When Kirk and the Enterprise investigate a planet, they run across Kahn, still angry about being abandoned there years before.
I mentioned that many people may decry Motion Picture due to its lack of action. While that may be true, those same people have every reason to praise Wrath of Kahn as the pinnacle of the franchise. They start off by paying true homage to the original series when they bring back a favored villain in Kahn, played with perfect menace by Ricardo Montalban. Montalban was afraid that, after years of playing Mr. Rourke in the popular Fantasy Island, no one would believe him as the psychotic bad guy in this movie. He had nothing to worry about as this role became what he is best known for to movie geeks the world over.
Another actor who wasn’t sure about coming on to the project was Leonard Nimoy, coy about returning to the role of Spock. Shatner was sure that Nimoy was just holding out for more money, but Nimoy says he was growing tired of only being known as Spock and had no desire to continue to be typecast in this one role. When he was offered a “great death scene” he reconsidered. That was also a great choice because it was Spock’s death at the end of the movie that gives it the emotional punch that makes it a superior film.
With a fantastic villain and an emotional conclusion, Wrath of Kahn remains the highlight of the entire Star Trek franchise, movies and television alike. This movie is not just a great Star Trek movie but one of the best sci-fi action films ever made. It also possesses as brilliant a transfer as the first movie. I remember watching this movie on TV as a kid and this version is so much crisper and cleaner than I remember. This looks even better than the recent special edition re-releases. They went all out on the first two movies in this set.
There are two audio commentaries and they both suffer from the same downfall: director Nicholas Meyer. The first track has Meyer by himself and he comes across as a self-absorbed prick at times. He spends a lot of time talking about his past accomplishments and everything he has done in his career. He also makes sure we know every time something happens that he had a hand in. The guy definitely loves himself. The second track is with Meyer and writer Manny Coto. Meyer spends most of the track talking with Coto seeming to be enthused to be listening to Meyer’s stories. It is the better track to listen to because Meyer does a little less rambling about himself. The same Library Computer feature that was on the first movie is also available here.
The first production feature is called Captain’s Log. This is a 27-minute featurette looking back at the making of the movie with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Ricardo Montalban, producer Harve Bennett and director Nicholas Meyer. This documentary is ten times better than the one provided on the The Motion Picture Blu-Ray. The entire story development, from start to finish, is discussed and everyone give some great antidotes and information about the movie. There is a really funny moment at the end where Shatner said no one told him they were adding hints that Spock might return and feels Nimoy and Bennett planned it behind his back. It’s a great, great feature.
Designing Kahn is another great feature, about 23 minutes long, talking about the production design of the film. A large number of the crew talks about everything involved in the designs in this movie from the Enterprise to the clothing, computers, planetary designs and more. There is a lot covered on this feature and almost all of it is interesting. A batch of original interviews with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Deforest Kelly and Ricardo Montalban from 1982 is included. I have to admit, Nimoy looks pretty swank in his white pin stripe suit, with pink shirt and tie. Where No Man Has Gone Before: The Visual Effects of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is a 20-minute feature about the effects used in this movie, from models to new computer effects. Next up is a new feature that talks to the composer, James Horner: Composing Genius (HD). The segment is great to listen to as Horner explains everything down to the details of what instruments were used to why he made the choices he did.
Next on tap is a group of features about the “Star Trek Universe.” The first is called Collecting Star Trek’s Movie Relics (HD) that looks at the various collectables you can buy, from phasers to uniforms. There were 6 warehouses strong that stored these collectables until a recent auction. A Novel Approach (HD) is almost thirty minutes long and talks to Greg Cox and Julia Echlar, two authors who write Star Trek novels, while discussing how they write their stories while remaining faithful to the source material. Starfleet Academy Scisec Brief 002: Mystery Behind Ceti Alpha Vi (HD) is just like the brief from the first movie, and it is obvious they are only recapping the movie’s plot. There is also a written tribute from director Nicholas Meyer, read for the cameras. Finally, there are storyboards, the theatrical trailer and BD-Live trivia thing.