The lukewarm commercial and critical response to “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” inspired a much more stripped-down – and crowd-pleasing – follow-up that brought back the “swashbuckling” spirit of the original television series. Creator Gene Roddenberry was forced out of the film’s production as executive producer Harve Bennett and director (and uncredited co-writer) Nicholas Meyer brought back one of the show’s most popular villains, Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban), a genetically engineered tyrant (and former ruler of much of the Earth during the 1990s) who emerges from his 15-year exile on a mission of revenge against Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner), whom he blames for the death of his wife. Khan has his sights on the Genesis Device, which can reorganize matter to create habitable worlds – or destroy them utterly. “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” was a huge box office success and is credited with creating considerable renewed interest in the franchise; among the film’s many notable achievements is being the first feature film to contain a complete sequence created entirely with computer-generated effects – and for not incorporating any artificial devices to enhance Montalban’s impressive physique (no fake prosthetic chest here, folks). Leonard Nimoy reportedly only agreed to reprise his role as Spock because he was promised a dramatic death scene at the end; fortunately for the fans, the Vulcan science officer didn’t stay dead for very long.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
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