Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
In Living Color's second star trek parody
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Director: William Shatner
Writers: Gene Roddenberry, William Shatner, Harve Bennett, David Loughery
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, David Warner, Laurence Luckinbill, Charles Cooper, Cynthia Gouw, Todd Bryant, Spice Williams-Crosby, Rex Holman, George Murdock
Synopsis: Captain Kirk and his crew must deal with Mr. Spock's half brother who hijacks the Enterprise for an obsessive search for God.
MPAA Rating: PG
Note: In honor of the upcoming new film, "Star Trek Into Darkness", I've taken it upon myself to review every film adaptation of the "Star Trek" franchise; with the notable exception of the 2009 reboot because I already reviewed it.
God in Star Trek (Warning: Might be highly offensive to religious beliefs or lack thereof. Parental Discretion is Advised)
Damn it Jim! You're a starfleet officer! Not a filmmaker!
Is there a god out there? Is there a divine omnipotent being out there that created the heavens and the universe? Or perhaps it's all superstitious nonsense? Who knows? However, I would like to point out to my readers that any criticism I cite in this review does NOT reflect my viewpoints on religion and/or god. No, anything I say is geared specifically towards critiquing the film itself, as I have no intention of commenting on the concept of religion during this review.
Moving on. I should say something about the title of this film. Granted, I'm sure the filmmakers, at the time, didn't know if there was going to be another movie or not after this one, but anytime you hear the words "FINAL" in any movie title, then it kind of leads most people to believe that this is the final movie in the franchise. Therefore, when "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" came out, it just makes it a bit misleading to most moviegoers that aren't familiar with "Star Trek." Sure, it might make sense to hardcore Trekkies, but from a casual moviegoer's perspective, it just comes out as being confusing.
Don't get me wrong, I don't plan on deducting any points for the title, but it's worth pointing out. As for the story of this movie, it essentially picks up after the fourth one. The crew of the enterprise is on shore leave, while Scotty (James Doohan) stays behind for repairs. Unfortunately, Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and his crew are forced to cut their off time short, when a rogue Vulcan kidnaps three ambassadors for the federation, Romulus, and the Klingon empire.
To make matters worse, the enterprise is nowhere near in top critical condition for this mission, as the Klingons are still gunning to take out Kirk by any means necessary. However, through a series of events, we come to find out that the rogue Vulcan is Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill), who happens to be Spock's half brother. Unlike Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Sybok is ruled by emotions rather than logic, and seeks to steal the enterprise to talk to god. Yes, you read right. The god.
And, I'm not speaking spiritually either, nor am I speaking in a metaphorical sense. No, they literally say that Sybok is looking for the god in this movie. The very same god that many readers probably heard and/or read about it text books. Gee....I wonder how this will end...
As I mentioned before, I'm not here to comment on the concepts of religion, nor do I care to comment on my thoughts on god. No, as I stated earlier, my only business is to review the movie at hand. Therefore, that's what I intend to do, and nothing more.
First of all, I don't mind movies that bring up the ideas of god and/or faith, but "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" brings it up in such a nonsensical way that it comes off as silly. The film talks about faith, and the concepts of god, but it never explores those ideas in an interesting way. Nor does William Shatner even attempt to challenge the concept of faith either; which makes it rather boring to watch.
The story takes almost an eternity to get going, as over half of the damn film is nothing but exposition. And to make matters even more frustrating, it's not even set up that well for general audiences to get into it. Plus, that's not even counting the severe plot holes, and the poor character development throughout the film.
And, don't even get me started on Shatner's p*** poor dialogue in this film, as it's just plain awful. One scene for example while Kirk is mountain climbing with his bare hands; with no safety harness. Gee, I guess he's a real macho man. Anyways, Spock flies up to check up on him using a pair of rocket boots, and says, "I don't think you understand the gravity of your situation." You get it? Gravity! Gee, this is one of those lame jokes that you can't help but wonder what the hell Shatner was thinking, when he wrote the damn script. Granted, the last movie had a lot of humor in it too, but at least it was cleverly written. Whereas the jokes in this film, it just comes off as being borderline campy to just straight up stupid.
As for plot holes, I'll admit that maybe I'm missing something here because I don't know everything about "Star Trek" lore, as I'm only a casual fan of the franchise. However, how the hell can Sybok make those images that people have in their heads come to life? Not just for the person whose head it's coming out of, but for everyone else to see as well? Granted, I know a lot of Trekkies might chime in telling me some techno babble on how it's explained in other "Star Trek" mediums and etc. However, if it's not explained in the actual film itself, then it doesn't make any sense; hence you alienate the possibility of acquiring new audiences to get into the series.
Take a film like "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" for example. Granted, the movie was geared primarily to appeal to diehard Trekkies, but it still left enough exposition to where newcomers could still follow it as well; hence making it a great film. Whereas "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier", they never explain once how Sybok has that kind of capability; which is weird considering over half the damn movie was nothing but exposition.
The editing is a bit choppy around the rocket boot escape sequence in the ship, as you can tell they recycle some of the same footage over again during that scene. Plus, the visual effects are inconsistent at best throughout this whole film. Granted, during some scenes, it's impressive like when they actually do meet the alleged god figure. But in other scenes, it just comes off looking laughably cheap; which is sad considering how all the prequels featured vastly superior visuals.
Of course, another thing that bothered me about the script is the total lack of logic in this film. During the beginning, they clearly explain that the enterprise is not even close to being ready to handle any kind dangerous situation, and they're severely understaffed to boot. Granted, this might be forgivable if they were the only ship close enough to save the kidnapped ambassadors in time, but that's not the case either. No, the jacka** Admiral that assigns Captain Kirk this mission explicitly says that there are other ships close by, but they're not as experienced.
Um...quick question. If all you need is Kirk because of his experience, then why not just take a ship that's fully staffed and operational, and then have Kirk serve on that ship temporarily instead? Wouldn't that make a lot more sense? Hell, for plot convenience, they can even have his main enterprise crew join him on a new fully functional ship for this mission. Afterall, "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" proved you can still have a successful "Star Trek" movie without having them serve on the enterprise ship per say. Therefore, this little plot device alone makes zero sense from any kind of narrative standpoint.
(Warning: These next two paragraphs contain spoilers) Another pointless thing about this movie is the scene where Sybok and his followers force Kirk to pilot a shuttle back to the enterprise, before they're shot down by Klingons. During this scene, it's already established that the Klingons want to kill Captain Kirk for no other reason than to prove they're great warriors. Plus, it's also established that the Klingon ambassador becomes hypnotized by Sybok's influence to follow him, and he's on that shuttle craft with them, during that same scene. My only question is this. Since it's very obvious that the Klingon ambassador outranks the captain on the Klingon ship, then wouldn't have made more sense for them to try to have the ambassador contact the Klingon ship first? That way he can order them to stand down.
I know a lot of die hard Trekkies will bring up stuff like how Klingons wouldn't stand down because of their warrior like heritage, pride and etc. However, I would like to point out that Spock convinces the Klingon ambassador to do that anyway in a later scene, and guess what? The Klingon ship stands down. Gee, I wonder why they didn't do that in the first place...
In the end, I could go on all day on how much the script for this movie reeks of mediocrity, but I'm sure readers get my point by now. Overall, this is arguably the worst "Star Trek" movie that I've ever seen next to "Star Trek: Insurrection." Granted, the film does have a lot of interesting ideas, but it's never fleshed out that well, nor do the characters ever get developed in an interesting way. In fact, I would dare even say this is possibly more boring than the first movie ever was. If I never see this film again, then it'll be too soon, as it's not even worth viewing at a rating of one out of four.