The Predator screams in rage once he realizes that the wolves are not real but rather holograms that it won’t be able to kill. Blasting the surrounding trees with a laser beam it runs into the trees to find and destroy those that pulled such a trick on him. Jamie is despondent at The Predator’s lack of focus. He thought The Predator would be helpful in his quest, but apparently working with a space monster driven by bloodlust is harder than he first imagined. Suddenly one of the hologram wolves walk by and boy howdy does she walk. “That’s one sexy wolf,” Jamie thinks distractedly as he heaves the rotting corpse of Frang to his shoulder and starts to follow The Predator’s trail of destruction. Clearly the creator of the holograms must be some kind of devious mastermind… to be able to create such a sexy hologram wolf. He shakes his head. Why is his mind so focused on that wolf’s walk that just won’t quit? As he ponders the sexiness of that cartoon wolf he breaks into a clearing where he is confronted by a horrifying scene of gore. The Predator screams to the heavens in the joy of the hunt. Only one of a group of people remains alive, quivering at its feet. Eyes wide with fear the man implores Jamie, “I can help you get whatever you want if you save me from this space monster.” Jamie calms The Predator with a bro hug. The man reveals that he is a space explorer sent back in time with his now dead crew. As a reward for his life he could give Jamie access to his spaceship or laser beam weapons. But Jamie doesn’t need those… he just needs something to defeat one little old librarian. That’s right! We’re watching Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. I never watched any of the franchise so was somewhat unaware just how far we would have to go to get the first qualifying entry in the series. Exciting stuff, but also a shitload of homework for me. Let’s go!
Patrick, Sticks, and Stone go careening down the aisle and into the supermarket. But this ain’t no ordinary supermarket, in this one the brands come to life! What a wonderland, Patrick thinks, imagine how much fun children would have here, laughing and playing with their favorite corporate logos! Beautiful capitalism. Something deep within him starts to stir and he feels compelled to sing. “Ooooh say can you seeeeeee…” All of a sudden Sticks cuts him off, “Hey Patrick … why is this supermarket filled with racist characters?” Patrick looks around. No race, creed, or gender was left unabused in the horrorscape surrounding him. It was a mockery of the red-blooded capitalism Patrick knows and loves. The shopping cart flips and the supermarket disappears (blessedly, seriously it was disturbingly racist and, not surprisingly, filled with farts), and they find themselves on a desert set. “Gosh dern, that’s not bad Patrick. The good news is we’re on the California Desert set which should be close to the LAPD set” says Stones. “What’s the bad news?” Patrick asks hopefully. “We’re going to die of exposure if we don’t find a way out of here,” Sticks growls in reply. Just then a tow truck rolls up and the driver pops his head out, “Y’all want to see some aliens?” Shrugging our shoulders we all clamber aboard the truck and roll out into the desert. That’s right! We’re also watching the William Shatner directed film Groom Lake. Never heard of it? Neither has anyone else, let’s get into it!
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) – BMeTric: 51.9
(Honestly 5.4 is way way lower than I would expect. It is a not good film, but it isn’t complete without merit, and I would have thought fans of the series at least would see the good along with the bad.)
Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – The Enterprise crew takes off on an emergency mission when an apparent madman takes over a distant planet and holds its interstellar ambassadors hostage; his motives, however, turn out to be anything by terroristic. Dramatically shakey trek starts off with the case of the cutes, and gets worse before it (finally) gets better. A weak entry in the series. Shatner’s feature-film directing debut; he also shares story credit.
(Leonard knows what I love (semi-colons). BTW this is indeed the lowest rated of all of the Trek films according to Leonard. Funny enough After this he gives every single film (literally) exactly three stars. Out of the twelves films in the 2015 book Leonard gives nine of them three stars. Only voyage home (3 1/2 stars), the motion picture (2 1/2 stars) and this don’t get that rating.)
(This trailer makes the film look like a comedy. It … well, after four it probably makes sense to advertise it that way, but it really isn’t. The story itself is rather serious, perhaps overly so.)
Directors – William Shatner – (BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Star Trek: Generations in 1995; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Century in 2000 for Star Trek III: The, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, and Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Notes: One of two films he directed. I get the feeling he didn’t really like directing, and only really did it because Nimoy tried it out for three and four.)
Writers – Gene Roddenberry (creator: based on “Star Trek”) – (Known For: Star Trek Beyond; Star Trek; Star Trek into Darkness; Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek: First Contact; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Star Trek: Generations; Star Trek: Insurrection; Future BMT: Star Trek: Nemesis; BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Notes: Roddenberry is obviously a television legend. Married Majel Barrett who was famously Nurse Chapel in the original series, Lwaxana Troi in Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, and voiced the computer in basically every series.)
William Shatner (story) – (BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Star Trek: Generations in 1995; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Century in 2000 for Star Trek III: The, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, and Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Notes: Probably more famous for writing a ton of spoken word poetry.)
Harve Bennett (story) – (Known For: Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Picture of the Decade for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Notes: Died two days before Nimoy. Was at one point attached to a Star Trek Starfleet Academy prequel series which ended up being opposed by Roddenberry and fans alike, and was never made.)
David Loughery (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Nurse 3-D; Lakeview Terrace; Dreamscape; Future BMT: Obsessed; Money Train; Passenger 57; Tom and Huck; The Three Musketeers; Flashback; BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Notes: Apparently does uncredited rewrites of a bunch of Joseph Ruben’s films including the “other” WWI film The Ottoman Lieutenant starring Josh Hartnett. Small world.)
Actors – William Shatner – (Known For: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story; Miss Congeniality; Over the Hedge; Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Judgment at Nuremberg; Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Osmosis Jones; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Airplane II: The Sequel; Star Trek: Generations; Big Bad Mama; A Christmas Horror Story; Kingdom of the Spiders; Free Enterprise; Incubus; Future BMT: The Wild; Showtime; The Devil’s Rain; Loaded Weapon 1; Visiting Hours; Fanboys; BMT: Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous; Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Escape from Planet Earth; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Star Trek: Generations in 1995; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Century in 2000 for Star Trek III: The, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, and Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Notes: He was a classic 60s television actor I would say, back at the time when such things were just as cheap as one would imagine. He clearly loved stage fighting and running, and many of the notes about his directorial effort suggest as much.)
Leonard Nimoy – (Known For: Star Trek; Star Trek into Darkness; Atlantis: The Lost Empire; Invasion of the Body Snatchers; The Transformers: The Movie; Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Them!; The Balcony; Future BMT: Land of the Lost; The Pagemaster; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Zambezia; BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Notes: Possibly the most beloved of all television characters in Mr. Spock. He appeared in the rebooted Star Trek films, but, sadly, died a few years ago.)
DeForest Kelley – (Known For: Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Gunfight at the O.K. Corral; The Men; The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit; House of Bamboo; Future BMT: Night of the Lepus; BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Notes: Doctor McCoy. Was effectively typecast as the character. Also appeared in the pilot for Star Trek The Next Generation as the 137-year-old McCoy.)
Budget/Gross – $33 million / Domestic: $52,210,049
(Not great. It isn’t that surprising then that they looked to close out the original series cast and move onto more exciting Next Generation films after the sixth film.)
#62 for the Sci-Fi – Adventure genre
(Shockingly only After Earth has done better for a BMT film. Most of these films are actually really really good at the top, this is no bad movie genre, it is a regular genre. The genre is booming. And I don’t think it is going to stop unless Star Trek and Star Wars actually collapses … neither of which I think is going to happen.)
#50 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre
(We’ve seen Wild Wild West, Baywatch, I Spy, and CHiPs just in the last year! Really getting these things going. This came in way before the big 90s boom. Which makes sense, the Star Trek films weren’t really supposed to exist. The Motion Picture was supposed to launch a new series in the 80s, but they were so lucrative they just went for it, so they really were doing something that even they didn’t seem to think would work: remaking old television series as movie franchises.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 22% (10/45): Filled with dull action sequences and an underdeveloped storyline, this fifth Trek movie is probably the worst of the series.
(Being a big fan of Star Trek myself I’ll get into the personal rankings in the recap I think. But suffice it to say, this was the first of the films which I thought was actually genuinely terrible. Reviewer Highlight – Of all of the Star Trek movies, this is the worst. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
Poster – Rich and Poe V: Space Law (A+)
(This is just a really really really good poster. I like everything about it. Can I have this poster hanging in my room? *check if in fact he’s allowed to have this hanging in his room* I’m being told I can’t have this in my room… also I would want a better film hanging in my room. Like Here on Earth.)
Tagline(s) – Adventure and Imagination Will Meet At the Final Frontier (D)
(Ah shit. That sucks. Given that fantastic poster this is a giant disappointment.)
Keyword(s) – captain; Top Ten by BMeTric: 96.0 Meet the Spartans (2008); 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 84.6 Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994); 82.7 The Legend of Hercules (2014); 78.1 Universal Soldier: The Return (1999); 74.8 After Earth (2013); 71.5 Wild Wild West (1999); 70.4 Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989); 69.9 Wing Commander (1999); 68.3 Captain America (1990);
(The 1990 Captain America, now that is a terrible film which needs to be brought along with a friend at some point.)
Notes – Enterprise-D corridor sets from Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) were used as Enterprise-A corridors in this film. Very few cosmetic alterations were made, so as not to interfere with filming of the television series, which was under way at the same time. (Yeah, likely the Klingon story here is a set up to the treaty in number 6 which is a necessary precursor to Next Generation. Tight. Writing.)
According to George Takei, despite studio pressure to complete the film on time, William Shatner maintained a creative and enthusiastic atmosphere on set. “I have enormous admiration for his ability to block that kind of pressure from seeping on to the set.” Moreover, Takei acknowledged, “despite our sometimes strained personal history, I found working with Bill (Shatner) as a director, to be surprisingly pleasant.” (Yeah, they didn’t like each other, apparently due to some miscommunication about Shatner not being invited to Takei’s marriage, along with Shatner generally just being a hard guy to get along with.).
Originally, Spock and McCoy were to side with Sybok. Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley objected, saying that their characters would never betray Kirk. Gene Roddenberry agreed. (Noice)
Stuntman Kenny Bates is credited with the highest descender fall in the United States, standing in for William Shatner’s fall from El Capitan.
Initially, William Shatner believed that the film would get a positive response. In the morning after the opening night, he woke Leonard Nimoy up to tell him that the Los Angeles Times had given the film a positive review. Soon after, a local television reporter also gave the film a good review, and Shatner recalled that he incorrectly “began sensing a (positive) trend”. He later agreed that the film nearly ended the film franchise, and looking back on the film called it a “failed, but glorious attempt” at a thought-provoking film, that did not come together.
William Shatner, in an interview on E! Entertainment Television, said that David Warner’s character was going to have a prop that consisted of a self-lighting cigarette. According to Shatner, they simply forgot to use it in one of the scenes, even though the prop actually worked, and cost thousands of dollars.
This film contains the first confirmed appearance of Starfleet Marines, an idea Gene Roddenberry wanted, but was unable, to include in Star Trek (1966). The officers accompanying Kirk and crew down to Nimbus III have since been said to be Marines. (coooooool)
DeForest Kelley noted the physicality required for the film and enjoyed doing things that he had not been asked to do in years. “I was very pleased to see that he (Shatner) brought it along in fine style,” he said. Kelley noted that his own ambition to direct had deserted him after seeing difficulties Leonard Nimoy faced directing the previous two Star Trek films.
Leonard Nimoy noted that this was the most physical film in the series, which reflected William Shatner’s energetic sensibility and what he enjoyed doing most on the series – “running and jumping”. (He does love running and jumping. It is incredibly apparent in the original series).
Nichelle Nichols, an accomplished singer and dancer, provided an authentic performance of the “fan dance” routine in this film; she was outraged when her vocals in the scene were later overdubbed in editing without her approval. (She was a singer, she released to albums, although it is unclear whether these are similar to how Shatner released like four spoken word poetry albums).
Laurence Luckinbill (Sybok) is the real-life son-in-law of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, whose Desilu Productions company sponsored the first two seasons of Star Trek (1966). (He’s also in a rather fine episode of Murder She Wrote, Lady in the Lake.)
The Great Barrier effects were created using chemicals, which were dropped into a large water tank to create swirls and other reactions. The same technique was used to create the image of the Mutara Nebula in The Wrath of Khan. (Classic)
William Shatner scheduled the campfire scenes to be the last ones shot, after which the cast and crew had a small celebration before a traditional wrap party later.
This film takes place in 2287.
William Shatner originally wanted Sybok’s horse to be a unicorn, adding a more “mythical” approach to the character, but Gene Roddenberry disapproved of this, saying that this would turn Star Trek into a space fantasy instead of science fiction. (But …. It was a unicorn. Just like, an alien unicorn).
This is the only Star Trek movie to win (or even be nominated for) the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture.
The Sickbay set from Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) is used, unaltered in the film, making this the first chronological appearance of the LCARS computer system.
Final film voyage of the complete original crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Although there would be one more film featuring the original cast, Sulu is no longer a member of the Enterprise crew in the next movie, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), being Captain of the U.S.S. Excelsior. (EXCELSIOR!)
Harve Bennett was exhausted by his work on the previous three Star Trek films, and wanted to move on, feeling that he was not part of the “Star Trek” family, and that he had been mistreated by Leonard Nimoy. When William Shatner tried to convince Bennett to reconsider, the Producer insisted on a meeting at his home. After several hours of discussion Bennett agreed to return. Bennett disagreed with several elements of Shatner’s story, feeling that because no one could assuredly answer the question of God’s existence, the ending of the film would never be satisfying. Bennett also told Shatner that the film had the feeling of a tone poem, rather than an adventure story. The studio agreed with Bennett, reasoning that the subject matter could be too weighty or offensive to theatergoers. (I think it legit was supposed to be God at the end then … that is nuts).
A Bandai Nintendo Entertainment System action game was slated to be released in 1989 along with the movie. The game was canceled following the underperformance of the film at the box-office (it barely broke even). A prototype has surfaced and is circling the net as a ROM. This is notable for its many basic spelling errors (example: at one point Scotty is named “Scotto”) and lack of an ending (the game may have been incomplete at the time this was scrapped). (WHAAAAAAT)
Leonard Nimoy recalled William Shatner’s attempts to instruct him in riding a horse, although Nimoy had ridden many horses bareback when playing American Indian roles for Republic Pictures serials.
Harve Bennett blamed part of the film’s failure on the change from a traditional Thanksgiving-season opening, to the sequel-stuffed summer release period, and the diffusion of fan viewership following the premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). (Don’t you dare speak ill of Next Generation)
Kirk’s line “All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by” is a quote from the John Masefield poem Sea Fever. Kirk earlier recited the same line in the Star Trek episode The Ultimate Computer.
David Loughery stopped work on the script when the Writers Guild of America went on strike, and the production was further delayed when Leonard Nimoy began working on another project.
The film was produced during the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), making this the first time that a “Star Trek” film was made while a “Star Trek” television series was in production. The same would be true of every subsequent “Star Trek” film up to, and including Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).
When Kirk, McCoy, and Spock are in the brig, Kirk presses a button causing a seat to emerge from the wall. This seat is evidently a toilet (with the lid down) because on the wall there’s a warning that it is not to be used while in spacedock. The giveaway here is that in the US, the restrooms on passenger trains used to have signs saying toilets were not to be used when the train is stopped at a station. This is because there were no holding tanks, and the toilet contents were simply dumped onto the tracks when it was flushed.
Gene Roddenberry was highly critical over the idea of Sybok being Spock’s half-brother. He felt this apocryphal for Sarek to have had a son with another woman prior to his marriage to Amanda. (Yeah basically. Like Michael in Discovery he should have been an adopted son. It would have ultimately lead to a beautiful sort of family for Sarek. An adopted full-Vulcan, an adopted full-human, and he own outside son, the half-vulcan-half-human … can we retcon this?)
Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Harve Bennett, 1990)
Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (William Shatner, 1990)
Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (William Shatner, 1990)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (DeForest Kelley, 1990)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (David Loughery, William Shatner, Harve Bennett, 1990)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture of the Decade (Harve Bennett, 1990)