Now that the whales have been rescued and the Earth is safe for another couple of years until some entity comes along and starts attacking our planet looking for a genetically modified worm, let’s press on with the next episode in the Star Trek movies season, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
I cannot think of any other reason to make this movie other than the chance to cash in on a reasonably successful fourth movie and get a quick return. Here we saw William Shatner taking the director’s chair for the first, and last time. A few more dollars was added to the budget, but there were a lot of corners cut along the way, script arguments and all in all a fairly under-performed final outcome.
**HERE BE THE SPOILER ALERT** – You Have Been Warned!
So, what is the plot here? Basically, Spock’s half-brother Sybock (Laurence Luckinbill) hijacks the newly built and updated USS Enterprise (the NCC-1701-A) to go on a gallop across space to, well, find God. Sybock believes that at the centre of the Milky Way, the great and almighty creator of the universe resides and he has made it his mission in life to find this place called Sha Ka Ree. The all eventually manage to make it to the mythical place where instead of God, a separate entity lives that projects an image of God to those who believe it. Kirk sums it up succinctly when he asks “what does God need with a starship?” when the entity demands that Enterprise be brought closer to the planet, which arouses the suspicions of everyone else in the room except Sybock who sacrifices himself to the entity. As a small side story, a Klingon captain named Klaa knows what is going on and who is on Enterprise and decides to go after Kirk in a vain attempt to avenge the deaths of the Klingons featured in The Search For Spock.
For me, this movie goes in the same category as the first in the series. Although not very long, The Final Frontier’s story was poor, devised by Shatner himself, far too many corners were cut in the special effects department to save money and to be honest, the direction leaves a lot to be desired. Note that the best film of the series, The Wrath Of Khan was NOT directed by a member of the Star Trek cast and I think this speaks volumes in the overall outcome of the movie.
1989 was a year of sequels with Back to the Future II, Lethal Weapon 2 and The Karate Kid III all being released in the same year. I think yet another Star Trek film was the last thing people wanted and by now, interest in the franchise was hanging by a thread. The Final Frontier did not do much to strengthen the desire for Star Trek either although The Next Generation television series was now into its third year and making great strides. Perhaps the small screen was the way of the future for Star Trek. As we all know of course, it was with Voyager and Deep Space Nine still to come.
With the exception of The Motion Picture, which stared it all off, I think The Final Frontier is my LEAST favourite of all the Star Trek movies. The story was just naff, wasn’t exciting and looked cheap, despite the extra budget. You could easily miss this one out if you were watching all of the movies again, just as you could miss out the very first movie and start with number 2 😉
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Stats
Budget – $30M
Worldwide Box Office – $70.2M
Film Length – 106 Minutes
Score On Rotten Tomatoes Review Site – 21%
IMDB Rating – 5.2
Smurfin’ The Web Rating – 1 Star