“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

Bond Hits Box Office Gold: “Goldfinger” (1964)

James Bond (Sean Connery- aged 34 and very confident in his role) is on a new mission takes him to Kentucky, where Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe) and his henchmen are planning to raid Fort Knox and wreak havoc on the world’s economy. To save the world, Bond will need to get close to Goldfinger. Also, he has to keep his mind off pilot, Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman- already an experienced TV actress), who says she is “immune” to his charm.

Goldfinger: Man has climbed Mount Everest, gone to the bottom of the ocean. He’s fired rockets at the Moon, split the atom, achieved miracles in every field of human endeavor… except crime!

Ian Fleming visited the set while filming was going on, as w/ the previous 2 films; he died less than a month before the movie’s release (August 12, 1964). This was the fastest grossing movie in history; some theaters had to operate for 24 hrs. a day to meet demand! It even won an Oscar for Best Sound Effects. The opening credits show us a woman (Margaret Nolan, who played Dink) in gold paint and we hear the the title song (sung by Shirley Bassey). For the orchestral opening to the title song, composer John Barry (who had total control over the score/song) used trombones, trumpets, French horns, and a tuba. The re-creation of the Fort Knox repository at Pinewood Studios (by production designer Ken Adam and his team) was very accurate, considering that they weren’t been allowed inside the real location (b/c of security reasons). Goldfinger’s 3-D model map (for his “Operation Grand Slam” plan) is located at the real Fort Knox.

Q: Now this one I’m particularly keen about. You see the gear lever here? Now, if you take the top off, you will find a little red button. Whatever you do, don’t touch it.

Bond: Yeah, why not?

Q: Because you’ll release this section of the roof, and engage and then fire the passenger ejector seat. Whish!

Bond: Ejector seat? You’re joking!

Q: I never joke about my work, 007.

Aston Martin was reluctant to part with two of their cars, so the producers had to pay; after the success of the movie, they never had to spend money on a car again. Spielberg liked this Bond film above all the others (esp. the old lady firing the machine gun); he owns an Aston Martin DB5. Long-time fans noted that Q came into his own here; director Guy Hamilton advised Desmond Llewelyn to add humor into the character. So, we see the start of the friendly antagonism between Q and Bond. We see Q’s workshop for the first time w/ men testing out various gadgets. Tilly Masterson’s (Tania Mallet’s) Ford Mustang was the first appearance by a Mustang (released in April of 1964) in a movie.

Bond: Do you expect me to talk?

Goldfinger: No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!

Goldfinger and his henchman Oddjob (played by a wrestler from Hawaii- Harold Sakata) are considered two of the great movie villains; the actors portraying them are opposite of their characters. Fellow cast members have remarked how charming and friendly Fröbe (who came from Germany) and Sakata were off-camera. Fröbe can be seen singing and dancing in the popular children’s movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). It is speculated that Goldfinger was based on a German spy who once tried to rob the Bank of England during WWI; Fleming was a high-ranking officer in Naval Intelligence, so would’ve had access to such info.

Bond: My dear girl, there are some things that just aren’t done, such as drinking Dom Perignon ’53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s just as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs!

Shirley Eaton (who played Jill Masterson) underwent 2 hrs. of make-up for the gold-painted death scene. “Skin suffocation” by being coated in gold has no basis in fact. A doctor was on set at all times and Eaton’s shots lasted less than 5 mins. in the final movie. Blackman (who also knew judo) was the oldest Bond girl (39 y.o.) until Monica Belucci (51 y.o.) appeared in Spectre (2015); however, Belucci didn’t play Bond’s love interest.

To reflect the main setting, we see horses, the precursor to KFC restaurants, a military base, and (of course) drinks w/ whiskey on a wrap-around porch. I could’ve done w/o the segment on golfing; aside from that, the movie moved along at a good pace. I didn’t watch it 2x (as I’d done with To Russia with Love), but I did re-watch segments I liked. The flying scenes were cool, as were the soldiers (simultaneously) falling like they’d gone to sleep. So far, Blackman is the most interesting Bond girl; she has a strong personality and (surprise) a brain! Some of you may’ve seen the Mike Myers’ parody- Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002).

[1] Thanks to a long film with lots of twists and turns, it felt like a real adventure–very escapist and satisfying.

[2] For me Goldfinger is the slickest of the Bond films in terms of how the stunts are performed and how the story is told. The story mayn’t be the most exciting of all the Bonds, but it is still very gripping. The direction is sly, the cinematography is stylish, the locations are stunning and I can never get enough of the theme song sung by Shirley Bassey.

[3] I believe he was the most dangerous opponent James Bond ever fought with in all of his films. Watch that fight scene that Harold Sakata had with Sean Connery, he’s got Connery almost down for the count. Fighting skills can only carry you so far when your opponent outweighs you and is built like a brick outhouse. In fact it’s only sheer trickery in which Connery overcomes Sakata in a shocking conclusion.

[4] The various scenes of action are slick and exciting, especially the explosive, spectacular last fifteen minutes which sees a brilliant fight scene between Bond and Oddjob, one of the best ever. The sight of Frobe being sucked out of a plane window is also something to remember.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews

James Bond is Back: “From Russia with Love” (1963)

James Bond AKA 007 (Sean Connery) is on the search for a Russian decoding machine- Lektor. Bond needs to find this machine before the evil S.P.E.C.T.R.E. organization discovers it. While being romantically linked w/ a young Russian K.G.B. agent, Tatiana Romanova (21 y.o. Daniela Bianchi), Bond works his way around Istanbul, while S.P.E.C.T.R.E. agents tries to kill him, incl. blonde/beefy Donald “Red” Grant (Robert Shaw) and redheaded/petite ex-K.G.B. agent Col. Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya). I learned that Klebb is one of the few female villains in the Bond franchise.

JFK listed Ian Fleming’s book as among his top 10 fave novels; this list was published in Life Magazine on March 17, 1961. Possibly as a result, the producers decided to make this the 2nd Bond movie. This was the last movie JFK ever saw (in a private screening in the White House) on November 20, 1963. This movie broke box-office records, and was responsible for launching Connery as a major star. Producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman didn’t want the main enemy to be Russian; they decided on the fictitious criminal organization (S.P.E.C.T.R.E.) was seeking revenge for the death of their operative (Dr. No). The S.P.E.C.T.R.E. training school was inspired by the gladiator school from Spartacus (1960).

Bond: [in atypical self-effacement] Suppose when she meets me in the flesh I-I don’t come up to expectations?

M: Just see that you do.

Three beauty pageant queens are actresses in this movie: Bianchi (who is confident/natural onscreen), Martine Beswick, and Aliza Gur. Bianchi (Italy) and Gur (Israel) were roommates at Miss Universe 1960, in which Bianchi was 1st runner-up. Gur and Beswick (a former Miss Jamaica) play the the gypsy (Romany) women who fight over the same man. Beswick (who had a British father and Japanese/Portuguese mother) would return as Bond’s assistant (Paula) in Thunderball. M (Bernard Lee) and Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) are back, of course. This is the last appearance of Sylvia Trench (Eunice Gayson); she was intended to be Bond’s girlfriend, but producers decided otherwise. We meet a new version of Major Boothroyd AKA Q (Desmond Llewelyn); he’d go on to appear in several films in the series. We also meet Bond’s spy/friend in Istanbul, Ali Karim Bey (Pedro Armendariz- a veteran Mexican-American actor); he has many sons (who work for him), a big/fun personality, and can fight/shoot (when needed).

Special permission was granted to film in St Sophia’s Mosque which had never granted permission before. Over 3,500 people went to the Sirkeci Railway Station in Istanbul to see the filming, which caused delays. Director Terence Young had stuntman Peter Perkins create a distraction by hanging upside down from a balcony nearby- LOL! Several years earlier, Alfred Hitchcock had been considered to direct; the helicopter chase scene is an homage to his cropduster sequence in North by Northwest (1959). As one of the hosts on the Now Playing podcast commented: “It was like the trashy version of North by Northwest.” LOL! Product placements, brand, and promos included: Rolex, Taittinger Blanc de Blanc champagne, a billboard advertising another movie made by producers Saltzman and Broccoli (Call Me Bwana) starring Anita Ekberg and Bob Hope, and Bentley.

Bond: Red wine with fish. Well, that should have told me something.

Grant: You may know the right wines, but you’re the one on your knees. How does it feel old man?

The villains make this movie much more interesting than Dr. No; they get time to have some character development and seem like they could be a threat to Bond. The man in charge of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. (Blofeld) is shown stroking a white cat, but his face is hidden. I wasn’t that interested in the gypsy camp section (until the baddies burst in); in one case, Grant ended up saving Bond’s life. Did the Anglophiles notice this faux pas on the train? Grant (who some referred to as “a shadow Bond”) addressed Bond as “old man” when pretending to be Capt. Nash. He was also calling Bond as “sir”, so odd to use “old man” (when he’s not a friend or of same rank). The big fight between Bond and Nash inside the train compartment was tense and exciting; I think it holds up well even today! After reading the script, Shaw called it “rubbish” (trash), but his wife convinced him to reconsider. At that time, he was working in the London theater, and also had a young family to support. If you’ve never seen a Bond film, give this one a try!

[1] I loved From Russia With Love. If I had one minor problem with the film, it would be that I did find the film slow in places. But I cannot deny it is a tightly plotted and well acted James Bond thriller with superb action to boot. The film looks amazing, with wonderful cinematography and stunning locations, and the action is constantly fast paced and the stunts jaw dropping. The music score from John Barry is one of the more memorable scores in any Bond movie, with its brilliant main theme my favourite.

[2] Shaw is terrifying in his role and the fact he did it without much use of a voice that was one of the best in the English language, testifies to his ability as an actor. His confrontation with Connery on the Orient Express is one of the great fight scenes ever done on film.

[3] One thing I liked a lot was the inclusion of more comedy than in the previous adventure, which Bond’s one-liners being consistently amusing and lots of little odd touches (like Bond realising that Shaw is an impostor when he orders red wine with fish, of all things).

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews

The 1st Bond Movie: “Dr. No” (1962)

There’s no question that this first entry in the still running series is a pure classic as it pretty much set-up every superhero/secret agent movie that would follow. Director Francois Truffaut gave an interview in 1979 stating that he believed this film helped ruin cinema as he felt movies were meant to tell a story so that people would believe it. I don’t agree with Truffaut but I can see how some might be put off by this film since it, in many ways, does play out like a guy’s fantasy. Bond is certainly the character any guy would want to be as he’s smooth talking, tough, gets all the ladies and in the end he always wins. With that said, I’m sure Truffaut shouldn’t have taken the film too seriously as the goal was probably just to deliver an entertaining movie. 

-Excerpt from IMDB review

This is the 1st Bond movie; it is based on the writings of Ian Fleming (who was himself a former British spy). Perhaps some of your parents recall seeing it (or some of the following films in the franchise) in theaters in their youth. I think I saw all of the films (starring Pierce Brosnan) in theaters w/ my family. My parents saw From Russia with Love several times when it aired on TV; this was likely in the mid-1970s in England. My dad commented that he liked Roger Moore’s version of Bond. I don’t know too much re: Bond films; many consider them to be “fantasy wish fulfillment,” while others feel they are “problematic.”

James Bond AKA 007 (Sean Connery)- Britain’s top agent- is on a mission to solve the mysterious murder of a fellow agent. The task sends him to Jamaica, where he joins forces w/ Quarrel (John Kitzmiller) and a C.I.A. Agent, Felix Leiter (Jack Lord). While dodging a tarantula, “dragon,” and “three blind mice” assassins, Bond meets beautiful Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) and goes face to face w/ the evil Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman).

Connery won the role of Bond after producer Albert R. Broccoli attended a screening of Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959)- no joke! He was particularly impressed w/ the fist fight Connery has with a village bully; Broccoli later had his wife Dana see the movie and confirm his sex appeal. Fleming didn’t originally like the casting of Connery. Bond was English, but Connery was Scottish (his accent pops out often); Bond was from an upper-class background, but Connery was working-class; Bond was refined/educated, and Connery was rugged. Fleming served in British Naval Intelligence during World War II; he was acquainted w/ David Niven, then a Major with the British Commandos. Niven was Fleming’s first choice to play Bond. Director Terence Young called Connery “a diamond in the rough;” he spent time to polish him up, such as introducing him into British high society and getting him a new wardrobe.

The opening credits to Dr. No are wacky: flashing lights, dancing people, then three blind men walking around. Then we have the (now iconic) opening created by Maurice Binder almost at the last minute. It is the sequence where an assassin tracks Bond (played by Connery’s stuntman Bob Simmons), but he turns and shoots the assassin, all seen through the assassin’s gun barrel. The James Bond theme originated from a song Good Sign, Bad Sign composed by Monty Norman for a musical that was never produced. John Barry arranged and orchestrated Norman’s theme to produce the theme as it is known worldwide. The introduction of Bond is an homage to a technique from William Dieterle’s Juarez (1939): a series of close-ups of the character w/o revealing the face, cross-cutting w/ the other characters in the scene and the gambling table, then the face is revealed as Bond states his name. The filmmakers didn’t know that the way that Bond introduces himself would become iconic; he was jokingly speaking the way Sylvia did!

[James Bond’s first scene, winning a game of chemin-de-fer]

Bond: I admire your courage, Miss…?

Sylvia: Trench. Sylvia Trench. I admire your luck, Mr…?

Bond: Bond. James Bond.

Do clothes make the man? Well, many feel that all men look better in suits or tuxedos (which are worn rarely in today’s society). Connery’s suits were made by Saville Row (as Bond says in the movie); the tailor Anthony Sinclair stated that a truly great bespoke suit would be able to stand up to a good deal of abuse (such as grabbing by the lapels) and still look great afterwards. This is one of only 3 times when we see Bond’s apt. Though the film was low budget (est. at $1M), Ken Adam’s created sets which impressed Stanley Kubrick. The young director hired Adams to be production designer on Dr. Strangelove (1964).

[Professor Dent tries to kill Bond, but his gun is out of bullets]

Bond: That’s a Smith & Wesson and you’ve had your six.

[Bond shoots Dent twice]

As a movie critic noted, Bond (unlike most screen heroes before him) is a sexual being. Well, maybe this is a BIT too much for some viewers? Seriously, I don’t know if his (casual) attitude on relationships reflected what was happening in the early 1960s. We meet the first “Bond girls,” who’d become a staple of the series; of course, these female characters have evolved over the decades. Sylvia Trench (Eunice Gayson) is the woman who Bond meets while gambling. Lois Maxwell (Miss Moneypenny) was actually Canadian; she plays the loyal/classy secretary to M, Moneypenny isn’t a prude, as she obviously enjoys flirting w/ Bond. However, the woman who made the biggest impression was Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress- who was Swiss-born and new to movies). Her salary for the film was only $6,000 Both Gayson and Andress had their voices dubbed; Andress had a thick accent when she spoke English. Andress’ bikini top was made from an underwire bra sold from a Saks in NYC. Costume designer Tessa Welborn ordered 3 of theses bras, covered them in cotton, and refined the design. The belt for the bikini was made from a white webbing Army belt, w/ brass fittings and a scabbard.

It’s a mystery. All I did was wear this bikini, not even a small one, and whoosh! Overnight, I made it.

-Andress

“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