Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Joe says:

Well, it was directed by William “Rocketman” Shatner, so obviously it was the best of the ten existing Star Trek movies. Except for the part where it wasn’t.trek3.jpg

If you need further proof that the 1980s were just revolting (as if you need more), look no further than Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, the most poorly-written and least enjoyable film of the proud franchise. Please note that I didn’t HATE this movie, as it’s pretty much impossible for I, a Star Trek dork, to hate anything they have done (except creating the Wesley Crusher character), but it was sincerely lacking.

Our trek (use of word intentional) begins on Nimbus III, the self-entitled ‘planet of galactic peace’ – if by “planet” you mean “sandy, uninhabitable rock with absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever” – but I imagine that’s not nearly as catchy as the former. Three ambassadors – a human, Romulan, and Klingon – meet in an ugly, dark bar with fluid-filled pool tables to discuss matters of interstellar politics in the worst possible location in the Alpha Quadrant aside from Newark. During their quasi-conference and recreational alcohol consumption, an angry mob of religious fanatics storms the establishment and takes the ambassadors hostage. The leader of this group is Sybok, half-brother of franchise icon Spock, and undoubtedly one of the most forgettable, ridiculous major characters in a Star Trek feature film.

After a campfire scene and subsequent marshmallow roast with Captain Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, the obviously-aging crew boards the USS Enterprise-A: a self-destructing replacement starship where even items not physically connected to it malfunction. The Enterprise crew is ordered to go to Nimbus III and recover the hostages, despite other ships being just as close and able. Captain Kirk leads an assault team on the ground, and much to everyone’s dismay, an over-the-hill Commander Uhura strips nearly bare and does a dance to lure the obviously undersexed guards away from the city. I bet that doesn’t work 99 times out of 100, but hey, you’ve already suspended belief this far. If you simply must see this movie, try not to think about it.

The Klingon Empire also sent a ship to retrieve the hostages, but the commander of the ship decides that he’d rather blow up the Enterprise than actually do something constructive. Most Star Trek fans require a decent amount of photon torpedoes, explosions, and evasive maneuvers, but these were essentially irrelevant and nothing more than a sidebar. All of the scenes with the Klingons could have been written out completely and the weak plot would have been unscathed, which is the sign of a thin storyline.

Sybok’s crew eventually takes over the Enterprise, and his brainwashing techniques ensure the compliance of the crew. His mission: totrek2.jpg go to the center of the galaxy find the planet where God is living in the flesh. Yes, you read that right. A bunch of depressing crap happens, and then the crew beams down to the planet and meets a malevolent, non-corporeal being instead, with dreams of commandeering the ship. Sybok sacrifices his life to fight the creature, whose death throes sounded reminiscent of a day where the Metamucil hasn’t quite kicked in. (You know…those days where you’re just…sitting there waiting for it, but it’s not happening? Yeah, those; we’ve all been there.) Still, the Klingons want to blow up the Enterprise, but the Klingon ambassador makes the captain stop and – get this – apologize. A Klingon apologizing? No, that’s not out of character or completely out of the blue, no sir. This was a stupid cop-out that a few torpedoes could have fixed.

The Final Frontier was supposed to be a sentimental, thought-provoking movie following the feel-good “save the whales’”-themed Star Trek IV, but the final product we got was a poor effort with a weird, circuitous path to a moral of the story which was telegraphed long before the climax. This was a predictable, contrived film which had only a few compelling moments. Yeah, blame The Next Generation for the movie failing, why don’t ya, because everyone knows that the quality of dialogue is a function of the size of the budget. (Wait, is it?)

This movie loses points for the following (for which Shatner cannot be held wholly responsible): the moderately pathetic premise, the lack of Klingon testicular fortitude when it matters most (I assume they have balls to begin with), erotic dances by fifty-year-olds, awkward moments, so-so special effects, butch Klingon chicks, and the fact that they thought we’d buy into it. You’re best off adding an “I” to your Star Trek movie search and seeing Star Trek VI, where ass is kicked and names are taken – the way it’s supposed to be. If I wanted a mediocre science fiction movie, I’d watch the Sci-Fi Channel at 4am.

Grade: 40

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