star trek 2, the wrath of khan, the 30th anniversary


On June the 4th 1982, two incredible movies open at the same time, Steven Spielbergs “Poltergeist” and “Star Trek II, The wrath of Khan” I was up in San jose visiting my buddy Mark Zainer who is an avid Star Trek fan.. We were arguing about which movie to see, I wanted Poltergeist and he wanted Trek,,,, Since he was driving Trek was the first choice.. As much as I liked Star Trek The motion Picture I wasn’t a huge fan and I really wasn’t up for seeing the sequel.  The first Trek film left me wanting what the old series had and that was character and storyand I didn’t want to sit for two hours plus staring down the throat of V’ger again.  So reluctantly I went and I have to say that within 10 minutes of the movie I was loving it,,,,and by the end I was a huge fan!!! Trek II did what I so wanted The Motion Picture to do and it did so with flying colors. The story was brilliant and expanding on the episode  “Space Seed” from the original series was a masterful idea. Ricardo Monalban reprized his role with a vengeance and his poetic use of quotes from  Gregory Peck’s “Moby Dick” made him not just a villain but a man who’s heart has been broken and revenge was a righteous and pleasurable justification of his pain. The original cast put out stellar performances as well and the chemistry between the actors that we all loved from the original series was back in full swing.  Several new characters were added to the storyline, which were Kristie Alley as Saavik, Bibi Besch as Carol Marcus, and Merritt Butrick as David Marcus (Captain kirk’s son) The addition of Kirk’s old love and their son added such a new and deeper layer to the story that was an unexpected surprise. The script written by Gene Roddenberry, Harve Bennett, Jack B. Sowards, and Samual A. Peeples. stands high as a classic in the Trek film world and each of theses gentleman have a lot to be proud of!!!!!  Their story was so deep and except for Psycho I don’t think I have ever seen a major character die in a film… Such a brave move and his heroic death was another unexpected twist,,, I couldn’t believe it…  Spock was dead,, the entire theater was balling their eyes out…  On a visionary point of view, ILM took over the visual Effects on this one and there work was on the level of perfection. ILM was one busy shop in 82 with three huge films coming out within weeks of each other. Their work was VFX artistry at it’s best with incredible miniature shots and their creation of the star fields and nebula’s where breathtaking… I so miss the cloud tank and wish it would return to the big screen but like the entire world of physical special Effects those days are gone for good.  The introduction of the USS Reliat was too an incredible moment. Her creators Mike Minor, and Joe Jennings did a fabulous job constructing a new and favorite Starship to the fleet. As much as I loved the Enterprise, The Reliant was instantly my new Favorite and in many ways still is today. When I was reading the poster in line I was a bit disappointed at not seeing Jerry Goldsmiths name as the composer. Jerry also was having a busy Summer with his work being featured in Poltergeist, The “Secret of Nim”, and “First Blood” I don’t know if Jerry was approached about Wrath of Khan or if Paramount wanted all new blood on this outing but not seeing his name worried me. I was only slightly familiar with James Honer’s work and I thought that this man has some big shoes to fill.. Once again when the film was about 10 minutes in I was a fan of what James had done. His score was huge huge, romantic and full of high paced action sequences that added so much to the story! The complete soundtrack finally came out only a few years ago and I was so glad to have this work in it’s entirety. All in all Trek II made for a fabulous night at the movies and I am sure many of you will agree with me, the best of the Trek films by far.I can’t say enough about this one and the summer of 82 was such an inspiring season for films… I used to leave the theaters with such a love for what was on the screen and yearned so much to be a part of the movie industry,,, Little did I know I only had three more years to wait. HAAAA!!!!!!! Lots of fun an and great memories of times long ago… So with all this said Happy 30th to The Wrath of Khan!

31 Responses to “star trek 2, the wrath of khan, the 30th anniversary”

  1. June 4, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Skipped college classes to attend the 1st showing and ended up there all day.

  2. 3 evil_genius_180
    June 4, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Oh yeah, I knew it was coming soon. 😀

    Funny story: I was just getting into Trek in the early ’90s. I checked out a book from the library titled: “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan” by Vonda N. McIntyre. That was it. It didn’t say “Star Trek II,” just “Star Trek.” It said nothing about it being a movie novelization. So, I read this book and I’m surprised at the end that they killed Spock. Now, even though I was a kid, I knew that you can’t kill main characters in books. I was wondering how this author got by with doing it. Then, I came to find out that it’s the novelization of the movie and that’s how she got by with it. So, I kinda did things backwards, I read the story and then found out it was the 2nd movie. 😉

    Shortly thereafter, I saw the movie. I loved it then and I still love it. It’s one of the best Trek films and one of the best movies ever made, IMO. 😀 Of course, I’ll have to pull out the DVD and watch it again for the anniversary (like I needed an excuse. ;))

    • 4 johneaves
      June 5, 2012 at 9:44 am

      this is a great story,,,, I never saw the novelization so I’ll have to find this one!!!! I’m on the road and forgot to bring my DVD so we didn’t get to watch this or Poltergeist last night.. I did however took my daughter by the Poltergeist house in Simi Valley yesterday

      • 5 Tallguy
        June 5, 2012 at 10:17 am

        John, McIntyre’s novelizations of II and III are fantastic. She added quite a bit to both movies. II has a ton of back story on the Regula I scientists and Saavik. You’ll never watch the scene where they find all the bodies on Regula I the same way again. You’ll care too much. She added so much to III that the movie doesn’t even start until half way into the book!

      • 6 evil_genius_180
        June 5, 2012 at 10:36 am

        Yeah, I actually like the book better than the movie. I need to get a copy. Another thing we learned from the book was who the kid (Peter Preston) is, he’s Scotty’s nephew, not just some random cadet. That’s why Scotty is so broken up when he dies. Also, at the time, Sulu was getting ready to leave the ship and take over a command of his own, that’s why he was delighted at any chance to go aboard the Enterprise. That part was cut from that dialog, making it seem like just some random statement. I don’t know if that was added back in for the director’s cut, I’ve never seen that cut because I have the original DVD. I guess we can assume him getting his command was delayed by the events of STIII and STIV. (it probably went to someone else while they were all facing charges)

      • 7 Tallguy
        June 5, 2012 at 10:48 am

        That’s another interesting bit from the books. Sulu is taking command of the Excelsior. In II! I don’t know if McIntyre got lucky with the name or what. But there’s a whole subplot in III about Sulu not being able to take command and the ship going to Styles “temporarily” because of Sulu’s involvement with Genesis. So when he agrees to join Kirk’s little unauthorized outing with the Enterprise he knows he’s giving up his ship as well. It’s really good.

        Oh, and the love affair between Saavik and David is nice too. (There was a little more “chemistry” between the two in TWOK that wound up on the cutting room floor along with Saavik’s mixed race heritage.)

      • 8 johneaves
        June 5, 2012 at 8:55 pm

        holly cow I have to get this book and I had no idea there was a directors cut of the movie out!!!!!

      • 9 evil_genius_180
        June 6, 2012 at 8:40 am

        Yeah, it came out a few years ago on DVD. But, since I already had the original DVD, I had no desire to buy another one. If they were going to do that, they should have released it in the first place, like they did with TMP.

        I too shall have to get those books. I’ve never read STIII, but I’ve read a lot of the others. They always have more information in them than the movies do. Sometimes, that’s not a good thing, IMO. For instance, the novelization of STIV keeps going back to one of the trash men from the BOP landing sequence in a weird side plot. I think it’s unnecessary and stupid. On the other hand, STV has a lot more about Sybok and his mother and goes a long way to explaining why he’s the way he is. Now, that’s good information to have. One book I can think of that’s mostly the same as the movie is Generations. (I actually have that one) It has a few parts that were cut for time and other reasons, but it’s mostly the same.

  3. June 4, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Even though John hasn’t put up an article yet I had to chime in with how much I LOVE this TWOK poster! It wasn’t very widely circulated, but it has a palpable sense of foreboding danger that still sends a chill down my spine.

    eg180: Interesting that you should mention the novelization. I saw the movie in 1982 with a friend and to this day we’ve had a minor fued over the title sequence. I am certain that when we saw it the title read only “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.” He, on the other hand, swears the “II” was on-screen. The novelization and the movie program (both of which I still own) support my claim, but when we went to see the movie again a few weeks later the roman numerals were there, which he says proves him right. I’ve never been able to find any other evidence that the title sequence might have been changed. Anyone else care to toss in their two bits on this?

    • 11 evil_genius_180
      June 5, 2012 at 7:58 am

      Sorry, Craig, I can’t help you on that one. I know that was the title of the book, but I don’t know about the original release of the film. (I was 3 years old in 1982 ;)) It could be they made a mistake and then went back and corrected it, but not before the film was distributed. If so, that would be a costly mistake as they would then have to redistribute the corrected film. Nowadays, with home video, they just correct stuff like that when the film is released on Blu-Ray/DVD/digital download, but I don’t know what they’d have done in 1982, when videotape was in its infancy.

    • 12 johneaves
      June 5, 2012 at 9:45 am

      You know I seem to recall the missing II as well. Maybe my laserdisc will answer this one…

  4. 13 Matt Boardman
    June 5, 2012 at 1:03 am

    This movie is probably my favorites of all the Trek movies! There is just so much to love about it from the introduction of the fantastic new movie uniforms, Ricardo Montalban’s brilliant performance as Khan, the scream heard ’round Regula, Kirk having a son, ear worms, the incredible battle in the nebula, and the heartwrenching death of Spock.

    Back in 2002, I had won tickets from startrek.com to go to a special screening of the Director’s Cut DVD release at the theater there on the Paramount lot. Sadly, I ended up going by myself because my dad couldn’t come out to LA with me. There was a little party before hand where they had some of the models used to film on display – Regula 1, the Reliant, Spock’s coffin. Pretty incredible to see these models in person. I didn’t know anyone there so I was relieved once they annouced that they were going to start the movie. I sat down and shortly before the movie started, George Takei walks in with Brad and they sat down in front of me. Sadly, he was the only Original Series cast member that attended. Ricardo had been filming Spy Kids on location, but flew in so he could attend. Nick Meyer was there as well. Afterward, I saw Mr. Meyer in the foyer and decided to get my nerve up to ask him for his autograph. He agreed and as he was signing, I told him that Star Trek II had been a favorite movie of mine since I was a kid. This was one of those record scratch moments as I should have opened my mouth and inserted my foot. He stopped for a momment and then laughed. “It’s been a favorite of mine since I was a kid too,” he replied.

    Happy 30th, Star Trek II!

    • 14 johneaves
      June 5, 2012 at 9:48 am

      How funny and I didn’t even know this event happened and I was on the lot then too!!!! You have the best stories and I love that you share them..

  5. 15 RichT
    June 5, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Missed the scene where the Enterprise opened fire on the Regula station… 😉

  6. 17 Tallguy
    June 5, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Today is the day. (Ok, YESTERDAY was the day. Didn’t get to post when I wrote this.) 1982 was an amazing movie summer but the only thing that really comes close to the day this movie opened is when Tron opened. (Sorry, E.T.)

    My second cousin was living with us at the time and he bet me that I could not get up before he did (6 am or some such). He was 21 and I was 13. If I did then he’d take me to see TWOK on opening day. Well. That was a pretty stupid bet, wasn’t it? Trekies have alarm clocks.

    What nobody will really get ever again is the impact the Kobayashi Maru opening had back in the day. We didn’t have internet spoilers. It was pretty unusual that the news of Spock’s death made it out before the movie. The credits open (with the BIG Courage fanfare – squeee!) and there’s this woman in the center seat acting all comanding and just cold as hell. They dive into the Neutral Zone and not only do they kill of Spock right away they blow up the whole damn ship! Aaaaiiiieeeeeee!


    Wow, what a ride.

    For the ever present Phoenix connection I saw it at the General Cinemas inside Metro Center above the skating rink and next to The Gold Mine arcade. For you non-Phoenicians, go rent Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. It can be seen there. (I don’t THINK Farrel’s Ice Cream Parlor was still open. But maybe it was.)

    Matt, that’s a great story.

    • 18 johneaves
      June 5, 2012 at 9:51 am

      cool tale, and I did see it at Metro center too.. I forgot about the ice rink,, we would spit down on the skaters and in turn would be spit on when we were skating!!!! Haa fun PHX memories!!!

  7. 19 doubleofive
    June 5, 2012 at 9:23 am

    In the next episode of Trek.fm’s “The Ready Room” podcast, we compared WoK with First Contact for a short while. One of the guests described WoK as “Moby Dick from Moby Dick’s point of view”. Changes my perspective on it. 😉

  8. 21 the bluesman
    June 5, 2012 at 11:34 am

    What I liked about TWOK was I think it captured the spirit of TOS the best of all the films. Nick Myer did a fantastic job with it. I also appreciate how this was not an alien with a super weapon trying to blow up the earth…yeah there’s a super weapon, but Khan wants to use it to take out one guy! I think what reminded me most about the TOS series in this film was that 90 percent of it took place in deep space. I also think the space battles were well done…massive ships with some weight and mass to them slugging it out guns a balzing…and I loved the broadside attack by the Reliant…i know phasers probably have a vast range, but get the Enterprise without shields get in close and let her have it. Still my favorite of all the trek films so far.

    • 22 johneaves
      June 5, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      all is so true.. This is just such a great movie on so many levels,,, That shot across the neck of the enterprise is what made me loose the neck on the enterprise E

  9. 23 Scott D
    June 7, 2012 at 1:03 am

    I agree, WoK really is the best Trek movie. So much chemistry came together with the actors and the action scenes, as well as the music.

  10. 24 Larry Hupp
    June 7, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I think it one of greast movie in star trek history.

  11. June 7, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    This is by far my favorite Trek movie of all time, only slightly beating out Search For Spock ( I love Klingons and I love the Bird of Prey 🙂 ) My brother and I would marvel at the awesome space battle between the Reliant and the Enterprise. The scene where the Enterprise really gives it back to the Reliant makes me pump my fist every time! It is movies like this that make me so sad for the loss of practical effects and miniatures. And that the new generation of kids wont be able to experience what that’s like since the only thing they’ve ever known is CGI

    • 27 johneaves
      June 11, 2012 at 7:15 am

      All true,, The battles are brilliant and it is sad that CG IS the only thing this generation is getting exposed too.

  12. 28 Robert Minnes
    June 10, 2012 at 6:01 am

    If the Reliant is your thing, you might want to check out this article over at MA which I’ve greatly expanded upon:


    Nice tidbits abiut how she was originbally intended to be a sister of the Enterprise and that she was originally intended up-side down.

  13. 30 Jon May
    June 11, 2012 at 6:46 am

    While TWOK isn’t my favorite Trek film, I prefer The Search for Spock, there’s no denying that it set the tone for not only all the TOS films that followed, but much of what we consider to be modern Trek, TNG, DS9, & VGR. There are themes and styles in TWOK that have carried through almost every incarnation of Trek, and without TWOK, Trek as we know it today would be vastly different.

  14. August 3, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    John, my funny TWOK story is about when the first little blurb about the movie, with a photo, appeared in Newsweek. I called a friend about it all concerned about the director. Seems I had a brain hiccup and while my eyes saw “Nicholas Meyer” my brain saw “Russ Meyer.” Yes, the director of “Super Vixens,” etc. What a different movie THAT would have been!

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June 2012

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