K is for Khan
One of my favourites and in turn one of my favourite movie moments of all time has to be Khan, as played by Ricardo Montalbán.
While Montalbán undoubtedly had greater fame for other roles (like Mr Roarke from the long-running series Fantasy Island), he played the part of Khan Noonien Singh in the 1967 Star Trek episode “Space Seed” – and returned in 1982 in the movie “The Wrath of Khan“.
I cannot claim that any of the moments in this movie necessarily warrant a movie award – though the tear-jerking exchange between Kirk and Spock get me every damned time no matter how many times I view Khan. But, the rivalry between Kirk and Khan sizzles throughout their conflict – and when Khan captures the Genesis device we get the finest moment of scene-chewing, lip-quivering, spittle-spluttering acting from both Montalbán and Shatner.
Seriously – I cannot watch that sequence without shaking my fist and roaring alongside the Shat.
No one will argue that Shatner lacks a certain breadth to his performance potential, but what he does – well, he does it like no other actor.
If Montalbán and Shatner had to go head-to-head in a fight, bare-chested and bawling at this moment on some rocky alien world, I’m not sure it could be any more exciting. I’m not sure who would win either.
That moment where Kirk cries out reverberates through memes and everyday conversation. Many times I have uttered that same word when voicing my own (good humoured) frustration with a situation.
If you haven’t watched the movie, do so. I’m won’t pretend it will turn you into a Trekkie/Trekker if you aren’t already, but you will remember it. Give in to the early 80s goodness and wallow in it. Let Montalbán and Shatner seep into your consciousness. You won’t regret it.