Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Reviewed by Nov 24th, 2013

One need not read the credits to figure out Shatner had a hand in writing and directing this; no one else would start the movie with an aging Kirk climbing a mountain. I wasn’t too fond of Spock’s rocket boots, either, unless they were intended to be stupid. Anyway, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are camping in the woods, taking shore leave together, and roasting “marsh melons.”

We also see some scenes of a smiling, bearded Vulcan who turns out to be Spock’s long-lost half-brother. No wonder Sarek was kind a of turd sometimes; he has two defective sons. I can accept that Sybok was never mentioned before, since Spock isn’t into talking about matters of a personal nature very much.

Sybok does some kind of mind meld with people and asks them to “share their pain.” This apparently makes them relive painful things in their past and then, for some reason, they suddenly want to do whatever he says. I think the film would have benefited from Sybok being a bit less creepy cult leader and a bit more likeable.

I’m also not entirely sure why he thinks god is beyond the great barrier, or on that planet in particular. I mean, the original series dealt with all kinds of false gods, but it was usually the gods of the planet. Here, it suggests that everyone believes it is their own personal god, and that the planet is their culture’s own version of heaven. No one seems to question how they arrived at this idea, except that they all take this creepy Vulcan guy’s word on everything. And if everyone thinks nothing can survive going through the great barrier, how do they manage it in the Enterprise, which is old and falling apart (much like its crew)? The Klingons don’t seem to have much problem with it either, and yet they make a big deal that not even space probes come back from beyond the barrier.

And while it seems like the series had been down the exact same path before (a few too many times, even), this certainly isn’t the best example of this sort of story. There are too many loose ends. It feels a bit sloppy in places. The serious parts aren’t as serious as in previous installments, and the comedy never reached the level of Star Trek IV.

On the other hand, it does have some good moments. It also has a lot more in the way of action sequences, mountain climbing, horseriding, and more Klingons. It is fascinating to watch the evolution of the Klingon forehead over the course of the series. There are some funny things here and there, also. It’s nice to see Kirk being just Captain Kirk again, rather than Admiral Kirk, I suppose. And Spock doing the neck pinch, even though it’s on a horse.

However, I think the ending parts are a bit anticlimactic, because it treads the same “Kirk outsmarting gods/aliens” territory that’s been done so many times before, but in a decidedly less fun way. And there are a lot of loose ends and a lot of nonsense. Still, I found some parts of it enjoyable even though it ultimately feels a bit disappointing.


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