Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (10:30am, Saturday 7th February -shown again 7:00pm)
Vulcan renegade Sybok takes hostages on Nimbus III, the “planet of galactic peace”. The brand new Enterprise is the closest Federation vessel and they crew set off to do their space cop thing post-haste. It turns out that Sybok’s a man with a plan: to travel to the centre of the galaxy to find God. To do that he needs a star ship and the Enterprise will do very nicely.
Almost universally derided by fans, The Final Frontier could have been a very different movie. Earlier, darker iterations of the script were kyboshed by Paramount bigwigs eager to build on the successful comedy element in The Voyage Home. Problem is, The Final Frontier has a very different premise. It’s a spiritual story about family and faith, regrets and regression. So, the epic opening that introduces a mysterious stranger who takes away people’s hidden pain is followed by an uncomfortable slapstick sequence where the holy trinity fart around a camp fire. A scene where we discover Spock is Sybok’s half brother is followed by one where Kirk counsels his chums while sitting on the toilet. In some ways, that’s appropriate, though, as many Trek continuity nerds shat their pants on hearing that Spock had been arbitrarily given a sibling.
Famously, the shoot ran out of money before the big finish. Director William Shatner, Captain Kirk himself, shot an extended sequence where he battles elemental monsters conjured by a malicious alien entity posing as Jehovah. The result was so bad it was unusable. Paramount wouldn’t give the shoot any more money, so the sequence shows Kirk running away from previously seen footage of a big giant head instead.
Even with these very obvious problems, The Final Frontier is still more entertaining to watch than The Search for Spock. There’s plenty of spark between the obviously aging crew – and everyone gets a good line or two along the way.
* “I liked him better when he was dead,” says an exasperated McCoy of Spock. * The campfire coda.
* Spock gives a horse the Vulcan nerve pinch. A horse. * Uhura’s fan dance.