Classy Space Opera: Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan

September 21, 2010

Star Trek, eh? While I’ve never been what you might call a devoted fan, I do have some affection for the original TV show. The series staples – William Shatner’s orotund pronouncements on the nature of man, the constantly recycled plots about God-like yet childishly irresponsible beings, the blithe, “we know what’s best” human intervention in alien affairs – it’s all cheerful enough nonsense. The considerably more po-faced Next Generation, with its insipid characters spouting pseudo-scientific gobbledygook while forming “meaningful” relationships with each other, is where I beam myself away to more interesting horizons. As for the films, well they’ve always been pretty much hit and miss, with rather more ticks in the “miss” column than in the “hit” column. The Wrath of Khan is the one film where they struck upon just the right formula. The pretensions to “serious” science fiction in Star Trek: The Motion Picture were ditched in favour of a rollicking space action yarn. And let’s face it – that’s the way it should be. As much as I love 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek is not really a suitable franchise to try and re-capture the atmosphere of Kubrick’s magnum opus. If you’re going to have ray guns, warp drives and pointy eared aliens spouting catch phrases, then you belong firmly in the space opera camp.

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