REVIEW: STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN

CAST

William Shatner (TJ Hooker)
Leonard  Nimoy (Transformers: The Movie)
DeForest Kelley (Canon City)
James Doohan (Some Things Never Die)
George Takei (Heroes)
Walter Koenig (Babylon 5)
Nichelle Nichols (Scooby-Doo 4)
Ricardo Montalbán (Escape From The Planet of The Apes)
Kirstie Alley (Scream Queens)
Bibi Besch (The Beast Within)
Merritt Butrick (Fright Night – Part 2)
Paul Winfield (The Terminator)
Judson Scott (Blade)

In the year 2285, Admiral James T. Kirk oversees a simulator session of Captain Spock’s trainees.[4] In the simulation, Lieutenant Saavik commands the starship USS Enterprise on a rescue mission to save the crew of the damaged ship Kobayashi Maru. When the Enterprise enters the Klingon Neutral Zone to reach the ship it is attacked by Klingon cruisers and critically damaged. The simulation is a no-win scenario designed to test the character of Starfleet officers. Later, Dr. McCoy joins Kirk on his birthday; seeing Kirk in low spirits, the doctor advises Kirk to get a new command and not grow old behind a desk.

Meanwhile, the USS Reliant is on a mission to search for a lifeless planet for testing of the Genesis Device, a technology designed to reorganize matter to create habitable worlds for colonization. Reliant officers Commander Pavel Chekov and Captain Clark Terrell beam down to the surface of a possible candidate planet, which they believe to be Ceti Alpha VI; once there, they are captured by genetically engineered tyrant Khan Noonien Singh. The Enterprise discovered Khan’s ship adrift in space 15 years previously; Kirk exiled Khan and his fellow supermen from 20th-century Earth to Ceti Alpha V after they attempted to take over the Enterprise. After they were marooned, Ceti Alpha VI exploded, shifting the orbit of Ceti Alpha V and destroying its ecosystem. Khan blames Kirk for the death of his wife and plans revenge. He implants Chekov and Terrell with indigenous creatures that enter the ears of their victims and render them susceptible to mind control, and uses the officers to capture the Reliant. Learning of Genesis, Khan attacks space station Regula I where the device is being developed by Kirk’s former lover, Dr. Carol Marcus, and their son, David.

The Enterprise embarks on a three-week training voyage. Kirk assumes command after the ship receives a distress call from Regula I. En route, the Enterprise is ambushed and crippled by the Reliant, leading to the deaths and injuries of many trainees. Khan hails the Enterprise and offers to spare Kirk’s crew if they relinquish all material related to Genesis. Kirk stalls for time and uses the Reliant’s prefix code to remotely lower its shields, allowing the Enterprise to counter-attack. Khan is forced to retreat and effect repairs, while the Enterprise limps to Regula I. Kirk, McCoy, and Saavik beam to the station and find Terrell and Chekov alive, along with slaughtered members of Marcus’s team. They soon find Carol and David hiding deep inside the planetoid of Regula. Khan, having used Terrell and Chekov as spies, orders them to kill Kirk; Terrell resists the eel’s influence and kills himself while Chekov collapses as the eel leaves his body. Khan then transports Genesis aboard the Reliant. Though Khan believes his foe stranded on Regula I, Kirk and Spock use a coded message to arrange a rendezvous. Kirk directs the Enterprise into the nearby Mutara Nebula; static discharges inside the nebula render shields useless and compromise targeting systems, making the Enterprise and the Reliant evenly matched. Spock notes however that Khan’s tactics are two-dimensional, indicating inexperience in space combat, which Kirk then exploits to critically disable the Reliant.

Mortally wounded, Khan activates Genesis, which will reorganize all matter in the nebula, including the Enterprise. Though Kirk’s crew detects the activation of Genesis and attempts to move out of range, they will not be able to escape the nebula in time due to the ship’s damaged warp drive. Spock goes to the engine room to restore the warp drive. When McCoy tries to prevent Spock’s entry, as exposure to the high levels of radiation would be fatal, Spock incapacitates the doctor with a Vulcan nerve pinch and performs a mind meld, telling him to “remember”. Spock successfully restores power to the warp drive and the Enterprise escapes the explosion, though at the cost of his life. The explosion of Genesis causes the gas in the nebula to reform into a new planet, capable of sustaining life.

After being alerted by McCoy, Kirk arrives in the engine room and discovers Spock dying of radiation poisoning. The two share a meaningful exchange in which Spock urges Kirk not to grieve, as his decision to sacrifice his own life to save those of the ship’s crew is a logical one, before succumbing to his injuries. A space burial is held in the Enterprise’s torpedo room and Spock’s coffin is shot into orbit around the new planet. The crew leaves to pick up the Reliant’s marooned crew from Ceti Alpha V. Spock’s coffin, having soft-landed, rests on the Genesis planet’s surface.With a fraction of the production budget of the first film, the director wisely spent some time getting the story right and then doing the best he could with the resources he had to hand. The result is a very satisfying 112 minutes of fabulous science fiction entertainment with an intelligent script and cutting edge special effects.

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REVIEW: DROP DEAD GORGEOUS

CAST

Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man)
Denise Richards (Valentine)
Ellen Barkin (Before Women Had Wings)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Kirstie Alley (Cheers)
Sam McMurray (Addams Family Values)
Mindy Sterling (Idle Hands)
Amy Adams (Batman V Superman)
Brittany Murphy (Just Married)
Alexandra Holden (Sugar & Spice)
Patti Yasutake (Star Trek: TNG)
Adam West (Batman 60s)
Will Sasso (The Hot Chick)
Amanda Detmer (Final Destination)
Samantha Harris (CSI)
Nora Dunn (New Girl)
Mo Gaffney (That 70s Show)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)

In 1995, Mount Rose is preparing for its annual beauty pageant. Amber Atkins (Kirsten Dunst) is an optimistic teenager who signs up to compete in the pageant so she can follow in the footsteps of her idols, Diane Sawyer, and her mother, a former contestant. Amber and her mother, Annette Atkins (Ellen Barkin), live in a small trailer near their friend Loretta (Allison Janney), in stark contrast to fellow contestant Rebecca Leeman (Denise Richards), the daughter of the richest man in town, and her mother, Gladys Leeman (Kirstie Alley), who is the head of the pageant organizing committee and also a former winner. Various business connections between the Leeman Furniture Store and the judges of the pageant cause many to speculate that the contest will be rigged or fixed.

Many odd events occur around town during the run-up to the pageant, including the death of a contestant, the athletic and competitive Tammy Curry, who is killed when her tractor explodes. Amber decides to pull out of the pageant after her mother is injured in an explosion at their mobile home but reconsiders and decides to compete to follow her dreams and make her mother proud. At the dress rehearsal, fellow contestant Jenelle Betz swaps numbers with Amber. When Jenelle walks on stage at the beginning of rehearsal, a stage light falls and hits her in the head, knocking her unconscious and rendering her deaf. Luckily, Jenelle is a master of sign language so she claims that despite dropping out of the pageant, she has never been happier.

At the pageant, Amber’s dance costume mysteriously goes missing. Amber blames Becky and the two get into a catty fight. Amber’s best friend and fellow contestant Lisa Swenson (Brittany Murphy) tears them apart. After comforting a crying Amber, Lisa drops out of the pageant in order to give her own costume to her. Amber then performs her tap-dance number to a standing ovation, while Rebecca sings a cringe-worthy rendition of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and dances with a life-size Jesus doll on a crucifix, both amusing and horrifying the audience. Amber is named first runner up to Rebecca, however, during the victory parade the next day, Rebecca is riding in an elaborate float made in Mexico and is killed in a freak accident involving gasoline and fire that causes a huge explosion. The grief-stricken Gladys flies into a blind rage and admits to killing Tammy and to being responsible for all the attempts against Amber in the run-up to the pageant, and is immediately arrested. Rebecca’s tragic death and Gladys’ antics leave Amber as the new pageant winner.

At the State Competition, Amber wins the Minnesota American Teen Princess title by default after all the other contestants fall ill with seafood-related food poisoning, and Amber gets an all-expenses-paid trip to the national Sarah Rose American Teen Princess Pageant. Upon arrival, Amber and the other contestants are devastated to find that the company has been shut down by the IRS for tax evasion, sending all the contestants except for Amber on a rampage, vandalizing and destroying the property.

A few years later, Gladys escapes from prison and is sniping from the top of the Mount Rose supermarket, declaring revenge on Amber. During the six-hour police standoff, a television reporter doing a live report at the scene is hit by a stray bullet. Amber quickly picks up her mic and takes over, impressing the news station with her poise and confidence. The film closes with Amber as co-anchor of the evening news for Minneapolis–St. Paul television station WAZB-TV, thus living her dream of possibly becoming the next Diane Sawyer.

A Truly underrated gem of a movie, very satirical about American culture, genuinely funny, and a must see.