Why Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Sucked

[The following was in response to an ongoing discussion about the movie Star Trek V: The Final Frontier on the Psi Phi Star Trek Books BBS. The four quoted bits are from previous posts on the board.]

Trillian said:

The only thing I was thinking after watching The Final Frontier was that I wanted my money back. Hell, they could keep the money, I wanted those two hours of my life back.

Alex Rosenzweig said:

What, that all people (with the lone exception of James Tiberius Friggin Kirk) are weak-willed morons who will succumb to a Vulcan mind-meld and turn into mindless idiots just because they confronted some childhood trauma or other? That Starfleet is so incompetently run as to have only one captain who can handle a major diplomatic crisis, and won't even bother to put him on a ship that works properly? That the search for a higher power can only be accomplished if you've been brainwashed? That the only use a female officer has is to distract people by dancing naked for them while the men-folk do the dirty work?

Allyn Gibson said:

Yup. And that exploration is done by the villain of the piece, and our heroes -- or, rather, our hero, since Kirk is the only person who actually does anything in the film -- spend the entire movie trying to stop him from doing it.

Allyn also said:

Yes, it will lead one zealot to brainwash people into getting him a starship. It doesn't show the lengths that anyone else will go to. People are only interested in seeking out this nature of faith after they've been brainwashed. After Sybok has done his whammy on them and turned them into mindless drones who go against everything they've previously believed in, then we see the ends to which they will go to find God.

I'm an agnostic, but I found its attitude toward religion pretty darned insulting.

Much more insulting, of course, was the character assassination of the rest of the crew. Uhura's fan dance and Scotty bumping his head were bad enough, but the fact that all of them succumbed so completely to Sybok is out-and-out despicable. The crew of the Enterprise were heroes until Star Trek V. Shatner and the screenwriters turned them into cannon fodder. And undignified cannon fodder at that.

Except, of course, for James Tiberius Friggin Kirk, who is the only person on this ship of four hundred people (not to mention the folks on Nimbus III) with the wherewithal to say, "Hang on a sec, maybe I shouldn't mind-meld with this Vulcan I never met and let him give me hallucinations, 'cause, you know, it might be a bad thing." (Except, of course, being James Tiberius Friggin Kirk, he had to say "I need my pain!" with his lips contorting in that way Shatner does so well.)

None of this even mentions the crappy production values, the crappy editing, the crappy visuals, the huge plot holes (how did Klaa's ship get to the center of the galaxy, anyhow?), and the tremendous stupidity of Spock, Chekov, Sulu, and Uhura still serving under Kirk in the same positions they were in almost two decades and 2-4 grade ranks ago.

Allyn, Trillian, Alex, I like and respect all three of you. I really hate to so totally disagree with the critical judgment of people who have said such nice things about my own work. *wry grin* But I really just can't see what you see in this film.

[First posted on the Psi Phi Star Trek Books BBS on 7 May 2001.]

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