Review: Wrath of Khan Director’s Cut Blu-ray


The greatest film in the Star Trek cannon gets a 4K update and a special edition release, heres our review.

Released in 1982 the Wrath of Khan was later seen as the savior of the Star Trek movie franchise after the lack luster performance of the Motion Picture. For this film, Paramount brought in director Nicholas Meyer to try to navigate the USS Enterprise and her crew back on track, boy did he succeed. Working with Harve Bennett and Jack B. Sowards they came up with a story that saw the return of one of the original series classic villains. Khan Noonian Singh. It was a masterstroke which gave Ricardo Montalban the chance to deliver a nemesis to go down in Star Trek history as the greatest Captain Kirk and the crew had ever faced. So popular was Khan that director JJ Abrams brought him back for 2013’s Star Trek into Darkness with less success.

The Plot

“He tasks me. He tasks me, and I shall have him”

It’s a plot that fans know and love.15 years after being left to start a new life with his followers on Ceti Alpha V by Captain Kirk, the genetically engineered Khan Noonian Singh is discovered by Captain Tarrell (Paul Winfield) and Commander Chekov (Walter Koenig) who mistakenly believe the planet to be Ceti Alpha IV. Khan who is now so engulfed with revenge takes over the USS Reliant (with a little help from some mind controlling slugs) and sets out to unleash hell on the unsuspecting, now Admiral Kirk.

The Genesis device, technology created by Carol (Bibi Besch) and David Marcus (Merritt Butrick) that can terraform a dead moon into a thriving inhabitable planet or, if in the wrong hands, be used to lay waste and to destroy entire worlds, is the McGuffin of the film and drives the narrative along. However, it all leads up to hugely enjoyable game of cat and mouse between Khan and Kirk that along with some memorable scenes, gives us some of the best quotes ever spoken on the screen “He tasks me. He tasks me, and I shall have him. I’ll chase him round the Moons of Nibia and round the Antares Maelstrom and round Perdition’s flames before I give him up!”

It’s a credit to both Ricardo Montalban and director Meyer that you cannot tell that Khans scenes were filmed six months before the films scheduled production, due to Montalban’s commitments on his TV show Fantasy Island. It all ends in, what I would have imagined as a shock to Star Trek fans at the time (I was 4) the death of Spock. A climatic battle that see’s a defeated and dying Khan detonate the Genesis device that threatens to destroy the Enterprise ad take it out with him, Spock, in his logical way, gives his life to save the ship and crew. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. It’s emotional, it’s fantastic, it’s the reasons why this film is revered among Trek fans the world over.

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The Blu-Ray

One of the first things that strikes you about the Directors Cut is the box art which was originally a mondo poster by artist Tyler Stout. The Blu-Ray contains two cuts of the film, one being the original 1982 theatrical release and the other being the enhanced HD version. The HD version does have a few extra scenes and lines of dialogue that extend the runtime slightly but none of these scenes actually make a difference to the story, but they are a welcome addition. The main difference you will notice is from a visual aspect. There of course has been a HD version of Wrath of Khan before, however in this directors cut, it is noticeable that they have aimed for a closer 4k digital upgrade which allows for some finer detail, as well as changing the color tone of some of the scenes. In the 2009 release there was a lot of blue shading that has been reduced back for this release. The best way to show the visual upgrades would be in the form of a video, which we just happen to have below courtesy of the TrekkieChannel’s Youtube channel


As with any special edition release, it’s the extras that come with it that you are really putting the money up for and like Scotty’s ability to give it all she’s got, Wrath of Khan Directors Cut does not disappoint in that department. The Blu-Ray comes packed with bonus material including original documentaries, one being nearly 30 minutes in duration called the Genesis Effect: Engineering the Wrath of Khan, which gives details on how they updated and produced this new version of the fan favorite film, filled with interviews, stock footage and rare photos.

The other extras include:

  • Captain’s Log
  • Designing Khan
  • Original interviews with DeForest Kelley, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and Ricardo Montalban
  • Where No Man Has Gone Before: The Visual Effects of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  • James Horner: Composing Genesis
  • Collecting Star Trek’s Movie Relics
  • A Novel Approach
  • Starfleet Academy: The Mystery Behind Ceti Alpha VI
  • A Tribute to Ricardo Montalban
  • Storyboards
  • Theatrical Trailer

Some of these extras have been previously released before; however, the 30 minute documentary is a fascinating insight into the making of the movie that will please fans.


This is a release aimed at the fans and its a real treat! I would imagine that casual viewers will enjoy the extras that come with the director’s cut but it is the hardcore Trek fans that will get the best out of this release, no doubt having fun spotting the extra dialogue or scenes that have been included by Meyer and learning more about the making of the greatest Star Trek film made to date.

Now if you excuse me, time to watch it again!

Next: Who will be the captain of the new Star Trek series?

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