Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)

Rating: D-

Dir: William Shatner
Star: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Laurence Luckinbill, DeForest Kelley

Not quite as hideous as I’d been led to believe, this is still pretty weak, maintaining the pattern of “even=good, odd=bad”. There are some spectacular cringeworthy and embarrassing moments: chief among them is Lt. Uhura’s fan dance, which sets back the cause of racial equality several years in about 25 seconds, but Spock’s rocket-shoe rescue of Kirk, and Scotty’s prat-fall quickly come to mind too. Although any film on the theme of encountering God is skating on thin ice, this angle isn’t handled too badly – at least, until a finale more reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz than any divine encounter.

The movie fails singularly to answer any of the potentially interesting questions raised earlier on. and we don’t really have a villain here either, just Spock’s half-brother Sybok. He hijacks the Enterprise by getting the crew in touch with their inner pain, then crashes through the barrier at the edge of the universe – why the Enterprise can breeze through, but nothing else ever has, is never explained. There is still some absolutely cracking dialogue, however, which helps distract from the obvious flaws. Guess Shatner wanted his turn at directing after Nimoy had done so well with parts III and IV, but all he succeeds in doing is prove that directorial and acting star quality are not the same thing.