I ranked my favorite Star Trek movies but realized I hadn’t watched a lot of them for a long time. I am watching them again in chronological order and sharing some of my thoughts after a fresh viewing. Maybe some of the movies will have a chance to move up my list after watching them again.
Last week I watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture. This week I watched Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
When I made my original list of my favorite Star Trek movies The Wrath of Khan sat securely at the top. After watching it again I don’t think it’s going to fall from its spot high atop the rankings.
There is so much to love about The Wrath of Khan.
After reading the movie’s page on Wikipedia, I learned that Paramount pushed out Gene Roddenberry as producer and brought in Harve Bennett. While Star Trek: The Motion Picture may have thoroughly hit upon Roddenberry’s humanistic view of the future, its slow pace and lack of action left audiences and critics wanting more. Bennett brought some much needed excitement to the Star Trek movie franchise and helped further one of its most iconic villains.
I love The Wrath of Khan because Montalban’s Khan has enough passion and megalomania to go toe-to-toe with Shatner’s Kirk. Shatner played Kirk with so much swagger and bravado that most of his antagonists paled in comparison. Montalban matched that swagger and bravado, finally giving Kirk a worthy enemy.
I love The Wrath of Khan and it was a pleasure to watch it again. Here are some other thoughts I had while watching the movie.
“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.” Spock says these words to Admiral Kirk when handing over command of the Enterprise and he famously lives them out when he sacrifices his life to save the ship. Spock definitely takes on a Christ-like role between The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock. He sacrifices himself to save others and then comes back to life to join his friends again. Jesus is the perfect model for what it means to be truly human and we can see some of that reflected in Spock. Even though Spock embraced his Vulcan side more than his humanity, he still exhibited some of humanity’s best traits. Jesus showed us that humanity is at its best when sacrificing for others and Spock showed that as well.
Even though he hadn’t lost much swagger and bravado, Admiral Kirk still showed signs of growing older. Instead of being the indomitable Captain Kirk shooting through the galaxy, Admiral Kirk was trapped in the throws of a midlife crisis. Even with the kind words and gifts from his best friends, Kirk wrestled with what it meant to grow old while sitting behind a desk. We can’t avoid growing older, every minute that passes is another minute we’re older. We can trust, though, that God will continue to work in our lives as we grow older. As long as we continue to pursue our heavenly Father, our circumstances may change but our efficacy for God’s kingdom won’t fade with age.
Like Captain Ahab, who he often quotes, Khan is bent on seeking revenge and having his vengeance. I recently watched “Space Seed” and saw the roots of the man that Khan becomes. In “Space Seed” Khan cared about his people and finding a place in the universe. After 15 years marooned on Ceti Alpha V, though, all he could think about was vengeance. His better judgment and concern for his crew were pushed out of his mind by blind vengeance. Khan blamed Kirk for the death of his wife and would stop at nothing to cause pain and anguish to the admiral. Khan was unable to forgive Kirk and it ultimately led to his downfall. Vengeance may feel good in the moment but it ultimately belongs to the Lord. We aren’t called to seek out vengeance; we’re called to forgive. But Star Trek II: The Forgiveness of Khan would have been even more boring than Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
The Wrath of Khan is great and, at this point, it’s still my favorite Star Trek movie. It has a lot of great science fiction action but, at its heart, is a story about what it means to be human. Humanity has as many facets as a dilithium crystal and The Wrath of Khan successfully examines many of them while telling a great story.
What do you think about Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan?