Inspired by classic literature like Moby Dick, Paradise Lost, and King Lear -- along with classic navy films -- Nicholas Meyer's major directorial debut is indeed the best of the series and it's a classic sci-fi flick on its own, outside the Trek mythology altogether.
Newly released on DVD with a director's cut (which, per Meyer, is closer to the TV version than the theatrical one), the classic story follows an old Trek nemesis named Khan (Ricardo Montalban in the greatest role of his career), who is chasing Kirk and crew through the galaxy as he hunts for "Genesis," which turns out to be a kind of life-generating device used to create life on dead planets (or, as we learn, destroy existing life where it exists). It's a classic cat-and-mouse story, with our heroes playing the classic underdog who overcome all obstacles in the end.
I'll leave further plot synopsis to the reader, but this masterful film is unavoidably enthralling even 20 years after its original release. But what makes this disc a must-own is not the juicy story and fabulous presence of Montalban, but the commentary from Meyer (a Trek neophyte who would later direct Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) which ranges from comments on how to direct William Shatner to the '80s-inspired appearance of a sweater on his character's son. A subtitle commentary from Michael Okuda adds trivia to the proceedings, much like his comments in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
A second disc adds some of the geekier elements, including interviews, featurettes, and trailers. Interviews with writers of Trek novelizations clarify what happened in the original Trek TV episode wherein Khan (yes, played by Montalban) is banished to that lonely planet. These are interesting (to the point of mocking their subjects), but it's the classic structure of the film itself plus Meyer's comments (and an admittedly fabulous score) that makes this extraordinary film worth owning. A probably-oughtta-own for any film fan, and an absolute must for any fan of sci-fi.
Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy
Run time: 113 mins
In Theaters: Friday 4th June 1982
Box Office Worldwide: $96.8M
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Production compaines: Paramount Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 43 Rotten: 5
IMDB: 7.7 / 10
Director: Nicholas Meyer
Producer: Robert Sallin
Screenwriter: Jack B. Sowards
Starring: William Shatner as Admiral James T. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Captain Spock, DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard McCoy, James Doohan as Montgomery Scott, George Takei as Cmdr. Hikaru Sulu, Nichelle Nichols as Cmdr. Uhura, Walter Koenig as Cmdr. Pavel Chekov, Ricardo Montalban as Khan Noonien Singh, Bibi Besch as Dr. Carol Marcus, Merritt Butrick as Dr. David Marcus, Kirstie Alley as Lt. Saavik, Paul Winfield as Captain Clark Terrell
Also starring: Robert Sallin
As the ghoul from the 2012 horror hit stalks a new family, this sequel's sharply...
After setting the scene with vivid characters and some insightful interaction, the plot of this...
Both the characters and the tone have been updated as a new generation of Grizwolds...
Amy Schumer makes her big screen debut with a script that feels like a much-extended...
Adopting a deliciously groovy vibe, Guy Ritchie turns the iconic 1960s TV spy series into...
Simon Pegg continues his rollercoaster career, alternating between superior blockbuster franchises (Mission: Impossible and Star...
Until the special effects take over in the final act, this is an unusually gritty,...
Marketed as a horror-thriller, this sharply well-made film is actually a bleak drama with a...