Gimme That Star Trek Ep.6: Star Trek V – The Final Frontier

Siskoid and Chris Franklin tackle Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, a film they claim isn't as bad as you remember. They might even be fans of it. And their reevaluation is going... where no man has gone before.

Listen to Episode 6 below!

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Credits:"Star Trek Theme" by Alexander Courage, with the mellifluous tones of the Irredeemable Shagg. End theme: "Deep Space Nine Theme" by Dennis McCarthy.

Bonus clips from: "Shatner of the Mount" by Fall On Your Sword, starring William Shatner; "Thunderball" by Terence Young, starring Sean Connery; and "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" by William Shatner, starring Laurence Luckinbill and William Shatner.

And thanks for leaving a comment!

17 responses to “Gimme That Star Trek Ep.6: Star Trek V – The Final Frontier

  1. GREAT episode guys!

    While I still think TREK V is a terrible movie, I take no pleasure in it’s badness. It was just so wrongheaded, in almost every way, and having it come after the triumph of IV just makes it hurt all the more. I wish this movie was better, I want it to be better. Every few years I would give it a rewatch to see how it aged, and the answer was always “not well.”

    But it’s also true that this movie had a lot of things going against it that cannot be blamed on the filmmakers–as Chris noted, the writer’s strike, the stuff with the Teamsters, ILM being booked, etc. Perhaps if the film had had a more experienced hand at the tiller–Nicholas Meyer, perhaps–all those setbacks could have been effectively navigated. But I feel that Shatner just wan’t up to the task.

    I think I would be much more resentful of V if it had been the last TOS adventure. Luckily they managed to eke out one more winner in VI, so I just basically ignore this film’s existence in perpetuity. Perhaps I should have given it it’s due on FILM & WATER, but you guys did a better job than I would have, so it all worked out.

    And now I’m wondering what V would have been like if Neil Diamond had played Sybok. So I have that to live with.

  2. Great job, fellas!
    Interestingly enough, ST 5 was relegated to an imaginary story in The Autobiography of James T. Kirk (if I recall correctly). It was a movie based on the Enterprise crew adventures. I could totally be misremembering.

    I remember seeing this and Karate Kid 3 and Star Trek 5 at the same discount theater on the same day. It was a painful day.

  3. Great podcast! I’m one of those rare Star Trek fans who also sees a lot of redeemable qualities in Star Trek V, and I think you touched on quite a few of them. One plot hole that you didn’t discuss, however, was the rescue mission on the Planet of Peace. We know that the Enterprise crew cannot use the transporter because it’s not working, but Sybok does not know that. He must be aware that starships have transporters, yet he does nothing to somehow shield his hostages from potentially being beamed up. It’s one of those situations where the transporter has to be out of order, otherwise, Kirk could just beam the hostages up and warp out of there. End of movie. The writers could have at least had Sybok come up with some sort of force field to disrupt the transporter’s function.

    With regard to Chris’s comment about the length of Sybok’s hair, I remember reading that the location shooting was done at the beginning of principle photography, and the scenes where they confront the God character were shot in studio at the end of principle photography. It’s possible the hair dressers were different from location to studio or they simply goofed on how his hair was supposed to look. As you pointed out, the production somewhat sloppy and riddled with problems.

  4. Every time I hear that Chris is going to be featured on the show I say to myself we’re going to get an impersonation this time around I immediately figured we’re going to hear him do his William Shatner but we got him doing

  5. Another fantastic episode! Really enjoyed your coverage, and celebration of the more worthy parts of STV. I agree the character interaction is what works in this film. Kirk, Bones, and Spock are fantastic!

    Just some random thoughts:
    * As you guys mentioned, that old-timey bridge with the steering wheel was a gorgeous addition! Wish we’d seen more of that over the years.
    * As a huge ST:NG fan at the time, I recall watching STV in the theater and thinking it wasn’t as good as many ST:NG episodes. It didn’t help the film that the small screen could produce better drama. And reusing the ST:NG corridors was a awful idea; I could tell in the theater immediately.
    * You really should have spent more time ripping on the fan dance. That scene is uncomfortably unwatchable. Ugh.
    * Random thought… did Paramount save a bunch of money filming STAR TREK IV? That’s always been a question in the back of my mind. Lots of on location shots, so not as many sets were built. Not a lot of special effects (other than the whales). Just my speculation that perhaps Paramount saved money filming STAR TREK IV, so during budgeting STV didn’t get as much money as they needed (since STAR TREK IV proved it could be done well with a smaller budget). Again, just speculation and curiosity.
    * I like the idea of me being the Sybok of the Network, except I don’t want y’all’s pain. So maybe I’m more of the Harry Mudd of the Network.

    Live Long and Fan Dance!

    1. I had the fan dance in my notes, but we moved past it in the discussion. Plus, I honestly felt bad about bringing it up, just because of my respect and admiration for Nichelle Nichols.

      As a teenager, I found that scene VERY cringe-worthy, but as I’ve gotten older (and closer to Nichols’ age at the time, although I’m still a ways off), it’s bothered me less and less. Plus, I think society is now viewing older women as being sexy up into their later years, which in 1989, was NOT the common thought. To my mind, the scene reads better NOW than it did back then. But your mileage (or warpage) may vary.


      1. Capt. Chris – Thanks for the response. I guess my concern is not so much her age (she’s still very attractive in STV). It’s more about the scene’s place in the film. The characters are planning a raid, and someone suggests, “Ohura, why don’t you strip naked right here?” WHAT?!?! She’s a freakin’ Starfleet officer! Incredibly sexist, poorly timed, and really didn’t seem logical in the film. Poor Nichelle. And yes, she’s hot!

        1. Ah gotcha. I was going by the actor’s ages, and it tied into my questioning if Kirk was up to his old type of fisticuffs by this point. I don’t think any young ladies were waiting to see Shatner shirtless at this point, to flip the coin. But I do agree Nichelle was very attractive in the film. I liked the gray in her hair.

          As for in the story, you gotta figure…Kirk was the strategist there. Kirk probably knew these guys were hornier than hell, so he figured what better distraction? It does seem very sexist and dismissive… but it’s Kirk!


  6. Thanks for taking the effort (taking the bullet?) to watch a film that is so easily decried (and for good reason!). Sometimes, even bad films can yield great discussions, as you demonstrate.

    A few thoughts:
    * The novelization attempts to plug a couple of the plot holes, with varying results. For example, in the movie, the “Great Barrier” turns out not to be any kind barrier at all. They just fly right in with barely a comment. In the book, there’s some detail about Sybok having worked out calculations to reconfigure they Enterprise’s shields to allow safe passage (the book even has the Klingons copy these so that they can follow).
    * I appreciated Chris’s thoughts about Sybok’s mind-controlling ability. The book actually emphasizes that it’s mind control, without going further, and I actually depart a bit from the book on this point, anyway. All in all, Sybok never comes off as malicious. I actually don’t think he’s *intentionally* controlling anyone’s minds. Indeed, I think he’s been duped, himself, although I grant that the movie’s not terribly clear on this point. So, here’s my theory, cobbled together from various sources (not all mentioned here): Spock notes that Sybok is exceptionally gifted. And he certainly DID explore his telepathic powers in ways that other Vulcans would never have considered even trying. Through these powers, I posit that Sybok discovered the “God-entity” via long-distance telepathy, perhaps without even being fully aware of it. I think that the entity then responded… again perhaps even without Sybok’s knowledge. Thus, while I wouldn’t say Sybok was being *controlled* by the entity, he has certainly been nudged in a direction the entity desires, thus explaining Sybok’s drive to reach Sha Ka Rhee (and, going with the novel, his ability to get through the Barrier). Similarly, while Sybok intends nothing more than what he says (to free people from their pain), and honestly expects such gratitude from those he’s helped that their subsequent support seems the most natural thing in the world to him, the fact is that they, too have been “nudged” by Sybok, and through him by the entity, into joining the mission to Sha Ka Rhee.
    *While I’ll certainly agree that Romulan ambassador wasn’t much of an actor (especially not compared to David Warner), she likewise wasn’t given much to do in the first place. But, guys, not even a “she’s hot” for Shag’s sake?
    *Regarding Sulu’s crashing the shuttle into the shuttlebay. Remember that the problem wasn’t so much the lack of the tractor beam, but the need to get from a point outside the shields INTO the bay while having the shields down for the least-possible amount of time, since they already knew the Klingons were out there. Having established that, yes, absolutely there should have been security/medical staff/concerned friends coming down to check on everyone.

    Oddly enough, although this movie ranks pretty low on my list of favorite Star Trek movies, I have more of its merchandise than for all of the other movies combined (with the possible exception of the first ne-Trek movie, if each action figure I have is counted separately). My Kraft Marshmallow (marsh mellon?) Dispenser and Communicator Walkie-Talkies remain a valued part of my collection (if of value only to me).

    1. I like the notion that Sybok’s out of controlled telepathy contacted the “God-Thing” which then began to influence him. It fits in perfectly with the twisted image of himself Sybok must face at the movie’s end.

      See, there IS more to this movie than we thought!

      I wanted one of those Marsh-mellon dispensers. I remember seeing them on an Entertainment Tonight segment talking about summer movie merchandise in 1989…which of course focused mostly on Batman!


  7. “What does God need with a starship?”. That’s the one distinct line I remembered from Star Trek before watching it.

    I wasn’t really a follower, but I thought I had watched more Star Trek than I did, when I was catching random episodes on TV as a kid. When I did my full watch, from TOS through to the ongoing Discovery a couple of years ago, I realized I remembered half the plot of First Contact, and that line. To the point where I thought it was something Picard had said.

    It’s still one of my favorite Star Trek lines. Knowing what I know about the franchise now, it doesn’t change its meaning.

    The Nimbus III plot was stupid. The history of it, the extremely minimal government presence, the Enterprise being the only ship in the Federation that could do anything about it. And then they screw it up immediately anyway.

    Coming off of three seasons of TOS, I didn’t mind The Motion Picture. It was a step up. It was slow-paced for sure, but that’s TOS. Of the 13 Star Trek movies, Abrams 2 is the worst, then Nemesis, Abrams 1, Generations, Insurrection. And then I would put The Final Frontier as one better than Star Trek Beyond. Because as good as it looks, the plot is still nonsense, and I don’t remember any lines from it.

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