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Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Commentaries on this disc:
Director Nicholas Meyer
Rating:7.8/10 (29 votes) [
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Reviewed by Blunt on June 7th, 2004
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I didn't expect a great deal from this commentary but I was very pleasantly surprised to find myself listening all the way through.
Meyer is a good talker and - as with all the best commentaries - he discusses the film from many angles. The track is very accessible ; that is, you don't need to be an obsessive Trekkie to enjoy it. Though I'm sure it helps.
Reviewed by reidca on December 14th, 2005
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Seriously, this is one of the better commentaries I've ever heard. I always liked this movie, but this commentary puts it in a new light. Meyer is an intellectual, but he makes a good stab as not coming across as one. His talk ranges from classic literature to Shatner acting to ILM effects to Ricardo Montalban's pecs to what he wanted to achieve vs what he did achieve to sophomore efforts to Gene Roddenberry to Star Trek VI. A treasure trove of info and quite frankly, he sounds like a lovely man. Sort of guy you'd want at a dinner party.
Reviewed by ZachsMind on September 2nd, 2006
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This is a textbook case of how someone should conduct a DVD commentary if you're the only voice on it. Nicholas Meyer has it down. First, you gotta do your homework. Be aware of what you want to say and when. Be prepared. However, also don't make it sound like you're reading from a prompter, whether you actually are or not. Meyer's conversational, treating the microphone as if it were you. It's a very intimate, one-sided conversation, leaving the listener feeling almost as if you're participating in the conversation, even though all you're doing is listening. It's like he answers the questions as they occur to you, as you and he are watching the film virtually at the same time, though in reality that's impossible.
He just lays it all out and tells it like he sees it. He's chock full of anecdotes about the script process, production, editing, and the twelve thousand in between bits. He's reverent of the talent while also acknowledging their humanity. He manages to tell truths about Shatner for example, without sounding like he's being judgmental or catty. However, he's also not being politically correct or asskissy about it. Shatner's a demanding talent, but Meyer falls short of calling him spoiled. Others have not been as kind. So it's like he's dishing on the cast & crew, but he's not ugly about it.
Most everything that comes out of Meyer's mouth is referring to something that either is on the screen, was on the screen, or is about to be. He doesn't often go too far off in tangents. Well maybe there's a couple tangents, but they're nice ones. One in particular was so good I quoted it and put it up at my website. http://www.zachsmind.com/entry.asp?Date=1/2/2006 That typifies for me what is good and bad about modern film. Too often, directors leave nothing to the imagination of the viewer. Not Meyer. Like a skillful magician, whether he's directing a film or doing a DVD commentary about one, he serves a veritable banquet of sights, sounds, and contemplations, yet he always leaves you wanting just a little bit more. He leaves you satisfied, but still just a tad hungry, and it's because he knows when to embellish, and when to leave things out.
This is how it should done, and those who recorded the commentary tracks currently on this website's 'worst' list, should view this commentary before they ever again attempt to record one of their own.
Reviewed by neosuperblissey on March 5th, 2007
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Countering my recent review of the commentary on the DVD of "Pokemon 4ever" (a candidate for the "worst commentaries ever" list if I ever saw one...but I digress), the commentary for the 2-disc version of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" (featuring, as its sole speaker, director Nicholas Meyer) deserves its slot on the top commentaries list.
Compared to the six-speaker and all-too-short "Pokemon 4ever" commentary, Meyer's "TWOK" commentary is a comprehensive look at the film which truly resurrected the "Star Trek" franchise. J.J. Abrams and the crew of "Star Trek XI," take note: THIS IS HOW YOU GET IT DONE!
Reviewed by zombking on January 20th, 2008
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Considering I am not a big Trek fan by any means, I picked up Star Trek II one day because it was really the only one I was interested in and it was on sale for 10 bucks at a local store. Sure. Stick it in the machine. The movie is good. Try the commentary. You'll like it.
What a pleasant surprise.
With all of the great criterion commentaries out there that I've heard, it's hard to expect much better from a run-of-the-mill sci-fi movie from the 80s. Much less one of the best I've ever heard. Out of all the commentaries I've listened to (quite a lot,) I'd say Meyer has the art down to an...well, art.
Meyer manages to touch on everything without seeming to jump from one subject to the next. He's well-read, well-spoken, and well-thought out in his reading, and everything he says puts the film in a new and better light. Everything said above in other reviews still applies. I was shocked that some random guy (no longer random, of course) could be so informative about a movie that doesn't really stand as a super-classic by any means. Meyer talks of directing Shatner (a great bit, "Here it comes..."), the low budget and working with that, and his opinions as to the theme of the film (how he opposed the ending, etc.) He conveys his opinion without sounding harsh towards producers, but at the same time makes his opinion known without kissing up.
Essentially, this commentary should stand as the reference point for filmmaker commentaries in the future. There are no stuttering scenes, no "well he was just great" scenes (that I can remember) and no "I don't remember whether his coat was green or blue" scenes that go on for minutes on end. Just lots and lots of information to help you enjoy Star Trek II more than before. Isn't that the point of a commentary?
Reviewed by closedface on March 1st, 2009
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My favorite commentary ever.
This isn't just the standard "how we made the movie, so-and-so was great" commentaries.
This is a storyteller opening up to the listener in a great conversational way about storytelling itself, in a way that is very accessible.
He manages to be both specific with the film and broad with film-making and storytelling, and perhaps most of all the creative process of the artist as storyteller.
I'm suprised it's average score isn't higher.
Reviewed by Uniblab on November 13th, 2009
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Nicholas Meyer probably isn't the person one remembers when one thinks about the best or most famous directors, but ironically he has recorded a track that any commentary enthusiast is very likely to remember when thinking about his favorite ones. Meyer comes across as a very literate person and note your run-of-the-mill nerd trying to look cool. His commentary not only has a narrative quality that is at once structured and spontaneous, but he also manages to put in very insightful "Philosophy of Cinema" thoughts and remarks. Curiously, there are two or three gaps in his main commentary filled by inserts from an interview, when his voice sounds muffled and we can hear car and truck noise, but they are very brief and don't distract the narrative in the least.
Reviewed by Kgprophet79 on June 21st, 2013
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The best kind of commentaries that exist out there are the ones that dish out the dirt. I'm sure as a director, Nicolas Meyer is very prickly. But his brash personality is a joy to listen to on this commentary track. Who cares if some of his decisions were the best or not, he used his dead-certain mentality get his way. A great portrait of the director more than an objective analysis of the film.
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