A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 326 – Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier – January 20th, 2011

Why yes, we do indeed own the fifth movie. Oh, we didn’t before this project, but then there were quite a few odd holes in our collection before the project started. There still are, though we’re filling them in as we go. This, however, was an intentional hole. We knew damn well that this would be painful to watch and so we’d never bought it. We never meant to put it in our collection. We never meant to intentionally own or watch it. And yet here we are, with the passionate Vulcan and the three-breasted cat woman and the fan dance and the Row Row Row Your Boat oh my god stop singing. We decided that if we were going to watch all of the others, original series and next generation, documentaries and reboot, then, well. We had to buy it.

Around when they started singing I knew this was going to be a trial. It’s been ages since I last saw this movie and as with the second Star Wars prequel, I’ve blocked out a lot. For instance, I’d blocked out that the singing actually bookended the movie. That’s a tidbit that one might think would stay with me, but no. And so when Andy said “well, at least it’s over” at the beginning I believed him. And oh, oh was I sad when he was wrong. I get that it’s meant to be a sweet little moment between the super close trio of Kirk, Spock and McCoy, and I get that it’s supposed to make us feel like even though they’re all futuristic they can still do the things we do or something like that. It’s supposed to speak to connections, both between the characters and the audience. And it doesn’t. It doesn’t at all. It misses the mark by miles. And indeed this is the way it goes for much of the movie.

I keep trying to find something salvageable in this movie and failing to find anything aside from DeForest Kelley’s scene where he’s imagining the death of his father. The plot is nothing super special at its core. Dude shows up with a bunch of fanatical followers and takes over the Enterprise, using her to go somewhere he otherwise wouldn’t be able to go. But in this case the dude is Spock’s half brother, Sybok (and oh, I will get to him in a moment) and the somewhere he’s going is the center of the universe where he believes God is hanging out past a “barrier” that seems pretty weak when all’s said and done. And he doesn’t take over the ship with force so much as he converts everyone on it into his little cult. It’s creepy, to be honest, and I think that was the point? I think. I’m not sure. But if it was the point, well, that’s one thing it did right.

Sybok, as a character, bugs me. He’s this utterly ridiculous figure. He’s Spock’s half-brother, son of Sarek and a Vulcan princess. He’s rejected the logic and repression of his people and embraced emotion, becoming passionate and totally un-Vulcan (soooo, Romulan?) and somehow he’s also got this super special magical cult leader power. He can see the ‘pain’ others are carrying, which seems to mean emotional baggage of some sort, and somehow bring it to the fore, cleansing them and allowing them freedom. And that’s just grand, isn’t it! Watching him with Bones all I could think of was faith healers. But I think that’s how he’s supposed to come off. The thing is, he just doesn’t fit. Maybe if he wasn’t Spock’s half-brother or Vulcan I’d find it easier to accept him. How about a rogue Betazoid? Then the powers would make sense and we’ve met slimy Betazoids in TNG, so it’s certainly possible for them to use their extra senses for less than honorable purposes. But no. He’s this super unique Vulcan, son of a princess. He’s a Gary Stu, only in bad guy form. Sort of. And I say sort of because he’s not shown as evil. Utterly single-minded and determined, yes. Totally short-sighted and naive about the reactions of the people he’s dealing with, yes. But not evil. Misguided, more. So we spend the movie with a bad guy who’s not so much bad as overzealous.

It’s just so messy. Really, really messy. Nimbus III, with its Human, Klingon and Romulan consulates? Sybok’s utter ignorance about things like the Federation’s reaction to taking hostages? Really? Did he truly think he could claim to have hostages and the Klingons wouldn’t show up shooting? Did he really think no one would try and get the hostages out? He seems completely shocked when weapons get fired, and shocked again when Kirk points out that they can’t get the shuttlecraft back onto the Enterprise while the shields are up. He’s kind of not bright and it makes his whole plan seem ill-thought out. Sort of like this movie. I mean, look at some of the things in it. Uhura’s fan dance? According to the trivia, this was written in as a joke! And they kept it! I feel so bad for Nichelle Nichols. She’s better than that. And don’t even get me started on the evil not!God. Apparently there was supposed to be a pit full of the ten levels of Hell and rock monsters that I can only assume were maybe a step up from Hercules Against the Moon Men. So. It could have been worse? I think I’m going to stop now and just let it go. Move on to the next one and hope this one recedes back into the dim corners of my mind.

January 20, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , ,

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