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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
Star Trek V is, well, Star Trek V. What can be said about this movie other than that it is really bad and an incredible let down after the runaway success of Star Trek IV. The film had a surprisingly troubled production (writer’s strike, no ILM, a reduced budget); it is amazing The Final Frontier was not more of a mess than it already is. As it is, we get a story about a religious madman with an ill-defined power to control others and his attempt to hijack the Enterprise to find God.
The film is also saddled with awkward, campy humor which seems at odds with the otherwise heavy subject matter. If I was to speculate, I bet Paramount saw how well the comedy was in the previous entry and demanded more of that.
William Shatner directed this turkey and he gets a lot of the blame. It is earned, of course, but I do feel it is unfortunate. Shatner was extremely ambitious when trying to make this movie. He had grand ideas of what he wanted for the film which simply could not be done. The storyline of a man trying to find God is huge, and Star Trek is a perfect vehicle to tell such a story. It is just incredibly watered down with an awful production and questionable creative choices.
That said, there are some truly great elements to this film. Shatner really excels at creating a certain mood and atmosphere for his scenes (especially when using nature as a backdrop). Jerry Goldsmith’s musical score is fantastic (“A Busy Man” being a particular stand-out). And, from the Star Trek fan perspective, the relationships between the characters have never been more spot-on in the films. It is a shame that everything else was such a mess.
Star Trek V is by no means a good film. The writing is weak, the character motivations are muddled, the effects are awful, and no one really seems to be having a good time. Some of the performances are solid, but it is not enough to save the film. It is really sad that this film is only remembered for how bad it actually is.