The best part about this movie is that Bones is able to say "god dammit." The end. OK, not really. There was still a little fun to be had. The shuttlecraft landing was kind of cool, the Klingons are hilarious, and the chemistry between Spock, Kirk, and Bones will always be a pleasure to watch. While it's true a couple of "bonding" scenes went on 30-60% too long, the way these men play off of each other, even with shoddy material... Well it's just a national treasure.
OK, now the end. Maybe this movie wouldn't be so bad if it weren't sandwiched between two films for which I have fond memories. IV is the first time I remember being invested in a new Star Trek project, and VI is just really good. It's like a really great rye bread with Carl Buddig "beef" in between. It would be a shame to forget to mention that Shatner directed this one, but it would also be a shame to mention that Shatner directed this one.
Look, the principles of creating sci-fi really boil down to one single tenet: Don't break your own rules. The world you create can be a shitstorm of made up beings and and worlds and physics, but you can never break the rules you create. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier does that before the opening credits start to roll, and it's hard to go into a movie with an open mind once you've watched a laughing Vulcan use contractions to talk about spirituality. That the entire film is based on the premise that a single Vulcan went rogue and embraced his emotions is just a little too far of a stretch for me. And it's not helped along by the fact that Sybok is played with downright boyish glee. He is taken to far to the opposite end of the poles for it to be even remotely plausible.
I'm OK with some elements being left to the imagination, but there are just so many "whys" going on here. Why is the center of galactic peace such an epic shithole? Why did the consuls pretend to not be in on the plot when everyone else on their planet was in on the plot? Why is Sybok the only Vulcan in history to go emotional? What caused that revelation? The Vulcans, Romulans, and Klingons all have similar creation/paradise mythologies? Seriously? I mean, the Vulcans and the Romulans, sure, but the Klingons? Really? And when they finally meet him, he looks like the beardy Christian guy on a cloud? Really?
The effects in this film don't hold up, which normally would not be a problem for me at all. I actually enjoy a little nostalgia when it comes to the obvious green screen. Unfortunately, this film was released after ST had hit airwaves again. And the TV effects of TNG put this film to shame. Too boot, when I was only ten minutes in I had noticed at least three Star Wars nods that were way beyond homage.
A friend advised me to go into this review as I would a Shatner spoken word record - with a light heart and an easy smile. And I tried. I really tried. I hadn't seen this movie since I was 13 or 14 years old, so I thought maybe I didn't "get it" the first time around. And I, despite all the flaws, had a mostly good time watching the first three quarters of the film. And then... Sha'Ka'Ree. Which, by the way, looks less like a life giving Eden and more like a desolate dry wasteland. Like a boney Krypton. Here's my review of the last quarter of the film:
Seriously. Spoiler alert - it ain't God they find. It's just some space dick who's been imprisoned by the Great Barrier. Plot twist, it wasn't to keep us out, it was to keep him in! Apparently Sybok can't interpret visions for shit, and we are never told one single thing about the entity beyond the barrier. I myself like to believe it's a Q, but hey. That's some fan fic for another day.
Would I pay to watch this movie again? Oh god no. Would I leave it on the TV one rainy Sunday when I'm too lazy to reach for the remote? Sure. I laughed a couple times (when I was supposed to), the score is gorgeous, and for cryin' out loud it's Star Trek.
Nine days 'til Darkness, y'all.