< Previous
Next >

[Comments] (5) The Remake Of Khan: Sumana and I watched The Wrath of Khan as part of my plan to get her to watch pre-TNG Star Trek movies. In the context of having just watched the 11th Trek movie, it was very enlightening. The new movie is pretty close to being a remake of The Wrath of Khan. Which explains why it's good but also why it's not that good. Almost all the callbacks to older Trek movies were callbacks to Khan, including callbacks I didn't notice, like Kirk eating an apple during the Kobayashi Maru. And then I realized that a lot of the bad Star Trek movies are bad because they're trying to remake The Wrath of Khan.

Here's what I mean. By normal standards, Khan is a really bad Star Trek villain. Star Trek villains generally have some self-justifying line of BS that makes them the hero. The Borg want to unify all life forms and cultures, the Cardassians are imperialists spreading civilization, the Xindi think they're acting in self-defense. Admiral Leyton is trying to stop the Federation from becoming soft. Harry Mudd is a Willy Loman type who's just trying to shift product. Etc. Their actions make sense given their worldview. Even TOS-era Khan assumes what he does is right by virtue of his innate superiority.

But Khan in Khan is Captain Ahab, a character defined by his obsession and his need for revenge. He no longer cares whether he's doing the right thing. With Khan it made sense, because he's the superman who's been humiliated by Kirk, a normal person. But the people who make Star Trek movies keep making the villain into Captain Ahab as if that'll make the movie good.

Check out the lousy Trek movie villians. Soran: obsessed with the Nexus. Ru'afo: wants revenge on the Son'a. (Yeah, I had to look those names up.) Shinzon: wants revenge on Picard, which doesn't even make sense. Nero: wants revenge on Spock (also makes no sense). Obsession. Revenge. They're all trying to be Khan.

Some of the Trek films don't have villains at all, which I always enjoy, but look at the good villains. General Chang: afraid of change. Borg Queen: is a freaking Borg. Even Sybok (religious fanatic) is a decent villain. I don't think you can get a big-budget SF movie made these days with no villain, but maybe if Khan hadn't been such a good movie the other Trek movies would have been better.

PS: Anyone complaining about red matter, rewatch Khan and try to explain how Genesis works.

Filed under: ,

Comments:

Posted by Evan at Sun May 17 2009 04:06

kirk's kid just traded some phony machine gun parts to the iranians for some plutonium, right? hmm.

Posted by kirkjerk at Mon May 18 2009 11:36

Evan, what?

It occurred to me how similar the scenario of the first movie and IV were, unstoppable probes heading right to Earth. Of course the first movie was just Nomand and "The Changeling" writ large, and the 4th took it in some interesting ways.

Posted by Leonard at Mon Jun 01 2009 11:57

Now that I think about it, Ru'afo, Shinzon, and Nero all kind of have a similar look going on.


[Main]

Unless otherwise noted, all content licensed by Leonard Richardson
under a Creative Commons License.