Not many viewers were surprised to discover that the main villain is Khan, a super-human, genetically enhanced to be the ultimate soldier. What might surprise them, however, is the underlying theme of “Family” that plays throughout the film. Because he is an orphan, Captain James Kirk (Chris Pine)has adopted the crew of the starship Enterprise as his family, and his mentor, Commander Pike, is not just a friend but almost a father.
In a similar way, Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) also belongs to an unusual family – the last of his fellow genetically engineered super-humans. Both Kirk and Khan say they would do anything for their families, but the way they think varies in a subtle but key way, and it makes all the difference in the world. Kirk starts out as the selfish son, doing what he thinks is right regardless of the rules. Khan on the other hand acts as the fearless father, concerned about his “people”. However, by the end, Kirk breaks out of his selfishness and realizes his shortcomings. He would do anything, including die for his “family”. Khan, on the other hand, will kill for his.
Kirk is willing to selflessly give his life for others. Khan, seeing his race as superior, will selfishly take the lives of others to protect his family alone. Jesus says “He who tries to save his life will lose it, but he who lays down his life for others will save it.” While not appropriate for young teens and children, the movie conveys a strong sense of morality and seriously addresses issues like humility, respect, loyalty and family.
As a fun fact, the actor who played Khan in the original Star Trek TV series and movies was Ricardo Montalban, a staunch Catholic and a good friend of Family Theater Productions. He acted in many of our programs, including our Classic Radio Series, our Spanish Radio Dramas, and our Classic TV shows.