Friday, July 24, 2020

Squid Flicks: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Title: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Director: William Shatner
Original Release: June 9, 1989
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - Wikipedia
via Wikipedia
Back to the movies this week!

Krik, Spock and Bones are on a camping trip in Yosemite when they're called back to the Enterprise.  Diplomatic hostages have been taken on Nimbus III and our heroes are sent to rescue them.  The lead baddie is the Vulcan Sybok who turns out to be Spock's long-lost half-brother!  Sybok takes over the Enterprise and leads the crew and his own disciples to Sha Ka Ree where he hopes to meet God.

Unfortunately, the camping scenes in the beginning are probably the best part of the story.  Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is easily the most widely panned of the Star Trek films.  In fact, it is generally regarded as one of the worst movies ever made, period.  It won three Golden Raspberry Awards: Worst Picture, Worst Director and Worst Actor (also Shatner) and was one of the nominees for Worst Picture of the Decade.  The writing is uneven at best, awful at worst.  Attempts to match the humor of The Voyage Home fall flat.  So, how can I possibly give it 4 stars?  I am 100% certain I'll watch it again someday.  By choice.  When it comes to Star Love, what can I do?

Herve Bennett, the executive producer, blamed the box office failure on the fans' lukewarm response to The Next Generation.  However, as we have seen in recent weeks, the new series was starting to hit its stride at this point.  It certainly wasn't the new kids' fault that the originals were losing steam.

A few un-Trek moments:
  • The shoot first, ask questions later attack on Paradise City, where the hostages were being held.
  • Spock Vulcan-pinching a horse.
  • Kirk ordering Spock to kill Sybok (spoiler: he doesn't do it).

There are redeeming treats.  My blogger friend Spacer Guy recently wrote a delightful post about the campfire scene.  Here's the full video:

Kraft produced a marshmallow dispenser like Spock's for sale via mail order:
Marshmallow dispenser | Memory Alpha | Fandom
via Memory Alpha
Star Wars influence is noticeable.  The bar in Paradise City is definitely Mos Eisley-inspired:

Music Notes

Jerry Goldsmith came back to do the film score.  He resurrected a couple of his themes from The Motion Picture but also created new work.  Unlike the rest of the movie, the music drew praise from critics.  However, the project was such an overall disaster that Goldsmith turned down the job for Star Trek VI.  He was the second composer to do so.  He wouldn't score another Trek film until #8, First Contact.

Uhura does a seductive dance to Hiroshima's "The Moon Is a Window to Heaven."  Worth noting, it's Nichelle Nichols's own singing voice in the scene.   Not surprisingly, it's Nichols's favorite scene:

The movie ends back at the campfire.  Spock plays the Vulcan harp in accompaniment to "Row, Row, Row Your Boat":

My ranking of the movies so far:
  1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  2. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  3. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
  4. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  5. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier


  1. There were so many great moments in this film that a new generation of viewers and reviewers (possibly spawn of Agnew's "effete snobs") failed to recognize, it's no wonder popular culture has gone to hell. Here we are, way the heck in the future --a dystopia because the ideas of Roddenbery were unfairly ignored. His idea of The Federation did not involve MONEY.

    1. There are some nice moment. I'm happy to acknowledge that. But it's not Trek at its best.

      So much beauty in Roddenberry's vision. Oh my, how he would have hated Trump!

  2. It's been a long time since I watched any of these, but I think I have always liked the first one the best. Minus the long visual scenes where nothing is happening. From a story standpoint, I think it holds the most water.

    I only remember the opening camping scene from this one.

  3. Sounds interesting! Stay safe and healthy everyone ☺

    1. You, too, Natalia! I see Poland is currently trending in the wrong direction - nothing like the US, mind you, but still the wrong direction.

      Be safe.

  4. I hate this movie so much that if I ever bumped into Shatner in an airport or wherever, I would demand my $5.50 back.

    In fact this movie is part of the reason I really dislike Shatner. The main reason is that at the one Star Trek Convention I attended I heard the late James Doohan give us the lowdown on just how much of an utter asshole Shatner can be.

    His public issues with George Takei and reliable stories that both Roddenberry and Nimoy were getting sick of his shit pushed me that way also.

    1. The man can't direct. Letting him try was clearly a mistake.