Combustible Celluloid
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With: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Ricardo Montalban, Kirstie Alley, Paul Winfield
Written by: Jack B. Sowards, based on a story by Harve Bennett and Jack B. Sowards
Directed by: Nicholas Meyer
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 116
Date: 04/06/1982

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The Thrill Is Khan

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Nicholas Meyer showed up to direct the second Star Trek movie, based more closely on the beloved TV series, after fans found Robert Wise's first film too slow and cold. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan concentrates on the camaraderie between the Enterprise crew and adds a few new characters, most memorably the Vulcan Lieutenant Saavik (Kirstie Alley), who gets to flirt with Captain Kirk (William Shatner). The plot concerns the Genesis device, which can create a new, life-sustaining planet out of dead rock, but can also destroy an already life-supporting planet. The evil Khan (Ricardo Montalban) returns from the original 1967 episode "Space Seed," tries to steal the device, and chews up a whole bunch of scenery.

Many fans consider this the best of the series, and it's certainly a favorite of mine, but it can be somewhat static and humorless compared to the warm, graceful The Undiscovered Country, Part 6 in the series. Paramount's great 2-disc DVD set ($29.99) contains a new 116-minute director's cut (adding 3 minutes to the original), a commentary track by Meyer and a whole bunch of featurettes, documentaries and other stuff.

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