There's a new wrinkle in the "Star Trek" series -- "The Wrath of Khan," with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy going not so boldly as before. It's a geriatric voyage this time: James T. Kirk, now an admiral, has failing eyesight; Scotty's become broad across the beam; and Dr. McCoy, still pushing the tranquilizers, seems a tad senile.
Even the villain, recreated from a 1967 TV episode by Ricardo Montalban, is a senior citizen. He's 200 years old, gray and shaggy, but with pectorals plumpier than the Pillsbury Doughboy's.
In this made-for-movies episode, Khan, a criminal superman, comes after Kirk in one of Star Fleet's own vessels; he's bent on blowing him up with a biological bomb. Even at warp speeds, the plot dotters a bit as its cast of codgers cautiously proceeds where all have gone before.
They're all saggy, now, except for Shatner, who has given Kirk soul and a sassy sense of humor. Nimoy warms up Spock some, too, turning him into an intergalactic guru with a softening sense of logic and a maternal instinct for his protege, a half-Romulan, half- Vulcan space cadet. The later, played by looker Kristie Alley, is one of few new additions to the old standbys, which include DeForest Kelley as McCoy, James Doohan as Scotty, Walter Koenig as Chekov, George Takei as Sulu and Nichelle Nichols as Uhura.
Perhaps it's time to put USS Enterprise in mothballs. Visually, it can't strike back in its encounters with sci-fi spellbinders like "Star Wars." Even with special effects by George Lucas's Industrial Light and Magic crew, the old ship looks like a toy boat in a lava lamp. Yes, the transporter beam has new sparkle, as do the phaser fire and warp- speed maneuvers, but over-all, the state of its art is closer to "2001" than 1982.
"Star Trek II" has its moments, but this should be the final frontier for these fabulous old space jockeys.
STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KAHN Opens Friday at 14 area theaters.