Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

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Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was released in 1982, directed by Nicholas Meyer with Kirk's original crew of the USS Enterprise NCC 1701 defending the friendly flag of the U.F.O.P. once again. Khan is considered one of the best loved movies spawned from Star Trek's original series "Space Seed" episode. This killer sequel engages Admiral James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner) in a head on collision with his bitter adversary Khan Noonien Singh (played by Ricardo Montalban) who escapes from Ceti Alpha V's captivity, hellbent on seeking revenge upon Kirk. Khan's master plan hinges on using the *Genesis device as a diversionary tactic, so he can lure the U.S.S. Enterprise out into the open and blow her to bits to avenge the deaths for 20 of his people and his beloved wife.

Meanwhile on Earth's Presido of San Francisco at Starfleet Academy, Captain Spock is testing his cadets with the Enterprise-class Mark IV simulator. (Yes, the USS Enterprise NCC 1701 is a Constitution Class.) The Kobayashi Maru Challenge frequently wreaks havoc with students however it prepares them for the burdens of starship command.

Its nice to see the senior USS Enterprise crew back at their stations standing by Mr Spock, whose vulcan logic weeds out the wannabes from the Starfleet elite who will eventually be entrusted to captain a starship without supervision. A new generation of cadets including his protege Lieutenant Saavik have to confront their fears in order to face death. Starfleet has demanding standards with only one commander having ever beaten the dreaded "no win scenario" Kobayashi Maru Test. Captain James T. Kirk.

Image Owner/Creater: Paramount Pictures and/or CBS Studios.

While Kirk is inspecting his new ship of eager cadets, an emergency distress call comes in to the USS Enterprise 1701 to investigate strange orders received by the science team on Space station, Regula One. The Head Scientist, Carol Marcus (played by Bibi Besch) rejects instructions from Commander Chekov to beam all equipment and materials relating to Project Genesis onboard the U.S.S. Reliant. She sends a priority message to Admiral Kirk which Khan gleefully intercepts and jams. Mr Spock relinquishes command of the Enterprise to Kirk, so the crew can investigate whos scheming to steal the Genesis Torpedo from Regula One's science team. Khan successfully cuts off the USS Enterprise's transmission forcing a violent showdown between Federation battle cruisers in a bloody battle of wits within the mysterious Mutara Nebula.

*Launched from orbit, the Genesis torpedo is designed to restructure entire planets and create new life in favour of its new matrix. In the wrong hands the torpedo has the technology to obliterate M-class worlds and all surrounding life within minutes.

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While orbiting Ceti Alpha V on the science starship USS Reliant, Commander Chekov's long range scans discover a planet apparently devoid of life. However his dynoscanner readings detect a minor energy flux from the planet surface. Further investigation is necessary in order for the Genesis experiment to proceed. The Reliant's survey missions provide fresh data for the Regula geeks so they can run scientific simulation tests. Ceti Alpha V was a major breakthrough for Carol Marcus and her Science team because it meant they finally had a planet from which to launch the Genesis device thus theoretically creating new life. Except theres an unexpected problem lurking deep within the sandy dunes of Ceti Alpha V.



Chekov and Captain Terrel beam down to the planet surface of Ceti Alpha V to investigate and discover very faint traces of life. The planet looks deserted and completely barren from the aftershock of an awful disaster. A sand blizzard is stirring up but Commander Chekov ploughs on and discovers Botany Bay's cargo carriers in the dunes. Once inside closer inspection reveals carefully arranged living quarters. Chekov recognises the derelict as the SS Botany Bay and the gravity of the situation suddenly becomes clear.

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A masked man mysteriously appears with his warriors preventing Chekov and Captain Terrel from escaping. He blocks their path with good reason. The man and his followers were marooned on Ceti's sand heap by Captain James Tiberius Kirk 15 years ago. The mask is slowly peeled back to reveal a weather beaten face with cruel eyes striking terror into Chekov and Terrel's hearts. Chekov's eyes freeze upon the master criminal standing before him as they are held captive by the strongmen in Khan's gang.

"Khan!"
Khan is startled by the recognition and examines Chekov and Terrel.

"I don't know you, but you!! I never forget a face. Mister Chekov, isn't it?"

"I never thought to see your face again."
Chekov has a go at Khan and calls him a murderer.

"This is Ceti Alpha V!" yells Khan to Chekov in a frenzied fit of rage however after calming down, the exhiled prince of millions decides to explain.

"Ceti Alpha VI exploded six months after we were left here. The shock wave shifted the orbit of this planet and everything was laid in waste. Admiral Kirk never bothered to check on our progress. It was only the fact of my genetically engineered intellect that allowed us to survive..."

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The planets indigenous ceti eels have become Khan's "Pets" which were responsible for killing his wife. The ex-prince of millions swears revenge on Kirk and captures the USS Reliant with the help of his mind controlling little friends using Chekov and Captain Terrel who are now under his control. The Reliant's crew has been replaced by Khan's warriors who have sworn an oath to serve and die at his command. At the helm is Joachim, Khan's lieutenant. He is the brightest of Khan's group. Terrell sits in the First Officer's chair, Chekov at the Comm Console. Their behaviour seems normal except for the subtle hesitation, symptoms from the Ceti eels controlling their minds slowly driving them towards inevitable madness.

Captain Spock yields command of the USS Enterprise to the Admiral, after all the vulchie has no ego to bruise and Kirk knows it. The Enterprise heads to Regula One at warp speed. En route, Kirk briefs McCoy and Spock about the Genesis Torpedoes powerful technology capable of transforming entire planets from lifeless rocks to habitable planets within minutes. Spock logically points out,

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"It has always been easier to destroy than to create." The vulchies calmness about life and death sends Dr McCoy spinning off the deep end.

"Not anymore! Now we can do both at the same time. According to myth, the Earth was created in six days. Now watch out! Here comes Genesis, we'll do it for you in six minutes."

"Really, Dr McCoy. You must learn to govern your passions, they will become your undoing." replies Spock sweetly.

As the Enterprise approaches the silent USS Reliant, the admiral's crew become living shooting targets for Khan's merry men. Khan is preparing to deliver the final killing blow to his old friend Admiral James T. Kirk. His tortured mind exhibits an insane camaraderie that makes me smile every time he expresses his warm sentiments towards Admiral Kirk. Khan enjoys harking on about the good old days. He's been savouring his moment of victory for 15 years and hails the USS Enterprise 1701 with the good news that he's going to swing round and blow them to bits. For a space terrorist, Khan demonstrates an awesome sense of fair play but his procastination is his achilles heel which gives the USS Enterprise a fighting chance to strike back.

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Kirk and Spock input the Reliant's prefix code 16309 into the USS Enterprise's tactical station to order Reliant to lower her shields. I love this bit. Yessss! Woo Hoo! blow that sucker to bits!!! It actually works because Khan did'nt change the code combination. Significant damage is inflicted upon Reliant's photon controls and warp drive causing a temporary stalemate in the middle of Khan's little war.
Warlord Khan is furious and struggles back to his feet yelling, Fire! Fire! But its too late. The Reliant was badly hammered with debris and wiring strewn all over Terrell's bridge after Spock's and Kirk's nifty trick. Lieutenant Joachim points out that the USS Enterprise isn't going anywhere forcing the Reliant to retreat. The Admiral's ship has taken a heavy beating. Kirk withdraws the Enterprise from battle so the crew can make best speed to Regula One's Research labs.

Kirk's landing party discovers murdered bodies swinging from Regula Ones beams, however in stark contrast to Starfleet operating procedure the transporters have beamed something into the heart of a nearby apparently lifeless, asteroid. Khan's men have left a visible trail of destruction strewn all over the Genesis station. The Regula Scientists are no-where to be seen except for a handful of dead technicians who suffered unspeakable deaths at the cruel hands of Khan. Kirk's landing party follow the trail of death and discover Captain Terrel and Chekov.

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Kirk hesitates but finally decides. "Lets go"
Dr Leonard McCoy takes serious issue with transporters scrambling his molecules and scattering them half way throughout the universe, so he can be forgiven for asking:

"Go? Where are we going?"
Kirk points to the console, "Where they went." Kirk walks onto the transporter pad as Saavik works the console with the beam down co-ordinates still intact in the main energizers. The others join Kirk.

Bones is not a happy man. "But what if they went -- noo-where?"

Kirk "Then this will be your big chance to get away from it all."

David Marcus runs into his father Admiral James T. Kirk in the Genesis cave where the "doomsday" device is stored. A fight ensues with David brandishing a knife at Kirk with Carol Marcus consequently spilling the beans. Father and son stare at each other with shocked disbelief turning them to stone. Bones, Jedda and Chekov turn to look at Carol, wondering. Terrel very casually takes the phaser from Jedda.

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Theres another surprise in store when Chekov and Terrell shock Kirk with news about Khan. The ex-prince of millions been listening in all along and now knows the exact co-ordinates of the Genesis device. Like a good soldier Captain Terrell obeys the princes orders but Khan wants more.

"Captain... We're waiting. What's the delay?" queries Khan.

Terrell is severely conflicted by his loyalty to Starfleet, while his mind battles for control opposing the juvenile ceti creature and suggestions from Khan to kill Admiral Kirk.

"All is well, sir. You have the coordinates to beam up Genesis..."
Khan is persistent. "First things first, Captain, KILL Admiral Kirk."

Only Kirk and Bones have sneaking suspicions on their faces. David is stunned with shocked disbelief and makes a wild lunge at Terrel who accidently phasers Jedda into stardust. Chekov is close to a seizure. Its obvious to everyone, Captain Terrel is fighting conflicting mental signals.

"Excellency... it is difficult. I try to obey, but...."

Khan's voice echoes around the Genesis cave. "KILL HIM."

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As though tearing off a leach, Terrell grabs at the wrist recorder and flings it to the ground. A shock wave of screeching ceti eels rings through Terrell's head. He recovers, trembling, realising that he can no longer take orders from a denebian slime devil. Chekov is shaking badly. Terrell turns his phaser away from Admiral Kirk while Chekov's hands are frozen in time pointing his phaser at the good guys. Khan hasn't given up on Terrell.


"Kill him, Terrel. Now!"

Then, shockingly: Terrell turns his phaser on himself resisting Khan. Terrell goes out in agonising style, vaporising himself into oblivion. The Ceti eel crawls out of Chekov's ear. It has grown quite large. Chekov breaks free from the creatures hypnotic control, and once again Khan has failed to kill Kirk. Kirk grabs Terrels wrist communicator from the floor.

"Khan, you bloodsucker, they're finished! You'll have to do your own dirty work now. Do you hear me? Do you?"

" Kirk! Kirk, you are still alive..... my old friend..."

In the Rocky Cavern the transporter beam locks on to the Genesis torpedo and its arming control box. As Kirk and the others watch, horrified, Khan beams up the materials. David tries to reach the torpedo, but Saavik holds him fast with Khan leaving the Enterprise party stranded forever, buried alive!



"KKKKHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNN!!!!!!!!!"


Carol Marcus shows Kirk the Genesis Cave, an Edenic environment created in the heart of a previously dead world and proof Genesis works. Kirk reveals to Saavik the conclusion of the Genesis no-win scenario. He picks up his communicator.
"Spock, this is Kirk. It's two hours. Are you ready?"

"Spock here. Right on schedule, Admiral. Just give us your coordinates and we'll beam you aboard."
Kirk cheats death again by tricking Khan whose two dimensional intellect serves only to play into the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 hands. Shes not as heavily damaged as Khan was led to believe. Mr Spock lied! They return to the ship and lure Khan into the nearby Mutara Nebula. Kirk has to outsmart Khan because the Enterprise has lost its warp power. The Reliant is eventually crippled after a game of cat and mouse and everyone but Khan is killed.

Image Owner/Creater: Paramount Pictures and/or CBS Studios.

Rather than surrender, Khan activates the Genesis Device to take out his opponents who are close by and without warp drive. The wounded Enterprise can't escape in time from the Genesis countdown which delights Khan in his dying moments. Spock hurries to the USS Enterprise's engine room, and enters a high radiation area after depositing his "Katra" in Dr McCoys mind. It's fascinating to observe how the vulcan's "emotional outburst" succeeded in restoring warp power to the Enterprise engines, whereas Spock's logic was powerless to convince Dr McCoy. So the sly vulcan slips the good doctor with a vulcan neck pinch giving him a major headache. Tragedy strikes when our beloved Spock receives a lethal dose of radiation and dies. Mr Spock gave his life to save his ship and crewmates from the Genesis death wave with the movie ending with a funeral service for the heroic Vulcan. This was a real tear jerking moment for trek fans, watching Admiral Kirk and Spock saying goodbye hit hard at the very core of Trekkie defences!.... "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one."

Image Owner/Creater: Paramount Pictures and/or CBS Studios.

Many fans consider this movie to be "real" Trek, accurate in areas of characterization, and involving a people-oriented plot which was one of the things that made Trek work, demands for Spock's return in a third movie "The Search for Spock."(1984) were made worldwide. More Star Trek movies followed with Leonard Nimoy right up to Star Trek XI.You can wipe away the tears now. XD.

Guest stars include some famous names: Bibi Besch, Merritt Butrick, Paul Winfield, Kirstie Alley, Ricardo Montalban, and Ike Eisenmann. John Winston reprises his role from the Original series as Lieutenant Kyle (Transporter Chief), and Teresa Victor, Harve Bennett was the fi!m's executive producer as well as the writer (with Jack B. Sowards}. James Horner scored the film and Lucasfilm`s Industrial Light and Magic team directed the special effects.


Live Long and Prosper, Trekkers and Trekkies!

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