Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Review
Being one of the odd numbered Star Trek films, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier gives credance to the theory that only the even-numbered ones are any good. The film is a collection of all of the worst things about the Trek universe - technobabble, humour that doesn't work, an overblown and unbelievable plot and poor direction.
If I said that idea of Kirk meeting and beating God was one of William Shatner's ideas I very much doubt you would be surprised. Mr Ego both came up with the concept and helped to write the story - and it certainly shows. This is the man who has been involved in writing numerous books featuring the resurrection of Captain Kirk long after he was killed in Star Trek: Generations!
It actually starts of promisingly enough - an renegade Vulcan named Sybok kidnaps three important ambassadors from the Federation, Klingon and Romulan Empires on the dubiously named 'Planet of Galactic Peace'. Mounting a rescue mission, Kirk and co fly straight into a trap which results in the Enterprise being captured and commandeered by Sybok.
It transpires that Sybok is infact Mr Spock's half-brother and that he was exiled from Vulcan after attempting to get their race to embrace their emotions. Gradually using his skills, Sybok eases the 'pain' of every member of the Enterprise crew - all of who eventually decide he isn't so bad after all. In command of the ship, Sybok orders that they set course for the centre of the galaxy - where he expects to find the supreme being - God Himself...
Once the ship has brokem through the barrier which surrounds the centre of the Galaxy, Sybok relinquishes command. Kirk, being an explorer decides to mount an away mission where they meet a being claiming to be God.
It all sounds far-fetched, and to be completely honest for the most part it is. The Final Frontier doesn't quite know what it wants to be - there are some comedic moments which on the whole turn out to be pretty miserable, there's limited action and not really anything in the way of mystery. This is Star Trek by numbers, and it shows.
Shatner's inflated ego shows through more than in any other Star Trek outing - he clearly has a high opinion of himself and while he appears to be tackling his role with plenty of zest the majority of the major cast members - Nimoy in particular - look as though they're bored out of their minds.
The final straw is the climactic battle of good (Kirk) versus evil (Pseudo-God!) - obvious budget restrictions make this an utterly disappointing conclusion to a disappointing film. To make matters worse, instead of ending it there we're 'treated' to a rather pain inducing perfomance of 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat' sung by the three principle cast members. Whoever thought that was a good idea should be severly reprimanded!
Whereas most studios try to make their flops slightly appealing by pepping up the DVD release, it becomes painfully obvious that Paramount aren't even going to attempt to sell this disc to anyone other than devoted Trek fans. There is nothing here to make the DVD a worthy purchase.
The picture is framed at 2.35:1 and is non-anamorphic. This combined with it being a Region 1 NTSC disc results in a hugely reduced resolution. Added to the fact that the transfer is rarely anything better than dull we're looking at a very poor disc. There is a limited amount of print degredation, but the real damage is done by the dull, lifeless, muddy colours and low contrast levels. In terms of digital artefacts I suppose we don't have anything to worry about so I suppose that is one advantage. While this isn't the worst transfer I've seen, it's never really anything better than average and for the most part it's not even that.
The soundtrack is one area where I can't really complain. The 5.1 channel remix is sufficient - although it doesn't stand out in any one area. It's uniformly above average with nice clear dialogue and reasonable sound placement. It's nothing to shout about but unlike the other aspects of the disc at least it's not noticeably inferior to most other DVDs.
Going with the distinctly no-frills presentation, Paramount haven't gone out of their way to provide us with anything notable in the way of extras. We get two theatrical trailers - nothing more, nothing less.
What more can I say this is a mediocre film on a mediocre disc. Even the mose devout Trek fan would think twice about picking this release up.