I think about a world to come where the books were found by the golden ones, written in pain, written in awe by a puzzled man who questioned, "What are we here for?" All the strangers came today and it looks as though they're here to stay.

-David Bowie "Oh! You Pretty Things"

Monday, May 23, 2011

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

The Star Trek movie franchise has been generally the object of jokes and disdain. There is a large group of individuals called Trekkers or Trekkies who un-ironically love these films as a unified corpus, and I belong, by birth, to this category. My dad took us to Star Trek conventions when we were children. I am used to music videos featuring Star Trek scene collages to the tune of "Sloop John B" or "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," to people walking around dressed as Klingons, and to fans asking unnecessarily detailed questions to actors who obviously don't know the answers.

It is because of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan that there is any degree of mainstream respect for Star Trek. Ricardo Montalban's genetically enhanced super-solidier from the 1990s called Khan is easily one of the best movie villains of all time. His rivalry with (and wrath towards) Admiral James T. Kirk is enticing enough that one forgets they are never even in the same room. Most importantly, the closing scenes are some of the most memorable in movie history, Kirk's closing speech bringing me to tears every time.

Star Trek II follows the laws of good literature better than any other Star Trek film. I'm specifically referring to the use of allusion, foreshadowing, and most importantly, characterization. It is the most epic and touching story in Star Trek history, and you should make time to see it. Soon.

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