Captain Kirk and his crew must deal with Mr. Spock’s long-lost half-brother who hijacks the Enterprise for an obsessive search for God at the center of the galaxy. (from IMDb)
There’s a superstition among many Star Trek fans that the even-numbered films are the best and the odd-numbered ones are “terrible.” However, while I can attest to the even-numbered movies often being the best of the bunch, the odd-numbered ones really aren’t all that bad… are they? One such oft-maligned entry is the William-Shatner-directed The Final Frontier. It is widely known among such fans, too, that The Final Frontier was forced down from a runtime of 2 hours to a more brisk hour-and-45 so that the studio could squeeze more showings on more cinema screens. It’s a common occurence, but one that almost always comes at the expense of the movie’s quality or storytelling. While we may never know what 15 more minutes could have done to help The Final Frontier, added story beats is probably not one of the film’s greatest criticisms.
One probably could argue that Star Trek V: The Final Frontier just isn’t the franchise at its best with story and characters. I, for one, don’t think the movie is anywhere near as bad as many make it out to be, however, I will agree it ranks as one of the lesser entries. I do enjoy the chemistry between Kirk, Bones and Spock, as this is also the first entry with Spock being more like his old self after having died in Wrath of Khan and being brought back in The Search for Spock. As he adjusted to being alive again in The Voyage Home, Spock only really seemed like a shell of his former self. Nevertheless, the story for The Final Frontier brings the crew face-to-face with a long lost brother of Spock, the creation of a character that I believe had never been spoken of before. Even Spock believed his brother to be dead. In the film, Sybok (played by Laurence Luckinbill) is kind of a Vulcan rebel who has given himself over to his emotions and has developed the ability to “free” people from their pain, which in turn makes them sort of mindless followers of him. Sybok ultimately becomes an almost savior-like character. He then hijacks the Enterprise in an effort to venture further into deep space in search of… wait for it… God. It’s kind of a sensitive topic, but as you can imagine, he doesn’t quite find exactly what he expected to.
Again, while it’s hardly a highlight of the franchise, it’s really not as abysmal as many claim it to be. Maybe it isn’t the big screen cinematic romp some of the other entries are, but its smaller, more intimate story works as a super-sized Star Trek episode. And with the original series being off the air for as long as it had been, and the main cast hurtling towards elderly age, what fan wouldn’t be happy just to have one more somewhat decent reprisal of these characters? We all could have done a lot worse than The Final Frontier. The premise is kind of silly, yes; the villain is kind of lame, sure; and the movie almost entirely forgettable, certainly… but it also gives us some really enjoyable moments, like Kirk, Bones and Spock camping, or the trio sticking by each other when things get dire on the Enterprise.
The content for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier isn’t too rough, although there is some of the usual franchise language, like “h*ll,” “d*mn” and “g*dd*mn.” There’s a bizarre moment where we see a backlit Uhura dancing seductively on a hillside to distract some bad guys, but the scene isn’t very explicit. There is some violence, too, but it’s not particularly graphic. The worst may be more tonal than specifically involving the content, as some main characters are forced to see visions, and one of them sees their father dying on his deathbed, while another witnesses their own birth. I remember it creeping me out as a young kid, since it’s could be a little disorienting for younger viewers.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier may not be among the better entries in the Star Trek movie franchise, but it definitely isn’t without merit, and this brand new 4K treatment of the film is a great way to either revisit it or experience it for the first time. At the very least, it’s an entertaining way to get to see the original crew of the USS Enterprise unite for another space-traveling adventure.
– John DiBiase (reviewed: 9/2/22)
4K UHD Special Features Review
Along with the feature film on Blu-Ray and 4K UHD sets (which are two separate collection cases inside a cardboard slip case, for a total of 15 discs across the six movies (seven if you count the separate discs for the Director’s Edition of The Motion Picture), are the following box set extras:
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition – Ultra HD & Blu-ray
- Additional Blu-ray with bonus content
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Theatrical Cut) – Ultra HD & Blu-ray
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Ultra HD & Blu-ray
- Includes Director’s Cut
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock – Ultra HD & Blu-ray
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home – Ultra HD & Blu-ray
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier – Ultra HD & Blu-ray
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country – Ultra HD & Blu-ray
- Includes Director’s Cut
– John DiBiase, (reviewed: 9/3/22)
Parental Guide: Content Summary
Sex/Nudity: A cat-like alien woman dances with a cat tail in skimpy clothes. We later see she has 3 breasts (they are clothed); We briefly see a naked technical line drawing/diagram of a man and a woman on the side of a satellite; Uhura dances seductively with her bare legs showing in the desert sand and waving large leaves (which cover any potential nudity) to distract bad guys. The entire moment is backlit, so no details of her are seen; A Klingon woman shows a little cleavage; A few women on the Enterprise show cleavage while gathered at a celebration.
Vulgarity/Language: 4 “g*dd*mn,” 2 “G-d,” 8 “d*mn,” 1 “p*ss me off,” 1 “a” word, 1 “h*ll,” 1 “Oh my G-d,” 1 “b*stard”
Alcohol/Drugs: We see people drinking in a pub – A Klingon is visibly drinking; McCoy gives Kirk someone whisky; Scotty shares a drink with the Klingon while others have drinks too.
Blood/Gore: Kirk has blood on his mouth and lower lip; Scotty has blood on his head from where he walked into a support beam on the Enterprise; We see a vision of a woman in labor and in pain. We then see a baby covered in blood from birth.
Violence: A man points a gun at another man in the desert; While climbing a mountainside, Kirk falls but is caught and saved just before he hits the ground; Raiders attack a town with staffs and guns and knock down the gate; A Klingon ship blows up a satellite in space; A large blaster fires on the crew down on the planet. Sulu shoots out a spotlight; Men are hit with phasers as Kirk fights a man and a gatling gun takes out a guy who is running. The cat lady alien attacks Kirk by jumping on his back. He throws her into a tank of water, either knocking her out or killing her (she lies in the tank motionless); A shuttlecfaft crash lands in the shuttle bay of the Enterprise; Kirk fights Sybok for his gun and they throw each other around; Spock holds the gun pointed at Sybok’s chest and Kirk yells to shoot him. Sybok walks up and just takes it away from Spock; Kirk climbs on Spock’s shoulders to try to short out a security door. Kirk gets shocked and falls from Spock’s shoulders; Scotty blows out the wall of the brig with an explosive; Scotty walks into a beam and is knocked out (played for laughs); McCoy sees a vision of his dad dying; We see a vision of a woman in labor and in pain. We then see a baby covered in blood from birth; Large rock pillars rip through the desert ground; Kirk is hit by lightning and falls over (his jacket shows a burned spot on it); Spock is hit by lightning, too; Two men struggle in a lightning cloud; A photon torpedo hits the ground and Kirk jumps out of the way as it explodes; The Enterprise is hit and the transporter room sparks and explodes; The shuttle with Kirk on it sparks inside when hit; A ghostly face shoots lightning from its eyes near Kirk; A ship gun shoots a large alien and kills it.