Movie: "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier"
Year: 1989
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Action / Adventure
Directed by: William Shatner
Writing credits: David Loughery

Reviewer: Max Burbank
Posted: 2/18/2008

Plot: The Enterprise is hijacked by Spock's older brother Sybok, a Vulcan who embraces emotion. Hypnotizing most of the crew, they embark on a search for 'Shakari' or the Garden of Eden, which Sybok believes has an actual physical location in space. There they encounter a powerful being posing as God. The Alien and Kirk tussle, with predictable results.

Review: I believe the only thing better than really good Star Trek is really bad Star Trek. Those searching for top notch bad trek have quite a bit to choose from and there's much debate about just what's the worst. A lot of folks say "Spock's Brain", some folks feel the sheer length and glacial pacing of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" makes it the most shameful trek outing, but my vote goes to the gloriously bad "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier"

Based on a story by William Shatner, directed by William Shatner, staring William Shatner... really, how could it go wrong? And here's the thing, as astoundingly bad a movie it is, "ST V" isn't unbridled Shatner. The Shat was reeled in over and over as this movie progressed from an idea to a film in theaters. By producers, by cast mates, by budget and bad luck, as Shatnery as this movie is, it's not what Shatner was shooting for. The only way to truly appreciate the splendid badness of this film, you have to read a book called "Captain's Log: The making of Star Trek V". It was written by Shatner's daughter who had a small role in the film and it's a chronicle of what could have been.

To start with, the Shat's original premise wasn't about a powerful alien masquerading as God. It was Kirk vs. God. And nobody could get the Shat to believe that a movie where Kirk went up against the lord almighty and handed him his omnipotent ass would be found... well, offensive by a lot of folks. He did eventually accept that absolutely no one was going to make that movie and backed off the idea that the baddy was authentically God, but he never did and still won't admit he was wrong.

Sybok was supposed to be played by Sean Connery. Everybody knows that it's a law of physics that any movie with Sean Connery in it is at least okay. But Connery decided he'd rather go be Indiana Jone's father, so they cast Laurence Luckinbill who you've never heard of because he sucks like a black hole. If any of you remember who Leo 'the love doctor' Buscaglia was, a sort of kinder, gentler, huggier forerunner of Dr. Phil, I'm pretty sure Buscaglia and Luckinbill were the same guy. Honest to god, he is just the worst, he acts the whole movie like a furniture store owner staring in his own commercial.

Most of the special effects budget went down the tubes in a hopeless quest for an army of Lava Men, who were supposed to be hulking Golem's made out of lava that God would summon out of the ground to attack Kirk and friends. This was eventually cut to five Lava men as test after test ate up the budget, then to two Lava Men and in the final cut I think if you squint you sort of see one Lava guy for second, and he looks like a fat man carrying a burning mattress.

If none of that makes you want to rent this movie immediately, there's also a backlit, buck naked Uhuru doing a fan dance to distract some bad guys and an alien cat chick with three boobs. This movie is best seen when drunk or brutally sleep deprived.

Overall rating: Whole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

I likes PIE!
Feb 18th, 2008, 10:18 PM
i love the movie. it's so awful that it comes out the other side good
Feb 18th, 2008, 11:43 PM
I would have paid good money to see Shatner fight God.
Spiteful Jerk
Feb 19th, 2008, 12:16 AM
Yeah nothing like the implication of a nude, writhing, 50-odd year old Nichelle Nichols to bring in the fans, eh? And I have to agree with the Riffers that Sybok looks like a Vulcan Saddam Hussein.

Nick: Shatner would so kick god's ass. No contest.
Pickled Patriarch
Feb 19th, 2008, 12:40 AM
This one was definitely bad, but come on... Star Trek IV had the crew saving humpback whales! Nothing is more hilariously awful than that movie. I'll never forget seeing Spock swimming with the whales... NEVER.
James Brown in hiding
Feb 19th, 2008, 12:45 AM
Once my friends and I made a drinking game for this movie because we're low, white trash like that. Unfortunately the rule that "drink whenever it sucks" put two of us in the emergency room and the rest in AA. Of course that didn't disuade us as we remembered that after broken relationships, past troubles, 80's sitcoms and Star Trek V is why we started drinking in the first place.

This movie is so bad that I heard if you watch it in high def it can give you herpies. Trek is like sex. When it's good it's awesome. When it's bad it's that bald headded pirate bitch with the eye patch and the sagging saddle bag titties that you picked up when you were drunk and mistook your friends coats for a urinal.
The Goddamned Batman
Feb 19th, 2008, 01:03 AM
There's no doubt that this is EASILY the worst Star Trek movie. But it's been a long time since I've seen it, and your review kinda makes me want to watch it again.

Riff Trax version of course.
Last of the Time Lords
Feb 19th, 2008, 01:07 AM
Star Trek V with Rifftrax: Proof that God exists and loves us all.

Star Trek V without Rifftrax: Proof that Satan also exists and is a Trekkie.
Feb 19th, 2008, 05:52 AM
This certainly falls into the "so bad it is funny" category.
Serial Loiterer
Feb 19th, 2008, 01:26 PM
This Trek sucked as no Trek has sucked before! The crappy sub plot of Bones and Kirk trying to teach Spock how to sing 'Row Row Row Your Boat' was superior to the entire film. That and the three boobied cat lady. Uhuru's dance was nice, but if I wanted to see an old lady dance naked, there are websites that specialize in that sort of thing.
Ultimate Buzzkill
Feb 19th, 2008, 02:01 PM
I'm going to have to agree with RoG on IV...considering this comes from the same time period of "Over-the-top Environmentalism Invades Pop Culture" that brought us Captain Planet and Ferngully. I think this movie had the aim of being more of a comedy than sci-fi, not to mention the incredible stupidity of the "sci" part...time travel by flying around the sun? Didn't Superman try to do that?


"no, whales."
Built in the 80s
Feb 19th, 2008, 04:35 PM
Haha, this movie is classic! I love it how it starts with Shatner, i mean Kirk, climbing El Capitan! And wasn't Scotty the comic relief in this movie, slap-stick style?!

It's a really fun, terrible movie, and it's a lot more fun than the first movie.
after enough bourbon ...
Feb 19th, 2008, 09:52 PM
Ahh, Star Trek V - The One We'd Like to Forget.

This more than any other movie from this franchise convinced me that ALL the odd numbered Trek movies sucked wind. And for the most part, the trend still holds.

What's amazing from my perspective, is that with a laugh track, this movie might actually be good ... well if not exactly GOOD, at least watchable.

Wait a minute, is this what "riff-trax" is all about? Yee Gods, I am so out of touch I might have leprosy.
Crazed Techno-Biologist
Feb 19th, 2008, 11:42 PM
iono guys, i enjoyed the film, although it was just like a stretched out episode of star trek the OG series, it was pretty enjoyable. I mean, the ones afterwareds were pretty badf, but the OG series had philosophical meaning and actual morals with lasers and skimpy outfits. it was good. though vulcans with beards are just odd... frikken hippies.
The Magnificent Bastard
Feb 20th, 2008, 12:47 AM
If I was a Hollywood producer I would have totally greenlit the "Captain Kirk Vs. God" idea. That would have been awesomely absurd.

Of course, it sounds like this movie is already awesomely absurd. I'm totally checking it out.
Flying Finn
Feb 20th, 2008, 04:37 AM
Aw man,
I have this in my dvd collection...and now, thanks to this review I have to watch it again!

Thanks a lot Burbank, thanks a lot.
From the Home of MST3K
Feb 20th, 2008, 08:17 AM
Star Trek: The Series is usually good.

Star Trek: The Movies you can pick and choose.
Live long and prosper
Feb 20th, 2008, 04:41 PM
Rule of Thumb: Even numbered Star Trek films...Good, Odd numbered...Not Good.
Feb 20th, 2008, 09:50 PM
Rog, I loved Star Trek 4.... the humpback whales are claaaaassic.
Feb 21st, 2008, 12:39 AM
4 is great because of the nuclear wessels
The Moxie Nerve Food Tonic
Feb 21st, 2008, 08:52 AM
I think 4 is good Star Trek as opposed to Star Trek so bad it's good, because the humor is intentional. But 4 features an underwater shot of the Shat swimming where his hairweave parts and flows in a most glorius manner.
Feb 21st, 2008, 09:18 AM
No one is gonna touch the Sean Connery = Okay movie. I mean League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Avengers, Highlander 2. I am pretty sure that Sean Connery will star in just about anything for a pay check.

And Star Trek 4 is great because its suppose to be comedy. Star Trek 5 is great because its not suppose to be a comedy yet it is.
Forum Virgin
Jan 27th, 2009, 02:17 AM
Huh? Star Trek IV is a great film, I didn't think anyone who ever compare it to Star Trek V, or put it in the so bad it's good quality. It's a great serious/parody of the whole sci-fi/enviromental theme, and has a kickass soundtrack. But whatever.