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?

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