Feb. 5, 2012: The Return Of The Theater-going Cineaste
I've been toying with the idea of seeing [no pun intended] if my eyes could handle moviegoing, and an invitation to see STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN seemed like as good a movie to start with as any, especially considering how many PDX-area movie fans I respect have raved about how nice the Academy theater is to catch films in; Rip Van Cineaste was bemused, amused and pleased by this not-just-watery-soda-stale-popcorn-and-price-gouged-candy movement in theater catering that took off years after I stopped going to the movies. Holy shitballs, they have comfortable seats, cup holders and food trays and fresh pizza now? Even if I hadn't walked out of the movie with nothing more than a slight fuzz in the center of my sight and a headache, I probably would gut it out for a not-shit movie in the future.
[By the way, had KHAN blinded me for good, I had vowed to rejoin the U.S. Olympic Marco Polo team and lead it to victory in the Summer games. Alas, those kids are on their own for another four years.]
As for the movie itself: It was good, but not as great as its reputation probably requires. The ending loses all of its punch if you're not emotionally invested in seeing Kirk become more mature, and you can buy into the idea that a career Starfleet officer could rise all the way to Admiral without ever once losing someone he truly cared about.
Also, if you knew nothing about Star Trek going into this movie, I imagine it would be easy to think Khan was ST2's protagonist or at least an antihero -- he has the clearest, most sympathetic motivation and more than enough charisma and passion that you would cheer him on despite the hideous things he does. As awesome as the KHAAAAAAAANNNNNNNN moment is, it doesn't make a lick of fucking sense if you take it in its conversational context, which I suppose is why it's become so iconic on the Internet, where the roads are paved with smug, ironic appreciation for sincere but bad art. [See also: "You're the man now, dawg," "NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" every third Meme that lasts longer than a weekend, etc.]