Pretty much acclaimed as the best of the "Star Trek" films (with the fourth chapter, "The Voyage Home" a close second), "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" follows "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" with it's own deluxe two DVD set.
Like all "deluxe" editions, the DVD set is packed with the sort of extras that DVD was made for. There are two different commentaries. One is from director Nicholas Meyer, who was just coming off the under rated H.G. Wells/Jack the Ripper fantasy "Time After Time." (Incidentally, a special edition DVD of "Time After Time" is due in stores soon). Meyer's commentary is very funny. As someone who never really watched the original series, Meyer's brought to the film a whole new vision. Little touches like "No Smoking" signs on the bridge or a crew member vacuuming a hallway while Kirk and Spock walk past brought the film out of the "serious" mode the first one had fallen into and made every character more personable. The second commentary is a text one by "Star Trek Encyclopedia" co-author Michael Okuda. Okuda is a master of even the most trivial fact and is obviously working on a labor of love. Among the questions answered: Why Khan recognizes Chekov when the Chekov character wasn't even in the episode which introduced Khan, "Space Seed."
Apparently, Khan was made to wait for several minutes to use the restroom on the Enterprise by Chekov. He never forgets a face! As far as the "director's edition," there are a few added scenes. The only ones really story worthy flesh out the character of Ensign Peter Preston. Turns out Preston is actually the nephew of Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (which most fans, including me, already knew). However, the extra footage does explain the obvious grief Scotty expresses when Preston dies. Meyer's actually does not like the term "director's cut/director's edition." He feels that the film shown in the theatre is the film he intended. He also points out that "Mr. Spielberg did not do a "director's edition" of "Jaws" for the same reason.
The second disc is packed with new interviews with cast and crew, as well as behind the scenes features of the special effects. There are also original interviews from the set during the making of the film. It is indeed a treat to see the cast 20 years younger. It is even more poignant to see and hear the late DeForrest Kelley talk about a role he will always be associated with.
With "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" due to get the special edition treatment in October, and the new "Next Generation" film, "Nemesis" due to hit screens in December, it looks like this will be a great holiday season for Trekkies everywhere.
on a * * * * rating system:
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