Thanks to the Thanksgiving holiday, I was again in the mode of family-themed things and reminiscing about past events. That means remembering more movies that I got into thanks to the folks. One that came to mind in this instance was the entire Star Trek fascination.
Both Mom and Dad were big Star Trek fans back in the day. When they found out Star Trek was finally coming to the big screen, they couldn't wait to see it and took us too to the now defunct River Hills in Des Moines. I don't know if it was what they expected but I was thoroughly disappointed. I'm going to give the series a pass on that one because back then, I'm thinking just the fact of having all of those icons from the original series on the big screen was probably enough to start the craze. Unfortunately, it didn't matter that the story was terrible.
They got it right big time with the sequel "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan". Someone got the brilliant idea to take one of the best episodes from the original series and extending it into a full-length movie. This included getting Ricardo Montalban onboard to reprise his role as Khan.
The reason this one worked so much better was due in part to many factors. First and foremost, it again reunited the original cast to draw in the fans from the series. They took the huge risk of killing off Spock, probably one of the most-beloved characters from the show. However, they set it up in such a way that anyone with common sense knew he would be coming back, which also gave them an out for yet another sequel.
Secondly, they actually decided to include real action in this one. It had come out during the height of the original Star Wars trilogy so they knew they had to step up the sci-fi action portion of it if they wanted to capture the same type of audience. Looking back, the special effects pale in comparison to today's cinema but for then, they were awesome.
Thirdly and maybe not quite as important was the idea to get Montalban involved. At the time, he was a huge star with "Fantasy Island" which created automatic recognition for all of us who weren't old enough to remember Star Trek's original run. We were vaguely familiar with the Star Trek crew but in a day when network television was the juggernaut and "Fantasy Island" was a weekly top 10 show, we all knew Mr. Roarke. As a matter of fact, I didn't realize until the last couple of years that he was actually wearing a chest plate to get the pecs for that role. I just assumed he had buffed up off steroids.
I just watched this flick again recently and it's amazing how it still holds up after all the time. Even though the special effects are very dated, the story of Khan's infatuation with revenge against Kirk and how that relationship affects everyone around the both of them was brilliantly done. After a dozen or so Star Trek movies, this one is still the best one in the franchise. Plus, who can forget one of the best movie lines of all time...