Star Trek V The Final Frontier

June 25th, 2009 DVD Reviews, Film, Xpress

There’s a popularly accepted curse among Star Trek movies that all the odd-numbered films in the series suck, and until J J Abrams’ rollicking vision of the Enterprise crew’s origin story (number 11), the previous films adhered to the curse faithfully.

As the fifth outing, The Final Frontier has none of the emotional urgency of The Wrath of Khan (number two), the comedy of supplanting the Enterprise crew to the modern day as they were in The Voyage Home (number four), the witnessing of the Federation/Klingon treaty in The Undiscovered Country (number six) or the sense of history in First Contact (number eight). Having discovered the rebirth of Spock in the third film and gone back in time to Earth in their stolen Klingon warbird in the fourth, the Enterprise crew had returned home for shore leave, and that’s the problem with The Final Frontier. Given nothing to do and no backstory, the writers (which included William Shatner, also directing for the first time) had the opportunity to come up with something as fresh as they could, but there’s little to stand out in the theme, effects, script or execution apart from a vague notion of the bond between friends. When Spock’s enigmatic half brother Sybok leads a band of nomads to seize a city on a Tattooine-like desert planet, Starfleet calls the Enterprise off leave and sends it to investigate. That’s just what Sybok intended, and he hijacks the Enterprise and casts a mental spell over the crew to follow him in his quest. In the centre of the galaxy beyond a huge black hole, he believes he can lead them to the home of God himself. Kirk, Spock and Bones sneak around the Enterprise trying to stay hidden for most of the movie, and when the three accompany Sybok to the surface to meet the Almighty, the result is unintentionally laughable. Paramount are releasing the whole series of movies as a box set to coincide with Abrams big-budget outing, so while The Final Frontier is a let-down, you’ll undoubtedly have a favourite in the collection somewhere.


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