Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)


Dave’s 4-Word Review
Thanks a lot, Shatner

Have you heard of the Star Trek curse? No? Just for you, I’ll go ahead and tell you about it. Apparently, the odd numbered Star Trek films are worse than the even numbered films. Now, some people believe that curse was broken for the tenth Star Trek film, but we’ll get to that a little bit later…there’s a fix to keep the curse going strong. For now, we dive into the fifth Star Trek film, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, which as you should know…is an odd number, so does it follow the curse? Is it worse than the evens? Yes it is, but it came so close to being real good.

This film follows this guy named Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill) on his quest to find answers to all of life’s hard questions…basically. To make an easier explanation…he’s a leader of a cult on a search for God and heaven. In order to get to heaven (which is a planet in the center of the universe), he conveniently takes the U.S.S. Enterprise…almost willingly by the crew. See, Sybok is a Vulcan, and is Spock’s half-brother, so he has Vulcan superpowers. From there we see some pretty spectacular shots filled with mystery and awe as we try to unravel what’s really going on here.

The story itself is actually really compelling. Star Trek has a way with making really good stories, but something always seems to go wrong with the execution. Sometimes it is bad visuals, sometimes it is bad camera work that makes the movie an hour longer, and for The Final Frontier, it was terrible writing. It wasn’t just bad people, it was terrible. Why? Part of the reason why it suffered so badly was because the story was written by Shatner himself. So let me tell you where the writing goes wrong.

Shatner, throughout the entire movie, decides to narrate what he is doing – for no apparent reason. He tells Spock that he (Kirk) needs a shower out of the blue…why? What was the point for that? He then announces that he must sit down. Again…just sit down, man. Next, I am going to ruin the ending for you. Don’t worry, it does not spoil any major points. This movie is called The Final Frontier, so it is pretty possible that they were planning to end the series here, five was enough anyhow. So what do they do to end it? Three grown men – Kirk, Bones, and Spock sitting around the campfire singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”. In no creation of Star Trek would these three sing around a campfire with that song unless Shatner was offering his infinite wisdom to the screenplay. The writing was bad, it made little sense, but the story as a whole was interesting.

The character of Sybok was an interesting and mysterious one, to say the least. I won’t lie, I liked his character, a lot. It was unique and brought a lot of interesting plot to the film. His introduction was phenomenal, one of the best shot scenes I have seen in the series thus far. When the film began, you could see a major shift in vision, and you thought it was going to be phenomenal the entire way through. And then Spock, Kirk, and Bones were singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” in the next scene…yeah it starts and ends the same way. They sing the blasted thing twice. Thanks, Shatner.

If it hadn’t been for that ludicrous writing from Shatner, this movie would have been as good as one of the evens thus far, but alas…it brought it down just far enough to be worse than any of the evens. It’s like a staircase – up, horizontal, up, horizontal. I can tell that the series as a whole is improving, but it doesn’t get very far with the odd numbered movies. That’s interesting.


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