Monday, 24 June 2013

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)

I remember when this was released many people thought it was the old crews final film due to the title. Then once people had seen it most thought that maybe it would be best if it was their final film...zing! But seriously they did.

This fifth adventure starts off on a good note with some nice sequences. A short intro with the main antagonist on the sandy world of Nimbus III which looks good (sandy desert like worlds always seem to look good in sci-fi films). Then its straight into some good old fashioned soppy Star Trek humour courtesy of Kirk, Spock and Bones as they enjoy their leave in Yosemite National Park. I can't deny that rock face climbing sequence was pretty amusing and virtually the highlight of the entire movie!

Following that we get a brief intro back on board the Enterprise where everything is in the process of being fixed as its not working too well. Obviously this is the cue for Scotty to huff n puff with frustration at the circumstances yet we all know full well he will fix absolutely everything with time to spare. God bless that light-hearted Star Trek nonsense.

After this pleasant start which all point towards the beginning of a good fun film things take a bit of a nosedive. Basically there is no real plot here and little explanation for anything. Oh OK, Sybok wants to hijack the Enterprise and use it to find the mythical planet of Sha Ka Ree...yes you read that right and I spelt it right. This planet is at the centre of the galaxy and is supposedly where all creation began...highly doubtful I would imagine seeing as there are millions of galaxies beyond our own. Why don't the crew ever venture outside our Milky Way galaxy and explore another? now that would be exploration alright.

Renegade Vulcan Sybok isn't really explained at all unless you count Spock's brief flashback where we are given more big news that he and Spock are half brothers. We have no reason for his religious crusade, where he came from or how he ended up on Nimbus III.
There is also no explanation for Nimbus III, its inhabitants, its name (the planet of galactic peace?), why there are horses from Earth on it and why exactly everyone is on Sybok's side. Beats the Dinks outta me!

It also kinda amused me that originally Shatner wanted Sean Connery to play Sybok but for whatever reasons he declined. Thusly we have the mysterious Laurence Luckinbill who just happens to look very much like Sean Connery with a beard. I mean really Shatner...OK you wanted Connery and he said no, you didn't have to use another actor that looked like a poor mans Sean Connery, surely it wasn't that necessary.

Of course the main issue here is the fact they all run off looking for God at the centre of the galaxy. Personally I really can't think of a more risky idea than this! apart from possibly alienating a huge amount of the audience who will have their own religious views and beliefs that are sure to conflict. The flip side is you know straight away they won't actually find God as how could a sci-fi film proclaim what God would look, sound or behave like. How could the film makers preach or force their own beliefs and ideals of God on a world where there is such religious diversity.

So right away you know the plots outcome and thusly the film becomes pointless. On top of that the obvious alien creature/power (that isn't God) which they come across is not explained. No idea what it may have been, what it wanted, how it lead them to believe it was the one true God etc...

Another issue that bewilders me with the Star Trek film franchise is how or why the special effects seem to have gotten worse as the sequels progressed. As discussed in my review the first film really did have an epic feel to it with some beautifully sweeping model shots, but this fifth entry really does look dire. As usual we get more dodgy looking bluescreen shots and yet more hokey looking shaky sets which I have come to accept (sign of the franchise I'm afraid).
The actual models are sound and are clearly well made but it just looks as though the act of putting them on film has been rushed. From what I've read it does appear things were done as cheaply as possible and without the best folk available. To be honest you expect a lot more from a huge franchise and its fifth sequel.

So a very silly choice of plot which could of completely back fired (amazed it didn't), plus it has too many similarities to the first Star Trek film with the V'Ger story. Dull pacing, poor effects, weak characters and the rather creepy and definitely un-sexy fan dance by the aged Uhura was also a bit ewww.

Not much really happens in this film after the events on Nimbus III in my humble opinion. Its a very mediocre outing throughout with a very predictable anti-climactic finale which almost killed off anymore adventures for the original cast for good. Striving for glory clearly...but alas a supreme failure on all accounts truth be told.