“ At The Movies ”
Star Trek Into Darkness has compelled many viewers to aim their tractor beams towards 1982's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. JJ Abrams' recent second foray into the revived franchise not only returned the genetically modified villain to our screens, but also staged a smart subversion of the self-sacrificial climactic scenes between Kirk and Spock. But how does the 1982 movie hold up today?
Three decades on, The Wrath of Khan still retains its power to stun. Not because of the spectacle, which is somewhat understated due to budget cuts forced by its predecessor's hefty price tag, but as a very personal story that hurls swathes of emotional torpedoes in the direction of Kirk. There's the resurgence of his nemesis Khan, last seen in the original TV series episode 'Space Seed' and hell-bent on vengeance; a reunion with his estranged son David and former flame Carol Marcus; and the grueling death of his friend Spock.
This is all interspersed with plenty of musings on growing old, with the movie significantly commencing on Kirk's birthday. "Galloping around the cosmos is a game for the young," he tells Doctor Bones before cracking open the Romulan ale.
His acting style is frequently mocked in popular culture, but William Shatner acquits himself very well with the tricky subject matter. His melancholic demeanour fits perfectly with the pervading sombre tone of the movie, while his sporadic outbursts of anger -including the immortal "KHAAAAAAAN" bellow - are effective. Kirk goes through so much turmoil it's a surprise that his hairpiece doesn't turn grey by the end.
It's disappointing that he doesn't share the screen with Ricardo Montalban's Khan, with the two only communicating via seething exchanges on a video link. Apparently, this was caused by Montalban's filming commitments with the TV show Fantasy Island leading to poor availability. The antagonist certainly cuts an imposing figure - with his beefed up chest, luxuriant white hair, one glove (move over Jacko) and penchant for quoting 'Moby Dick' and other classic literature.
Khan is like an intellectual snake that uncoils throughout the movie, spitting out increasing amounts of verbal venom having made his malevolent mark by putting a mind-controlling 'Ceti eel' in Chekov's ear. That moment - and the subsequent extraction - sends Star Trek into the realms of pure horror and helped earn the film an initial '15' certificate on video in the UK. This particular writer, a lost child of the '80s, remembers extreme difficulty in convincing an overprotective parent to rent it on his behalf.
Some may argue that the controlled and icy portrayal of Khan by Benedict Cumberbatch in Star Trek Into Darkness is inconsistent with Montalban's more animated and emotional depiction, but one should consider that the elder Khan has been through a great deal of torment. For example, we learn that he lost his wife while marooned on a planet and blames Kirk for this. Hence his procession of impassioned rebukes, with the following a particular standout due to Montalban's fiery delivery: "I've done far worse than kill you, Admiral. I've hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her; marooned for all eternity in the centre of a dead planet... buried alive! Buried alive!"
Director Nicholas Meyer manages to pace the movie perfectly, allowing space for the characters to breathe and never rushing from one plot point to the next. The opening is very clever indeed, playing with the rumors that Spock was being killed off by depicting most of the regular crew perishing due to a Klingon bombardment. However, this turns out to be a mere training exercise and a sigh of relief is out when Spock and various crew members cease playing dead.
As for the ending, it's packed full of emotional resonance as Spock makes a sacrifice for the greater good by absorbing a lethal amount of radiation to allow the Enterprise to escape from the clutches of Khan. How can one suppress a lump in the throat as Spock and Kirk say their goodbyes on either side of the glass and share a Vulcan salute? It's a wonderfully touching moment, with the emotional impact heightened by James Horner's magnificent score. Star Trek Into Darkness pays homage to this moment by virtually recreating it, except with the roles reversed.
"Young. I feel young," remarks Kirk after Spock's coffin is fired out into space. Despite over 30 years passing since its release, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan also feels young. This can largely be attributed to its focus on character and relationships, rather than spectacle. In terms of its place in the franchise, this movie can very much be regarded as 'the best of times'...
We take a look back at the five Gatsby screen adaptations in time for the release of Baz Luhrmann's new Leonardo DiCaprio-led film.
This is the only Gatsby film to have been made in Fitzgerald's lifetime and the only silent interpretation of the story. Directed by Herbert Brenon and released by Paramount Pictures, this is a true example of a "lost film" with the below trailer the only evidence of its existence. According to Anne Margaret Daniel in the Huffington Post, the film was not appreciated by the author and his wife Zelda Fitzgerald, who even decided to walk out of the viewing. In a letter to her daughter, Zelda described the movie as "rotten", "awful" and "terrible".
Digital Spy looks back on five of DiCaprio's most iconic performances.
What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
At the tender age of 19, DiCaprio earned his first Oscar nomination for Lasse Hallström's touching family drama. Playing the mentally retarded younger brother of Johnny Depp's put-upon Gilbert Grape, DiCaprio was deservedly singled out for praise by almost every critic despite being a virtual unknown. It's an intensely likeable and physically specific performance that elevates an otherwise predictable story.
Movie stars such as Steve McQueen, Christian Bale and Sean Connery have all slammed down the accelerator for high-octane car stunts, while Sam Raimi has clung valiantly to his old '70s Delta 88, finding a place for it in each of his films (including the recent Evil Dead remake).
With Fast & Furious 6 speeding into cinemas, Digital Spy takes a look at a handful of automobiles that've left an indelible mark on the big screen.
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Photo gallery - 15 iconic movie cars:
Fast & Furious 6 opens in UK cinemas on May 17 and May 24 in the US.
Copyright: Rex Features Profiles in History
Would Star Wars be quite the same without Darth Vader? Would The Dark Knight have worked without Heath Ledger's chilling turn as The Joker? Sometimes a hero is only as good as his villain, so with this in mind Digital Spy has taken a look back at 25 of the greatest ever movie villains.
> Benedict Cumberbatch: 'Star Trek' star's five best screen roles
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Photo gallery - 25 greatest movie villains:
Copyright: Warner Bros. DC Comics
International Talk Like Shatner Day
Every year on March 22, the day of the great man's birthday, homage is paid to Shatner's distinctive delivery and intonations. It all began in 2009 courtesy of Maurice LaMarche, who explains how to perfect 'the pause' in this tutorial...
In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, a very special moment happened. It consisted of one bellowed word and an angry, contorted face. Magical.
Movies editor Simon Reynolds, entertainment reporter Emma Dibdin and movies contributor Ben Rawson-Jones beamed down from the bridge of the Enterprise (the latter pair even dressing for the occasion!) to go over the hot talking points surrounding the Star Trek sequel.
Digital Spy looks at the top five trailers from the past week below...
The World's End trailer: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost embark on pub crawl
This is the first trailer released from The World's End, the final instalment in the Three Flavours Cornetto series and long-awaited reunion between Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright. The film follows five mates trying to complete a pub crawl they couldn't finish 20 years ago - 12 pints each in 12 pubs. The movie also stars Rosamund Pike, Martin Freeman and Rafe Spall, and will be released on July 19.
But while Trek fever will have died down by autumn, Cumberbatch fever is unlikely to follow suit: he's got a spectacularly awards-baiting trio lined up with Julian Assange biopic The Fifth Estate, Steven McQueen's Twelve Years A Slave and Meryl Streep/George Clooney drama August: Osage County.
With that bright future in mind, Digital Spy takes a look back over Cumberbatch's five most memorable roles to date.
Cumberbatch earned his first BAFTA nomination for playing physicist Stephen Hawking in the BBC's bio-drama, which begins with Hawking's diagnosis with motor neurone disease at the age of 21 and follows him throughout his doctoral years at Cambridge. It's a remarkably physical performance from Cumberbatch, who tracks Hawking's gradual deterioration in painstaking detail without making the mistake of getting bogged down in tics. While Peter Moffat's script seems at times to be taking dramatic shortcuts, this is nonetheless a moving dramatisation and stands out as Cumberbatch's first really significant turn.