3 Movies That Have Made Me Cry: #1
I have expounded on what Star Trek means to me in the past. This entry in the Star Trek movie franchise has one of those moments that I’m convinced every person gets a little misty at because if they don’t, they simply have no soul. When I first saw this in 1982 I was 10 years old. I adored Star Trek and was one ofthe few people I know that liked the first movie. I had watched the original TV series episode “Space Seed” plenty of times, so when I saw the ads that Kahn was back I hadto see this movie. For 1 hour and 56 minutes I was in awe. It quite possibly one of the greatest action films ever made. I think the only pure action film that tops it is Raiders Of The Lost Ark, simply because that is the best action movie EVER!
Still, Star Trek II – The Wrath Of Kahn was more than just a movie that mase me cry, it was the FIRST movie to make me cry. Not even Old Yeller, which I actually had watched on TV a few days before, did that. Even my father, a man who in the past I have reffered to as a Vulcan for his aility to stifle emotion, cried. We walked out of the theater and my dad was teary eyed. I am unashamed to say that I was fullout bawling. How could anyone watch the pivotal scene in that film and not shed a tear?
If you’re asking me at this moment “James what scene are you talking about?”then please forward me your address so I can hunt you down and slap you!
I’m not gong to sit here and write a synopsis of this movie. This is one of those movies that everyone should have already seen and if they haven’t should go out and see right now. Let’s just alk about ‘The Scene’. With the mighty starship Enterprise unable to warp out of the Mutara Nebula after a dogfight with USS Reliant, our antagonist Kahn Noonien Singh activates the Genesis Device as his last act in order to kill his hated enemy Admiral James T. Kirk. Realizing that the Genesis Wave will destroythe Enterprise andeveryone aboard her, Spock leaves the bridge for the engine room to check on the status of the anti-matter chamber. With the Genesis Wave in coundown mode and uable to be stopped, the Enterprise seems doomed. Despite the protests of Dr. McCoy Spock enters the Warp Drive Core and frepairs the damage, enabling the Eneterprise to escape and for James Kirk once again cheat death. As Kirk is blissfully unaware of Spock’s absence as he looks on at the newly formed Genesis planet and calls down to Scotty in the engine room to thank him for another job well done. It is when McCoy answers the intercom that Kirk realizes that Spock isn’t on the bridge. Rushing down to the engine room, Kirk arrives to see Spock in his last moments before death. Earlier in the film the two men engaged in a philosophical discussion about how Kirk had given up Starship command for a desk job and how no one, least of all Kirk, benefitted from it. In his dying moments, Spock rminds Kirk of that conversation, proving his point of ‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one’. His final gesture to Kirk, the one person he has ever truly called friend is to tell him just that in the simplest possible way “I have and always shall be your friend. Live Long & Prosper!”.
While the rest of the movie deals with the aftermath of Spock’s death and how it affects Kirk, the themes tht the movie was getting across were summed up i nthat scene. Kirk had stated his frustrations to both McCoy and Spock how his current job at Starfleet mae him feel old and worn out. The fact that Kirk is celebrating his 49th birthday at the beginning of the movie only compounds these feelings. Spock and McCoy both rebutt Kirk by telling him what he should be doing (McCoy a little less subtly than Spock, but that is the beauty of DeForest Kelley as Leonard McCoy, he is both in touch with his emotions yet utterly blunt). Kirk’s true happiness in life comes from commanding a starship and adventures as Captain of the Enterprise. He, as an admiral, has the power to make it happen but refuses becuse he is already strting his mid-life crisis. The threat of Kahn is almost blessing to him, as it gives him that chance for adventure he so desperately craves. The problem is that Kahn’s only goal is vengeance on Kirk. Kirk pays the price for his ennui at the beginning of the film by having Kahn take away something that means more to him than even the Enterprise, his best friend.
Yet Spock’s death allows Kirk to reconnect with the man he is on several levels. He rediscovers a relationship with his estranged son David and it is David that points out that Spock’s sacrifice demonstrated a very important point that Kirk had been trying to make to Lt. Saavik earlier i nhe movie that “how we face death is at least as important as how we face life”. Spock looked death in the eye and refused to flinch. He did it because the argument of “The needs of th many outweigh the needs fo the few or the one” is always true. Realizing that David is right allows Kirk to experience a rebirth of self. When asked how he feels at the end of the movie Kirk smiles with tears in his eyes with “I feel young”.
Ok so I did some synopsis, so sue me. When one is a ten year old boy, the only thing that matters when watching this movie is that Spock dies. When one enters their late teens and 20s, they can take a new perspective on the film and begin to understand the philosophy and and underlying themes that are being discussed. I imagine by the time I reach my iddle age (I’m almost there) this movie will strike an even deeper chord with me as I’ll identify with what Kirk is going through in regards to aging. Perhaps when I tirn 45 or 50 I’ll invite my friends over for my birthday so we can enjoy a snifter of brandy or two as we watch Star Trek II – The Wrath Of Kahn and appreciate life together. We may even cry a little. Well, they might not but I know that somewhere around the 1 hour and 45 minute mark I’ll be fighting back, with all my might, the urge to cry.
For now though, I I ca nwatch this masterpiece and still remember when I was 10 and when that pivotal scene comes, I’d better be rady with some Kleenex…
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