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Neil Middlemiss

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I have always thoroughly enjoyed Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. There, I said it. Paramount never really had the right level of faith in their Star Trek franchise to budget appropriately it seems – with an exception perhaps being The Motion Picture, though that may have crept up on them more than having been a decision made. This would become more pronounced during the theatrical exploits of The Next Generation. That budgetary challenge and its impact on Shatner’s directorial effort cannot be understated. Everything from the visual effects work to the rushed and retooled ending contribute to the film’s faltering. Money won’t fix script problems, or editing kinks and creases, but it can help a filmmaker better realize an ambitious vision, remove some headaches and challenges, and even help distract audiences from broader issues.
Still, The Final Frontier succeeds best in the intimate. The campfire, the brig, the “pain” sequence in the Forward Observation Lounge, are some of the...

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KPmusmag

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Thank you for your excellent review, Neil. I appreciate your comments and your affection for the film. I recall at the time disdaining it a bit for two reasons. Nichelle Nichols was a lovely, beautiful woman, but I felt at the time it was beneath Uhura's dignity to have to do that dance, really bothered me at the time. And Sybock being related to Spock bothered me, too, I guess because it had never been mentioned in TOS (that I recall).

When the first blu-ray came out some years ago, I watched it with a friend who "wanted to see what was wrong with it." (LOL) We both enjoyed it a lot more than we expected to, and the action sequences you mentioned do add to it immensely IMO.

I am loading it into the player in a few minutes and, after reading your review, looking forward to it even more.
 

Sam Favate

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Yeah, it’s my least favorite of the original films but it’s far from the worst Star Trek film. As you point out, there is a lot to like in it. Unfortunately, the humor is what sinks it, IMO. There’s far too much winking at the audience and having us laugh at - not with - the characters we’d loved for over 30 years at that point.

Funny story, several years ago, Shatner was a surprise guest on a financial news show that’s hosted by a friend of mine. His producers didn’t tell him Shatner was coming, as a surprise since they knew he was a fan. So, they talk about whatever it was Shatner was promoting and then my friend says “So, okay, what’s the best Star Trek movie?” and he was goading him into saying Star Trek II (his favorite). Shatner didn’t miss a beat: “Star Trek V is the best. I directed it, you know.” “Yeah,” my friend says, “but Wrath of Khan…” “No,” Shatner says, “Star Trek V is the best.” And they left it there. Shatner was nice enough to shake hands with anyone in the newsroom who wanted to say hi.
 

KPmusmag

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Unfortunately, the humor is what sinks it, IMO.

I really enjoyed watching it just now, but there were a few moments that seemed a bit like a sit-com to me. McCoy sure got some digs in on Spock. :)

Something I had forgotten was

Sulu crashing the shuttlecraft on the hanger deck. That was AWESOME! Have to admit I applauded and laughed my head off. Ran it back three times. I wonder if George Takei was annoyed that Sulu was portrayed as missing it even it was Sulu's first time).

The moment that felt like Star Trek to me and really makes it worthwhile for me is

When McCoy says to Kirk, "You said that men like us don't have families." and Kirk responds, "I was wrong." Tears, I admit it.

And wow it looks and sounds good, like watching it for the first time.
 

Dick

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Yeah, it’s my least favorite of the original films but it’s far from the worst Star Trek film. As you point out, there is a lot to like in it. Unfortunately, the humor is what sinks it, IMO. There’s far too much winking at the audience and having us laugh at - not with - the characters we’d loved for over 30 years at that point.

Agreed, absolutely. The humor (the execrable "Row Row Row Your Boat" scenes) may be intended to humanize these characters, but to my, mind they fall flat and are embarrassing. The ending seems like astronomical overreach and is, worse, confusing. The affects are only marginal. If Shatner had to helm this gargantuan ego trip of a film, he maybe should have created a film that worked well within his budget, a smaller film that actually did humanize the characters, the way they already had been much more effectively in WRATH OF KHAN without compromising in the effects department.
 

jayembee

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I'll be the stinker. I hated it. But you guys feel free to enjoy. I think of it as the "Spock's Brain" of the movie run.

Anyway...I'm not a hate-poster. I just wanted to give full disclosure. The reason I'm posting in this thread is that I recall back before the movie was released that The National Enquirer, or one of its wannabes, claimed to have gotten a copy of the ST5 script, and published an article describing what happens in the movie.

Naturally, everyone and his uncle poo-pooed it, saying that there was no way that a Star Trek movie would have all of those unbelievably stupid things in it. Then the movie came out, and it turned out that the Inquirer had it 100% correct after all. :)
 

Josh Steinberg

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I remember something similar happening to me with the Inquirer and Generations. They reported on the ending a few months before it came out and had it right, I think they got the goods from a crew member for the reshoots.
 

Radioman970

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I'm such a forgiving Trek fan. I LOVE Spocks Brain. They even use it on a really great Wonder Years. After this in 1989 I drove home in silence, feeling and looking like the funeral was too long.

It would be fun to watch this movie with fans of it. I will never watch it without the commentary. The one with the Okudas is really good. Well all theirs on Trek stuff is great. I also like the Rifftrax.
 

jayembee

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Funny thing about the Wonder Years episode: they got the day wrong. In the episode, the kids were in school next day, but Star Trek was airing on Friday nights in the 3rd season.:oops:
 

Jeff F.

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I absolutely hated this film when it first came out. In fact, when the credits came up in the movie theater, the audience actually booed it. I have come to appreciate it more over the years, but it is still the weakest of the six TOS movies, by far, IMO.
 

Sam Favate

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The National Enquirer, or one of its wannabes, claimed to have gotten a copy of the ST5 script, and published an article describing what happens in the movie.
I recall an article, circa 1988, that was not from the Enquirer or some such rag, that talked about how upset DeForest Kelly was at the scene where he helps his father die. There was truth to that too.
 

Nelson Au

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Thanks for the review Neil! I can appreciate the enthusiasm you have for this film.

I remember my main disappointments at the time was the less then competent effects house that did the miniature work. They do have a different look that what ILM does, so that can be a positive.

The sequences on Sha Ka Ree we’re odd as Kirk calls the Enterprise on his communicator and then drifts off, so he doesn’t finish the call?

I think there was a genuine effort to give the support cast some things to do that contribute to the plot or resolve a situation, but it didn’t always work.

It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen this and the other Star Trek films, other then Star Trek The Motion Picture which has taken over as my favorite of all the films. So with the new 4K releases, I plan to revisit all the films.

I forgot to add, it does have one of the better Goldsmith scores! That’s a highlight.

I was asking myself, when I saw this review for Star Trek V, where are the other 5 reviews for the new 4K releases?
 

Osato

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Thanks for the review Neil! I can appreciate the enthusiasm you have for this film.

I remember my main disappointments at the time was the less then competent effects house that did the miniature work. They do have a different look that what ILM does, so that can be a positive.

The sequences on Sha Ka Ree we’re odd as Kirk calls the Enterprise on his communicator and then drifts off, so he doesn’t finish the call?

I think there was a genuine effort to give the support cast some things to do that contribute to the plot or resolve a situation, but it didn’t always work.

It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen this and the other Star Trek films, other then Star Trek The Motion Picture which has taken over as my favorite of all the films. So with the new 4K releases, I plan to revisit all the films.

I forgot to add, it does have one of the better Goldsmith scores! That’s a highlight.

I was asking myself, when I saw this review for Star Trek V, where are the other 5 reviews for the new 4K releases?
Agreed. I’m loving Neil’s reviews!!
 

JoshZ

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If Shatner had to helm this gargantuan ego trip of a film, he maybe should have created a film that worked well within his budget, a smaller film that actually did humanize the characters, the way they already had been much more effectively in WRATH OF KHAN without compromising in the effects department.

In Shatner's defense, the film's budget was whittled down bit by bit while it was in development and production. It's not like Paramount told him up front that his movie wouldn't have access to ILM or half the other resources Nimoy had gotten on the last two. (And if they had, there's no way Shatner would have agreed to it.)
 

Josh Steinberg

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And the combination of a set-in-stone release date and a looming writer’s strike forced them into a scenario where they had to film the script pages they had instead of taking the time to refine some of the concepts.
 

B-ROLL

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And the combination of a set-in-stone release date and a looming writer’s strike forced them into a scenario where they had to film the script pages they had instead of taking the time to refine some of the concepts.
Shatner has some other thoughts (reading from his book Star Trek Movie Memories):


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Chuck Mayer

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I remember being incredibly excited for this film in the lead-up, and ultimately very disappointed when I finally saw it. It was the (rather big) summer of 1989: Batman, Lethal Weapon 2, IJ and The Last Crusade, Ghostbusters II, Honey I shrunk the Kids, and Star Trek 5. ST4 had been such a huge hit, and this trailer played well.

I won't criticize it now, since I haven't seen it in many years (and I am content to let it lie). But my excitement to disappointment meter rarely pegged as high as it did for this film. I hope it gets a fine UHD disc for the fans, though.
 

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