I enjoy this movie a great deal, despite the fact that I am now 18 years older than when I first saw it in the theater (I believe it was the old Merritt in Bridgeport, Connecticut). I enjoy it even more now that I am aware that the film is, without question, Moby Dick in space.

That this should be true of the plot is evident, as long as you assume that Khan is Ahab and Kirk is his white whale. Moby Dick took Ahab's leg, Kirk took (indirectly) Khan's wife, Marla McGivers. The mad and ultimately vain pursuit ends with disaster to Khan's ship, the death of his crew, and one final fling of an allegorical harpoon in the form of the Genesis Device. They even lift lines directly from Melville's book, such as Khan's last words:

"To the last, I grapple with thee; from hell's heart, I stab at thee; for hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee."

These are the famous words Ahab utters before the whale takes him down. There is also the earlier paraphrase "I'll chase him 'round the moons of Nivea, and 'round the Antares maelstrom, and 'round perdition's flames before I give him up." The attentive viewer will also notice a bound copy of Moby Dick on a shelf inside the group's squalid hut on Ceti Alpha V. (BTW the novel is just as good as the movie, if not better--pick it up and give it a read!)