Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
(1989 – Director: William Shatner Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy)
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier had glimpses of greatness, but continually shot them down with disappointment. Without the help of ILM’s special effects and the frantic ending, this movie didn’t live up to its predecessors. Read the rest of my review as I continue my Star Trek Maiden Voyage.
Frontier picks up where Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home left off with Kirk captain of the new Starship Enterprise. But what he’s left with, is a ship that’s built poorly and needs some serious overhaul. Sounds like a job for Scotty! Little does Kirk know that Starfleet needs him to check in on a hostage situation on the peaceful planet, Nimbus III. This forces Kirk to go into battle without the upper hand.
This is the first film where we see the trio of Kirk, McCoy, and Spock all work together. This became the most enjoyable aspect of the film. Although it was entirely strange that they were camping like schoolboys in the beginning, once the three of them became captive on their own ship, they really became a dynamic team.
Of course I thought the team would have to be separated or destroyed and that’s exactly what Sybok attempted to do. Using his powers to look deep into one’s soul, he exposed McCoy’s guilt and fear about his father. Next, he tried to expose Spock’s resentment for his father. Kirk refused to be put under his spell because he was adamant that he needed his pain. This was a great scene where it could have left Kirk truly by himself. As stated at the beginning of the film, Kirk doesn’t fear death because he always knows his friends are with him. Stripping him of his friends would have been a great opportunity for Kirk to fight to get them back and fear death, and ultimately, God. But Spock turns around and says that Sybok doesn’t truly know him and that he has since dealt with all the pain in his life and wishes to stay with Kirk. Following that, McCoy also wishes to stay with them. So instead of this change of course for the threesome, it serves as a pointless moment before carrying on about their business.
The path to go past the barrier and to find “Eden” may seem a bit silly but I didn’t mind it. It felt very similar to TMP‘s search for VGer. The music and shots were saying that this planet was glorious and magnificent, but all I saw was a very uninteresting desert. When “God” showed up it started to get interesting. “God” implies that he’s been trapped on this planet and wants their starship to leave. When Kirk and Spock question him, God turns angry and uses violence to lash out on them. God essentially turns into a weak gunman who is extremely moody. The climax is God chasing Kirk around like a game of tag only to be destroyed by a simple blaster.
The Klingons set on destroying Kirk proved to also be useless. I thought a confrontation was imminent between the Enterprise, while the crew was looking for God. Kirk would have to somehow find a way to save the enterprise from Klingons while not allowing God to take over the Enterprise. What we get instead is a simple fix of beaming a Klingon official to their ship to slap their hands. No fight, no resolution for the warmongering Klingon captain.
I understand now that due to ILM not being a apart of the production combined with a lower budget and the writer’s strike, that the last scene never ended up being what it was supposed to. That all said, what’s there is there, and it was messy.
The saving grace of this film was the brotherhood between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Although a little forced at the end, it was the closest I’ve seen to a team in the Star Trek movies.
On a side note, is there a reason Starfleet doesn’t have the same cloaking technology as the Klingons? This seems like technology that would be worth exploring for Starfleet but somehow they never discuss the fact that they’re always at a disadvantage with Klingons. In Voyage, they even had a Klingon ship and used it so it’s not like they aren’t aware of how it works.