July 16, 1982 in UK cinemas: Star Trek II – The Wrath Of Khan

“At the end of the universe lies the beginning of vengeance.”

Admiral James T. Kirk faces his greatest challenge yet. Suffering through doubts about STII-Khanhis place in the galaxy, he is thrust into action once more against his most bitter foe – Khan Noonien Singh, who has escaped his exile on Ceti Alpha V and now seeks revenge on Kirk. With a powerful new device in the wrong hands and a no-win scenario in play, the cost of victory for the starship Enterprise may prove too high. [memory-alpha.wikia.com]

Stat_Trek_II-1982Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is an American science fiction film directed by Nicholas Meyer and based on the television series of the same name created by Gene Roddenberry. It is the second film in the Star Trek film series and is a stand-alone sequel to Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). The plot features Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and the crew of the starship USS Enterprise facing off against the genetically engineered tyrant Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalbán), a character who first appeared in the 1967 Star Trek episode “Space Seed“. When Khan escapes from a 15-year exile to exact revenge on Kirk, the crew of the Enterprise must stop him from acquiring a powerful terraforming device named Genesis. The film is the beginning of a story arc that continues with the 1984 film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and concludes with the 1986 film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

After the lacklustre critical and commercial response to the first film, series creator Gene Roddenberry was forced out of the sequel’s production. Executive producer Harve STII-Spock-DeathBennett wrote the film’s original outline, which Jack B. Sowards developed into a full script. Director Nicholas Meyer completed its final script in 12 days, without accepting a writing credit. Meyer’s approach evoked the swashbuckling atmosphere of the original series, and this theme was reinforced by James Horner‘s musical score. Leonard Nimoy had not intended to have a role in the sequel, but was enticed back on the promise that his character would be given a dramatic death scene. Negative test audience reaction to Spock’s death led to significant revisions of the ending over Meyer’s objections. The production team used various cost-cutting techniques to keep within budget, including utilizing miniature models from past projects and reusing sets, effects footage, and costumes from the first film. Among the film’s technical achievements is being the first feature film to contain a sequence created entirely with computer-generated graphics.

The Wrath of Khan was released in North America on June 4, 1982 by Paramount Pictures. It was a box office success, earning $97 million worldwide and setting a world record for its first-day box office gross. Critical reaction to the film was positive; reviewers highlighted Khan’s character, the film’s pacing, and the character interactions as strong elements. Negative reactions, however, focused on weak special effects and some of the acting. The Wrath of Khan is considered by some to be the best film in the Star Trek series, and is often credited with renewing substantial interest in the franchise. [Wikipedia]

The decision that the film was going to be about old age and friendship prompted Meyer to include a scene in which McCoy visits Kirk in his apartment and tells him that he should get his command back. With every alteration, the themes were woven tighter and tighter into the script. Ultimately, the film presented an aged Kirk in mid-life crisis. Uncertain of his place, of himself, Kirk must make the greatest sacrifice to find out where he truly belongs.

STII-KhaaaanUsing the original series episode “Space Seed” as a building block, Meyer built Khan into the ultimate adversary for Kirk. As he worked on his character, he imagined how enraged a man would be after being exiled on a desert world and losing his wife. Inevitably, Khan became obsessed with Kirk, who he saw as his nemesis. “Kirk was the fiend who had imprisoned him; who had stopped him up in the bottle. I think when Khan makes his appearance in the story, Kirk is flabbergasted. He did not lie awake thinking about Khan; Khan lay awake thinking about Kirk.”

Read more at memory-alpha.wikia.com.

Watch the trailer on the Paramount Movies YouTube Channel.

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