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5/1/13

STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER - REVIEW


Ah Star Trek V...

Just thinking back to it is a joy!

This William Shatner-directed outing for the Star Trek gang sees interesting ideas being merged with some truly silly ones to create what is quite probably the goofiest non-whale-related movie of the franchise but also one of the most entertaining and memorable. The film opens on a desert planet where a prophetic Vulcan called Sybok appears to have the power to heal others of their fears. It's a promising start and just when it looks like this might develop into a really cool plot involving magical Vulcans and stuff, we meet the Star Trek (old) boys who are on shore leave just bumming around, being wacky. You've got Kirk climbing mountains, super-Spock showing off his brand new rocket-boots and McCoy joining both of them for a drink and a "Row Row Your Boat" sing-along over a camp fire. It's cute and you do feel like these guys really have become a family but it's pretty cartoonish considering how serious-ish the film seemed prior to that!

This is actually how the film proceeds form now on: you've got the plot, which sees Sybok getting on the Enterprise and forcing everybody to go and essentially find God, which is actually pretty involving. In that sense it's almost like a joke remake of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. But then you've got all the other outside-plot stuff, little nuggets added in (probably at the last minute) to decorate the main thread which are, more often than not, ridiculous. Three-breasted cat strippers, swimming pool tables, more rocket-boots action, the infamous Uhura fan dance, about a hundred bad jokes and random Shatnerisms... these are all absurd side-lols which really detract from an otherwise actually respectable plot. There's a kinda cool sequence where McCoy, Spock and Kirk each get a chance to face their fears as Sybok shows off his power but it's quickly followed by countless comic-relief moments I don't think were really necessary. It doesn't help that the direction throughout is less than great: there's a clunkiness to the editing and the directing in this movie that does hurt the plot further. 

That said, I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy this one. 

Yes the lols are distracting and go a bit too far sometimes, making the film feel more like zany fan-fiction more often than not, but there IS a good Star Trek film in there and it keeps you watching despite how you might feel about the cat lady attack or the occasionally cheap-looking art direction. For me, the bad jokes and silliness add a certain charm to the whole thing, making The Final Frontier unique in its own way: part Ed Wood-style trashy sci-fi, part classic Star Trek fare. Two factors that don't necessarily gel together perfectly but which make for ridiculously fun viewing. There are better Star Trek movies out there, and it's easy to dismiss this one as the worst of the bunch but I found it to be much more enjoyable than some of the other Trek flicks out there. A lot of it is stupid but all of it is charming.

I would say that this is by far the funniest and campiest Star Trek movie around and whether you like it or not, you can't deny that it brought you some form of entertainment. It didn't make you smarter but at least now you what God wants with a starship... 

Besides, it's not about WHALES.

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