Jammer's Review

"Star Trek V: The Final Frontier"

*1/2

Theatrical release: 6/9/1989
PG; 1 hr. 47 min.
Screenplay by David Loughery
Story by William Shatner & Harve Bennett & David Loughery
Produced by Harve Bennett
Directed by William Shatner

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

July 27, 2004

I was tempted to buy the two-disc special-edition DVD of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier because I was interested in hearing the commentary track by William Shatner. I'd imagine a commentary track on this failed film would be illuminating, or at the very least interesting.

Ultimately, though, I decided against the DVD purchase (I already have a copy on VHS). In a capitalist society, we vote for consumer products by using our wallets, and Star Trek V is a movie that I must strongly vote against. Instead, I recently pulled out my VHS copy to revisit this film for the first time in many years. I can say with renewed confidence that this will indeed be the only Trek film that won't be making its way on to my DVD shelf. (After having just watched it, I won't need to watch it again for many more years, if ever. Besides, how can you face the clerk at the checkout line at Best Buy when you're buying Star Trek V: The Final Frontier? Kidding, kidding.)

Let me begin by saying that I like William Shatner. As an actor, I think he sometimes gets a bad rap. Yes, his acting choices are occasionally odd or campy or overshooting the mark, and you can point to it in places in the original series' run. But that's why we love the guy. Even when he's doing camp, he's doing camp entertainingly. Everybody remembers "KHAAAAAAAN!" from Star Trek II. It's a laughable moment, yes, but great. It seems, however, that many people are slower to recall that otherwise in Trek II Shatner delivered possibly his best performance, with grace and nuance. He is not a bad actor. He's just an actor who sometimes employs stylized acting.

But was he a competent director? I'm not sure I have enough information to say. I can say that in Star Trek V he made a pretty awful film, a failure on nearly every level, although a sizable percentage of the blame must also go to screenwriter David Loughery. This is easily the worst of the Trek films. It's a mess.

(Truth in criticism requires me to point out that my VHS edition is a 4:3 pan-and-scan presentation of what was a 2.35:1 widescreen film. I would typically call this a butchering of the film, but that would be overstatement in this case since The Final Frontier was ground chuck to begin with.)

Where to begin? How about the first hour of the movie? It's mostly just extended setup material — far too extended and aimless, if you ask me.

It opens on Nimbus III — a backward hellhole of a desert world that's perhaps too ironically dubbed "the planet of galactic peace" — where a Vulcan named Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill, reasonably cast) takes hostage the human, Klingon, and Romulan diplomats assigned there. But even the setup has its own setup; we first meet Sybok in a pre-title scene where he laughs, and the plot takes its time moving along to the point where Sybok takes his hostages.

The diplomats are cast in such a way they initially seem to be legitimate supporting characters. We have a human named John Talbot (David Warner); an obsolete Klingon general named Korrd (Charles Cooper); and the newly arrived Romulan representative, Caithlin Dar (Cynthia Gouw). Given the amount of dialog these characters have in the pre-crisis prelude, one would think they'd be developed significantly into the storyline. They aren't. Their purpose in the film is merely as a worthless scrap of plotting, as bait to lure a Federation rescue ship to Nimbus III, which Sybok intends to steal. The plot's goal of stealing a starship could've been accomplished in any number of vastly more time-economical and interesting ways than is done here.

To insert David Warner as this superfluous throwaway is unforgivable (and fortunately his role in Star Trek VI helps right this wrong). Charles Cooper is serviceable in an almost equally unnecessary part, while Cynthia Gouw is awful in a completely pointless role. These characters should've been either written as necessary pieces of the story, or cut completely. As it stands they are simply inexplicable afterthoughts, and exist as an indicator of the script's clunkiness.

Back on Earth, the crew of the Enterprise is on shore leave while the new Enterprise-A, still in space dock, provides Scotty with one example after another (far too many for those of us in the audience) of how Starfleet's assembly line must've been asleep at the controls when the ship was built. What we get here are a lot of pointless vignettes that try to offer up lightweight characterization but succeed only in being some of the worst so-called "comedy" moments in the history of the franchise.

Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are on a camping trip at Yosemite National Park, where Kirk fancies himself a free climber as he attempts to scale El Capitan Mountain. The rock-climbing bit strikes me as an especially implausible conceit. After the three previous Trek films that showed older and wiser characters as aging people, the message here seems to be that Star Trek V is a return to glib episodic immortality. Yes, there are a couple palatable ideas that counter this notion, like Kirk's line that he has always known "I'll die alone," and the issue of these career Starfleet guys who have no families. But then the payoff is the infamous "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" scene, which tries with all its misguided might to bring these guys down to earth but succeeds only in looking completely ridiculous. Only the fact that these actors have inhabited these roles for so long does this scene maintain the slightest trace of dignity, because this is simply poorly written, dead-end material.

The problem with most of the lame comedy in Star Trek V is its forced nature. The movie is like the anti-Star Trek IV. Where Trek IV was about well-oiled nuance where humor grew naturally from situations and character, the early scenes of Trek V are about painfully labored, in-your-face Three Stooges gags that clunk and clang to the floor. Among the most cringe-worthy is the awkward Scotty/Uhura innuendo, which seems to hint at a relationship in such a way the audience is left to decide for itself. It's such a needless and poorly played detour that the only possible response is one of befuddlement.

That's not to say there aren't a few good lines. Some of them work because they don't insist on themselves. For example, Kirk says, "I could use a shower." Spock replies, simply, "Yes." And I sort of got a kick out of Spock's line near the end: "Please, captain — not in front of the Klingons." But for every moment like this there are two like the one where Scotty hits his head on the bulkhead, har har.

The plot slowly tries getting off the ground when Starfleet orders Kirk to take the disaster-prone Enterprise — where nothing is working — to Nimbus III to rescue the hostages. The amount of illogic in Starfleet's decision is beyond comprehension; apparently there's no one so qualified as the Great Jim Kirk, so Starfleet dispatches a starship that's not only almost nonfunctional, but docked in orbit at Earth. (Surely there's someone closer than a ship docked at Earth.) This contrived situation is of course something we must grant to get our characters into the action, but considering the only reason to have the Enterprise docked at Earth in the first place is for the sake of the lame setup material — well, what's the point?

Adding to the mess of the choppy storyline is a thread involving a Klingon Bird of Prey commanded by Captain Klaa (Todd Byrant), which immediately signals itself as being on an obvious collision course with the Enterprise. The Klingons are naturally the TOS era's default villains, but here they're mostly extraneous. It doesn't help that Klaa is a boring young hothead with so little believable motivation. His only purpose in life is apparently to go into battle against Kirk. His shallow immaturity only weakens the character to that of an obviously lesser opponent. There's no teeth to the part, and no point.

When the Enterprise reaches Nimbus III to rescue the hostages, we get some blandly routine action sequences in a production that's envisioned as a Western. The visual effects throughout the film are easily the worst in the entire feature series. Many of the other Trek films' visuals were produced by Lucasfilm's ILM. Not this one, which was supervised by Bran Ferren, who, based on the results here, apparently had no grasp of motion-control photography of miniatures. Few of the visual effects are convincing, and many are laughable.

Still, none of that compares to the film's worst character indignity, which is to put poor Uhura on center stage in a partially nude dance routine that's a jaw-dropping embarrassment. Do we really want to see our vaunted Starfleet officers reduced to this sort of wretched punch line?

Finally we get to a point where the movie should've arrived much sooner, when Kirk & Co. are captured by Sybok. There's the revelation that Sybok is Spock's half brother, but that's ultimately of so little consequence that I'm only devoting this one sentence to the matter. Sybok announces his intention to take the Enterprise through the Great Barrier, which surrounds the center of the galaxy. According to myth, the planet Sha Ka Ree (that's the Vulcan name for it) lies beyond the Barrier. No ship has ever breached the Barrier, and no probe has ever returned. Sha Ka Ree is alleged by some as the origin of all life, where God Himself may exist. We'll get to the God question in a moment.

Sybok is able to brainwash the crew of the Enterprise into following him on this mission by using his unique power to sense and release others' worst emotional pain. How this power works is unclear, and the manner in which he converts the crew to willing denizens is muddled and too convenient.

But I must also praise the film where praise is due. There is a good scene where Sybok uses his power to look into the souls of McCoy and Spock. McCoy in particular lives with an awful moment that has long haunted him (and relives it here in the film's single best-played dramatic scene). Spock's pain, somewhat less plausible as presented (Sarek seems awfully cold; would this Vulcan have married a human woman in the first place?), centers on his half-human nature and hearkens back to the core of the character. And Kirk's response to Sybok is very true to his character: "I don't want my pain taken away! I need my pain!" Vintage Kirk.

There's also a little bit of interest to find in the journey through the Great Barrier, which is presented as a landmark moment. Jerry Goldsmith's score sells it, and McCoy asks in disbelief, "Are we dreaming?" Kirk responds, "If we are, then life is a dream."

The moment loses its luster, though, when you consider the shoddy special effects. And more importantly the obvious question: If the Barrier is indeed only an illusion of danger, and yet has long been believed as a possible gateway to the answer to the ultimate cosmic question, why has no one tried going through it before? Planet Sha Ka Ree itself is a disappointment, looking roughly like the same desert locations used for Nimbus III, except as seen through a magenta image filter.

Finally comes the film's climactic moment when we meet "God." It seems to me that this moment is the very definition of an inescapable narrative catch-22 — particularly for Star Trek. You simply must ask yourself, how can Star Trek presume to actually find God? The answer is, simply, it can't, and deep down we know that. Star Trek is about exploring space and the human condition, and the moment the exploration of either of those things actually finds God in a tangible physical form is the moment when Star Trek has jumped the rails beyond the scope of its parameters and announced its journey as over.

The flip side of the coin is that if you don't find God here, what do you find instead? The answer is that you must find an inevitable disappointment, because there's virtually nothing you can do that will pay off that promise once you've set it up.

Given that catch-22, this film obviously opts to find the inevitable disappointment, and delivers it disappointingly. What we're dealing with is something masquerading as God, and in a hopelessly hokey and unimaginative way, to boot: "Brave souls — welcome!" rumbles the basso profundo voice. A face appears and I'm thinking of The Wizard of Oz. "God" is soon revealed as merely an aggressive entity that wants to use the Enterprise to escape its prison of a planet. ("What does God need with a starship?" Kirk asks, not unreasonably. Big mistake, 'cause you made it mad.)

The story gives no explanations for where this entity came from, why it is trapped here, how it knows certain things about the visitors that now stand before it, why it is surrounded by the Great Barrier, or why with all its powers it needs a starship to escape. The ensuing threats and showdowns, the silliness with the Klingons showing up and opening fire on the Enterprise, "God's" frankly pathetic pursuit of Kirk, etc. — it's appallingly weak. Only in this movie can a sequence begin by pretending to have found God, and end with a Klingon cannon blowing "God" up.

I welcome any intelligent attempt to consider questions of religion alongside science fiction. But The Final Frontier hopelessly bungles that attempt. Was its particular premise even workable? Probably not. The ending almost seems to acknowledge this, with Kirk saying that perhaps God isn't out there in space, but simply within the human heart.

If you want a superior film that tells a story with religion and sci-fi in a real-world setting, I highly recommend Contact (1997), which addressed these questions in probably the only truly plausible way possible — by saying that answers lie within personal beliefs that can't be proven. (As an agnostic, my own feeling is that the existence of God, or whatever made the universe and passage of time possible, is not something that can be comprehended in this lifetime.)

Regardless of theological background/belief (or lack thereof), it's hard to imagine anyone walking away satisfied with The Final Frontier. It employs labored storytelling, an inconsistent tone, half-sketched characters, and unfocused plotting to arrive at a thin conclusion to a misguided premise. Since William Shatner was the one sitting in the captain's chair when this ship hit the rocks, I suppose the blame lies with him.

Previous: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Next: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

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48 comments on this review

Amy Quinn - Sun, Dec 2, 2007 - 7:25am (USA Central)
I think I am about the only person in the world who actually enjoyed this film (suspending disbelief helped!) but I think this review is excellent. Just thought you'd like to know.
Jake - Wed, Dec 5, 2007 - 9:56pm (USA Central)
The film's unfunny attempts at humor makes it almost as bad as Tomcats(almost-because thankfully there are no tasteless gags involving body parts).
Commodore Decker - Thu, Jan 24, 2008 - 11:34pm (USA Central)
I entirely agree with this review except, when Spock said "Not in front of the Klingons" I wanted to finally barf. This entry in the series was way too jokey and much too hokey.
Some good moments, but not worth watching again.
Alexey Bogatiryov - Fri, Feb 8, 2008 - 4:35am (USA Central)
Like I said in an old email to you Jammer - I actually enjoyed this film. Since you don't wanna watch the commentary on DVD, I suggest you pick up the book by Jim Dillard. It has a ton more background and every single major cast member from TOS gets to face their greatest pain. I loved that part when Kirk said he needs his pain - stayed with me all of my life. Also, when "God" first appeared, they really had me going for 20 seconds that it was the real thing. Watching it again today as an adult still gives me chills downs my spine. I am glad to agree to disagree as your other reviews have been dead on.
Gretchen - Sun, Mar 16, 2008 - 12:17pm (USA Central)
The 4 TNG films may have been, shall we say, uninspired, but they were a lot more watchable than this crap.
levi - Thu, Jun 5, 2008 - 9:56am (USA Central)
This movie is no masterpiece, we all know it. But all in all, to me it plays like a clumsy season 3 TOS epidode, which makes it more watchable than STMP, which comes off as something more or less unrelated to TOS and a boring 2001 knockoff. This movie has it's charms, and really only goes off the rails in the ridiculous 3rd act. It's just too damn bad they went with this script and concept, and it looks worse than it is in comparison with the great 3 films that preceded it. It has it's moments.
robgnow - Sun, Aug 3, 2008 - 7:54pm (USA Central)
I agree with levi... it is like a TOS episode blown out of proportion for the movie screen. In fact, it recalls "Who Mourns for Adonis" and really, the Enterprise meeting one 'god' was enough. Especially when you think of Trelane, the Thusians, the Metrons, etc. etc. there were too many options if they really wanted a script where the Enterprise had to face a 'greater power' that would have tied more closely to the series - did we really need another disembodied, all-powerful (except he can't kill 'The Kirk' of course) being... and does anyone else have a problem with the ship being able to make it to the center of the galaxy when it could barely leave spacedock?
Don't even get me started on how the script humiliates Scotty....
Finally, I agree with Jammer in that it yanks the characters (especially Kirk) backward in development from the things (again, especially Kirk) that they've faced with regards to their own mortality, their winding toward the end of their careers in space, the upcoming hotshots and new ways of doing things that they don't quite understand, etc. rather than building on these themes from the prior movies.
Tim - Sat, Aug 9, 2008 - 1:22am (USA Central)
I just always thought it was really cool. I mean, something like 100 billion galaxies in the universe. And turns out God was living at the center of OUR galaxy. Of all the gin joints.... :)
J - Sat, Dec 6, 2008 - 1:40pm (USA Central)
DeForest Kelley must have known that William Shatner probably wasn't going to be able to steer this one to success, but damn if he didn't give it 100% in his scenes anyway. I really think he gives the best performance in the movie.
Alexey Bogatiryov - Fri, Mar 6, 2009 - 2:31pm (USA Central)
Common, can't you guys appreciate the scenes where Sybok makes the main characters reveal their pain? Bones recalling the euthanizing of his father was certainly a character defining moment!

Did anyone else get a tingling sensation when "God" appeared - I thought it was the real thing for about 30 seconds the first time I saw it. Liked the line about God being in the human heart - reaffirmed my atheism. Also - The "Boldly Go where No Man Has Gone Before" on the steeting wheel was a nice touch.

The re-invogorated youth of the characters can be attributed to some middle-age crisis :)

Common Jammer - it deserves at least 2.5 stars!
Latex Zebra - Mon, Mar 23, 2009 - 9:36am (USA Central)
Who was God though... Not God certainly.

It's funny (to me anyway) when I was young and before TNG came out I recorded this when it was on TV. It's far to say I have seen this more than any other Trek film as a result of having it on tape.
I wouldn't say I loved it but I loved Star Trek and at the time it was the one easy way for me to watch the characthers I loved. If you'd have asked me back then to rate it out of 4 stars I would have probably given it a 3 and half. If you asked me now. I'd probably give it a one.
It really hasn't aged well in comparison to the other movies.
OmegaWolf747 - Tue, May 26, 2009 - 6:56pm (USA Central)
The movie's humor was juvenile, but I still enjoyed it. I loved the scenes with Kirk, Spock and Bones at the campfire.

The novelization fills in the movie's wide gaps.
Charlie - Tue, Jul 7, 2009 - 4:13pm (USA Central)
There was a Next Gen book series ~10 years ago, called the 'Q Continuum' I think.. anyway, it took upon itself to provide backstory for some of the stuff from TOS, including 'God' trapped at the center of the galaxy. A good read, if you can find it.
Markus - Fri, Jul 17, 2009 - 1:15pm (USA Central)
"The movie's humor was juvenile, but I still enjoyed it. I loved the scenes with Kirk, Spock and Bones at the campfire."

I couldn't agree more... The film had a nice atmosphere in the first two thirds... but the rest is really a shame.
Gatton - Wed, Jul 22, 2009 - 2:38pm (USA Central)
It's funny to me that the worst Trek movie gets one of the best scores. I love Goldsmith's music especially the Mountain Man and Busy Man cues. I wish they'd release a special edition of this score the way they did for TMP. If you pick this up make sure though you avoid the awful Hiroshima track at the end.
PM - Wed, Aug 19, 2009 - 10:05am (USA Central)
For all its considerable faults, I will still take this one over Nemesis. I just can't forgive the way Nemesis took characters with 7 seasons and 3 movies worth of backstory and turned them into nobodies. At least here the characters, though rather broad caricatures of themselves, are mostly recognizable.
Christina - Thu, Aug 27, 2009 - 11:39pm (USA Central)
Definitely the worst movie of the franchise to date. A half-star movie.

The Spock-birth scene alone would be a reason to kill this movie dead, talk about a horrible mis-characterizations of Spock's parents.
Christina - Thu, Aug 27, 2009 - 11:41pm (USA Central)
Because Vulcans force pregnant women to give birth on stone slabs in dark caves.... because that's totally logical. Right. (sarcasm!)
Pendragon - Wed, Dec 23, 2009 - 12:08pm (USA Central)
>

Actually, I don't have such a problem with that notion - maybe it's the Vulcan equivalent of a 'home birth': an old-fashioned or traditional birthing. Considering how traditional Vulcan culture can be, maybe some of them choose to give birth as their ancestors did and perhaps Amanda chose to do the same? Also, considering how hot Vulcan is, I'm sure a nice cool stone bench in a cave would be a pretty comfortable place to lay.

Okay, you're right. It's ridiculous. Especially considering the cross-species nature of that pregnancy, she should have been in the Vulcan Hospital.
David - Tue, Mar 9, 2010 - 8:21am (USA Central)
Lousy movie and completely killed the momentum created by ST IV. It was simply a stupid plot. As a long time Trek fan it is somewhat amazing to me how I, III, and V could have been so ill conceived.
Oloryn - Fri, Apr 16, 2010 - 12:39pm (USA Central)
I actually liked STV, but only after it was over. A New-Agey Vulcan claiming to be leading the crew to God actually leads them to the Devil (a being willing to imitate people's idea of God and deceive in order to get what he wants? Sounds like the Devil to me); and it's not the logic of Spock, or the emotionality of McCoy that spots the problem, but the plain, ordinary, common sense of Kirk. To certain world-views, that'll preach.
Paul - Thu, Jan 13, 2011 - 11:56am (USA Central)
I remember liking this movie when I saw it in the theater when I was 9. But the characters -- aside from McCoy -- are so off in this movie. Kirk trying to HUG Spock on a KLINGON VESSEL? Kirk didn't hug Spock after Spock was brought back from the freaking dead!

The writing for Kirk is just so bad, and Shatner plays the role without any of his usual charm, "He's sorry. That makes it all right. He's sorry." Spock is too cutesy and Scotty is like a bad Scotty impersonation.

The logical gaffes can be ignored. Nobody complains about the Enterprise-E getting from the Neutral Zone to Earth in time to help stop the Borg in 'First Contact'. But there's very little else that's defensible in this film.

I will say that I don't think this movie is all that much worse than STTMP, which I find to be boring and badly written. But 'Final Frontier' is just truly awful.
Firestone - Fri, Feb 4, 2011 - 5:36am (USA Central)
Like others, I really liked this movie when I was young. I didn't notice the poor sfx and humour, but loved the action scenes, the running around through the ship and even the banging of Scottys head.
I watch it again, yesterday, on DVD for the first time in about ten years, and I am afraid I have to agree with the review. While the premise of the story isn't that bad - it has a nice flow to it and focusses on the (main) characters -, it really isn't executed well. The very poor sfx prevent you to be sucked into the story or to "belief" in the visuals, such as the great barrier and "god". I must credit the shuttlebay set though, even if it is scaled weirdly. Engineering, on the other hand, is... wait, which Engineering? Well, it beats a brewery I guess.
Ignoring Kirks omniscient and heroic portrayal, I thought the interaction between the great three was still good, such as the camp fire beginning/ending, the pain part, the brig part and the standing by the steering wheel whilst entering the Great Barrier.
Jeff - Mon, May 16, 2011 - 12:58pm (USA Central)
I have a soft spot for ST V because this was the first ST film I saw on the big screen. I was only just beginning to learn about ST from a friend of mine who was a true Trekker.

Still, it's clear on subsequent viewing this is the weakest film of the 11 (unless the Abrams sequel disappoints, but I have a hard time believing it will).

But in its favor I can say that while the God plot could never truly work, at least it was an attempt for something a bit more cerebral than you usually see in a Hollywood sci-fi film.

What can I say? I'm helplessly biased in favor of TOS. Yes, Part V is bad, but I'll still watch it from time to time.
Jeff - Mon, Jun 6, 2011 - 5:19pm (USA Central)
Since writing that last post I realized I haven't watched ST V so I watched it again last night for the first time in years. Certainly this film will always be the worst of the motion pictures, but rather than rake it over the coals again, here are some of the things I liked or thought worked in the film.

1) The slow-mo arrival of Sybok on his horse seemed mysterious and dramatic.
2) Sybok's laugh at the end of the prologue.
3) The singalong is a silly idea, but the "I'll die alone" dialog is well written and performed.
4) James Doohan's performance. If Simon Pegg were truly trying to ape Doohan's portrayal, I think it would have to be from ST V. It's Doohan's most comic of the film series.
5) I know that some people think having Sulu and Chekov getting lost in the woods is demeaning, but I get the joke that's trying to be told. Here are these experts of flying through uncharted space, but staying on a hiking trail in the States appears to be beyond their abilities. It reminds me of a line Hawkeye said in MASH to a patient once: "I know what you're thinking. This guys looks like he can't fix a bicycle tire. Well, I can't. But I'm going to get you through this."
6) The night raid of the Enterprise crew (while not the greatest action scene of the film series) isn't bad for as short as it is and the phasers and gattling gun disparancy is refreshing. Or at least it seemed so at the time.
7) Chekov's charade as captain. I wanted to hear more of his conversation with Sybok.
8) Laurence Lukenbill really doesn't look like a Vulcan (despite the makeup) and I don't care for the halfbrother plotline, but his performance is very well done. He has the evil glint in his eye when he's throwing Kirk around the shuttlebay, the innocence and faith as he meets "God." The whole thing. He's not really a villain, but he has the capacity to do some evil things. A well rounded portrayal of an emotional vulcan. Much better than what we saw in ENT: "Fusion."
9) McCoy remembering the death of his father. A terrible choice, something a lot of people can relate to today and very well acted.
10) Kirk's "I need my pain" speech. Very in character and Shatner's best bit in the film.
11) The implied romance between Scotty and Uhura comes out of nowhere, but it's an intriguing idea and it at least gives Doohan and Nichols more to do.
12) The scene where Kirk is "captured" aboard the Klingon ship at least hints that the film is going into a slightly different direction. I remember being in the theater watching it for the first time truly wondering what the Klingons were going to do to Kirk now that they had them.

So anyways, never the best, but there are some likeable moments in ST V.
Fan - Fri, Jul 8, 2011 - 8:28pm (USA Central)
I don't know if this site is even still active, and I wish I had not just found it, but I love it. It is RARE to find a Review Site that actually has intelligent, well-written reviews and - even more shocking - intelligent responses in the Comment Section.

I agree with almost ALL of your reviews - and the few things I don't agree with you on are what make it fun and interesting to think about.

Here is the STORY BEHIND Star Trek 5 as *I* remember hearining it:

Voyage Home was due to be the Swan Song for TOS Movies...it did shockingly well however so Paramount decided to try to milk the cash cow a bit longer. They went for a TWO movie contract with the cast to wrap it up but Shatner insisted on being allowed to direct one of the two - as Nimoy had been doing. 5 was a mess, but there were some things that were beyond control. It was such a mess that it made it all the more shocking that 6 was such a dang good film
Jammer - Sat, Jul 9, 2011 - 12:08am (USA Central)
Glad you like the reviews. This site is most definitely still active (I still have two seasons of TNG left to review), so stick around...
Fanner - Sun, Jul 10, 2011 - 10:42pm (USA Central)
Thanks a lot, Jammer! I definitely plan on hanging out! Yove done some amazing work here.

I remember the old saying that the secret to Trek Films was that the ''Even Ones'' were the good ones. I have to admit, I disagree with you on your affection for the Motion Picture (1) and your critique of Nemesis. On the other nine reviews you have, I think you hit many nails on many heads.

Two points then I'm out:

1 I think I am the only person on EARTH that not only thought nemesis was good, but thought that it was BRILLIANT. (I have many reasons for that, and as someone who has seen every ep of TNG many times - definitely enough to make me geek royalty) I'd love to share my thoughts on that sometime.

2 If you want to see a MASTERFUL example of how to reboot/reinvigorate a franchise, go talk to Russ Davies, Steve Moffat, the BBC and gang. I had never seen an episode of Doctor Who in my life before 2005 and am now scarily addicted, lol, and in posession of a severe mancrush on Matt Smith who has held the fort down the past season and a half as The Oncoming Storm (an alias for The Doctor).

I'm sorry I strayed from STFIVE and thanks again for the welcome!

- Fanner
Eric - Tue, Aug 30, 2011 - 11:55am (USA Central)
I originally agreed with Jammer's take on the Uhura fan-dance in ST:V.

However, when Nichelle Nichols was asked what her favorite memory of working on the Star Trek films was, (at the 2011 Las Vegas Trek convention) She said it was the fan dance scene! It gave her character something new and unusual to do, and was fun to shoot-

So, with this very different perspective, I've adjusted my opinion of the scene (if not the movie...)
Colagirl - Thu, Sep 1, 2011 - 11:15pm (USA Central)
In her memoirs, if I remember correctly, Nichelle Nichols recounts that Shatner actually asked her if she would be comfortable performing the fan dance or if she wanted a body double. She declared that she was in great shape and insisted on doing the scene herself (and she also added that Shatner "could not have been nicer" as they shot the scene).

Great to see you still around, Jammer. I was reading this site regularly back in the 90s and early 00s when Voyager and DS9 were still running, then drifted away after Voyager wrapped (I had no interest in watching Enterprise). Along with Delta Blues, this is the best Star Trek review site I've ever found, and I'm thrilled to see that you're now working on TNG reviews. Keep up the good work!
Jay - Sun, Oct 2, 2011 - 4:58pm (USA Central)
Since Jammer covered pretty much all of the conciet and other ridiculousness here, I'll just say that for most of the movie I found myself embarrassed for everyone involved.

And Captain Klaa's hair reminded me of Red Fraggle...surely I'm not the only one...
Paul - Thu, Dec 29, 2011 - 4:59pm (USA Central)
The real problem with ST: V is that other than McCoy none of the characters act like they should. There's at least one scene with every other character that makes absolutely no sense.

1) Scotty would not hit his head walking down a corridor.

2) Checkov and Sulu would not get lost in the woods and pretend they were hit by a blizzard.

3) Spock would not go all "be one with the rock" to Kirk as he climbed El Capitan.

4) Kirk would not hug Spock on the Klingon ship.

5) Uhura would not fan dance.

And this is just a list of one example per character. The movie generally just got the characterization all wrong. The Klingon captain is particularly stupid.

This movie reminds me of the later seasons of MASH, when the Alan Alda had more creative influence and when the characters were generally snippier and meaner to each other. Just as Alda got more creative control, Shatner's take was to make the characters goofier and snippier. "I miss my old chair," etc.

There are a handful of good things in this movie (Sybok wasn't a bad villain, and McCoy is at his best). But other than that, yuck.
Patrick - Tue, Sep 4, 2012 - 1:24pm (USA Central)
It makes sense that this film is the worst of the TOS films--it's based consciously or unconsciously on one of the worst episodes of TOS--"The Way to Eden".

In terms of buffoonish humor--JJ Abrams Trek has that stupid bit with nuKirk's tongue and hand swelling to cartoonish sizes; and who could forget nuScotty shooting through the Willy Wonka-like tubes in engineering?

However, while I consider Star Trek V (along with Nemesis) a bad Trek film. They're at least Trek. Star Trek 09 cannot even be considered Trek. It's more of a Michael Bay movie with pointy ears. So, I give Shatner's debacle a tick higher in rank.
Latex Zebra - Sun, Sep 30, 2012 - 11:10am (USA Central)
I haven't seen this movie for years but have just borrowed all the Trek movies off my Step Dad (he used to be the voice of Joe 90 Sci Fi fans!) and I plan on revisiting this with an open mind.
I shall post back soon.
Brad The Phat - Mon, Oct 1, 2012 - 7:55am (USA Central)
I haven't watched this movie in many years, and honestly I have no desire to. I just wanted to say that, even though it's horrible for a movie to take such a cheap route (IMO), I was always under the impression that the movie was Kirk dreaming.
Tiarfe - Thu, Dec 6, 2012 - 8:48pm (USA Central)
I just watched this movie for the third time since its initial release. I chuckled often. Maybe I am just in a good mood or maybe there are too many people who take these shows too seriously. This film is jovial for true fans of the characters like me who enjoy the camaraderie between the actors.
Dwane - Mon, May 13, 2013 - 5:42pm (USA Central)
I don't mind this film as much as most others do. But if I ever end up watching this again, I'm skipping the Uhura dance scene never to see it again. Ugh...
Nick P. - Wed, Jun 19, 2013 - 11:13am (USA Central)
I agree this movie blows, but I also agree with a quote about it I heard when Nemesis came out "Star Trek Nemesis is un-watchable bad, not watchable bad like Star Trek 5 or the motion picture". I think that perfectly says it all about this film.

So, i think the premise is actually a good one. Seriously, it is classic star trek. It felt more in line with the original series than ANY of the other trek movies. The characters mostly act like they should. I think this is the one trek movie, that with the right edits, could go from terrible to awesome. Start by re-doing EVERY special effect, than cut out the ridiculous character scenes (scotty versus the bulkhead), add some motivation for Klaa and 5 might be one of the better trek films.

I really hate the argument the premis is bad, because some of the best Sci fi is the search for god, "the Star" by Arthur C Clarke being one of the greatest sci fi stories ever is a very similar plot.

Nick P. - Wed, Jun 19, 2013 - 11:37am (USA Central)
@ Gatton, they did recently release an expanded ST5 soundtrack, and it is quite GREAT!!!
www.lalalandrecords.com/StarTrekV.html

BTW, you can "borrow" is online if you don't want to pay 60 bucks!
CadetNorris - Sat, Jul 13, 2013 - 5:21pm (USA Central)
I definitely want full duration in the agony booth for whatever patach demanded WILLIAM SHATNER to do "more humor."
Jack - Sun, Jul 21, 2013 - 7:33pm (USA Central)
The Ent-A has 78 decks, apparently, as we see in the rocket boots scene, which seems like a ridiculously large number. Also, the deck numbers increased as they went up...I thought Deck 1 tended to be the bridge, which is at the top of the saucer.
T'Paul - Tue, Sep 10, 2013 - 6:01pm (USA Central)
Definitely the weakest of the films, but not without its moments.

If we were generous we could call it an irreverent take on TOS... if we were generous.

Still though, we should bear in mind TOS... this certainly is in keeping with some of the weaker episodes of that series.

But true fans will forgive... and hold their noses between IV and VI.
T'Paul - Tue, Sep 10, 2013 - 8:45pm (USA Central)
Although it is good looking effects wise...

I think that Scotty's clumsiness can be put down to being enamored with Uhura...

Maybe a better idea would have been to make it about that planet of peace and politicking between the Fed., the Romulans and the Klingons... perhaps that's what they were going for at the beginning
Dwane - Sun, Sep 29, 2013 - 7:51am (USA Central)
This film is (IMO) the best Guilty Pleasure ever!

It's so bad (laughable effects, silly story) I got a huge amount of entertainment out of it.

Also, Final Frontier also has some legitimately good parts. I like the scenes with Kirk, Spock & Bones interacting (such good chemistry with one another) and Jerry Goldsmith's music is also very enjoyable.

The WORST scene though is the Uhura dance. Ugh... I'm sure Nichelle Nichols is a nice woman, but that scene was so icky I NEVER want to see it again.
SPR - Thu, Oct 31, 2013 - 7:59pm (USA Central)
Well I'm sure William Shatner was glad to see STID come out so it can rightfully take this film's place as worst in the franchise.

It is kind of fun to watch in a humorous quirky way. But for the most part, as everyone's mentioned, it's pretty bad.
K'Elvis - Thu, Jan 16, 2014 - 2:06pm (USA Central)
The novelization was pretty good, I think this could have been a good movie. Jettisoning the attempts at humor would have helped. "Use the horse" was a particularly bad attempt. Slapping a horn on a horse to make it an alien animal didn't work. Just use horses, it doesn't stretch credibility that horses could have been imported to this planet.

I also didn't find it credible that a Klingon captain would take orders from a washed up general who was, after all, under alien influence. And even if he did take orders, making him apologize was too much.

But the basic plot - a powerful malevolent alien imprisoned and posing as God in order to escape - made sense. That a Vulcan mind-meld could be used to free people of the burden of painful memories made sense. Scientists are working on something like that now - no, not mind-melds, but methods to make painful memories less painful. We've seen Spock turn his back on Kolinar, the Vulcan path to eliminate all emotion. Over time, Spock seems to follow a path between pure logic and the more emotional path of Sybok.
MidshipmanNorris - Tue, Mar 4, 2014 - 1:03am (USA Central)
Star Trek V cannot be properly defended as a film or as any other form of entertainment.

It's not so bad it's funny, and it's not good enough to work as a film.

I'd take any other film, including "NOOO!! Beeeelaaaay thaaat phaaaaser oooordeeeer!!"
Michael - Sun, Apr 20, 2014 - 8:06am (USA Central)
Very excellently reviewed. While true the film didn't explain the entity, I believe later "non-canon" (since I do like my extended material and consider it canon myself if it's worthy), explained that "The One" from this movie was a lackey of the entity known as 0 (zero). 0 was encountered by deLancie's Q through means of the Guardian of Forever, and then invited that entity into our dimension. Long story short, after a string of shenanigans whereby Q was supposed to be curtailing 0's nonsense on behalf of the Continuum, a war broke out between 0, his lackeys, (*) (the entity that pitted the Enterprise and Kang's crew against each other and kept reviving the dead to keep the conflict going) , Gorgon (from TOS episode "And the Children Shall Lead) and The One, and the Q Continuum. At its conclusion, The One was stripped of power and trapped in the centre of the galaxy while 0 was trapped without it (hence the existence of the outer barrier encountered in early TOS episodes) while the other two fled through a black whole and were later defeated themselves.

Now that I've finished ranting xD on to your review for 6!

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