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Saturday, August 10, 2002

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan -- Got the STII Special Edition DVD yesterday and spent some time watching it last night and this morning. I haven't yet just sat and watched the actual film, as such, all the way through. I've seen the movie so many times that it's almost an afterthought. I'm sure I'll watch it sooner or later, but the story itself, yeah, I know it pretty well.

Even this director's cut. Because the local ABC affiliate has been showing that version (with the revelation about Scotty's nephew and a couple other scenes) for years, and I have a pretty good quality tape of it that I made a couple of years ago. I'm glad they chose to include that stuff on the DVD, though -- I think it makes it a better movie, and on the commentary track, I learn director Nick Meyer feels the same way.

Meyer himself comes off a little icy and deluded in his commentary. The funniest part is how he's evidently still in denial over having Merritt Butrick wear a jaunty sweater tied around his neck in one crucial scene. Meyer spends about ten minutes defending the decision, which was obviously a bad one as long ago as the time of the film's initial release. Despite Meyer's claims that all films are somehow dated and anchored in their own era, a good director will endeavour to excise obvious fads and slang that will make the film even more of its time. Meyer goes on and on -- and on about the fucking sweater on the commentary track until you want to punch him in the mouth. Clearly he's taken a lot of heat over that sweater over the past twenty years, and he kind of, sort of concedes that if the audience is taken out of the movie by an anomalous element (which the sweater does do, in spades) that the director has failed. Then he defends himself some more. It's as funny as it is annoying.

Another amusing element is the way William Shatner's hubristic excesses are sort of taken for granted. No one bothers saying Shatner is a pompous ass all out of proportion to his minor gifts -- it's taken as a given and then the discussion proceeds from there, with multiple references from Meyer and writer/producer Harve Bennett touching on how Shatner's ego affected the film and his performance. Probably the funniest moment from Shatner is when he takes credit for the Spock death scene. Shatner loves taking credit for things, and yet the one time he actually is justified in taking credit -- the fifth Trek movie -- well, I for one can't wait to see his interviews on that DVD.

Ah, Star Trek. I said recently that selected Next Generation episodes and this movie, the Khan movie, are about all the Trek you need. Watching Khan last night with my wife, I said "You know, Star Trek never got any better than this." And I believe that. A few TNG and one DS9 episode may have been nearly as good, but the high point of Star Trek was 1982, and this DVD proves that definitively. The bad decision was not giving the franchise to Leonard Nimoy to oversee when Roddenberry died. Michael Pillar and Rick Berman were made wealthy men ass-raping Roddenberry's child for years and years, and the sad, sorry excuse for Star Trek that is on today ("Enterprise") is just a pathetic reminder that there was once life in the franchise. This DVD is a much better reminder, and again, really, all the Star Trek anyone needs.



Blogger Slitheen23 said...

Oh boy is there more to Trek than TWoK and selected TNG episodes. Virtually the whole of DS9, and in particular its Dominion War arch, a very small handful of Voyager episodes.... and the Enterprise we got when Manny Coto was in charge and it began to get really good (unfortunately too late to save it), are all as valid as anything else. Of course there's a lot that stinks....but Trek isn't on its own there.

20 February, 2009 19:22  

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