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Ok, I’m a nerd.  Most people would not consider Star Trek fodder for literary or personal inspiration.   To paraphrase: I enjoy being a nerd.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn was penned and directed by Nicholas Meyer,  who is likely the most significant reason for the fabled Star Trek “even movies are better than odd movies” phenomenon (the second, fourth, and sixth installments are generally considered the better movies, first, third and fifth – not so much).  In my opinion, The Wrath of Kahn is the standard by which all Trek movies are measured.

What has always stood out about this movie, to me, is Spock’s decision at the climax of the movie.  His self-sacrifice saves the day.  I have always felt that the nobel self-sacrifice is the gold standard for any hero.   The willingness to give your life (as opposed to merely “risking” it) because it’s the right thing to do is what makes a character truly a hero.  “The needs of the many outweigh . . . the needs of the one.”  This is a theme that will doubtless crop up more than once, as I write about my inspirations. 

As I grew older and was exposed to literature a new element showed itself in this movie, though.  (As an aside, the best books and movies are the ones that can continue to be enjoyed, even as we grow older and wiser.  Or after we’ve watched it dozens of times.)  Sprinkled throughout this movie are literary quotes, in particular from “A Tale of Two Cities” and “Moby Dick”.  In many ways, Kahn is Ahab, obsessed with killing his “White Whale”.  In a much more general way, Spock takes the role of Sydney Carton – sacrificing himself for others.  What is important to me about this, though is the reminder that works of fiction are intertwined.  No work exists without its predecessors, even if they are far removed from the work at hand.  Inspiration can come from anywhere.  Fantasy can be inspired by the bible, romance can be inspired by science fiction.  Literature is all a family.



One Comment

    • chandlerswainreviews
    • Posted June 22, 2012 at 12:03 am
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    • Reply

    What a fine piece, and a healthy reminder that the value of a film starts with the writing. The Melville influences in the film (beyond thematic similarities) are boldly expressed especially with many direct references (though not overtly attributed) through quotations by Khan.

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