days or the movie basically wouldn't happen, so Meyer volunteered to write a definitive screenplay within twelve days which would combine all the best aspects of the previous drafts. Upon being told they wouldn't even be able to organise a screenwriter's credit for him in twelve days, Meyer decided to do it anyway and try to organise a deal later. In the end he actually did complete the screenplay within twelve days but ended up going uncredited and unpaid for it, with Sowards getting the sole credit.
When the actor who played Joaquim tried a power play, it ended with his name being removed from the credits.
Faking the Dead: Spock supposedly dies at the beginning of the film. This scene was concocted hastily by Nick Meyer after hearing that spoilers had leaked about Spock dying in the film. To preserve the wham factor of Spock dying, the Kobayashi Maru and its disastrous aftermath was added to fool viewers into thinking that this was the "Spock dies" moment the spoilers meant.
Surak is the Vulcan philosopher who convinced them to abandon their Proud Warrior Race tendencies—and bloody, catastrophic wars—and turn to dispassionate logic instead. Those who wanted to keep the old ways became the Romulans.
Kirk's hubris; his unshakable belief in his own ingenuity and command instincts. Therefore he's taken off guard by something that even raw cadet Saavik saw coming. And he arrogantly believes there's no such thing as a situation that he can't win. As his character develops throughout the film, he learns just how misguided he's been.
"I've done far worse than kill you. I've hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you, as you left me... as you left her. Marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet... Buried alive... buried alive..."
Actually more of (a slow) death, the planet being dead and death by starvation imminent.
What Kirk suffers when Khan's last gambit with the Genesis Device forces Spock to sacrifice himself to save the ship. "I've hurt you" indeed.
Raise the damned shields, Kirk, those Starfleet regulations were written for a reason! So much for one big happy fleet? U.S. warships go to combat readiness when they come across a fleetmate with radio problems, especially a fleetmate with radio problems, who also refuses to respond to visual and audio communication such as a signal lamp, signal flags, or loudspeakers, and continues to bear down on you. Kirk chastises himself after the fact though.
Scotty bringing Peter Preston all the way up to the bridge instead of straight to Sickbay. At least it was a 50/50 shot that McCoy would be in either place. From Scotty's expression of shock, it looked like he wasn't thinking clearly.
More likely Scotty knew that Preston was dead already. In his frame of mind, he probably barely even knew he was still carrying Preston's body.
"I'm laughing at the 'superior intellect'." This was to infuriate Khan into making a mistake. It works.
"...But like a poor marksman you keep missing the target!" Subverted in this case when Khan refuses to rise to the bait and decides to leave Kirk on the planetoid to rot. Khan might have taken the bait had Ricard Montalban's schedule allowed him to share production time with the rest of the cast. This is why Khan and his crew never interact with Kirk and his.
Jerkass Has a Point: It seems that Khan originally believed that Kirk had tricked him by leaving him on Ceti Alpha V and knew that it was doomed. However, Chekov inadvertently reveals that they honestly had no idea that Ceti Alpha VI exploded, meaning that for over 15 years, Kirk or Starfleet had never once bothered to check on their progress! Now they've finally returned, but they still didn't bother to check on Khan's people and only were there for Ceti Alpha VI! Khan actually has quite a legitimate reason to be pissed!
On the other hand, if a catastrophe hadn't happened, Khan would surely have complained about a Federation ship coming to spy on his people. The whole point of leaving him there was to give them a chance to build a world all on their own, without interference.
On the other other hand, the fact that nobody in the Federation noticed this catastrophe and its obvious consequences is disgraceful incompetence.
Just Think of the Potential: The idiotically idealistic science team see Genesis simply as "instant terraforming, just add water", and consider it to be the ultimate salvation to problems of overpopulation and food supply. Plenty of other people see an entirely different potential... one that doesn't even have the nasty side effects of other superweapons as it leaves verdant worlds behind in its wake. David seems aware of the Genesis Device's potential less-than-altruistic uses.
Kill 'em All: In the opening Kobayashi Maru sequence, the TOS crew dies, except for Kirk, who is absent and unmentioned. Then a door opens, Kirk walks out of a cloud of light and smoke, everybody picks themselves up, and the viewers realize they've been had.
Lock and Load Montage - Commentary from the DVD's special features lampshade that much of this, particularly crewmen manually preparing the torpedo tubes and hand-loading them, made absolutely no sense at all, but it looked awesome.
Luke, You Are My Father: Doesn't actually occur on screen, so the viewer is left unsure as to when David finds out who his father is. When David and Kirk first meet the former is extremely hostile to the latter, even going so far as to accuse Kirk of killing everyone at Regula. At the end of the movie, David and Kirk reconcile and he says he's proud to be Kirk's son. It's possible David knew all along and just refused to acknowledge it. The dialog makes it fairly clear that Kirk knows he's the father, but has obviously also never met David face to face before this film.
Magic Countdown: Khan's "sixty seconds" and Kirk's "We need warp speed in 3 minutes or we're all dead."
My Friends... and Zoidberg: A minor case when Kirk is about to beam to Regula I and Spock tells him to be careful, McCoy replies "We will."
Mythology Gag: As noted above, how Kirk dealt with growing older was a major subplot of the movie. In the Kobayashi Maru test at the beginning, the simulated Enterprise was heading to the Gamma Hydra system; the TOS episode "The Deadly Years" (in which the Enterprise crew had to deal with rapid aging) took place there.
Not So Stoic: Saavik sheds a few tears during Spock's funeral.
Saavik gets visibly flustered and prickly when Kirk critiques her Kobayashi Maru test. Lampshaded in a deleted scene when Kirk mentions to Spock privately that she's quite emotional, and Spock points out that she's half Romulan.
Fridge Brilliance: Which like saying a South Korean is part North Korean, meaningless unless culture is genetic.
Maybe not so meaningless. If she had one Vulcan parent and one Romulan parent, then presumably she would have been taught the philosophical ideals of both races, thus making her culturally half-Vulcan and half-Romulan.
According to the novelization, Saavik was one of many half-Vulcan/half-Romulan children left to fend for themselves on a Crapsack World when the Romulan colony there was abandoned. She was never even exposed to Vulcan culture until adolescence, when Vulcans came to the planet and rescued her and her fellow half-breeds; therefore, she doesn't yet have the emotional mastery one would expect from a person who was raised with Surak's teachings from birth.
Spock is clearly distraught when an anguished Scotty carries his badly burned, dying nephew to the bridge.
Nothing Is Scarier: As mentioned above, the Battle in the Nebula at the end is not what you'd expect from two warships duking it out. It's slow, quiet, tense and very effective.
Only Sane Man: Joachim seems to be the only one on the ship rational enough to realize (and actually voice the opinion) that revenge against Kirk is silly, but unfortunately for him, Khan's too bent on his revenge.
The character of Joachim, recast and slightly renamed, from his appearance in the original "Space Seed".
Lieutenant Saavik was played by Kirstie Alley in this movie and by Robin Curtis in the following two movies.
Out-Gambitted: Khan thinks he's trapped Kirk on that planet, but Kirk used a coded message before to ensure his escape.
Poor Communication Kills: The "needs of the many..." speech is really beautiful and all, but had Spock instead said, "Captain, I put my katra in Doctor McCoy. Ask my father about it. I'll be fine.", a lot of conflict in the next movie could have been avoided.*
The reason that they didn't is that the katra sequence was actually written and shot slightly later than the rest of the death sequence, to give a sequel hook to a potential Star Trek III should TWOK actually prove successful enough for Paramount to demand one (everyone thought that TWOK would be the last of the Star Trek films, and this, not any rumored loathing of the character was why Leonard Nimoy was so interested in Spock's death — hoping to close the book on Trek by giving an emotional death scene to Spock.)
Precision F-Strike: A behind-the-scenes example. Shortly after the first film was released, Harve Bennett was brought before a group of Paramount executives. Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michael Eisner asked if he could make a better movie. Harve replied he could, and then Charles Bluhdorn replied "Can you make it for less than 45-fucking-million dollars?" Harve replied, "Where I come from, I could make five movies for that."
Prop Recycling: A time-honored Star Trek tradition. In particular, the Enterprise and Reliant bridge sets are in fact the same set. It was designed modularly so that the different sections could be switched around to present a different layout.
Public Secret Message: Spock tells Kirk on an open channel, "Admiral, if we go by the book, hours could seem like days". To anyone else, this might sound like a case of Lawful Stupid, but Kirk, who'd been discussing regulations about coded messages with Spock earlier, knows that this means to decode the next message, replace the word "days" with "hours". In Real Life, this counts as Roddenberry's second attempt to reconnect with his long lost World War II buddy, Kim Noonien Singh.
Revenge Before Reason: Khan has this pointed out by his underlings, twice no less. They have a Federation starship, they can go anywhere. Then they have Genesis and a Federation starship, so they can go anywhere and have a planet-killing bomb as insurance. Khan refuses to listen to this both times and proceeds with his plan of revenge.
There's a reason Khan owns a copy of Moby Dick and is quoting Ahab as he dies.
Revenge Myopia: Lampshaded. After Khan explains his beef with Kirk, Chekov says, "Captain Kirk was your host. You repaid his hospitality by trying to steal his ship and murder him!" Khan ignores the point.
Rule Of Cool: The primary reason for the Lock and Load Montage: There really isn't any reason why a 23rd century starship should require a dozen crewmembers performing manual labor to load a torpedo, but damn if it isn't awesome to watch. It's possible that the automated loading system was damaged in their first encounter with Khan so they had to resort to the human backup system, but this isn't stated in the film.
Sequel Hook: So last minute, it wasn't even reflected in the novelization of the movie: Spock does not mind meld with Mc Coy, and his will specifically states he is not to be taken to Vulcan. the novelization of Search For Spock simply retcons in the former while attempting to justify the latter by saying Spock felt he was incompatible with the ritual.
Series Continuity Error: The most famous of which is Khan recognizing Chekov, even though the character wasn't in "Space Seed".
Koenig was joking, of course, but it's entirely possible that Chekov was a junior officer on the Enterprise at the time of "Space Seed", and only later got promoted to the bridge crew (and thus became an on-screen character). This is explicitly the case in the novelization: it describes Chekov having an encounter with Khan while still a junior officer assigned to the overnight watch on the bridge.
The second season episode "Catspaw" features Chekov not at his usual navigator station but filling in at Spock's science station while Spock is off the ship. The stardates given in the episode (3018.2) place it before "Space Seed," (3141.9) providing on-screen evidence that Chekov was on the ship before Khan, but not yet assigned to the navigator post that would make him a regular fixture on the bridge.
Shown Their Work: According to this short documentary, the ILM team that put together the Genesis proposal scenes used the stars as seen from Epsilon Indi (a nearby K-class dwarf) as the background. The Sun is visible toward the end below the Genesis planet as an extra star in the Big Dipper.
Skyward Scream: A sort of Beam Me Up, Scotty!, parodies always turn Kirk's "KHAAAAAANNNN!" into this. In the film itself it shows a level view of Kirk screaming into the communicator and then cuts to a shot of the planetoid's barren, cratered surface.
Smart People Play Chess: A chess set is one of the few creature comforts Khan and his followers had on Ceti Alpha V.
Space Clothes: Semi-averted. The badass maroon jacket and department-colored turtleneck combo is a million steps up from TMP's Starfleet pastel pajamas.
Played straight with Khan and the other augments' wardrobe, as well as the Regula scientists' uniforms.
Space Is an Ocean: More pronounced than ever before, as the movie is essentially a naval combat movie IN SPACE!, but comes with a Lampshade Hanging, as well as a famous aversion, where the main characters take advantage of the fact that the villain believes this trope, but they know better.
Spock: His pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking.
There's a very brief hint about this when the Enterprise and Reliant first meet. There's a quick shot of the Reliant approaching the Enterprise and the ship is clearly spinning to have the same orientation...meaning that Khan's 2D space was initially different from Kirk's, but Khan didn't take this to its obvious conclusion.
The Spock: Naturally. Quite notable here, however, in what Spock's Heroic Sacrifice said about how this archetype should be written. Yes, Virginia, that "cold Vulcan logic" that McCoy is always harping on Spock about applies to his own life as much as anyone else's... and he doesn't hesitate even for a moment when applying it.
Stock Footage: Much of the Scenery Porn of the Enterprise from The Motion Picture was reused to help stretch the budget, specifically several flybys and scenes involving the spacedock.
The original teaser trailer features the STTMP blue 'Enterprise going into warp' effect shot. The warp shots made for STTWOK (and following movies) are more subdued.
The Klingon ships in the Kobayashi Maru simulation were the same ones that attacked V'ger in the first movie. Of all the reused footage, this one makes the most sense. We already saw that Starfleet had recorded footage of the V'ger incident.
Stock Phrase: In the Genesis Cave sequence, right after Kirk asks if there's anything to eat,
Mccoy: How can you think of food at a time like this?!
The Stoic: We get a twofer with Spock and Saavik as the Vulcan officers. For bonus points, Spock's experience-tempered calmness contrasts with the younger Saavik's relative Hot Bloodedness, who gets visibly flustered and swears in frustration (if rather deadpanned frustration) during the film's opening scene.