Release date: June 9, 1989
Based on: Star Trek (television show created by Gene Roddenberry)
Directed by: William Shatner
Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei
Budget: $33 million
Box office: $63 million
A Vulcan takes control of the Enterprise to search for God.
Coming off the heels of a film which successfully tweaked the regular formula, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier attempts to do so but ends up being a complete mess of a film. While the ideas it does give the viewer are interesting, the way they are carried out is where the issue lies. The film uses what could be considered three perfectly good ideas for films in their own right and forces them together haphazardly to present the audience with an underwhelming story, underdeveloped characters and motives and bad editing. One of those three ideas could have been the basis for a great film. However all three together demonstrate Shatner’s lack of directing and screenwriting ability for feature films at the time.
Additionally, the tone is completely different from anything else in the franchise. Prior to this film, it was devoted to portraying an optimistic and peaceful future with highly advanced technology and human brotherhood figured out. Yet this film not only ignores these ideals, it decides upon a tone on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Its version of the future is full of cynicism where peace seems to be unattainable. Further, the technology is unreliable and barely anybody gets along without having to be manipulated. This shift in tone is so radical it feels as if it doesn’t belong in the series at all.
The film feels almost entirely devoid of any humor at all, too. In trying to replicate the natural sense of humor in the previous film, this one forces it in-between the serious moments. Barely any of it lands and those that do mostly comes unintentionally from the delivery of actors, some of whom can obviously be seen hating every minute of their roles. There are some good natural moments of humor, though they don’t come often. Notably, the best part of film, where the most natural occasions of humor lie, is the beginning. Nevertheless, rather than topping itself to get better and better, this film falls further and further into a void of failure.
This is an utterly disappointing film. It should boldly go to where no man has gone before and stay there.
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA - Saturn Awards
- Best DVD Collection (As part of the "Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection")
- Worst Picture
- Worst Actor
- Worst Director
- Worst Supporting Actor
- Worst Screenplay
- Worst Picture of the Decade