***** (5 stars out of 5)
Up to this point, I watched 'Star Trek' on my Uncle Cliff's beta tapes or on Saturday morning TV.
"STAR TREK II: The Wrath of Khan" and its sequel I saw for the first time on VHS in the basement of a school friend's birthday party. Probably in the winter of 1985-86. I was that 9 year old you probably heard shrieking when Ceti eels crawled in Chekov's ear...
Seriously, that is some good old fashioned nightmare fuel. A leech that squelches into your head and saps your free will until it grows big enough to drive you crazy. Granted, Chekov lucks out, but the tortured death of Paul Winfield's Captain Terrel is still hard for me to watch to this day. And that's only for starters on the itinerary of Rage-Fueled Global Dictator of the year 1994-1996 inclusive Khan Noonien Singh.
Out for vengeance after 15 years on the crap hole Ceti Alpha V whence Jim Kirk exiled him, Khan steals starship Reliant. The genetically engineered superman chases down Kirk's old flame: the blonde lab technician Carol (Bibi Besch) Marcus and her blonde lab technician son David. Dave's an anti-Starfleet pacifist but he's got his father's hot Iowa blood. (I'm trying to tell you he's Kirk's son. I was only surprised he's not half-green.)
Harve Bennett & Jack Sowards bring the writing to a new level while director Nicholas Meyer gets the best out of everybody. Great lines never stop in this movie:
"Galloping around the cosmos is a game for the young."
"Beware Romulans bearing gifts."
"Get it back before you really do grow old."
"I had a wee bout, but Dr. McCoy pulled me through." "A wee bout of what?" "Shore leave."
Kirk's got a kid, Scotty's got a gung-ho engineer nephew, and Spock's even got a protege- a volatile lady Vulcan Lt. Saavik. But Reliant pulls up too quietly alongside this boatload of children...
They start to speculate that the comm system has failed. But as my wife pointed out, the KHAN system still works!
Scotty's sister's youngest son Peter Preston dies bravely at his post. Scotty openly weeps for the boy. Pete's the human face on many, many exploded trainees today.
Bombastic spacefaring music and state of the art 1982 mind-blowing effects break out. Kirk cheats death repeatedly just like he cheated on his Kobiyashi Maru test at the Academy. Who will gain the power of the Marcus's Genesis project to bring life from lifelessness? And who will lose everything?
If you only ever see one Star Trek movie... what is wrong with you? But millions agree it should be this one.