Shut-In Cinema: Star Trek V – The Final Frontier

So we’re all familiar with everything that has to do with Star Trek, yes? Know what it is? C’mon, you’ve all got a Shatner impression and you’ve all got a working knowledge of the cast, crew, and main factions. We’re not going to get into all that right now, instead focusing on how you’ve all done this franchise a horrible wrong. Sure, you watched The Wrath of Khan because it’s the best one. Yeah, okay, you watched The Voyage Home because it’s probably the most fun film in the entire series. But there’s a wonderful one that everyone ignores, even actively talks trash about, and you don’t deserve this movie but I’m going to send you to it anyway.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is an absolute blast, and I’ll inform you why if you lovelies will talk down for just a moment because I can already feel the eyes rolling. 

This one follows a Vulcan named Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill), who just so happens to be Spock’s half-brother, as he builds a cult and then attempts to journey beyond the Great Barrier in search of what he believes to be God. With me so far? Because I was almost out at that point, it’s batshit insane that this franchise took it that direction. I’m so overjoyed that it did. 

Alongside this we’re delivered some of the most fun bro-ing out that we’ve ever seen with our three leads: Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and McCoy (DeForest Kelly) straight-up begin this adventure camping in Yosemite National Park. James T. Kirk is free-solo climbing a cliff face, Spock is rollin’ around on Iron Man boots, and McCoy is cooking up baked beans with whiskey in them. Everyone is farting around the campfire and singing songs, it’s so gloriously ridiculous and I cannot believe you’ve forgotten all about it! So then Sulu (George Takei) comes down to inform them that leave is over and they need to head into action. Oh, and there’s a Klingon pursuing them for personal glory. 

I adore every minute of this ridiculous film, from Shatner’s competent-but-not-inspired directing duties to Jerry Goldsmith’s rousing score. There’s a crazy Vulcan searching for GOD for crying out loud, how is this not the favorite? Jokes with Morse Code, the literal camping scene, and the line, “What does God need with a starship?” make this an awesome round of bullshit that is easily more entertaining, more rousing, and so much more laugh-out-loud funny than any other film in the series. It has all the hallmarks of a desperate franchise, from letting the main star helm a film to a half-brother that just…exists. Seriously, that had never been seeded and no one could have predicted that we’d get that (I’m fairly well-versed in Star Trek lore, but if I’m wrong about this please let me know and I will update accordingly). 

Look, if you look into it you’ll find that this is the most decried movie in the entire franchise (yes, even more than Star Trek Into Darkness). I won’t defend it as perfection, it’s messy and awkward and suffered from some strange rewrites. Hell, at one point Spock and McCoy betrayed Kirk and he had to also struggle against his best friends. That was shot down by Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelly, who both stated that their characters would never do that and refused to participate in anything of the like. At one point Kirk even got away from God, who in that draft turned out to be literal Satan, and went back to save Spock and McCoy from being drug to hell. They had to cut wild effects from the climax because it went so far over budget. Seriously, this is amazing. Also this movie has Scottie (James Doohan) snidely talking about how well he knows the ship only to turn and literally knock himself out by bumping into a steel beam. 

Get onboard, pour yourself a drink, and pop on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier if you want to have a good time. It’s silly, it’s fun, it makes no sense within the larger franchise, and yet it manages to be a lot of fun. It nearly killed the film series, and it’s easy to see why, but it’s also perfect for what it is. You’ll thank me when you’ve given it a shot.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is currently streaming on both Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.

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