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Awfully Good: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

May. 15, 2013by: Jason Adams

Before Kirk & Co. ventured INTO DARKNESS, they took a short trip into badness in...

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)

Director: William Shatner
Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley

The crew of the Starship Enterprise goes looking for God and finds out the dude is a total dick.

This is what happens when you let William Shatner direct a movie. Clearly envious that Leonard Nimoy got to helm STAR TREK III and IV, The Shat insisted that Paramount let him take the reigns for the fifth movie, both with the story and behind the camera. Shatner went so far as to say, "STAR TREK V is the epitome of my career, my experiences, my hopes and dreams. It is the quintessential me." And it totally sucks.


The first film to be presented in patent-pending Crotch-O-Vision!

I don't want to call this a vanity project for the aging actor, though it does open with Kirk mountain climbing Yosemite National Park's famous El Capitan (get it?) like a badass just "because it's there." No, this is a film about Shatner growing old and coming to terms with his God and his mortality. Or more accurately: Shatner rejecting the fact that he's growing old and should come to terms with his mortality. It's clear the actor-director wanted to make this a more action-oriented movie, despite the fact that the original crew are all in their late 50s and 60s. I honestly kept waiting for Scotty to say, "I'm getting to old for this shit, Captain."


Yes, the back does say "The rock is my penis."

Perhaps that's why THE FINAL FRONTIER completely sidelines all characters not named Kirk, Spock or McCoy. Scotty is relegated to eye-rolling fits of slapstick comedy. George Takei and Walter Koenig obviously only worked a couple days on set as Sulu and Chekov. And Uhura (played by 57 year old Nichelle Nichols) has only one purpose in this mission: to distract the bad guys by performing an erotic dance in the desert. Oh Shatner, you mad genius!


Sulu didn't know how to tell Chekov that wasn't what he meant when he said "blow it."

The majority of the movie is thus left up to the stalwart trio of Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Bones to recreate BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN and occasionally punch aliens. And I mean that literally: 25 minutes in to STAR TREK V and all we've seen our heroes do is sit around a campfire, talk about their feelings, eat beans ("Bourbon and beans an explosive combination!") and sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." It could almost be ignored if there weren't so many scenes of them awkwardly hugging each other later on.


"Jim, are you sure it's National Hug-A-Vulcan Day?"

Anyways, once the actual plot kicks in, the Enterprise crew find themselves at odds with Sybok, Spock's renegade Vulcan brother who hijacks their starship in order to find God or "Sha Ka Ree" as the pointy-eared refer to him. (Also a phonetic nod to Sean Connery, who turned down the villain role.) Sybok is one of the lamer Trek villains, essentially a new-age televangelist cult leader who brainwashes people by "releasing" them from their pain. By the time the guy is hugging a crying Dr. McCoy, you're ready for the movie to be over. Eventually, the ship makes it to the center of the universe (who knew it only took a few hours?) and they encounter the Great Barrier, a scary cloud that separates Man from God's planet. As the Enterprise manages to pass through the Barrier unscathed and enters Heaven, arguably the film's most poignant moment, Kirk takes a moment to once again quote "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" ("Are we dreaming?" "If we are life isa dream.") This is the moment when you realize the movie's entire theological philosophy is based on a children's song.


*AHEM*

Our heroes and Sybok land on Planet Heaven and discover it looks like Arizona. God finally presents himself as an old white guy in a blue fog (only one of the film's many, many horrible visual effects). As the primitive beings converse with their Maker, God finally asks if he can borrow their ship, prompting the classic Kirk line, "What does God need with a starship?" Eventually God gets pissed that they won't let him hitch a ride and starts shooting eye-lightning at everyone. The Enterprise then fires torpedoes at the Almighty and beams up Spock and McCoyso William Shatner can fight God himself (or whatever ominipotent entity the film doesn't bother to explain).


Happy National Hug-A-Vulcan Day!

Clearly there's a lot wrong with this movie. There's unnecessary humor and random character revelations like McCoy killing his father, Uhura wanting to bang Scotty, and Spock's dad having boned some princess and giving him an evil half-brother. But by far the greatest sin is the wasted potential. There's so much you can say about human existence and God in the face of science fiction, yet STAR TREK V all but ignores it for a dumb actioner that ends with the heroes once again going camping and singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."

Some singing, Shatner overacting, Scotty stupidity and much more.

Awkward male bonding, awkward action and Uhura's awkward erotic dancing.

Try to contain yourself during 57 year old Uhura's erotic dance.


Like it when things boldly suck? Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:
  • Spock floats
  • Scotty is angry or frustrated
  • Kirk fights awkwardly
  • Something homoerotic happens or is said
  • Spock gives a Vulcan nerve pinch to a horse
  • You spot a stunt wire
Double shot if:
  • "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" is sang or referenced

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: JoBlo.com

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1:59PM on 05/15/2013

Still better than the TNG movies

As bad as it is, it's not the worst ST movie.

It's still more enjoyable and entertaining than any of the Next Generation cinematic attempts.
As bad as it is, it's not the worst ST movie.

It's still more enjoyable and entertaining than any of the Next Generation cinematic attempts.
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2:12PM on 05/15/2013
You must be trolling.

First Contact and Generations are light-years better than Final Frontier and The Undiscovered Country
You must be trolling.

First Contact and Generations are light-years better than Final Frontier and The Undiscovered Country
2:24PM on 05/15/2013
Nope. No trolling.

In Generations, they wasted the opportunity to combine the new and original generations in a more meaningful way and give Kirk a glorious death by having him fall off of some painter's scaffolding. First Contact in my opinion is regarded far more highly than it should be. Why do the Borg come all the way to Earth to travel back in time? Just to alert Starfleet? Why not go back in time in their own sector, then come to Earth?

All of the TNG movies were mostly
Nope. No trolling.

In Generations, they wasted the opportunity to combine the new and original generations in a more meaningful way and give Kirk a glorious death by having him fall off of some painter's scaffolding. First Contact in my opinion is regarded far more highly than it should be. Why do the Borg come all the way to Earth to travel back in time? Just to alert Starfleet? Why not go back in time in their own sector, then come to Earth?

All of the TNG movies were mostly extended episodes of the series, with glaring plotholes and contrived humor. Except for Insurrection, which seemed to be a remake of the Wrath of Kahn.

So FF, and TUC though it has a kind of Scooby Doo mystery, are far more entertaining than any of the TNG films IMO.

All the original cast films, though fluctuating in quality, had one thing in common. Each one was thought to be the last one, so they were willing to take chances with plot and character, rather than play it safe with the franchise as the TNG films did.

+2
1:55PM on 05/15/2013
On a side note: God does not hang out in the middle of the galaxy, unless god is a giant black hole.
On a side note: God does not hang out in the middle of the galaxy, unless god is a giant black hole.
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12:58PM on 05/15/2013

HOLY FUCK

I've NEVER seen this. I have always thought that there was one I didn't see but couldn't figure it out (too lazy to look it up/go rent em all). I am positive I've never seen this, and I saw ST: The Motion Picture, Wrath of Khan, etc in theaters.
I've NEVER seen this. I have always thought that there was one I didn't see but couldn't figure it out (too lazy to look it up/go rent em all). I am positive I've never seen this, and I saw ST: The Motion Picture, Wrath of Khan, etc in theaters.
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9:58AM on 05/15/2013

Awful? Yes. Good? No

I remember seeing this with my family in theatres and we all walked out looking at each other going, "WTF did we just see?"

All I could think while watching it was, "This can't get any worse, this can't get any worse . . . It just got worse."
I remember seeing this with my family in theatres and we all walked out looking at each other going, "WTF did we just see?"

All I could think while watching it was, "This can't get any worse, this can't get any worse . . . It just got worse."
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9:14AM on 05/15/2013

Worst Trek.. by far

I only enjoyed the scenes of camaraderie between Kirk, Spock and Bones. In fact those scenes were really enjoyable. The rest of the film was absolutely god awful with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
I only enjoyed the scenes of camaraderie between Kirk, Spock and Bones. In fact those scenes were really enjoyable. The rest of the film was absolutely god awful with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
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+1
9:07AM on 05/15/2013

One of the worst movies ever.

I still remember seeing this in the theater when I was a kid. I had no taste back then, and even I thought it was awful.
I still remember seeing this in the theater when I was a kid. I had no taste back then, and even I thought it was awful.
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+1
9:03AM on 05/15/2013

Disagree

I hate how much animosity this Trek get's when it is really GOOD, classic Trek. Some of my favorite Kirk, Spock, and Bones moments are in this movie. And while the rest of the cast get's sidelined (as they always will, it's really just the trio with the rest of the group backing them up), they all have their moments to shine. So many accuse Shatner of being an egomaniac but yet when he directs, he gives everyone something to do. Sulu has the barricade sequence. Chekov get's to command the
I hate how much animosity this Trek get's when it is really GOOD, classic Trek. Some of my favorite Kirk, Spock, and Bones moments are in this movie. And while the rest of the cast get's sidelined (as they always will, it's really just the trio with the rest of the group backing them up), they all have their moments to shine. So many accuse Shatner of being an egomaniac but yet when he directs, he gives everyone something to do. Sulu has the barricade sequence. Chekov get's to command the Enterprise. Scotty get's to be the voice of reason. Uhura has her dance. It's all good in my book. Been a die hard Trekkie since I was a kid (the old man grew up with the original series), and this was a good one. Never understood the hate.
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9:44AM on 05/16/2013
I partially agree with you. FF had it's moments, and, even, it's 'Trek' moments. But a good movie ? Sorry, I can't back you up on this one. Maybe if it's budget hasn't been cut in half during production (they EVEN considered firing Goldsmith, who's score is one of the few highlights of FF), it could have been a 'not so bad, actually' Trek... Shatner wanted to finish the film and do a director's cut for the DVD special editions, a few years ago, but Paramount said NO ! So, it seems we'll never
I partially agree with you. FF had it's moments, and, even, it's 'Trek' moments. But a good movie ? Sorry, I can't back you up on this one. Maybe if it's budget hasn't been cut in half during production (they EVEN considered firing Goldsmith, who's score is one of the few highlights of FF), it could have been a 'not so bad, actually' Trek... Shatner wanted to finish the film and do a director's cut for the DVD special editions, a few years ago, but Paramount said NO ! So, it seems we'll never know...
8:43AM on 05/15/2013
To be honest, in recent years this has actually been taken out of the worst Trek spot for me. That spot now belongs to Insurrection because despite FF having problems, it does have some memorable things about it. Insurrection is just an extended episode that has already been done.
To be honest, in recent years this has actually been taken out of the worst Trek spot for me. That spot now belongs to Insurrection because despite FF having problems, it does have some memorable things about it. Insurrection is just an extended episode that has already been done.
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7:26PM on 05/15/2013
Agreed. I just watched all of the Star Trek movies the past two weeks and I hated Insurrection the most. It's just so boring and I didn't care about the plot at all. I probably like 5 over 1 a tiny bit but they're both not good.
Agreed. I just watched all of the Star Trek movies the past two weeks and I hated Insurrection the most. It's just so boring and I didn't care about the plot at all. I probably like 5 over 1 a tiny bit but they're both not good.
7:45AM on 05/15/2013

I have seen this film more than any other Star Trek film.

As I had on VHS when I was a kid and had poor quality control.
It really is a big pile of poo. Not sure I could ever bring myself to watch it again and I love Star Trek.
As I had on VHS when I was a kid and had poor quality control.
It really is a big pile of poo. Not sure I could ever bring myself to watch it again and I love Star Trek.
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7:05AM on 05/15/2013
V suffered from the curse of the odd numbers, as in, every odd number movie of the Star Trek film franchise has sucked huge donkey balls. Star Trek 1 = slow, boring snooze fest. Search for Spock was a terrible follow up to one of the finest sci-fi films ever and even has the audacity to cast Christoper Lloyd as the main villain. Star Trek V = read above!! Star Trek: Generations was to be the Star Trek Geek's wet dream but turned out to be boring and uninspired. Insurrection, once again
V suffered from the curse of the odd numbers, as in, every odd number movie of the Star Trek film franchise has sucked huge donkey balls. Star Trek 1 = slow, boring snooze fest. Search for Spock was a terrible follow up to one of the finest sci-fi films ever and even has the audacity to cast Christoper Lloyd as the main villain. Star Trek V = read above!! Star Trek: Generations was to be the Star Trek Geek's wet dream but turned out to be boring and uninspired. Insurrection, once again followed by one of the finest sci-fi flicks ever in First Contact, has Picard finding the Fountain of Youth, and Data being creepy playing in the hay with small children.
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9:31AM on 05/16/2013
And, then, the curse was broken THE WRONG WAY, as Nemesis (X) was crap and the reboot (either seen as XI or a new I) worked (for me at least)... Ho, and so does STID (XII OR II)!
And, then, the curse was broken THE WRONG WAY, as Nemesis (X) was crap and the reboot (either seen as XI or a new I) worked (for me at least)... Ho, and so does STID (XII OR II)!
6:24AM on 05/15/2013
I always remember that movie and think "It's not thaaat bad". Then I watch it and see that itis really thaaat bad.
I always remember that movie and think "It's not thaaat bad". Then I watch it and see that itis really thaaat bad.
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5:44AM on 05/15/2013

Was it me or did that Jaguar Chick's growl sound like James Brown?

On topic this looks hideous, I've always avoided it although I've seen the rest of the original series. Now it looks like I have even less of a reason to watch it since Jason as usual has given us the hilarious terrible parts without having to suffer through the film. Thanks!
On topic this looks hideous, I've always avoided it although I've seen the rest of the original series. Now it looks like I have even less of a reason to watch it since Jason as usual has given us the hilarious terrible parts without having to suffer through the film. Thanks!
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1:20AM on 05/15/2013
Haha, every picture caption is priceless but that "Blow It" gag is the best.
Haha, every picture caption is priceless but that "Blow It" gag is the best.
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+4
12:44AM on 05/15/2013
What makes it worse is that it's sandwiched between 4 and 6 which were awesome movies. It just amplifies the suckage that is the Final Frontier especially now knowing there is actually a black hole at the center of the galaxy.
What makes it worse is that it's sandwiched between 4 and 6 which were awesome movies. It just amplifies the suckage that is the Final Frontier especially now knowing there is actually a black hole at the center of the galaxy.
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