Sunday, March 25, 2012

Star Trek vs Star Wars: Round Two

Back in my February 18th post I explained how I wanted to compare the first six Star Wars and Star Trek movies. You can see that blog here.

ROUND TWO: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan vs Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Again, Admiral Kirk finds himself taking control of the Enterprise to do the one thing he was born to do: command a starship. When Khan takes control of his own Federation starship, it leads the crew of the Enterprise to the edge of survival, unites James T. Kirk with the son he never knew, and leads to the death of Captain Spock.

When I was a kid, I remember liking this movie and being terrified by the bug that crawls into Chekov’s ear. I must have watched this film a dozen times on VHS. I was such a huge fan.

After all these years, there were things I forgot about in the plot. I forgot about Chekov’s ‘betrayal,’ Khan detonating the Genesis device (I thought he just activated the self-destruct), and a lot of small stuff.

In watching it again, I found myself just as big a fan as I’ve ever been. Khan’s motivation and ability easily makes him the most imposing villain to go up against the Enterprise’s crew. At the beginning of the movie the Enterprise is being taken out on a training voyage with a load of cadets who scatter as soon as the first attack begins.

The movie is terrific for many reasons: 1) it shows a really fierce starship battle in which neither side seems to have any clear advantage through most of the film, 2) there is a lot of fantastic dialogue between the characters, and 3) the moving death of Spock.

All of these years later and I still get excited when the Enterprise rises up behind the Reliant in the Nebula and lays waste to her. Although I still wish we’d gotten to see Khan’s expression when Enterprise went to warp speed.

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Ten years after the events in the Phantom Menace, Senator Palpatine convinces the Jedi Council to assign Senator Amidala Jedi protection. When the council assigns Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Padawan, Anakin Skywalker, the reunion sparks something in Padme and Anakin that results in them marrying in secret. Meanwhile Obi-Wan uncovers a large clone army and inadvertently begins a war – just as Senator Palpatine had planned all along.

When I saw this film opening weekend, I guess I was still suffering from the open wound of The Phantom Menace because I hated this movie. I thought Anakin and Padme’s many scenes together so close together where they’re hanging out and bonding was a little much back then. I also couldn’t follow Obi-Wan’s story because I didn’t really understand the politics of everything. I also think I was impatient and wanted to answers faster than I was getting them. And it irritated me that Anakin whined more than Luke did in A New Hope.

When I watched this movie again, I found that most of the things I didn’t like had disappeared. I found all the scenes with Anakin and Padame bonding were actually enjoyable. I still didn’t like the lack of emotion between the two – especially when Anakin tells Padme that he senses his mother is suffering and tells her he has to go and Padme says nothing. I wanted her to be the one to say – ‘then we have to go’ like she does when they go off to save Obi-Wan at the end.

Overall, I enjoyed watching this film a lot more than I thought I would.


While Attack of the Clones was a good, fun movie, but there was no real worry that the main characters were in any real danger (except Padme with the worm creatures). And I find it hard to believe that Darth Vader couldn’t find Luke hiding in plain sight on Tatooine with his step-brother. It’s also hard to imagine C-3P0 not telling Luke that he was created by another Skywalker.

The Wrath of Khan had these two passionate leaders who hated each other. All through the movie, Kirk and Khan traded starship fire and heated words. And the picture started on sort of a negative note (with all the "I'm getting older" talk) and had a hopeful ending. The dialogue was great, the action was terrific, it was clearly superior to Attack of the Clones.

While I can see myself watching Attack of the Clones again, it’s easier to imagine me watching Wrath of Khan a lot more.

Star Trek: 1
Star Wars: 1

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