When people talk about the fact that, for the longest time, Star Trek’s even-numbered films were awesome, but the odd-numbered ones were disappointing, one of the people most responsible for those exceptional even outings is Nicholas Meyer. He directed both Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, easily two of the franchise’s high points. He also did script work — some credited, some not — on both of those films, as well as Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. He is especially credited for, along with Harve Bennett, creating a solid script for Wrath of Khan that also reigned in the budget after the bloated excess of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Wrath of Khan’s budget was around $11 million — less than half that of The Motion Picture — and it took in a global box office haul of $97 million (in 1982 dollars, obviously).
Meyer was also responsible for two iconic films outside the Trek canon. He adapted his own best-selling novel The Seven-Per-Cent Solution into a 1976 film. It features a stricken Sherlock Holmes, unable to shake his powerful addiction to cocaine, consulting with one Dr. Sigmund Freud. Continuing his knack for mixing historical and fictional characters, Meyer also wrote and directed 1979’s Time After Time, which had H.G. Wells using his infamous time machine to chase Jack the Ripper into the 20th century (with Malcolm McDowell as Wells and David Warner as the Ripper).
Meyer turns 68 today, and we here at GFR wish him a happy one.
Today in Television
Doctor Who Marathon (BBC America, 8 a.m. EST)
As we told you yesterday, BBC America is celebrating the new Christmas special and the departure of Matt Smith with a week-long marathon of assorted episodes. They start in the wee hours, take a brief break to cram in some news during the early morning, then jump back into the Who fray. Today they’re running through season six, then winding up the day with the last three Christmas specials: “A Christmas Carol,” “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe,” and “The Snowmen.” The next batch of episodes will kick off at 3 a.m. EST with the first episode of season seven, “Asylum of the Daleks.”
Today in Blu-ray/DVD
Jurassic Park 3D (3D Blu-Ray)
Universal gave us a post-converted 3D version of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park last spring, and if ever there’s a movie that could be cool in 3D, that’s gotta be near the top of the list. That sort of thing is best experienced on a giant screen, but if you didn’t get a chance to see it during its brief release in April, now you can bring the experience home with a new Blu-ray 3D re-release of Jurassic Park. Just remember, if being stalked by a T. rex, be very, very still.
More Than Honey (Blu-Ray & DVD)
From Markus Imhoof (the director of the Academy Award nominated film The Boat Is Full) tackles the vexing issue of why bees, worldwide, are facing extinction. With the tenacity of a man out to solve a world-class mystery, he investigates this global phenomenon, from California to Switzerland, China and Australia. Exquisite macro-photography of the bees (reminiscent of Microcosmos) in flight and in their hives reveals a fascinating, complex world in crisis. Writes Eric Kohn in Indiewire: ”Imhoof captures the breeding of queen bees in minute detail, ventures to a laboratory to witness a bee brainscan, and discovers the dangerous prospects of a hive facing the infection of mites. In this latter case, the camera’s magnifying power renders the infection in sci-fi terms, as if we’ve stumbled into a discarded scene from David Cronenberg’s The Fly.” This is a strange and strangely moving film that raises questions of species survival in cosmic as well as apiary terms.
NARRATED BY TWO-TIME ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE JOHN HURT (Midnight Express, The Elephant Man, V for Vendetta, Alien)
Predator 3D (3D Blu-Ray)
Predator 3D is also getting another Blu-ray re-issue, so slap on those 3D glasses and remember: if it bleeds, we can kill it.