9/30/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: MovieV
Release Date: June 9, 1989
Written by: William Shatner & Harve Bennett & David Loughery
Directed by: William Shatner

Premise
Spock's half-brother hijacks the Enterprise in his quest to find God.

Review
Let's talk about motorbike stunts for a second. Ya know how it's so cool when you see Evel Knievel race toward a ramp and then hit the ramp with all the momentum he could possibly muster? It's gravity defying and for a moment the man is flying with little control over what happens next. This momentum carries him all the way to the end of the stunt where one of two things can happen: he can either stick the landing, or crash horribly. Star Trek V is an example of an occassion when the momentum from one of the most successful stunts ever carried the vehicle into disastrous collision.

After the raving success of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Paramount wanted to ride the warp trail for as long as possible, so they commissioned another movie and demanded that it produce the same success as The Voyage Home. This is never the way success is achieved. In fact, this is almost invariably a recipe for disaster. It's like your captain is climibing a really tall mountain and you hover up next to him with your rocket boots and distract him so he falls to his death. While on vacation. And then you get called to duty because... well, now we're just getting into the actual movie.
"Sorry, my Lord." "DON'T GROVEL."
So the crew is called away from vacation to go out to Nimbus III where Sybok has taken three ambassadors hostage. A Klingon, a Romulan and a professor of the Dark Arts. Kirk's plan to save these guys is to let Chekov pretend he's the captain while Kirk goes with a team to extract the ambassadors. So Sybok talks to Chekov while Uhura distracts the guards with a fan dance and then Kirk, Spock and the team ride into Paradise on their blue unicorns and save the day. Unfortunately, the ambassadors don't want to be saved. They're on Sybok's side and they work with him to steal the shuttle and, after an encounter with a random Klingon, the entire starship Enterprise.

That's when Sybok reveals his plan to go to Sha Ka Ree, or the planet where God lives in the center of the galaxy, because he got a message from God. Meanwhile, Kirk, Bones and Spock are prisoners on their own ship. Because for some reason Sybok decided he didn't need to convert them yet. After he converts the rest of the crew (except for Scotty), then he gets around to them after they escape from the brig with the help of Scotty. Unfortunately, Scotty runs into a pole while helping them and ends up in sick bay where a converted Uhura confesses her undying love for him.
Awkward turtle!
Meanwhile, Kirk makes a big deal about having to climb up a turbolift shaft and then halfway through the climb, Spock shows up from above to offer them a lift on his gravity boots. Because somehow it was no big deal for him to go back, find the boots and end up on a higher level - the level they were trying to reach in the first place - and then float back down to get them. And then when it appears they've taken on too much weight, Spock, the man who always has an exact calculation, finds it difficult to find the setting that will lift them up slowly and, in stead, shoots them up to the top of the shaft where they finally reach their destination.

And that's when they get caught again. This time they go to some kind of stateroom or something and Kirk gets after Spock for not killing Sybok and that's when Sock reveals that Sybok is his brother. Half brother. I may have gotten that wrong. He may have said that in the brig, but I don't care enough about this movie to go back and change that. At least I know this: in the stateroom, Sybok comes in and shows Bones and Spock their pain. Bones had to euthenize his own father and Spock is forever haunted by his father's disapproval of his humanity. So, they both have daddy issues, but before Sybok could reveal Kirk's daddy issues, he says he NEEDS his pain! It's what makes him what he is! And there's no time for that, anyway, because now they're at Sha Ka Ree.
Those effects sure are special.
They break through the Great Barrier and find, instead of Magus-Tu, Sha Ka Ree, which Humans are supposed to know as Eden, and not, what would be more accurate, Heaven. Because this is the place where God lives. They take a shuttle down to the planet because Scotty still hasn't gotten the transporters working yet, and walk around for a while and then Sybok yells out "WE HAVE TRAVELED FAR!!" Suddenly the ground shakes and rocks shoot up, forming a circle. Inside this circle, God appears in a huge column of blue light. He is just a head, but his voice booms into everyone's ears. He thanks Sybok for coming and for bringing a starship that can carry him across the Great Barrier.

And then Kirk asks the obvious question: "What does God need with a starship?" For his insolence, God zaps him with some energy bolts, and then Spock and Bones defend him and similarly get blasted. Sybok is really confused because this is not the actions of the peaceful God he knew. And then God turns into the image of Sybok and they have a clone battle inside the blue haze. Meanwhile, Kirk, Bones and Spock get up and call for the Enterprise to fire torpedoes at God. They do so, and God is disabled. Scotty has the transporters relatively working now, so he can beam up two at a time. Spock and Bones go first and then SUDDENLY KLINGONS!
"I'm gonna get you!"
The same random Klingons that got them on Nimbus III have returned and taken out the transporter with their weapons. But where most people would see a problem, Spock sees an opportunity. Kirk is still down on the planet trying to get the shuttle working while being chased by a vengful God. Spock talks to the Klingon ambassador that they have on the ship and apparently he's some kind of big deal, so he's able to talk the Klingons down. And then the Klingon ship lowers down onto Sha Ka Ree and finishes off God before beaming Kirk up. The Klingon ambassador makes the Klingon captain apologize and then introduces Kirk to their new "gunner", Mr. Spock.

Then they all have a celebration back on the Enterprise while, off in the corner, Emo Spock is mourning the death of his brother. Kirk mentions he lost a brother once, but was lucky enough to get him back. I'm sure that was not at all some small comfort to Spock, who is the brother to whom Kirk was referring. After the celebration, they go back on vacation at Yosemete and sing a round of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" around a campfire. The three amigos back together again.

Overall Thoughts
I think I expressed my overall thoughts well enough in the first couple paragraphs, but just in case you've forgotten, this movie was a terrible, horrible, sloppy mess that was greenlit only for the money. Given more time and/or budget they could probably have pulled it off. Their biggest mistake, I think, was rushing so quickly that they were unable to use Industrial Light and Magic for their visual effects and went with some creep in a back alley instead. It was better than The Motion Picture, but not by much.