Genre Movie #1: “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (1982)
For the 25th anniversary of “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”, we saw a special showing at The Carolina Theater with a fully restored 35mm print — and it was gorgeous. While you can laugh at William Shatner’s overacting or Ricardo Montalban’s chestplate, this is a stunningly beautiful film and, for all its special effects, a tense intimate drama. Kirk and Khan never appear in the same scene together, yet their interstellar mano-e-mano is one of the best boxing matches in cinema. Plus, thanks to big screen budget, we finally get to see the kind of damage starships can do.
“Star Trek II” isn’t just the best Trek movie, it’s a great sci-fi movie period. And, without its success — both commercially and storytelling-wise — there would never have been a “Next Generation,” no “Deep Space Nine” and (for what it’s worth) no JJ Abrams reboot.
And yes, I cried when Spock died. If you can get through Leonard Nimoy’s iconic death scene without shedding a tear, Scotty playing “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes will finish you off — heck, anyone playing “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes chokes me up. It’s a scene that deserves its reputation.