Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is not only the best film among the Trek franchise but one of the best science fiction movies below The Empire Strikes Back. The performances are all great but Ricardo Montalban easily steals the show. This new release finally includes The Director’s Cut which should’ve been with the original collection.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
— Director’s Cut —
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Adventure, Action, Drama
Paramount | PG – 113 min. / 116 min. – $21.99 | June 7, 2016
Date Published: 06/06/2016 | Author: The Movieman
Note: Portions of this review was copied from the Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection Blu-ray release.
THE MOVIE – 4.5/5
Plot Synopsis: Feeling that the future holds nothing close to what the past once did, Admiral James T. Kirk begins to believe that galloping around the cosmos is a game for the young. Yet on a routine inspection of the U.S.S. Enterprise, Kirk’s Starfleet career enters a new chapter as a result of his most vengeful nemesis: Khan Noonien Singh, the genetically enhanced conqueror from late 20th-century Earth. Escaping his forgotten prison, Khan sets his sights on capturing Project Genesis, a device of god-like power, and the utter destruction of Kirk.
Quick Hit Review: I can say with little equivocation Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is one of the best sequels ever made behind only The Godfather Part II, The Dark Knight and The Empire Strikes Back. I hadn’t seen the movie in several years so much of it felt new, but I was fully immersed, not an easy task when you watch several movies every week.
What makes Star Trek II head and shoulders above the first movie is it is filled with fantastic action, gripping suspense and a true heart at its core with an ending in which if you do not shed even a single tear, you are not human. I can’t think of a single thing where this sequel was not better than the original. Its 116-minute running time was perfect telling an interesting story with a cruel villain played by the late and great Ricardo Montalban. Add in the life-long friendship between Kirk and Spock (played to perfection by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy), and you have a great and memorable movie.
The movie was directed by Nicholas Meyers, Star Trek II also features a solid supporting cast including DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei and Kirstie Alley. And finally, we get the “Director’s Cut” in High-Definition and although I can go either way in terms of watching, I found the “DC” to be my preferred version…
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.5/5
This release comes with a title-embossed slip cover. Personally, I’m not a fan of the artwork; looks like Paramount’s attempts to copy what Shout Factory does well on their Collector’s Edition releases… Given all the features were ported over, if I weren’t a stickler for packaging, I’d just replace the old Star Trek II Blu-ray in the complete collection set with this one.
Both the Theatrical Version and Director’s Cut are available on the same disc.
There are two feature commentaries the first is from the initial DVD release with director Nicholas Meyer and the other, a new one, with Meyer and Manny Coto, producer of “Enterprise”. With rare exceptions, I always prefer 2 person (or more) tracks, but Meyer’s solo track wasn’t too bad. The second track is great as the two have a nice conversation about the movie from the perspective of a fan (Coto) with Meyer given another opportunity to talk about his love for various topics.
Library Computer – This is just some text trivia on various subjects (Kirk, Spock, V’ger, Vulcan, etc) that you can select from a menu on the side while watching the movie.
The Genesis Effect: Engineering the Wrath of Khan (28:21; HD) is, I think, a new featurette with interviews by crew members as they discuss the sequel and how it came to be.
“PRODUCTION” (5 Featurettes):
Designing Khan (23:54; SD) – The director, production designer, costume designer, art director and other members of the crew describe the look of the Star Trek universe trying to create a future look. Topics range from the costumes to the ships.
Original Interviews (10:56; SD) with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley and Ricardo Montalban were filmed in 1982 to promote the upcoming Star Trek II release.
Where No Man Has Gone Before: The Visual Effects of Star Trek II (18:14; SD) is fairly self-explanatory featuring interviews with those involved with the visual effects with some cool archive footage of the model designs and how certain techniques were done back the early 80s. I actually found this more interesting than most of these other featurettes.
James Horner: Composing Genesis (9:33; HD) features comments from the composer about his involvement with the sequel and explains how he even sat in on sessions with Jerry Goldsmith during his work on the original movie.
“THE STAR TREK UNIVERSE” (3 Featurettes):
A Novel Approach (28:55; SD) covers the novels released featuring interviews from two Trekkies about their love for Star Trek. That’s right, you get to listen to two Trekkies about the shows and movies.
Starfleet Academy Scisec Brief 002: Mystery Behind Ceti Alpha VI (3:08; HD) is a simple Wikipedia-like featurette with a chick standing in front of a green screen about Khan and the planet he was deserted on.
Lastly we get a nice Tribute to Ricardo Montalban (4:44; HD) with comments by Nicholas Meyer; 12 Storyboards; and the Theatrical Trailer (2:22; HD).
VIDEO – 4.25/5
|Paramount releases Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Director’s Cut onto Blu-ray presented in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. Like the theatrical version, the color distribution is more even and skin tones appear to be more natural compared with the DVD release. It’s not a visual blast but there is definitely nice depth in every scene with only minimal bits of dust or scratches.|
AUDIO – 4.5/5
|The disc comes with a robust and resounding Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track offering excellent dialogue levels throughout while it especially comes to life courtesy of the various action-centric scenes making use of each and every channel. Equally impressive was James Horner’s work on the score and the iconic Star Trek theme we all know and love. Not sure if it’s quite reference quality but the fact we get a 7.1 channel track, to match the others in the Original Motion Picture Collection set, is nice.|
OVERALL – 4.5/5
|Overall, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is not only the best film among the Trek franchise but one of the best science fiction movies below The Empire Strikes Back. The performances are all great but Ricardo Montalban easily steals the show. This new release finally includes The Director’s Cut which should’ve been with the original collection, but better late than never. The Blu-ray offers good video and audio transfers and an excellent selection of bonus material to peruse.|