Top 10 Moments: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Top 10 Moments: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Everything went so right in this film. After the cardboard cutout performances in ST:TMP, the characters we knew from The Original Series were back. The uniforms were detailed and believeable. The score is above and beyond. Kirstie Alley makes her feature film debut, and is very good.

And the story.

The story is what made the whole thing work. Tapping into the show’s own history and bringing a character like Khan back with a vengeance was one of the best things they ever did. The writers took into account not everyone would be familiar with TOS and laid it out perfectly.

This is the movie that put Star Trek back on the map. Here are The Top 10 Moments from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

10. Kirk and McCoy

Kirk thinks he’s bitter about getting old, but one of his oldest confidante’s can see right through him and tells him what is REALLY eating him up. Just a great scene between two old friends and colleagues with some solid dialogue. McCoy is one of the few characters that can say whatever he wants to Kirk and it’s always a treat to see it. Is that computer in the background a Commodore 64??

9. Leaving Spacedock

While much (if not all) of the footage of the Enterprise leaving spacedock is reused visuals from The Motion Picture, it’s James Horner’s outstanding soundtrack and Kirk’s nerves that steal this scene.

8. Searching Regula 1

Watching this scene as a kid was pretty freakin creepy. Great music, a spooky setting…and  a rat.

7. I Don’t Like to Lose

We should have known Kirk had a card up his sleeve. In one subtle smile, McCoy shows that after years of friendship and experience he should have known too – and that he isn’t surprised, either.


Probably one of the most recognizable parts of the movie, and you have to ask yourself…have you ever been THAT mad before?

5. Battle in the Mutara Nebula

“Superior intellect” versus experience and natural command abilities. Not to mention one of the best crews in Starfleet. Was there any doubt.
(It’s nice to see the series acknowledge the fact that space is indeed 3 dimensions. Something that tended to be ignored quite a bit throughout the entire franchise and its many spinoffs.)

4. Meeting Khan

What an outstanding way to (re)introduce the character of Khan. His encounter with Chekov and Captain Terrell set the tone for the whole movie right then and there. Khan’s….”pets”, and his use of them: fantastically scary and gross.

(Side note: Chekov’s character didn’t exist yet when the Enterprise first encountered Khan back in the first season of The Original Series. So then how did Khan recognize him? Maybe he was part of the crew all along, we the audience just hadn’t met him until season 2? Let’s go with that.)

3. Surprise Attack

A stellar sequence of the film. Kirk is basically caught taking it easy with procedure and Khan makes him pay for it dearly. The battle sequence itself is pretty exciting, as up until now we’ve never really seen Star Trek in this kind of fire fight before with this kind of detail. We never get the satisfaction of having Kirk and Khan share a room together in the entire movie, but their face off viewscreen to viewscreen more than makes up for it. You have to love how Kirk and Spock figure their way out of this jam.

2. Kobayashi Maru

What a brilliant way to start the movie. Word of Spock’s death had leaked long before the film premiered, so what better way to challenge that right off the bat than to have him “die” in the opening minutes. The entire simulation seems rather impossible and makes you wonder even more how the heck Kirk was able to beat the no-win scenario. (The silhouette of Kirk as the simulation ends is a great visual.)

1. Spock’s Death

Quite possibly the most emotional Star Trek moment ever. Self sacrifice, the end of a longtime friendship, being so close yet so far away at the same time….

You think it’s an exagerration when George and Jerry get emotional talking about it on “Seinfeld”…but it’s not. This one digs deep.

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