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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: "Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (Highly Recommended) (with screenshots)



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#1 of 153 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 26 2002 - 12:02 AM

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Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan






Studio: Paramount
Year: 1982
Rated: PG
Film Length: 116 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)



"The needs of the many outweigh
the needs of the few"


It's sort of interesting that Star Trek II: The
Wrath of Khan
is making history on home video
for a second time. First, back in the early 80s
when it cost about $80 to buy your favorite movie
on VHS tape, Paramount boldly went where no studio
had gone before and made Khan their very
first sell-through title. Now, when studios are
rehashing catalog products left and right, Khan
makes history again for the studio as being the very
first reissue title ever in the studio's DVD
career.

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Most any Star Trek fan will tell you.....Star Trek II
is the best Star Trek movie ever made.
Being only the second film in the series, it somehow
managed to bring all the right elements together
including several tense, well-executed battle sequences
that feature impressive special effects and a soaring
score by James Horner

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The film is a sequel to a first season episode of the
Star Trek TV series entitled Space Seed in which
the enterprise stumbled upon a group of genetically-
engineered supermen, lead by the cunning Khan
(Ricardo Montoban), who tried to take over the
Enterprise, and was banished to the planet Ceti-Alpha 5,
a lush and fruitful planet where they could start
their own civilization.

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Now 15 years later, Admiral Kirk's (William Shatner)
mid life crisis is interrupted by the return of an old
enemy looking for revenge and a potentially destructive
device. When the star ship Reliant accidentally
confuses Ceti-Alpha 5 for another planet, Khan takes
it upon himself to brainwash the members of the star
ship, steal the captain's chair, and begin his crusade
to avenge himself upon Kirk.


How is the transfer?


This is actually my first look at Khan on
DVD, as I had never removed the shrink wrap from
the original DVD release.

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In a word, this film looks gorgeous. One of the
very first shots in this film is of Saavik sitting
in the Captain's chair. You can't help but notice
her beautiful skin tones with its added makeup.
Her skin looks so smooth you can almost touch it.
This sets the standard for the rest of the transfer
which looks smooth, sharp and detailed with colors
looking very warm and natural. Black detail is
exquisite -- especially in the slacks of the
Star fleet uniforms. The shots inside the Nebula
are beautifully stunning with all its melding colors
that have never stood out as they do here. There is
narely a hint of video noise except for a small
amount that is given off from the maroon uniforms,
and sometimes, the walls of the Enterprise. All of
this is kept to a minimal however. The print is in
immaculate condition with no noticeable blemishes.
If only all catalog titles could look this
sensational, it would be a perfect world.

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The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is just as impressive
as the video. As the title sequence plays, you
can hear how pronounced the instruments are.
There is a little bit of dialogue bleeding across
the front channels, but it's not a serious problem.
The rears do an outstanding job of not only
supplementing James Horner's film score, but
providing the constant hum of the Enterprise's motors.

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I have heard things in this mix that I have never
heard before. In a scene inside Kirk's apartment,
as McCoy and Kirk enjoy a drink of Romulan ale,
you can hear the fog horns of San Francisco Bay
in the rear channels. Inside the cargo cabin of
the Botany Bay, you can hear the sounds of howling
wind rushing in the background. There are all these
small effects noises that you never heard before
that add to making this film a totally new viewing
experience.

I must also mention the LFE channel which provides
some strong and constant subwoofer bass which
supplements the sound of the Enterprise motors, and,
really comes into play as the star ship Reliant
roars across the star field.


Special Features

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Star Trek II: TWOK has been reissued on
DVD in a deluxe 2-disc Widescreen Edition that
contains over 5 hours of added material. It's
my job to give you an overview of everything that
is on this disc, so let's get started...

Disc One contains the film itself. As you
pop in the disc, a very cool animated menu sequence
appears that features the Enterprise roaring
towards Ceti Alpha 5 and the Regula 1 space station,
ending with the Disc Menu as show above.

Having not seen Khan for nearly 10 years,
I tried to figure out what scenes have been added
and what have been taken away as this 116 minute
Director's Cut comes in a mere 4 minutes longer
than the theatrical version. The scenes I did
notice that have either been extended or added
include...

* In Kirk's Apartment, McCoy and Kirk sit in front
of a roaring fire. McCoy urges Kirk to take back
command of the Enterprise

* Dr. Marcus and her son talking about the power
of the Genesis device, Later, another scene is
added where Carol Marcus talks to her crew about
protecting the Genesis device.

* Humorous ribbing from Kirk as he addresses
Peter Preston, the nephew of Scotty.

* Spock and McCoy debating the merits of the
Genesis device.

* In sick bay, some additional dialogue from
a dying Peter Preston, and added dialogue after
Scotty's nephew dies.

* Kirk crawling through a tube crawl space

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There are two commentaries included on
this disc. The first is with Director Nicholas
Meyer. Meyer points out many interesting facts
about his perspective of the film. He always felt
that Spock's ears symbolized what Star Trek was
more than anything else, so they became the very
first shots of the film. Some of the early comments
regard cutting costs on the film's budget by doing
clever shots with the set making it seem bigger than
it actually was. He adds, "Art thrives on restrictions".
At one point in the film, Meyers fondly talks about
actor DeForrest Kelley. Meyers states he is very
unhappy at how the Genesis cave sequence looks,
bringing up the old point that the studios never give
the money up front to film these things correctly,
but manage to complain after its all completed. This
is a really insightful commentary by an intelligent
individual that just lets his words and thoughts
flow naturally with always something interesting to
say.

The second is actually a text commentary
by Michael Okuda, Co-Author of The Star Trek
Encyclopedia
. Since I don't usually like
audio commentaries interfering with my first
viewing of a DVD, I found this text commentary
to be right up my alley -- and I urge all of you
to put it on right away. It's like having a
Star Trek geek sitting in the chair next to you
giving you all these little-known-facts about
the scenes you are watching. It was so cool
being able to watch the film and have these
constant subtitles talk about the flaws and
absurdities of what is happening in the film.
This geek has a sense of humor, too! You'll
learn about how Pixar produced the Genesis device
classified film, or how Khan recognizes Chekhov
even though that character wasn't introduced until
a season later, or how the entire set was shut
down during the filming of Spock's death. This is
really cool, and I hope that studios use more
text commentary in their DVD releases.

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Disc Two begins with a beautifully animated
sequence that features the Genesis device giving
rebirth to a dead planet. Really nice!

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In Captain's Log, it's funny to learn that
when consultant Harve Bennet was brought aboard
for Star Trek II, he had a lot of catching up to
do, watching 77 episodes in a matter of a few months.
As this brand new documentary begins, Bennet describes
Khan's character as an Osama Bin Ladin. A rather
monotone William Shatner talks about Leonard Nimoy
not wanting to be in this film, and the negotiating
ploy that was used to get him to sign aboard --
kill his character off at the end of the film. Leonard
Nimoy reminisces about receiving the script while
In Israel, not initially happy with the way the
death scene was put together. It's really nice to
see Ricardo Montalban after all these years, still
with zest that has not dulled with age. Ricardo
talks about his many passionately acted scenes that
he did by himself, literally talking to a wall, as
they were later re-edited into the face-offs with Kirk.
Nimoy talks about the death scene, and how sensitive
it was for him, believing that this was his final
farewell. Harve Bennett put some things in the
film's ending storyline, making certain that the
door was left open for a possible return of Spock's
character. A pretty decent featurette considering the
fact it reunites the principal actors and filmmakers.
(length: approx. 27 minutes)

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Production Designer Joe Jennings mostly narrates
Designing Khan, an all-new featurette that
explores the technology and costumes of Star
Trek II: TWOC
. It's interesting to note that
this was the first film to introduce emblems and
establish ranks among the Star Trek crew as well
as costumes that sported a "Napoleonic, Teutonic"
kind of look that went on to be the standard for
Star Trek films and TV shows to come. We take
a look at some brief pictures of costume and set
designs that include interviews with the designers
themselves. All this concludes with Ricardo
Montalban recalling the costume he wore in the first
moments that we meet his character.
(length: approx. 23 minutes)

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Visual Effects is another all-new featurette
produced for this DVD, which introduces us to
the film's Special Visual Effects artist, Ken Ralston,
who talks about models being used against blue
screen pylons being state of the art at the time.
We watch as these models and star fields are
photographed using original effects footage. At
the time, these effects were literally changing the
industry and it was a lot of physical work on the
set. You can tell that the effects team were very
proud of their achievements upon viewing their
completed work with added effects and score.
(length: approx. 18 minutes)

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Let's go back to 1982 as we take a look at
original interviews of Shatner, who talks
about the youthful image of his character being
questioned by the glasses he wears in the film;
Nimoy, who talks about the humor and charm of the
script; DeForest Kelley's reaction to be accused
of having all the funny lines in the film and
Ricardo Montalban talking about his villainous
character. Though this entire interview sequence
is rather short, at the conclusion we are treated
to a collage of very personal photographs set against
the film's score. Very nice!

Posted ImagePosted Image


Geek alert! The Star Trek Universe introduces
us to Star Trek fans and authors Greg Cox and
Julia Ecklar. These guys have seen every movie,
every TV show, and owned every toy about Star Trek.
I don't know how much of this stuff you guys are
going to be able to watch, but it's a fascinating
study of a sect of society that while forgotten,
still exits out there. As William Shatner once
said in a 90s Saturday Night Live parody skit,
"Get a Life!.
(length: approx. 29 minutes)

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Storyboard Archives is chock-full of
material here that will certainly take you some
time to navigate through using your remote.
There are 13 sequences presented here that are
all broken down in storyboards from Kobayashi
Maru
to The Matura Nebula, you'll be
able to browse through hundreds of original concept
drawings.

I want to stop here and congratulate Paramount
for again presenting all these supplements with
the aid of subtitles -- something most studios
regrettably don't include. Also, most all of
these supplements are presented in a widescreen
ratio as you can see by the screen captures.

Rounding up the supplements is the original
theatrical trailer
-- one of my all-time
favorites -- finally presented uncut with the
OPENING JUNE 4TH tag at the end.


Final Thoughts


I have always felt that Star Trek II: TWOC is
a great example of just how good the series has become.
None of the movies since has quite matched all the
magic of this film including the way it touches your
heart.

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Not much can be said here to further persuade you
to buy this 2-disc DVD. It's already on the
preorder list of every Star Trek Fan. You also
can't help but admire the amount of material
that can be had for a little over $20.

An outstanding job from the restoration team and
DVD producers at Paramount. If this is a sign of
future product to come, I am VERY excited!


Release Date: August 6, 2002

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 153 OFFLINE   Chuck Mayer

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Posted July 26 2002 - 12:24 AM

Consider it upograded, Ron! Thanks for the in-depth look at a true favorite!

Sincerely,
Chuck
Hey buddy...did you just see a real bright light?

#3 of 153 OFFLINE   Alex S

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Posted July 26 2002 - 12:53 AM

Great review Ron, thanks !

I can't wait to get his one. Now I'll have to sell my other copy of just the movie.

I am a huge fan of the original tv series and I agree that ST2:TWOK is by far the best Star Trek movie made.

One question, why not Highly Recommended ?
It's sounds like a beautiful transfer that is loaded and that you really enjoyed.

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Khhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan !

#4 of 153 ONLINE   michael deakin

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Posted July 26 2002 - 01:06 AM

Thanks for the review Ron.
Your costing me a fortune in dvd's. Posted Image

Keep up the good work.
Mike

#5 of 153 OFFLINE   Neil Joseph

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Posted July 26 2002 - 01:12 AM

Ron, how did you get this review out so quickly. I am glad you did. I am also happy with the quality of the release. Looks like Paramount did their job well.

Thanks,
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#6 of 153 OFFLINE   David Glenn

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Posted July 26 2002 - 01:26 AM

Thanks for another great review. I'm sold, as if I had a choice. Resistance is futile... Posted Image
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#7 of 153 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 26 2002 - 01:28 AM

You are right. This disc does deserve
a Highly Recommended status and I have
upgraded it to such.

Thanks

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#8 of 153 OFFLINE   Alex S

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Posted July 26 2002 - 01:46 AM

You're welcome.

May you live long and prosper !

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#9 of 153 OFFLINE   SteveK

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Posted July 26 2002 - 01:53 AM

This is one I've been waiting for a long time. I never purchased the first release, at it had already been announced that special editions would be released at a later date. Well, that later date has finally come, so count me in on this one! Hopefully Best Buy or one of the B&M merchants will have a good price on it next week.

Steve K.

#10 of 153 OFFLINE   rodney wiley

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Posted July 26 2002 - 02:02 AM

Ron,Im especially excited about Your reference to the engine in the rear surrounds as I have a rear surround sub! I cant Wait. Keep up the Wonderful reviews Thanks again! Posted Image

#11 of 153 OFFLINE   Steve Christou

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Posted July 26 2002 - 02:13 AM

Another great review Ron, and another must have for me, Khan is a superb Trek movie, has a memorable villain, nice action and a great score by James Horner, and look at those juicy extras mmmmmm.
Sorry I have to say it.... KHAAAAAAAAAN!!!Posted Image

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#12 of 153 OFFLINE   Jerry Gracia

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Posted July 26 2002 - 02:15 AM

It's mine!
I do not have anything clever nor’ interesting to place in my signature box…so I’ll leave it blank.

#13 of 153 OFFLINE   Britton

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Posted July 26 2002 - 02:42 AM

Thanks Ron! I read the post that said you might get this one out as early as Saturday morning, but sure enough, here it is Friday, and there it is! Your dedication to this great home video format is most appreciated! This disc sounds like the Trek DVD I've been waiting for since 1997!

#14 of 153 OFFLINE   Brian Fineberg

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Posted July 26 2002 - 02:50 AM

RON,
when is this released I dont think you put that on your post. Thanks
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#15 of 153 OFFLINE   Robert Fielder

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Posted July 26 2002 - 02:53 AM

I'm definitely looking foward to getting this. I still have my VHS of the extended Star Trek II that I taped off ABC years ago, so it'll be nice to get a copy with signifigantly better picture and sound (the ABC version was a 16mm print presented in glorious mono Posted Image ).

It's also great to see another text commentary by Okuda is included. I really enjoyed his comments on the Star Trek: TMP DVD and I hope he is used for the rest of the film series as well.

-RJ Fielder

#16 of 153 OFFLINE   Alex S

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Posted July 26 2002 - 02:56 AM

It's being released on 8/6/02 along with
LOTR and Clash of the Titans.

It's going to be an expensive day ! Posted Image

#17 of 153 OFFLINE   Ron-P

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Posted July 26 2002 - 03:15 AM

I'm all over this like Tribbles on Captain Kirk.


Peace Out~Posted Image
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#18 of 153 OFFLINE   Peter McM

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Posted July 26 2002 - 04:57 AM

I'm with SteveK; I never got the original releases of these films, patiently awaiting future DEs. Looks like my wait is justified!Posted Image

Speaking of TV broadcast: is it my imagination, or was the recent TNN airing badly chopped with none of the added footage? Nice to see the networks outclassing the cable channels from time to time.
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#19 of 153 OFFLINE   Jonathan Perregaux

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Posted July 26 2002 - 05:44 AM

Now all we need is a way to process a DVD "scent" commentary track so we can all sit back and enjoy Nick Meyer's smelly cigars...
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#20 of 153 OFFLINE   Todd K

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Posted July 26 2002 - 05:48 AM

Quote:
Speaking of TV broadcast: is it my imagination, or was the recent TNN airing badly chopped with none of the added footage? Nice to see the networks outclassing the cable channels from time to time.


TNN does the standard version; WGN has been known to air the extended version, with I think like half-second edit of Peter Preston's death scene.