Film & Water #52 – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan



With the release of STAR TREK BEYOND just a few days away, Rob welcomes back guest Dan Greenfield ( to discuss STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN! From Hell's heart we stab at thee!

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16 responses to “Film & Water #52 – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

      1. I’ve done more than comment……

        I’ve left you…..buried online……………….

        buried onlin………………

        buried online…………………

          1. He texts me; he texts me and I shall have him. I’ll chase him around the boards of IMDB and around the Amazon Maelstrom and around Perdition’s Facebook before I give him up!

  1. Fantastic episode Rob and Dan! This is a classic. Even beyond the realms of Trek, it’s a classic. To me it’s the finest representation of Trek. You can hand this to non-Trekkers, and even they can appreciate this fine film. The story, the direction, the performances…everything is top-notch. And to think it could have just bee a schlocky franchise filler, not unlike another installment in an 80s horror series.

    I missed this one in the theater, which killed me, because at this point, my Dad had finally worked on me long enough to get me to give classic Trek a try…and I was hooked. When Search for Spock came out, I begged him to take me, and we saw IV together as well. ST III still holds a personal place in my heart because of that, but I know Khan is the marker by which all Treks are and should be measured.

    You did it up proud!


  2. FYI: Check out the wonderful “Archive of American Television” website for insightful commentary on Star Trek from many of the actors, writers, directors, etc who were there Here’s Montalban on why he chose to reprise the Kahn role and his initial struggles with recreating the villain .

  3. Exceptional episode! Rob and Dan did a great job balancing your fanboy love and your critical movie hats. Really enjoyed all the little nuances of the film you pointed out. You guys talked about man-tears at the end of the film… your descriptions of the scenes actually gave me man-tears thinking about it again! That’s a real testament to the movie! Without a doubt, an amazing film.

    In regard to Kirk eating the apple, there is a whole film-making philosophy on that:

    Also, JJ Abrams borrowed the idea in his STAR TREK reboot. Kirk eats an apple during the actual Kobayashi Maru test (in STAR TREK II he eats the apple while talking about it).

  4. Two movies in a row where the feeling of history in the story and between characters was a key part of the film’s success.

    A great film, no doubt but for me my hook into Star Trek was Voyage Home, which I watched repeatedly before seeing any of the others. So as great as this is, in a way it always strikes me as slightly odd when Star Trek has a clearly defined villain. Because of my intro being the Voyage Home, in my mind Star Trek was much more about getting out of a tight spot or righting a great wrong than about overcoming a villain.

    But that just goes to show how much what your first exposure to something does to color your view of that thing.

  5. Let me congratulate you on another fine show. I can talk endlessly about TWOK. I’ll always remember the tears streaming down my young face and turning to my father to ask him how they could let Spock die. And thanks to you guys, I cried again — as I always do when recalling or watching Spock die.

    1. It’s unfortunately even harder to watch now, since Nimoy is gone. The first time I watched TWOK after he passed, it was really rough.


  6. Poor Judson Scott; no credit and you guys can’t even remember his character’s name. He was Joachim, a character that is in The Space Seed. Just prior to the movie, he starred as an alien astronaut, with connections to the Incas (or Toltecs or Mayans), in the short-lived tv series, The Phoenix.

    Nicholas Meyer, even more than Harv Bennett, deserves credit for saving Trek. I’ve always said that it isn’t that the even numbered Trek’s are the best; it’s the ones with Nicholas Meyer involved (as writer, director or both). Meyer had already established himself as a great writer, with his Sherlock Holmes pastiche The Seven Per-Cent Solution, where Holmes is treated for his cocaine addiction by Sigmund Freud; and, his writing and directing of the excellent Time After Time (where HG Welles actually creates a time machine, that Jack the Ripper uses to travel into the future, pursued by Welles). Meyer understands character and he also added touches of nautical history and tradition, such as the bosun’s pipes, the “burial in space,” and the rendering of honors. Also, Meyer brings out the actor in Shatner, that he once did more naturally. Meyer kept forcing Shatner to do take after take, until he settled into a more natural performance. It’s probably his best performance in Trek.

    I go back to the early 70s with Trek. i watched it in syndication, when it only lived there (and in the Gold Key comics). However, I never saw the Space Seed (or only once and didn’t recall it). I missed TMP in theaters (just as well); so, I made sure I got to see this one. Starlog (remember when the internet was magazines?) had me primed for it and it delivered. This was Trek, a little older and wrinklier; but with the same spirit and talent.

    Star Trek and I are the same age (man, my bones ache typing that) and this film does get better every time I see it, as I age. It also captures what a truly great ship’s crew is like, with a great leader. Each have their talents and the captain lets them get down to it. He trusts them with his life and they ensure they never let him down. Kirk is a good leader, if a bit reckless. He takes care of his people, he sets the example, and he uses his brains. In a world of muscled heroes who punch things, I really appreciate a hero with brains and guile. Experience and guile will beat youth and strength every time.

    The other great thing was the work from ILM. The ship battles are amazing and this was the first time that the battles were staged in 3D. not a 3D effect; but, with the idea that the ship can move along 3 axes. When the Enterprise moves vertically and rotates into firing position, I nearly cheered out loud. It would take until Babylon 5 before I would see something like that again (the show regularly used combat maneuvers where they altered trajectory via firing maneuvering thrusters, as actual spacecraft do).

    One last thing, if you think the Kobayashi Maru test is interesting, check out the Trek novel, The Kobayashi Maru, by Julia Ecklar. It relates how Kirk beats the test (long before Abrams’ version), as well as what happened when Scotty, Sulu and Checkov took the test (as well as Chekov’s actions on a test that followed). Each experience was totally in character and very creative. It was by far my favorite of the dozen or so Trek books I ever read.

    Finally, final, one of my favorite moments is seeing Ike Eisenman as Midshipman Peter Preston, Scotty’s nephew. Eisenman co-starred in Escape to Witch Mountain and Return from Witch Mountain (alongside Kim Richards), from Disney. I had grown up with them on film (and Kim Richards on Nanny and the Professor) and here he was in space. For me, it was a better cameo than Christian Slater.

  7. ps I still think Mel Brooks should have done a sequel to Spaceballs, called The Wrath of Kahn, with Madeline Kahn as the villain. Or maybe James Caan. Or Shaka Khan.

    1. Any movie that comes with Madeline Khan would have been okay in my book, and “Wrath of Madeline Khan” is just genius. Did you ever see NIXON? She has a dramatic part in that movie and she’s terrific.

      1. I saw it; but it’s been a long time; can’t recall her in it. She has a semi-serious part as a woman that Ryan O’Neal hooks up with, in Paper Moon. She finds herself at odds with Tatum. Madeline was good at everything (and was about the only thing worth watching in Cosby) and she is greatly missed. My favorite, apart from the Mel Brooks films, is as O’Neal’s fiance, Eunice, in Peter Bogdanovitch’s What’s Up Doc? (great movie, with a terrific cast of character actors).

        Loved her sketch on SNL, as Marlene Dietrich, being interviewed by Barbara Wawa. They could have done an entire movie of those two ladies.

  8. Great episode! This is one of my happy memories of my dad taking me to see this film at the movies. I remember that scene with the creatures in the ear freaking me out at the age of 10. Then that great memorable scene where at the end Kirk is at his seat, puts his fist up in front of him and commands; “FIRE” .

    Such a great balance of action, sci-fi, and drama packed into a movie. It still holds today without that usual 1970’s (early 1980’s) slower pacing that sometimes doesn’t hold up as well.

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