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Everything posted by CurtisBailey

  1. CurtisBailey


    I hate to keep going back to this but I have to pretty deeply insist that Wrath of Khan is not a sci-fi movie. The overall premise of Trek is definitely sci-fi in nature, but Khan is one of the least sci-fi stories ever told with this property. It's a character drama and an action/revenge movie. The few sci-fi concepts it has (genetic engineering, ability to create life w/ technology) are not meaningful to the plot or themes in any significant way.
  2. CurtisBailey


    You're not entirely wrong in that the terms we use to describe different kinds of art don't necessarily have hard edges, and that many examples of art will bleed over from one type to another, or borrow elements of several types. However, I don't think that means we can't also analyze a work to determine what its main thrust/purpose is, and to derive some sort of classification from that. The heart and soul of Wrath of Khan is a chase/revenge story and a character drama. Sure, Khan is a product of genetic experimentation and he's a man out of time, but the film doesn't really do anything with that - none of the plot beats or themes really hinge on his status as a "superior" human - it's all related to the past Khan has with Kirk. There are certainly sci-fi elements to Khan, but the post of yours I was responding to specifically said you'd pick this film to be a great representative of the sci-fi genre, and I think it is an incredibly poor choice to serve that role. It has its pleasures and it's not just an action movie, but picking it to be the one film you'd use to represent sci-fi in cinema? No way, not by a long shot.
  3. CurtisBailey


    I agree completely. I don't recall if it was Devin or Dave that said it, but somewhere near the end one of them says something like "this film embodies everything that is Star Trek", and I'm thinking "uh, no it doesn't". There's no sci-fi concept in Wrath of Khan. There's no social politics. There's no real exploration or inquiry. It's almost literally just a chase/revenge movie using the Trek setting and characters. It's fun, and it digs deep in a few places with the characters and themes directly related to the characters, but none of the classic Trek hallmarks are a part of this film to me, at all.
  4. CurtisBailey


    Is Wrath of Khan really a sci-fi film, though? Yes, it takes place in space and in the future, and yes there is some interesting technology that raises questions about what man can/should do - but none of that really has any relevance to the plot or central themes of the movie. As noted by the numerous allusions to Moby Dick, this is a story that could very easily be transplanted to another setting and lose none of the basic elements that make it what it is. You can't really say the same about 2001: A Space Odyssey, Moon, Solaris, Ex Machina, or a bevy of other genuine sci-fi films that really use technology and the advancement of humans as a lens through which we can view ourselves and re-examine just what the heck it is we're doing on this floating rock. Wrath of Khan does not do that, so I can't really picture why anyone would pick it to represent sci-fi in cinema.
  5. CurtisBailey


    I suspect that this will not be an entirely popular opinion, but I cannot vote for this movie to enter The Canon because I have some pretty major issues with the villain. Before I dive into that, I think Devin's comments from this week about where this sits in the timeline of the Star Trek film universe and specifically what it does with Kirk's story about getting older are all very fair points and are things that make it a very worthwhile part of the Trek, uh, canon. The "naval battle" aspect of the finale is really enjoyable and a nice contrast to what Star Wars was doing at the time. That being said, I remember seeing this film in the mid/late 80's as a kid with no familiarity with the Original Series episode that served as the genesis for Khan and this story. What struck me at the time was how ineffective and inert a villain Khan is. Don't get me wrong - he obviously causes huge headaches for the heroes in the film, but it's almost completely circumstantial. Both times that Khan directly influences the plot and causes conflict are essentially matters of surprise - Chekov and Terrell don't know that Khan is on the planet they're surveying, so it was pretty easy for Khan to catch them off-guard and take over the Reliant. Then, his attack on the Enterprise is also a matter of catching the heroes by surprise. After that, Khan essentially sabotages himself and his mission by being a bellicose dummy. I understand that part of the point is that Khan is just really really mad and that does make him fun to watch, and Montalban leans all the way into the performance in grandiose fashion. But, that's not enough for me. To me, villains are best when they feel like credible threats. When the film's climactic showdown in the Mutara Nebula occurs and we have a chance to see Khan actually face-off agains his nemesis, he's so clearly outmatched by Kirk that it changes him from a credible threat to a punching bag for the Enterprise. I might have sympathized more with him as a tragic figure whose lust for revenge was his undoing, but I don't think there's much else about Khan that makes him sympathetic aside from the nuts-and-bolts details of his marooning. There's lots of other things I like about this movie. I think the cast and their characterizations have probably never been better. Spock's iconic death scene is indeed quite moving. For the most part, the thematic material is interesting (if not a little heavy-handed). But because so much of the plot (and hey, even the title) rests on Khan's involvement, I can't say that this is a great, Canon-worthy film, or even my personal favorite Trek film.