#710 – Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

I ranked my favorite Star Trek movies but realized I hadn’t watched a lot of them for a long time. I am watching them again in chronological order and sharing some of my thoughts after a fresh viewing. Maybe some of the movies will have a chance to move up my list after watching them again.

Last week I watched Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. This week I watched Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

Star Trek 5

I originally ranked Star Trek V: The Final Frontier as my 10th favorite Star Trek movie. It started near the bottom of the list and I don’t think it’s going to move up the list…it might actually move down.

Again, I appreciated the relationships among the crewmembers but the story didn’t seem nearly epic enough. Sybok came out of nowhere and his search for God didn’t seem worthy of an entire movie. Also, I suspend a lot of disbelief while watching Star Trek, but even I couldn’t buy that 58-year-old Captain Kirk could free climb El Capitan.

Here are some other thoughts I had while watching Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

Friendship

Friendship is a core theme of all of the original crew’s movies. McCoy says it best that even after spending all their time together aboard the Enterprise, he, Kirk and Spock still choose to spend their shore leave with each other. Even Sybok recognized the bond among Kirk, Spock and McCoy, a bond that he wasn’t able to break. I am blessed to have friendships like those of Kirk, Spock and McCoy, people in my life who may not be family but might as well be.

Pain

Sybok’s power is never fully explained. From what I could gather, he helped people confront their pain and then somehow made it temporarily disappear. I liked what he had to say when he told that bald dude with the bad teeth, “Share your pain and gain strength from the sharing.” We do find strength when we share our pain with others and allow them to shoulder our burdens. We don’t share that pain to forget it, though, but to see how God can work through it. I agree with Kirk who said that our pain shapes us and makes us who we are. Our pain can do that, but only when we allow others to help us see how God is using it to shape us.

God

For a lot of people, The Final Frontier is most associated with the line, “What does God need with a starship?” (That line or the three-breasted cat lady.) Obviously, the creature they find definitely isn’t God. No matter how deeply humanity explores space, we’re never going to find him somewhere “out there.” God is much closer than that; he is here with us and all we need to do is turn to him. And while our hearts are now his temple, I’m pretty sure that’s not what Kirk was referring to when he said that God is in the human heart.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier wasn’t great. Again, it did a great job of showcasing the crew’s relationships, but the backdrop for those relationships was lacking. Thankfully The Final Frontier wasn’t the final voyage for Kirk and company; I’m already looking forward to watching Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

What are your thoughts about Star Trek V: The Final Frontier?

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4 Responses to “#710 – Star Trek V: The Final Frontier”

  1. The bits you pulled from it are right-on. This movie’s merits are mainly as a conversation-starter. How does God deal with our pain? What pain would Sybok reveal to … you? Where is God?

    Watching the “I need my pain” scene makes me think that I should give this movie another shot. Then all that clunky Yellowstone stuff discourages me. And the lame lame lame Klingon convinces me that I should stay away from this one.

    However, there are two methods to viewing this movie that I would recommend. The first is a fan-edit that trims it down to about an hour, and presents it as if this were just the next episode of the TV series. The other way to watch it is with the RiffTrax commentary.

  2. […] anniversary of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Time has not been on this movie’s side. Last fall, Scott summed up most folks’ feelings when he said it “wasn’t great.” This year, Wired […]

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