Friday, September 30, 2016

Favorite Scene Friday! Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: "The Most Human"

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is generally considered to be the best Star Trek movie. And not just of the original crew films. The Next Generation, the reboots, fan films...whatever, it's the greatest. A Trek convention a few years ago even voted it the best. It's got heart, action, and adventure - it's just really good. But at the core of what makes this film so great is the friendship between William Shatner's James T. Kirk and Leonard Nimoy's Spock.


Whether Khan is your favorite Trek film or not, I'd be surprised if this week's scene isn't one of your favorites. After fighting against Captain Kirk and the Enterprise crew for the entire film, the titular Khan (Ricardo Montalban, reprising his role from the original series) is defeated, but he's seemingly taking his adversaries out with him. The Enterprise is dead in the water, and the Genesis device - technology with the capability of terraforming planets - is set to go off and destroy anything in the vicinity. Spock, however, has fixed the warp core so that the Enterprise can escape the formation of the Genesis planet in the nick of time. But the radiation from the process has doomed him.

For me, the reasons why this scene is one of the greats are almost uncountable. Shatner's frantic “Spock!” once he's able to talk to his friend is heartbreaking. And I hope it's not too weird that I love how Spock fixes his jacket before he turns around to face Kirk. You've gotta keep your uniform looking good around your superior officer, right?

This scene reminds me of how quotable Spock is. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” and “I have been and always shall be your friend,” are iconic lines. And of course, "Live long and prosper." Can we also appreciate that Shatner really acts in this scene?  He gets a lot of guff for the "Shatner-esque" way that he talks, but I think he’s great here. The subtle shift in his expression when he notices Spock's face is perfect. The "No," he utters when Spock collapses against the glass is spoken by someone who just watched his best friend die. And Kirk collapses as well, against the other side of the glass, staring off in shock. Frankly, Shatner's "the most human" line (the way his voice breaks on "human" always gets me) during the funeral is really the highlight of this entire scene. It showcases Shatner's acting, reminds us of Spock's humanity - even though he was half Vulcan - and reinforces Kirk and Spock's iconic friendship.

What's your favorite scene from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Favorite Scene Friday! Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: Kirk v Kirk

The Star Trek 50th Anniversary celebration continues! This week's scene is by Bubbawheat from Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights, Channel: Superhero, and The Filmwhys Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @Bubbawheat

Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights

Most people look at the original Trek movies as being a 50/50 shot with the even numbered movies known as the best ones, and often the peak comes early with Wrath of Khan. But I’ve always been just a bit more of a fan of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. I think it mixes some of the best mystery plots with a bit of action mixed in with the right amount of comedy (more than Wrath of Khan but less than Voyage Home) and ends with the best send off for the original crew possible. We also get a great villain who spouts Shakespeare in Klingon and our first look at a Bird of Prey that can fire while cloaked.

By Source, Fair use

The scene that really helps nail the tone of this film is the one after Kirk and McCoy have been put on a mockery of a trial – with Worf’s ancestor as their lawyer no less – and they're sentenced to prison on an ice planet. They escape with the help of a shape-shifting alien known to them as Martia, and played in her most common form by supermodel Iman. We get to see some of the best qualities of Kirk: his intelligence when he realizes what she’s actually trying to accomplish, his fighting skills even in his old age where he gets to fight himself, and a bit of self deprecating meta humor. It’s such a great line when he says “I can’t believe I kissed you,” and the reply is “Must have been your lifelong ambition,” which I’m sure is a knock against his real life ego. Not only that, but the scene ends with a twist on the cliché where the villain is just about to reveal their plans because “you’re going to die anyway” but they get teleported away just before they actually get the information. It’s brilliant and I love it!

What's your favorite scene from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country?

What's your favorite even-numbered Trek film? 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Favorite Scene Friday! Trek-plosion

Star Trek turned 50 yesterday, and to honor the franchise we're highlighting some of its best scenes all month long! Our first scene is by none other than CT from Nerd Lunch! They have a ton of Trek content over at Nerd Lunch, so if you get through with today's FSF and you need more Enterprise goodness, you'll know where to head...

A few years ago, I used to visit a message board with some regularity. A challenge was posed: List your top ten moments in Star Trek (rather than episodes or movies as a whole, just moments). I started a blog post for Nerd Lunch and it's sat in my drafts section for years.

Robert asked me to do a Favorite Scene Friday in honor of Star Trek and with 50 years of history, I was having trouble zeroing in on just one favorite scene. So I thought I'd blow the dust off this old post that was intended for Nerd Lunch and list out my top ten moments (essentially top ten scenes) from all of Star Trek. These are listed chronologically rather than in order of preference. I've provided clips when I can.

1. In "Space Seed" when Khan calls Kirk out at dinner. "You let your second in command attack while you sit and watch for weakness." Unfortunately I couldn't find that clip, but here's one that's pretty awesome of Khan waking up.

2. In "City on the Edge of Forever" when Kirk has to make the choice to keep McCoy from saving Edith Keeler, it was a powerful scene and well played by all involved.

3. I could probably pick ten moments from Star Trek II alone, but I'll go with the sequence where the Enterprise escapes from the Mutara Nebula. I love that Khan dies believing he took Kirk and crew with him, the tension from everyone, and the defiant refusal to give up from Kirk.

4. The destruction of the Enterprise in Star Trek III. With the loss of Spock in the background and David Marcus having just been killed, the emotions leading up to the destruction of the Enterprise led to a mighty powerful scene.

5. In Star Trek IV when Spock announces "Gracie is pregnant," and then Gillian Taylor slammed on the brakes. I can't explain why, but I laugh every time I watch that scene.

6. The end of Next Generation's "Best of Both Worlds: Part 1" when Riker gives the order to fire on the Borg ship that had Picard aboard. It was the beginning of a long summer hiatus wait for a then 12-year-old boy. I still love the score to that episode, too.

7. In Next Generation's "Relics" when Scotty walks onto the holodek running the original bridge program, I was floored when I saw that. And I was even more impressed to read the back story about that since that scene almost didn't happen. I couldn't find a decent clip of the scene, but here's a bonus feature video showing a little behind-the-scenes of it.

8. Similarly, Deep Space Nine's "Trials and Tribble-ations" held many awesome moments, but seeing the classic Enterprise on screen again was truly magical.

9. In Deep Space Nine's "By Inferno's Light" after the Jem'Hadar and Worf have been fighting for an extended period of time, Worf gets up after a nasty beating then the Jem'Hadar says, "I yield. I cannot defeat this Klingon. All I can do is kill him. And that no longer holds my interest." (No clip on YouTube readily available.)

10. The ending of Deep Space Nine's "In the Pale Moonlight." Throughout the episode, Sisko has laid out in a personal log entry one of the most difficult decisions he's had to make. And something about that very last line where he deletes the log entry just resonates perfectly with me. This is Star Trek's greatest single episode ever in my opinion as it perfectly illustrates the moral dilemmas that make Trek so thought-provoking.

Which of these scenes is your personal favorite?