The TV Pick of the Week – 03/02/13
Going to the cinema is expensive, buying DVDs is expensive, renting movies is expensive and torrenting is illegal (and, more importantly, doesn’t guarantee good quality sound and image). Luckily, films sometimes appear on TV. Here’s the best one this week.
Sunday 3rd February
Channel 4: 2.05pm – 4.20pm
Without a doubt, the best of the old-school Trek films, the Wrath of Khan has it all: a preposterously intense – and ‘genetically superior’ – pantomime villain; Shatner chewing the scenery like a velour-bedecked cow and, something that’s rarely noted upon – a brilliantly menacing score by James Horner (he of Oscar winning fame for his soundtrack to Titanic).
If the recent reboot of the franchise has whetted your appetite for some classic Trek, then look no further than this film. In fact, though the original film in the Star Trek canon had some interesting elements, it lacked a strong narrative that was always the main draw for the TV series – indeed, the story behind the production of Star Trek: The Motion Picture is so muddied from start to finish, it’s a wonder it came out as cohesive as it did. Die-hard Trekkies are in two minds about The Wrath of Khan, not least because Paramount dispensed with creator Gene Roddenberry when making it. Looking at it objectively though, this film had the pacing and panache that was needed to resurrect the franchise.
The plot, such as it is, can be boiled down to one of Shakespearean levels of revenge: Khan and his fellow super-humans were picked up by Kirk in a classic episode of the TV show and exiled onto a planet. Fast-forward fifteen years and Khan seeks to gain revenge on the erstwhile Captain for the death of his wife. In order to do so, he steals a weapon designed to plant life on planets – the unimaginatively titled ‘Genesis Device’. Cue some interstellar action and Shatner’s hallmarked rifle delivery where sentences are. a series. of. words. punctuated. at random. intervals. In fact, at his worst, you’d be forgiven for being unsure if he’s genuinely got a problem or whether he’s purposefully appropriating a stutter worse than Gareth Gates, famed word-masher and Katie-Price banging runner-up of Pop Idol.
In fact, there were early rumours that suggested J. J. Abrams was going to work in Khan Noonien Singh as the main villain of the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness. Alas, and probably for the best, they decided against rehashing the plot, although it must be said, there are some obvious areas where they were influenced by Khan more than any of the other films.
As the Beastie Boys – and no doubt Gareth Gates – would say ‘check-ch-check-check-check-ch-check it out’.
This was written by Robert James Taylor. He is, for all intents and purposes, a human.