“Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” (1984)

[first lines]

[Spock’s dying words, repeated from the previous film]

Capt. Spock: Don’t grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh…

Kirk: …the needs of the few.

Capt. Spock: Or the one. I have been and always shall be your friend. Live long and prosper.

Spock died (in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan). We cried- hey, it was really emotional. Then we learned that Spock could be alive- whoa! In the opening credits, there is an extra long pause between Shatner and Kelley’s names, where Nimoy’s name would normally be. Nimoy takes on the role of director; Nicholas Meyer (who directed the previous 2 films) refused b/c he thought that Spock’s death should’ve remained final. (Meyer would return to direct Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country).

[their first look at the USS Excelsior]

Uhura: Would you look at that.

Kirk: My friends, the great experiment: The Excelsior. Ready for trial runs.

Sulu: She’s supposed to have transwarp drive.

Scotty: Aye. And if my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a wagon.

Kirk: Come, come, Mr. Scott. Young minds, fresh ideas. Be tolerant.

Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) and the Enterprise crew return to Earth for some essential repairs to their ship. When they arrive at space dock, they’re shocked to discover that the Enterprise is to be decommissioned. Dr. McCoy (DeForrest Kelley) begins acting strangely. Scotty (James Doohan) is re-assigned to another ship. Suddenly, Ambassador Sarek (Mark Lenard) comes to visit Kirk to see if he holds Spock’s spirit (katra). Once Kirk realizes that McCoy hold the katra, he decides to steal back the Enterprise and travel to the Genesis planet to retrieve the body of Spock. The body must be taken to Mt. Seleyah on Vulcan so it can be joined w/ its katra. Meanwhile, some Klingons are planning to steal the secrets of the Genesis device for their own deadly purpose!

Kirk: You’re suffering from a Vulcan mind-meld, doctor.

McCoy: That green-blooded son of a bitch! It’s his revenge for all the arguments he lost.

The film’s villains were intended to be Romulans, but the studio wanted Klingons to be used (as they were better-known aliens). The Romulan warship was already built and they didn’t want the expense of replacing it. Since TOS had established that Klingons and Romulans had shared tech/ships (for real-world cost-cutting reasons), the idea of Klingons using a Romulan warbird wasn’t a problem. Edward James Olmos was Nimoy’s first choice for the role of Kruge; producer Harve Bennett preferred Christopher Lloyd. Nimoy cast Lloyd b/c he came across as more operatic and physically intimidating. Of course, this could be funny to those who know Lloyd as Doc Brown in the Back to the Future movies. We also see John Larroquette as Maltz, the quiet/thoughtful Klingon.

Kruge: I’ve come a long way for the power of Genesis, and what do I find? A weakling human, a Vulcan boy, and a woman!

Saavik: My lord, we are survivors of a doomed expedition. This planet will destroy itself in hours. The Genesis experiment is a failure.

Kruge: A failure? The most destructive force ever created? You will tell me the secret of the Genesis torpedo.

Saavik: I have no knowledge.

Kruge: Then I hope pain’s something you enjoy.

Production was endangered by the large fire at Paramount Studios. Shatner helped fight the fire and rescue a crew member before firefighters arrived- wow! Shatner said he was concerned re: staying on schedule, as he also had to shoot his TV show- T.J. Hooker. The quiet (yet powerful) scene in where Kirk stumbles back into his captain’s chair after hearing of the death of David was an improvisation by the actor. Shatner was told by Nimoy to do whatever reaction he wanted to do. It’s too bad that Kirk (and we) didn’t get to know David much.

[Kirk and party have commandeered Kruge’s Bird-of-Prey]

Kirk: [to Maltz] You! Help us or die!

Maltz: I do not deserve to live!

Kirk: Fine, I’ll kill you later!

[later, once safely in warp speed]

Kirk: Take care of the prisoner.

Maltz: Wait! You said you would kill me!

Kirk: I lied!

There are some light/humorous scenes in this movie. We learn that Scotty always exaggerated how long it’d take to repair something on the ship. And who didn’t laugh when McCoy tried to do the Vulcan nerve pinch at the alien bar? Scotty told off the talking transporter on the Excelsior. Sulu (George Takei) gets to beat up a (big) security guy. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) pulled a phaser on the young lieutenant who’d made ageist comments (Mr. Adventure), then she transported her crewmates away.

Sarek: Kirk, I thank you. What you have done is…

Kirk: What I have done, I had to do.

Sarek: But at what cost? Your ship. Your son.

Kirk: If I hadn’t tried, the cost would have been my soul.

The dramatic finale on Vulcan really makes this movie! Judith Anderson was 87 y.o. when she appeared as the Vulcan High Priestess; she was encouraged to take this role by her nephew (who was a big fan of TOS). The scenes on the Genesis Planet were shot on the same soundstages used by Cecil B. DeMille in  The Ten Commandments (1956); Anderson played the slave who knew the secret re: Moses’ heritage.

[1] Leonard Nimoy takes the director’s helm and while he does a competent job it is somewhat workmanlike and his experience in TV and not-so-much-experience in feature films shows, loved the focus on the characters and their relationships but it could have been more expansive.

The music by James Horner… It is bombastic and rousing at times but also swelling in romance and sensitivity and beautiful orchestration, the heavy representation of the percussive and dissonant theme for the Klingons was also effective.

‘The Search for Spock’ does have an intelligent script that develops the characters very well indeed…

[2] It seems a lot of people are split on Lloyd but I thought he was pretty good here. I liked seeing him under all the make-up and thought he did a good job even if the role itself wasn’t the greatest. The special effects here are certainly a step up from the previous movie and I’d also say that battle sequences are much better directed.

[3] …I put “The Search for Spock” on a par with my favorite episode of the original Star Trek TV series. That would be ‘Amok Time’ which examined Vulcan rituals and customs, and interestingly, pitted Spock (Leonard Nimoy) against his captain and best friend, James T. Kirk (William Shatner) in a battle to the death. The return to Spock’s home planet in this film was a cool way to bring the story back around to his Vulcan roots and add to the mythology of Star Trek by introducing such concepts as the Fal-tor-pan (the refusion of Vulcan legend), and the soul essence of Vulcans called the ‘katra’.

The battle of wits between Kirk and Kruge brought to mind another favorite TV episode, ‘The Corbomite Maneuver’, a story in which Captain Kirk seemingly made up all that business about a destruct sequence to thwart an overpowering enemy. Apparently it was a good enough idea to incorporate into Star Trek lore as a legitimate way of dealing with an enemy who got the upper hand.

-Excerpts from IMDB comments

“Star Trek: DS9” (Season 3)

Introduction

This season is a must-see for fans of Trek (Trekkies, Trekkers, or whatever you prefer)! S3 has some of my fave eps of the entire series (so far I’ve watched 6 seasons). When DS9 originally aired, I saw most of the eps in S3; my faves then were Bashir (Alexander Siddig) and Dax (Terry Farrell). Now, I’d say that Odo and Kira are my faves. There are a few eps which you can skip (check out the IMDB ratings), but this is the transitional season which will lead us to the (exciting) S4.

Episodes 1 & 2: “The Search, Parts I & 11”

Episode 3: The House Of Quark

Quark: Now I know we’re doomed.

Rom: Why, brother?

Quark: Rule of Acquisition 286: When Morn leaves, it’s all over.

Rom: There is no such rule.

Quark: There should be.

“War is good for business” is the 34th Rule of Acquisition, but the bar is almost empty; people are leaving b/c they fear the Dominion. A drunk Klingon, Kozak, refuses to pay, assaults Quark (Armin Shimerman), and dies falling on his knife! When Quark sees curious crowds outside the bar, he decides to tell everyone he killed the Klingon to increase business. He soon gets a visit from Kozak’s brother, D’Ghor, seeking confirmation he died an honorable death. Quark has to tell the truth to Kozak’s widow, Grilka (Mary Kay Adams); she kidnaps him and forces him to marry her to save the House of Kozak. Keiko has to close the station’s school b/c all the kids left.

[Quark is looking over the financial records of Kozak and D’Ghor]

Quark: Very clever… Very clever, indeed… D’Ghor has manipulated your family’s holdings, devalued the lands you hold… and he is the principal creditor on Kozak’s outstanding gambling debts. It’s no accident that your family is getting weaker and D’Ghor’s family is getting stronger, he has been systematically attacking your family’s assets for over five years now.

Grilka: [outraged] You mean D’Ghor has been scheming and plotting like a…

Quark: …Like a Ferengi.

Stephen Hawking visited the set during the filming of this ep. We see the Klingon homeworld (Qo’noS); Chancellor Gowron (Robert O’Reilly) appears for the first time in this series. Veteran ST actor Joseph Ruskin plays another Klingon- Tumek. Some astute viewers will notice that the scenes in the Great Hall echo the TNG ep Sins of The Father (1990), but w/ a comedic twist; Ronald D. Moore also wrote the teleplay for that ep. This is a fun ep, which is must-see esp. for those who are fans of the Klingons!

Quark [facing a fight to the death w/ D’Ghor]: Having me fight D’Ghor is nothing more than an execution. So, if that’s what you want, that’s what you’ll get – an execution. No honor, no glory. And when you tell your children and your grandchildren the glorious story of how you rose to power and took Grilka’s house from her, I hope you remember to tell them how you heroically killed an unarmed Ferengi half your size.

Episode 5: Second Skin

Kira (Nana Visitor) is contacted by a Alenis Grem from the Bajoran Central Archives, who’s doing research on the former Elemspur detention center. Grem has proof Kira was once detained there; also, the last remaining former inmate recognizes her, so Kira decides to travel to the Archives. She never arrives, but awakes on Cardassia looking like her enemy! She is told that she was sent as a spy to Bajor many years ago; her long-term memory was altered to avoid being found out. She is called Iliana Ghemor, daughter of legate Tekeny Ghemor (Lawrence Pressman). Though Kira rejects all this, she starts having serious doubts when Entek (Gregory Sierra) from the Obisidian Order provides convincing proof.

Garak: I’ll go along on your fool’s errand, but I want one thing to be perfectly clear: I have no intention of sacrificing my life to save yours. If it looks like we’re in danger of being captured, if there’s any sign of trouble at all, you’re on your own!

Cmdr. Sisko: Mr. Garak, I believe that’s the first completely honest thing you’ve ever said to me.

The teleplay is by Robert Hewitt Wolfe (I wrote to him on Twitter- he replied), who came over from TNG. Wolfe started writing on DS9 at age 31 (as he said in an interview on The 7th Rule YT channel); he also served as a producer. I think this is one the the best eps of S3; it’s intelligent, mysterious, and touching. We get to learn more re: the Cardassians (considered to be one of Trek’s most interesting/well-developed aliens). Garak (guest star Andrew Robinson) plays a pivotal role. There is the father-daughter story, which is very well-played by Visitor and Pressman (a veteran character actor). For perhaps the first time in her life, Kira sees that NOT all Cardassians are evil!

Episode 6: The Abandoned

Quark buys the rights to a ship from the Gamma Quadrant; a crying baby is discovered among the items! Bashir notices the boy has a V fast metabolic rate, so is growing quickly. In a few hours, he’s a teen who starts fighting on the promenade. Odo (Rene Auberjonois) is the ONLY one who is able to calm him down; Jadzia realizes he’s Jem’Hadar! When Odo hears the boy is to be examined in a Federation lab, he convinces Sisko to let him be in charge of the young man. Odo wants to try to change his nature, so he can live as a normal humanoid. Meanwhile, Sisko (Avery Brooks) invites Jake’s (Cirroc Lofton) girlfriend, Mardah, over for dinner. Since Mardah is 4 yrs older than Jake and works as a Dabo girl at Quark’s bar, Sisko is opposed to their relationship.

Director/actor Brooks saw this ep as something of a metaphorical study of racial tension and gang culture: “For me, it was very much a story about young brown men, and, to some extent, a story about a society that is responsible for the creation of a generation of young men who are feared, who are addicted, who are potential killers.” This is the first ep to refer to Jake’s literary talents; this is also the first appearance of Ketracel-white (the “missing enzyme” to which the Jem’Hadar are “addicted”). Some viewers were reminded of Hugh who had been separated from the Borg collective on TNG. I thought the A story w/ the Jem’Hadar was rather engaging; I liked the alien make-up and the action scenes.

Episode 7: Civil Defense

Rule of Acquisition #75: Home is where the heart is, but the stars are made of latinum.

O’Brien (Colm Meaney) and Jake (who has been assisting him w/ Engineering tasks) are preparing one of the ore processing units to convert it into a deuterium refinery. Sisko checks up on them, just as Jake finds a strange file in the database which can’t be deleted. O’Brien accidentally trips a Cardassian security alert, and must enter a password, but fails. Suddenly, the room’s locked down, and a recorded message from Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo) appears on view screens, warning the “Bajoran workers” to surrender! This resembles the VOY ep Worst Case Scenario (1997); in both stories the crew trigger a computer program which they can’t to shut down which proves life-threatening.

We see Dukat express a desire for Kira, something that would return many times in the future. Here his attempt to impress her is treated as comedy. This is something which displeased Nana Visitor, who commented: “I would have liked my character to make the point that only a few years earlier, Dukat’s wanting me would have meant that he could have had me, and I wouldn’t have been able to do a thing about it. So it shouldn’t have been seen as a ‘cute’ moment. It was actually a horrifying moment, one that would make Kira feel disgust and panic. To Kira, Dukat is Hitler. She’s not ever going to get over that. She can never forgive him, and that is important to me. Kira may have started to see Cardassians as individuals, but she will always hate Dukat.”  

We also hear the first mention Quark’s cousin, Gaila (Josh Pais), who Quark is always jealous of for this wealth/status. This ep also builds upon the antagonism between Gul Dukat and Garak which was first hinted at in S2 E5 (Cardassians).

Episode 9: Defiant

Riker: Looks like you got your evening all planned. Hope you’ve got room for the unexpected.

It’s V busy on the station and Kira hasn’t even got time to read reports. Then, Starfleet requests a complete report on the computer calibration subroutine. When Bashir asks for a runabout to get medical supplies, she snaps! Bashir says Kira is overworked and orders her to rest. At Quark’s bar, she meets Cmdr. Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) who is on his way to the pleasure planet (Risa). They chat and she seems to like him. At the end of the next day, she runs into him again; Riker asks to have a look at the Defiant. Sisko assists Gul Dukat on Cardassia Prime to prevent the ship from entering Cardassian territory.

If you’re a fan of Riker (like me), this is the story for you; even if you’re not, it’s a compelling story (written by Moore). It turns out that this is Thomas Riker; he quickly/cleverly takes over the warship! Romance (potentially) wasn’t only in the cards for Kira and Riker; two of Maquis crew- Kalita (Shannon Cochran) and Tamal (Michael Canavan) met on the DS9 set and got married a few years later. Cochran played Gen. Martok’s formidable wife (Sirella) in S6, E7 (“You Are Cordially Invited.”) TNG fans may also recognize the Obsidian Order officer Korinas (Tricia O’Neill); this actress played Capt. Garrett in S3, E5: “Yesterday’s Enterprise.” I liked how Korinas swiftly cut down Dukat. This ep really builds up tension well; we get to learn more re: the Cardassians.

Episodes 11 & 12: “Past Tense, Parts I & II”

Episode 14: Heart of Stone

Olivia [to Viola disguised as Sebastian]: I have said too much unto a heart of stone. And laid mine honor too unchary on ’t. There’s something in me that reproves my fault. But such a headstrong potent fault it is, that it but mocks reproof. -Twelfth Night (Act 3, Scene 4)

Kira and Odo are returning to DS9 in a runabout. They are coming from Prophet’s Landing (a colony close to the Cardassian border) to review security procedures. They receive a distress call from a Lissepian supply ship that was attacked by a Maquis vessel. They start to follow the Maquis; the ship lands on a moon and Kira and Odo follow the man into a V unstable cave. Kira’s foot gets stuck inside a strange crystal. While the crystal slowly encapsulates her, Odo tries to free her. Meanwhile, Nog makes a special request to Sisko. As an adult, he is compelled by Ferengi by-laws to purchase an apprenticeship from a role model. Nog wants to be the first Ferengi in Starfleet, so he asks Sisko to write a recommendation for Starfleet Academy.

I think that was an interesting direction. Somehow, Captain Nog sounds cool. -Ron Moore

Rules of Acquisition #18: A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all.

It is revealed that a non-Federation citizen, in order to be admitted to the Academy, needs a reference from a command-level officer. This is the first ep in which Rom openly defies his brother Quark; this would continue in S3-4. We learn the origin of the name “Odo;” this is also the first time that he is seen handling a weapon. The ep title is taken from the Shakespeare play Twelfth Night, which also has themes of disguise and mistaken identity. Odo’s revelation that he loves Kira had been hinted at in several eps (The Collaborator and Meridian); Lwaxana Troi (who is Betazoid and telepathic) had guessed it in Fascination. Odo himself had never admitted it before! Both the A and B stories are terrific; I think I’ve seen this ep (written by Behr and Wolfe) 3x so far. I always liked the chemistry between Odo and Kira; the actors had much in common and became close friends while working on the series.

Episode 15: Destiny

A team of Cardassian scientists (incl. Tracy Scoggins; one of top contenders for Capt. Janeway on ST: VOY) comes to visit DS9 to help set up a subspace communications relay in the Gamma Quadrant. Suddenly, Vedek Yarka (Erick Avari), wants to speak with Sisko; he has a warning from the prophets. According to Trakor’s 3rd prophecy, 3 vipers (Cardassians) will return to their nest in the sky (DS9) which ultimately leads to the destruction of the Celestial Temple (the wormhole). Sisko and Kira dismiss it at first, since only 2 Cardassians scientists are coming. But, when a 3rd scientist arrives, Kira begins to worry. With more predictions coming true, Sisko must make a choice: between his Federation duties and his role as Emissary.

Gilora: It has been my experience that it…

Chief O’Brien: What? That Humans aren’t good engineers?

Gilora: No, not Humans. Males.

Chief O’Brien: I beg your pardon?

Gilora: Men just don’t seem to have a head for this sort of thing. That’s why women dominate the sciences.

Chief O’Brien: Maybe on Cardassia. But on this station, this man is Chief of Operations, and I know more about these systems than anyone, including you.

Sisko is (once again) tackling two roles- Starfleet officer and Emissary; he is not yet comfortable being a religious figure. This is the ep where we get to see “regular” Cardassians out there; two of these women (Ulani and Gilora) are scientists- professional, friendly, and have distinct personalities. The third woman (Dejar) is tough and judgmental to the others; she’s a member of the secretive spy group- the Obsidian Order!

Episode 19: Through the Looking Glass

A man looking exactly like O’Brien suddenly pokes a phaser in Sisko’s back and disappears w/ the captain through the transporter. He is taken to the Mirror Universe, where Kira and Bashir got stuck in S2. O’Brien (AKA Smiley) tells how the Mirror Sisko was the leader of a rebellion against the Klingon-Cardassian-Bajoran alliance, but he recently died. Sisko tells Smiley he’s not interested in replacing him, but his interest is piqued when he learns that a “Jennifer Sisko” (Felicia M. Bell) is alive and working for the alliance.

[Mirror Jadzia kisses Sisko]

Mirror Jadzia: That’s to let you know I missed you. [slaps him] And that’s for letting me think you were dead!

As fans know, in the Mirror Universe, clothes are more risque, the acting is over-the-top, and violence can break out anytime. Brooks was esp. happy when he read the teleplay, b/c Sisko has sex for the first time since the show began (w/ Mirror Dax and The Intendant). However, this is problematic (to our modern sensibilities) b/c Mirror Dax doesn’t know that he is a different man than her Sisko!

The raider’s corridor, transporter room, and turbolift, are redresses of the USS Defiant sets, using computer graphics from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The lighting department had a harsh red light to make contrast to the bright white lights of “our” universe. The raider’s bridge was a redress of the runabout cockpit which served as the Maquis raider Val Jean in VOY series pilot (Caretaker). This is the second role for Tim Russ on DS9, the played the Klingon, T’Kar, in Invasive Procedures. His character role of Tuvok is a crossover from the role he played in VOY.

Episode 20: Improbable Cause & Episode 21: The Die is Cast

Garak: Never tell the same lie twice.

Garak’s shop explodes, but the tailor isn’t hurt badly; Odo immediately expects foul play. Odo asks Garak if he can think of possible suspects, but the Cardassian seems uninterested, and frustrates Odo’s investigation. Evidence of a pheromonic sensor in the bomb is found; this is a method favored by Flaxian assassins. A Flaxian had just arrived on DS9 prior to the explosion, so Odo decides to interrogate him.

Cmdr. Sisko: The question still remains, why would the Romulans want to have Garak killed?

Odo: I don’t know. Considering those uniforms of theirs, you’d think they’d appreciate a decent tailor.

I loved this joke from Odo, didn’t you? We see a new style of Tal Shiar uniform; this was Moore’s idea. After Visionary, Moore came to feel that the old style Romulan uniforms were unacceptable; he had Robert Blackman (costume designer) give the design an overhaul. Moore said: “I hated, underline hated, the Romulan costumes. Big shoulder pads, the quilting, I just loathed it. I begged, insisted, screamed, pleaded.” This was the first Star Trek two-part ep w/ different names for Part I and Part II. (There had been a 3-parter with different titles: The Homecoming, The Circle, and The Siege.)

Informant: Garak isn’t the only former operative in the Order who had an “unfortunate incident” yesterday, but he’s the luckiest. The other five didn’t survive.

Odo: Five operatives were killed yesterday?

Informant: Killed? No. Three died from “natural causes”, the other two perished in “accidents”.

Odo: Quite a coincidence.

Informant: If you believe in coincidence.

Robert Lederman and David R. Long’s original idea for this ep revolved around the punishment exacted upon Garak by the Obsidian Order for his killing of Entek in Second Skin. Garak realizes that someone is planning on assassinating him, so he blows up his own shop to ensure Odo gets involved. The producers decided to connect the ep to Defiant (to reveal what the Obsidian Order was up to in the Orias system). Joseph Ruskin (who plays The Informant who meets w/ Odo) has played the roles of Galt in TOS: The Gamesters of Triskelion, Tumek in The House of Quark and Looking for Par’Mach in all the Wrong Places, a Son’a officer in the TNG movie Star Trek Insurrection, a Vulcan master in VOY: Gravity, and an alien doctor on ENT: Broken Bow. Another veteran actor (Paul Dooley) plays Enabran Tain, the former head of the Obsidian Order and a mentor to Garak.

Enabran Tain: Always burn your bridges behind you. You never know who might be trying to follow.

The (imposing) joint Romulan-Cardassian fleet approaches DS9; Sisko is ready for a fight, but the fleet flies goes through the wormhole. We meet Col. Lovok (Leland Orser); he doesn’t seem to respect or fully trust Tain. The Tal Shiar and Obisidian Order ships are on a renegade mission to destroy the Founders’ home planet! Sisko (perhaps taking a cue from Kirk) decides to pursue them, defying Adm. Toddman’s (Leon Russom) orders to guard Bajor. Tain gives Garak his first assignment: interrogate Odo to find out more re: the Founders. Garak is given a device created by the Romulans which prevents Changelings from altering their form (yikes)!

Garak: We both value our privacy, our secrets. That’s why I know there’s something about the Founders you haven’t told anyone, something you didn’t even share with Starfleet and Commander Sisko. Hm? But you are going to tell *me*, Odo.

There are references to ancient Roman dictator Julius Caesar in this ep. The title The Die is Cast is taken from the words reportedly said by Caesar in 49 BC, as he led a legion of troops across the Rubicon River (an illegal act that started the Great Roman Civil War). Garak also quotes Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar to Tain (“I’m afraid the fault, dear Tain, is not in our stars but in ourselves”). The Changeling says to Odo at the end that the Dominion already has plans for the Klingon Empire and the Federation. This line is foreshadowing of the story arc in S4.

Odo: They’re still my people. I tried to deny it, I tried to forget. But I can’t! They’re my people, and I want to be with them, in the Great Link!

E21 is the first w/ Behr as EP; one of the major changes he made to the show was in action sequences. Space battles had to be shown onscreen more, not just referred to (as TNG had repeatedly done). We see the most number of ships (so far) in any of Trek. We see (again) that Garak isn’t a typical good guy; he’s capable of shady deeds (incl. torture). We see another side of Eddington (who reports directly to Toddman, not Sisko); he sabotages the cloaking device! The stakes are high here, the writing is very good, and also the directing is interesting (w/ some shots reminiscent of film noir).

Lovok: [just as Odo and Garak are to make their escape, Col. Lovok arrives armed with a disruptor, but he then hands Odo a PADD] You will need this in order to gain access to your Runabout.

Odo: [surprised] Why are you doing this?

Lovok: Because no Changeling has ever harmed another.

Episode 24: Shakaar

Odo: It has been my observation that one of the prices of giving people freedom of choice… is that sometimes, they make the wrong choice.

Sisko gets an urgent message from Bajor and delivers some bad news to Kira. Kalem Aprem, First Minister of the Provisional Government, has died from a heart attack. Kira is V upset to hear spiritual leader Kai Winn (Louise Fletcher) has already been appointed as successor. Kira can’t shake the feeling that giving Winn control is a mistake. Suddenly, Winn visits the station to see Kira; she has a favor to ask. Shakaar (Duncan Reghr), the leader of Kira’s resistance cell during the Cardassian occupation, refuses to return some government-loaned soil reclamators (used to detoxify soil poisoned by the Cardassians). Winn wants to use them in the Rakantha province, which was once Bajor’s most productive farmland. She thinks this will once again make export possible, increasing Bajor’s chances of being accepted into the Federation. Kira agrees to talk to Shakaar, who is now a farmer.

Shakaar: I didn’t fight the Cardassians for 25 years just so I can start shooting other Bajorans.

This ep serves as a sequel of sorts to Life Support; it contains references to the death of Vedek Bareil and the signing of the Bajoran-Cardassian Treaty. We meet Kira’s friends Furel (William Lucking) and Lupaza (Diane Salinger) for the first time; they have also become farmers and jokingly bicker like a long-term couple. We also see the Bajoran phaser rifle for the first time. Lenaris Holem (John Doman) is a leader in the civil police; he was also a freedom fighter in his day (and doesn’t want to fire on his own people).

I have met people who are obsessive and I find it fascinating to watch Kia Winn throughout the DS9 run. Her obsession over power is a cautionary tale about the power of fanaticism and watching her slow march into insanity is intriguing. -Excerpt from IMDB review

Episode 26: The Adversary

Major Kira: Well, now that you have another pip on your collar, does that mean I can’t disagree with you anymore?

Capt. Sisko: No. It just means, I’m never wrong.

Major Kira: Ah – we’ll see about that.

Sisko is (finally) promoted to captain; we see him for the last time w/ a full head of hair! We have the first appearance of several new sets on the Defiant, incl. main engineering, the mess hall and the extended corridor. This ep also has the first mention of the Tzenkethi, who fought a war against the Federation that Sisko participated in. They’re mentioned again later, but never seen onscreen. Sisko takes the Defiant to Tzenkethi space to prevent a coup-de-etat, which Ambassador Krajensky (Lawrence Pressman) said could be problematic. While working on the ship, O’Brien hears strange sounds; soon, breakdowns and mishaps start occurring. Sisko believes someone on-board is the cause of these acts of sabotage. This ep is the last time Alexander Siddig is credited as Siddig El Fadil as an actor.

Before things get quite serious/risky, I liked the light-hearted scene where Dax playfully questions Sisko re: Kasidy, who he recently met and went on a date w/ (thanks to Jake). Suddenly, there is a message (w/ heavy static) from a planet (Barisa Prime) saying they are under fire; Sisko assumes that war w/ Tzenkethi has broken out. They try to contact a nearby Federation ship (USS Ulysses), but it turns out that the communications relay isn’t working. O’Brien and Dax find parasites (w/ force fields protecting them) growing inside all the major systems of the Defiant.

Moore really liked this story b/c he considers it to be very un-Star Trek. Krajensky morphs into his true form as a Changeling and escapes into the conduits! You can’t trust anyone, since the enemy could be disguised as anyone. The non-essential crewmen are locked into their quarters. Then, Dax is knocked out, so O’Brien has more work to do. Control of the ship is gone; it’s cloaked, armed, and flying to the Tzenjethi border at high warp. Sisko declares to Kira that if O’Brien can’t regain control, he’ll have to destroy the ship (to prevent a war)!

Odo: [on using a phaser on a fellow Changeling] In the history of my people, no Changeling has ever harmed another. I’d hate to be the first.

Eddington: Apparently that Changeling doesn’t feel the same way. If we don’t stop him, no one on board will escape unharmed, including you.

Odo: You may be right. But I’ve been a Security officer most of my humanoid existence; and in all that time, I’ve never found it necessary to fire a weapon, or take a life. I don’t intend to start now.

They break off into teams of 2, armed w/ phaser rifles (modified NOT to damage equipment), and sweep the ship. The Changeling attacks a security officer (stunt coordinator Dennis Madalone) and strangles him inside a Jeffries tube! Sisko tries to follow it, then comes across a stand-off between a Bolian security officer and Kira in the corridor. Odo and Eddington come upon the scene also. Odo punches out the Bolian who was refusing to drop his phaser. Sisko decides that Bashir will test everyone’s blood to reveal who is the Changeling. Unlike humanoids, they revert to their natural gelatinous state when injured. Though we think Eddington is the one, it turns out the Changeling has morphed into Bashir (trapping the real doctor in the brig)! The Changeling escapes again inside the conduits- Odo follows him.

We learn that the ship has changed course and it heading to a Tzenkethi colony just 12 mins away. On the bridge, Sisko initiates the auto-destruct sequence, then Kira follows up; it’s set to a 10 min. counter. While O’Brien and a crewman work to get the force fields down around the Changeling, two versions of Odo appear in Engineering! Kira says that shuttlebay doors are closed and evacuation pods are locked also. Whoa, this is as tense as things can get!

The fight between Odo and the Changeling was very complicated to put together b/c of many morphing effects. There were more morphing effects in this scene than in the the rest of S3, producer Steve Oster noted. The writers decided to use the line “no changeling has ever harmed another” as an important element; this line had been heard before (The Search, Part II, Heart of Stone and The Die is Cast). Odo is very affected by the other Changeling’s death.

Odo: Captain, there’s something you need to know. The Changeling, before he… died – he whispered something to me.

Capt. Sisko: Go on.

Odo: He said…”You’re too late. We are everywhere.”

[1] This is a very tense episode with lots of surprises and twists. I also appreciated the ending when you see Odo do something you’d never expect! All in all, one of the better episodes- which is true of all the Changeling episodes.

[2] As the crew start to distrust each other and the sense of paranoia increases the atmosphere becomes more tense.

[3] Good story, good action, and good performances combine to make an open-ended season finale without a contrived or over-the-top cliffhanger.

Deep Space Nine can be great Trek when it wants to be…

-Excerpts from IMDB comments

“Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (1982)

In the 23rd century, Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) is an instructor at Starfleet Academy. Kirk is feeling old; he now needs reading glasses, which are given to him by Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley). The prospect of going on his ship (USS Enterprise) on a 2-week training mission doesn’t make Kirk feel any younger. Soon, the ship faces possible danger, when the genetically engineered Khan (Ricardo Montalban) appears after years of exile on a secluded planet. Khan wants to capture Project Genesis (a top secret device holding the power of creation itself) and kill Kirk!

[On whether Kirk should assume command from Spock]

Spock: If I may be so bold, it was a mistake for you to accept promotion. Commanding a starship is your first, best destiny; anything else is a waste of material.

Kirk: I would not presume to debate you.

Spock: That is wise. Were I to invoke logic, however, logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Kirk: Or the one.

Spock: You are my superior officer. You are also my friend. I have been and always shall be yours.

This the Trek film that will appeal to BOTH long-time/newbie fans and casual viewers alike! So far, I’ve watched this 3x in the last 6 yrs. The acting is good from all involved, the directing is not flashy (yet tells the story effectively), and it has a few very emotional moments as well. Do you have to be middle-aged to appreciate it fully? Hmm… I’d say no, but it does help!

Executive Producer Harve Bennett was known for being able to make films w/ low budgets; Paramount Studios wanted him to make this film for under $45M. He’d never seen any of TOS; he viewed all the eps and chose Space Seed as the best candidate for a sequel. Bennett realized that one of the problems w/ the Star Trek: The Motion Picture (ST:TMP) was the lack of a strong villain. Gene Roddenberry stayed on as “creative consultant” position. On ST:TMP, Paramount blamed the constant production delays and budget overruns on Roddenberry’s constant meddling and slow script rewrites. This is the first time a feature film was made as a sequel to a specific TV ep.

My intention with Khan was to express the fact that they had been marooned on that planet with no technical infrastructure, so they had to cannibalize from the spaceship whatever they used or wore. Therefore, I tried to make it look as if they had dressed themselves out of pieces of upholstery and electrical equipment that composed the ship. -Robert Fletcher (costume designer)

Director Nicholas Meyer (just 36 y.o.) hadn’t seen any of TOS either; this was only his 2nd movie! Meyer, Bennett, Jack B. Sowards, and Samuel A. Peeples all worked on the screenplay. For the musical score, Bennett chose James Horner (only 28 y.o.) He adapted the opening fanfare of Alexander Courage’s TOS theme; he created several themes and motifs (shorter pieces) which have become iconic. Although Gene Roddenberry TOS w/ a military structure, he avoided “excessive militarism” (his words). However, Meyer decided to further expand on this, making the uniforms/insignias more military in style. He also added a ship’s bell and boatswain’s whistle; he wrote the dialogue to reflect naval protocol. Such details greatly influenced the later films and spin-off TV series, as long-time fans will note!

I’m sure that I was influenced by Goldsmith’s large orchestral scores when I started out, and that was because the people who employed me wanted that kind of sound. I wasn’t in a position to say “Go to hell!” -James Horner (composer)

Some TOS fans and media critics have often wondered re: Marla McGivers (the Starfleet officer who fell in love w/ Khan). On the Star Trek: The Pod Directive podcast, I learned that actress Madlyn Rhue was to reprise her role. However, she had suffered w/ multiple sclerosis, so was using wheelchair. Marla was written out, explaining she’d been killed by the vicious eel creatures. Montalban said in interviews that “Khan loved his wife passionately, and blames Kirk for her death.” The actor realized early on in his career that a good villain doesn’t see himself as villainous; he’s the hero of his own story. In the mid-1980s, James Doohan (Scotty) stated that he felt that Montalban should’ve been nominated for an Academy Award for his role.

She was getting advice from all sides, and the studio kept trying to make it more of a ‘tits and ass’ performance. I said, “No, no, no. That’s real. You’re in the Navy. You’re a pro. Just do your job. You’re good. You’re at the top of your class there.” -Meyer re: Kirstie Alley’s character (Lt. Saavik)

A woman who was beautiful and looked like she could think. A woman who was attractive enough, that you could see why Kirk would fall for her, and at the same time somebody who could keep up with him. -Meyer re: Bibi Besch’s character (Dr. Carol Marcus)

This is the film debut of Kirstie Alley (who loved TOS), who plays Spock’s young/ambitious protegee- Lt. Saavik. When Syfy aired this film on TV, Leonard Nimoy appeared during commercial breaks, sharing various memories/trivia. One of the items was the character backstory of Lt. Saavik, who was supposed to have Romulan/Vulcan heritage, which was why she was more emotional than a pure-blooded Vulcan. There are hints re: this all through the film: she once exclaims “damn” after failing the Kobayashi Maru test, she gasps in shock seeing the dead body of Midshipman Preston, and gets teary-eyed during Spock’s funeral. When they speak to each other in Vulcan, Nimoy and Alley actually spoke in English, and then the sound people (w/ feedback from linguist Marc Okrand) created the Vulcan words to match the movements of their mouths, which they later overdubbed.

Joachim: We’re all with you, sir. But, consider this. We are free. We have a ship, and the means to go where we will. We have escaped permanent exile on Ceti Alpha V. You have defeated the plans of Admiral Kirk. You do not need to defeat him again.

Khan: [from Melville’s Moby Dick] He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him! I’ll chase him ’round the moons of Nibia and ’round the Antares Maelstrom and ’round perdition’s flames before I give him up!

As fans are bound to expect from the world of Trek, there are several literary references here. Kirk gets the novel A Take of Two Cities from Spock as a birthday gift. Khan’s bookshelf contains a few books, incl. Paradise Lost, Moby DIck, and King Lear. The phrase “to the last I grapple with thee; from Hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.” is taken from Capt. Ahab’s speech in Moby Dick. Kirk’s apt. in San Fran was filled w/ antique collectibles, revealing his attachment to the past.

The battle of wits between Kirk and Khan inside the Mutara Nebula was inspired by the one between destroyer captain Robert Mitchum and U-boat commander Curd Jürgens in The Enemy Below, which was also the inspiration for (much-loved) TOS ep Balance of Terror. Another movie connection is Run Silent, Run Deep, where rival U.S. and Japanese submarine commanders both went to full stop in their underwater duel, in very close proximity, to avoid giving away their positions and to try to figure out what the other sub was doing.

The model of the USS Reliant (a Miranda class starship) was designed so that the warp nacelles hung below the fuselage, so audiences wouldn’t confuse it w/ the Enterprise (particularly in the action sequences). The computer simulation of Genesis transforming a dead planet is the 1st complete computer-generated sequence ever used in a feature film- wow! The graphics divisions of Lucasfilm worked on the visual effects for this movie; they also worked on Star Wars.

[1] Not only is this movie loaded with the original characters from the series, it also touches on such subjects as revenge, family, duty, age and, of course, sacrifice. That was the best thing about the series – that it touched on topics that were (pardon the expression) universal, no matter the species.

[2] The Wrath of Khan isn’t a science fiction film as much as it’s an old-fashioned adventure story dressed up in vintage science fiction tropes.

This tension, between life and death, immortality and mortality, success and failure, is epitomised by the Genesis device, a super weapon in the film which has to power to both create and destroy.

[3] William Shatner, after the stinging reviews of his stilted performance in ST:TMP, needed a strong script to provide ‘damage control’, and he got it. In perhaps his finest performance, he dominates the screen… Both decisive and likable, Shatner’s Kirk is the glue that holds ST:TWOK together, and he is brilliant.

Leonard Nimoy, getting every actor’s dream, a chance to die onscreen, gives Spock a poignancy that is, ultimately, heartbreaking; DeForest Kelley, excellent as Dr. McCoy, not only offers righteous indignation over the implications of the Genesis Project, but projects such an obvious affection for both Kirk and his “sparring partner,” Spock, that, far more than in the first film, you can see the nearly symbiotic link between the three leads. The rest of the original cast, despite small roles, still have far more to do than in the first film…

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews

“Heat” (1995) starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, & Val Kilmer

[repeated line]

Neil McCauley: Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.

This movie (written/dir. by Michael Mann) is considered a neo-noir; it’s slick, stylish, BUT also has plenty of substance. It was filmed in L.A. (which looks esp. beautiful in the night shots, thanks to cinematographer Dante Spinotti). You may have heard that this is the 1st time that Al Pacino and Robert De Niro shared a scene- wow! Rather than dubbing in the gunshots during the pivotal bank robbery/shootout, Mann had microphones placed around the set, so that the audio could be captured live. This added to the impact of the scene- it sounded like no other gunfight onscreen!

Eady: You travel a lot?

Neil McCauley: Yeah.

Eady: Traveling makes you lonely?

Neil McCauley: I’m alone, I am not lonely.

Career thief Neil McCauley (De Niro) and LAPD Lt. Vincent Hanna (Pacino) are BOTH great at their jobs and strong leaders who command respect. However, they are NOT so self-assured when it comes to their personal lives; they are facing loneliness (something that is NOT hard to relate to after surviving quarantine life). Hanna’s marriage w/ his 3rd wife, Justine (Diane Venora), has become strained; Justine’s teen daughter Lauren (Natalie Portman- in a small, yet touching role) is emotionally troubled b/c of her absentee father. McCauley meets an introverted/younger woman, Eady (Amy Brenneman); she works at a bookstore and as a graphic designer. He lets her talk about herself, but doesn’t reveal much about his life; he says he’s a traveling salesman. At first, Brenneman disliked the script and refused her role, saying it was too filled w/ blood with no morality; Mann told her that with that mind set, she would be perfect for Eady.

Vincent Hanna: I gotta hold on to my angst. I preserve it because I need it. It keeps me sharp, on the edge, where I gotta be.

McCauley’s crew includes Chris Sheherlis (Val Kilmer), Michael Cheritto (Tom Sizemore), Trejo (Danny Trejo- who’d spent time at Folsom), Waingro (Kevin Gage- who later spent time in jail), and eventually- Donald Breedan (Dennis Haysbert). Hanna’s crew from Robbery/Homicide Division includes Drucker (Mykelti Williamson), Casals (Wes Studi), and Bosco (Ted Levine). In preparation for their roles, those playing criminals spent time w/ former criminals and their families; those playing cops did the same. Unlike most heist movies, there are domestic scenes here, so we get to know McCauley’s crew. Chris is still in love w/ his wife Charlene (Ashley Judd); his gambling problem and quick temper are the issues that are driving her away. They have a baby son and live in a ranch-style suburban house. Michael has a wife, two young kids, and some savings; he stays in the game (even when things get dangerous) b/c of the thrill. Trejo has a wife who he dotes on. Donald, recently out on parole, thinks he doesn’t deserve his loving/loyal wife; he chafes against his job cleaning up a greasy diner (and disrespect from his boss).

Vincent: So you never wanted a regular type life?

Neil: What the f**k is that? Barbeques and ballgames?

Mann made the movie as tribute to a detective friend of his in Chicago, who tracked/killed a thief (named Neil McCauley), who he had once met under non-violent circumstances. The scene where McCauley and Hanna meet face-to-face has some great dialogue; it was shot at a real restaurant known for its late-night dining. Pacino and De Niro decided NOT to rehearse before they did this scene, so it would seem fresh; Mann agreed to this also. If you like your action films w/ something extra, then check it out.

[1]… Heat is a cinematic banquet of intense imagery and pulse-pounding action. Come hungry.

[2] The cops are similar to the robbers and vice-versa. Perhaps Mann is telling us were all the same. Except in what we do. Every speaking part holds substance in this movie…

[3] It seems one of Michael Mann’s main priorities was to make a film with a dreamlike feel to it, to portray LA as a dusty oil-painting on which complex characters could play out their lives. One of the main themes is the similarity of the career criminal and the street-wise cop. It is fascinating to find yourself really feeling for De Niro’s tragic bank-robber, a man of philosophical merit who realises he’s stuck in a life of crime he doesn’t want to lead. Pacino’s cop is less easy to sympathise with, but he too leads an in-escapable life of guns and crime.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews

“The Godfather: Part II” (1974) starring Al Pacino & Robert De Niro

[Don Cicci is threatening to kill young Vito]

Signora Andolini: But Vito is only nine. And dumb-witted. The child cannot harm you.

The early buzz on The Godfather (1972) was so positive that a sequel was planned before filming ended. Francis Ford Coppola re-wrote the entire script over a weekend b/c Al Pacino said he didn’t like the original and wouldn’t do the film. Later, he admitted to Coppola that he hadn’t actually disliked the first script all that much, but knew it could be better. Pacino was paid $500,000 plus a 10% share of the profits; he’d earned only $25,000 for the first film. Since Coppola had such a difficult time directing The Godfather, he asked to pick a different director for the sequel (and take the title of producer for himself). He chose Martin Scorsese, but the film executives rejected the idea; Coppola agreed to direct again and was given a lot of creative freedom.

Only the scenes about the young Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) have any basis in Mario Puzo’s book. The story re: Michael (Al Pacino) and family in Las Vegas is unique to the film. De Niro (just 30 y.o.) had screen tested for Sonny; Coppola was so impressed that he called him back again to audition for Vito. De Niro (who is 25% Italian) lived in Sicily for 3 mos. and studied the Sicilian language for 4 mos. – wow! This was the first sequel to receive 5 Academy Award noms for acting: Talia Shire (Best Actress in a Suporting Role), Lee Strasberg (Best Actor in a Supporting Role), Michael V. Gazzo (Best Actor in a Supporting Role) and Pacino (Best Actor); De Niro took home the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

Sen. Geary: I despise your masquerade, the dishonest way you pose yourself. You and your whole f*****g family.

Michael: We’re both part of the same hypocrisy, senator, but never think it applies to my family.

The communion party here is a stark contrast to Connie’s wedding in Part I; it is out on Lake Tahoe (and for show/publicity), lacks culture (Frank Pentangeli laments that there is no traditional Italian food/songs), and (above all) seems emotionally cold. Sen. Geary (G.D. Spradlin) intentionally mispronounces “Corleone.” There is the awkward photoshoot w/ the donation check Michael gave to the local university. Before he died, Vito admitted to Michael that he hoped he’d a “big shot” who “pulled the strings” (like a governor or senator). We see Michael rebuffing the demands of the (openly racist) Sen. Geary, and making demands of his own. He is seeking respectability (still) and also trying to expand his empire to Cuba (w/ the help of Hyman Roth, played by renown acting teacher Lee Strasberg). Pacino requested that Strasberg take on this role, as he admired the man’s talent so much!

[during the play ‘Senza Mamma’]

Genco Abbandando: Vito, how do you like my little angel? Isn’t she beautiful?

Vito Corleone: She’s very beautiful. To you, she’s beautiful. For me, there’s only my wife and son.

In flashback, we see the life of young Vito Andolini; his father was killed for insulting a powerful man, Don Cicci. Soon after, his older brother (in hiding) was killed. When his mother (boldly) appealed to Don Cicci, she was shot/killed also. Vito was hidden by some (brave) neighbors and travelled alone to Ellis Island. The clerk thinks that Vito’s surname is the name of his hometown (Corleone). Then the boy is put into quarantine for several weeks in a tiny room from where he can see the Statue of Liberty. Wow, what an impactful series of scenes (w/o much dialogue)!

Michael Corleone: My father taught me many things here – he taught me in this room. He taught me: keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

As one astute reviewer noted: “The Godfather Part II is not really a movie about the mafia, it is a movie about a man’s life long struggle.” While Vito’s empire was built on respect, Michael’s empire is built on fear. Look at the way Michael treats his own family- yikes! He doesn’t even acknowledge the fiance of his younger sister Connie (who he compares to a “whore”). Connie (Talia Shire) has lived overseas, trying to escape issues at home; she hasn’t spent much time w/ her kids (which concerns Mama). As for older brother Fredo (John Cazale), he’s still handling the hotel/casino end of the business, but wants to do more. His blonde/buxom wife gets drunk and flirts openly w/ other men. Michael is embarrassed by her behavior; Fredo is emasculated as he can’t control his wife (w/o intervention from bodyguards). There is an (obvious) distance between Michael and his adopted older brother/lawyer, Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall), who is no longer privy to certain aspects of the biz. Kay (Diane Keaton) is still around, BUT we can sense the tension in the marriage; Michael had promised her that the biz would be “legitimate” several years ago. Then there is the audacious shooting in their bedroom; hitmen were able to come onto the estate w/o being noticed!

Vito Corleone: I make him an offer he don’ refuse. Don’ worry.

In 1920, Vito is already married w/ a baby son (Sonny) and delivering groceries in Little Italy; he is a quiet and observant young man. His best friend Genco (Frank Sivero) takes him to a show to see the actress he has a crush on. They see a flashily-dressed local man, Don Fanucci (Gaston Moschin), threatening the actress and her father backstage w/ a knife; Genco said they need to get out of there. It turns out that Don Fanucci is pushing around local businessmen; Vito loses his job b/c his boss (who is like a father to him) is forced to hire the don’s nephew. Vito handles this disappointment well, not even taking the box of food offered to him. We sense that somehow he will find a way to provide for this family. Enter Clemenza (a very young Bruno Kirby- best known for When Harry Met Sally), who is a petty criminal who asks Vito for help. Vito seizes the opportunity, hiding a bedsheet folded up w/ handguns in his apt.

This is NOT your typical sequel; it’s a mix of a sequel and prequel (as many viewers have commented). The two stories have distinct looks, as they take place in different time periods (mainly the early 1920s and late 1950s), and b/c of their different tones. Though Michael’s world is much bigger in scope than young Vito’s, it lacks the warmth of a happy home/family and close friendships/connections. Michael has distanced himself so far from his Italian/immigrant roots that he no longer recognizes the values of his father’s generation. Is Michael the villain and Vito the hero (some viewers have wondered)? De Niro (youthful/slim/handsome) knows how to play subtlety; he just becomes the character! You will even see a few gestures that Brando used, but they come off as natural.

[1] Al Pacino’s performance is quiet and solemn… He is cold and ruthless, with a whole contrast from the idealistic innocent war hero we initially met at the beginning of the first film…

De Niro’s rise, from an orphan child by a family feud back in Italy to a hood in New York and his position as a respected Don, provides a welcome break from Pacino’s relentless attitude…

[2] Al Pacino is the standout in the ensemble cast and its amazing how his eyes have changed from the first part. They are now cold , ruthless and unemotional and betray the price which Michael Corleone has paid for power.

[3] Without spoiling, I will simply say the Robert De Niro as the young Vito is the best acting performance of all time, a role for which he won a richly deserved Oscar.

[4] Nino Rota’s musical score plays an even greater role in this equal but different successor than it did in the predecessor. Yearning, lamenting, stimulating bygone ages, see how infectiously Nino Rota’s music affects our sentiments for the savage events on screen. It is the pulse of the films.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews