'Star Trek V' Is Pretty Hard to Defend, But I’m Going to Try Anyway
'The Final Frontier' does have its moments.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is pretty hard to defend. This especially after we thought once the credits and the theremin faded, the thrill ride would pick right right up where The Voyage Home left off. I'm going to try to do it nonetheless.
Even so, you had a sense upon Sybok’s initial indoctrination sequence that the odd man out was once again in play for Star Trek movies. Yosemite National park serving as a backdrop for the triumvirate’s reappearance didn’t exactly engage the warp engines, either.
Star Trek Humor Amuses at Best
The same goes for the attempt to seamlessly string the humor along from the previous installment. “Spock! ...What are you doing in this neck of the woods,” Kirk’s fails to provide the bridge on high.
But at least Spock gives us a little to put a break on the descent. “Perhaps ‘because it is there' is not a sufficient reason for wanting for climbing a mountain,” Spock does all right in humorously doling out the logic.
Of course, the forced attempts at humor continue, and they amuse at best. 23 years into the franchise at this point, the campfire then gets doused by melodramatics. “I knew I wouldn't die because the two of you were with me,” Kirk sheds a fake tear to Bones and Spock.
Kirk and the Enterprise Go on a Existential Journey
But I’m actually ok with the journey Kirk is taking in Star Trek V. “I’ve always known... I'll die alone,” Kirk flatly discounts his Starfleet family life.
No time to dwell, though, and the Enterprise is pressed into service by Sybok’s impetuousness to find God. “I deeply regret this desperate act, but these are desperate times. I have no desire to harm these innocents but do not put me to the test. I implore you... I implore you to respond…immediately,” the half brother demands.
Yeah, we’re not so compelled, and we can only count ourselves lucky that Uhura’s dance didn’t end the franchise right there. But a little more amusement eases us when Spock places Sybok under arrest while surrounded by insurgency. “Spock! You've developed a sense of humor after all,” Sybok delivers.
Emergency Landing Plan B doesn’t play so bad either — especially when Sybok puts it to Sulu. “How often have you done this?” the Vulcan plays the skeptic perfectly.
Without a limited resume on dishing the Star Trek humor, Sulu’s deadpan does due diligence anyway. “Actually, it's my first attempt.” He's all poker face.
Their Pain Runs Deep
Either way, Sybok takes the ship, Spock reveals the pertinent lineage, and Scotty bumps his head. A far cry from absconding a couple of 20th Century whales, and a lip lock between the chief engineer and the communications office doesn’t move the needle either.
Of course, Sybok must ultimately make his case to the Enterprise’s three holdouts, and this scene alone is one to always catch in between whatever else is on TV at the time.
McCoy doesn’t know whether he’s done harm to end his father’s suffering, and the pain runs even deeper since a cure later emerged. “I loved my father. I released him,” Bones tries to rationalize.
But Sybok sets him free. “This pain has poisoned your soul for a long time. Now you've taken the first step.”
One down, two to go. “I believe we are witnessing my birth,” Spock observes his scene dispassionately.
Sarek, though, lets the emotions fly. “So human,” the ambassador exudes disgust.
Not so revealing, but the moments do show that there have unfortunately been limits to this friendship (and maybe changes are on the way). “This is who they are, didn't you know?” Sybok lectures a repentant Kirk.
All Searches Starts Inside
Nonetheless, Kirk won’t have any of it. “Pain and guilt can't be taken away with the wave of a magic wand. They're things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are... If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don't want my pain taken away. I need my pain.”
I’m sorry my friends, but that rant warps out among the greatest Star Trek quotes of all time.
We also get to firmly note that the human adventure applies to Spock too. “I am not the outcast boy you left behind those many years ago,” the First Officer assures.
But despite the differences, why not go visit God? Of course, leave it to Jim Kirk to point out a minor inconsistency among the cosmic questions abound. “What does God need with a starship?” James T. pipes up.
Sorry Sybok and all those who seek….
Fortunately, Sybok’s demise allows the Captain of the Enterprise to set the right parameters for us. “Maybe He's not out there, Bones. Maybe He's right here... in the human heart.”
I’m not much for religion, but whether you’re searching for God, Truth, or any of the great questions, it’s a pretty good place to start.
And yes Captain Kirk, you do have a family. “I lost a brother once. But I was lucky, I got him back.”
It’s just too bad a better movie couldn’t have been made around some very good ideas.
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