You know it is going to be a good day when you get a call from your dad letting you know that there is a special showing of the greatest Star Trek movie of all time. Or maybe that’s just me. Regardless, when I talked to my dad, Bud, on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 about the Wrath of Khan playing at Wooster’s Cinemark Movies 10, it was a no brainer that I would be there. I didn’t ask any questions, other than what time it was showing. Turns out the reason for it was in celebration of its 35th anniversary.
Thirty five years! Hardly seems possible. I remember going to see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan at a drive-in theater. I guess that should have been a clue to know some time has passed. I remember being excited to see my friends from the Star Trek series up on the big screen. (I had not seen the first movie attempt, Star Trek: The Motion Picture which was released in 1979.) I had always enjoyed watching the reruns of the series on Sunday nights when I was a kid. So seeing them on a movie screen was pretty thrilling.
But Captain Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy, Scotty, Uhura, Chekov and Sulu were not the only reason I was excited to see the movie. The fact that they were bringing back the villian, Khan Noonien Singh, played by Ricardo Montalban, was a big draw for me. You see, Ricardo Montalban was the actor I was most infatuated with in my youth. Frankly, I thought he was sexy — and this was before I saw him in the movie in which his pectoral muscles were so prominently displayed. After that, forget about it!
In fact, it was because of my life-long desire to meet Ricardo Montalban, that my husband, Bobby, convinced me to spend the money necessary to go to a Star Trek convention in Pasadena, California in 2001. I’ll never forget when I actually got to speak to him. It was Saturday, March 31, 2001. It was a dream come true! You can read about it here, and check out how I reacted when he touched my hand and spoke to me.
I digress. So on Wednesday night, I joined my dad at Cinemark Movies 10, to watch my favorite Star Trek movie, wearing my t-shirt from the convention (yes, I still have it!). I thought that all that was going to happen was watching the movie. However, this being a Fandango event, there was actually an interview with William Shatner before the showing of the movie. I hadn’t expected that and it was great! Shatner shared how the movie came to be, even after the not so successful first movie. He explained how Leonard Nimoy, who had said he would do only one more movie, actually orchestrated the possibility of Spock’s return from beyond the grave. He shared why Ricardo Montalban’s pecs were so massive! (At the Star Trek convention, Ricardo Montalban said that the most frequent question he got was whether that was his real chest in the movie — which it was.)
When the movie started, I was ready to be taken back in time. While I was watching, there was some scenes that I didn’t remember from previous viewings of the film. I decided that in all the 35 years since the release, I must never have seen the director’s cut of the movie. And believe me, I’ve watched the movie plenty of times! I think it was what they call in the movie business, character development scenes. While it adds to the character’s story, it might have been considered to slow down the pacing of the film, so it gets cut from the final film. I liked the added scenes. It did add some more information to the story, but I see their point. Until Wednesday, I never thought there was anything missing. The story flowed perfectly well without them (so if you haven’t seen the director’s cut, it’s O.K.).
Seeing the movie on the big screen, 35 years later, I really appreciated the things that I miss when I watch it on a TV. You can see so much better the minute expressions of the actors. I never caught that at the end, during Spock’s funeral, that Saavik (played by Kirstie Alley) had a tear running down her face. I guess that’s proof that though they espouse that they are ruled by logic, Vulcan’s really do display emotions. Khan looked more determined and calculating. And Kirk’s emotion leading up the the infamous “KHAAAAAAAN!” was more intense.
As it turns out, the movie is still one of my favorites. The story is good. The characters feel like old friends. The battle scenes and conflicts still stand the test of time. And Ricardo Montalban is still hot. Yep, it turned out to be a really good day.