Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (Paramount Pictures, 1989; see also 1989 in film) is the fifth feature film based on the popular Star Trek science fiction television series. It is often referred to as ST5:TFF or TFF.
Following the events of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the crew of the USS Enterprise is enjoying some well-deserved shore leave. Unfortunately their rest is interrupted when the crew is sent to rescue some hostages on a desolate planet called Nimbus III.
Once there, the Enterprise crew discovers that a renegade Vulcan with unusual mental abilities, named Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill), has used the hostage situation as a ruse in order to fulfill his obsessed vision of finding The Ultimate Knowledge.
Sybok, who is discovered to be Mr. Spock's (Leonard Nimoy) half-brother, then seizes control of the Enterprise so he can breach a dangerous energy field known as The Great Barrier, to reach a mythical planet named Sha-Ka-Ree, where a mysterious entity (that could be God) awaits.
This film is considered to be one of the weaker entries in the Star Trek film series. In spite of the problems of this movie, many fans feel that the film stayed true to the original series and explored the friendship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy better than any of the others.
One of the weaknesses of the film is the humor that had to be essentially shoehorned (often with poor results) into the script (written by Harve Bennett and David Lougherty ), at the insistence of Paramount. The initial storyline by William Shatner was originally going to be much darker, but after the success of the humor-filled Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Paramount insisted that the story be "lightened up" with humorous elements. Fans complained that too much of the humor was at the expense of the popular supporting characters, particularly Uhura and Scotty, who the film strongly hints are somehow romantically involved.
Another weakness of the film is the special effects. The best effects teams at Industrial Light and Magic, who were used for most of the earlier Trek films, were unavailable due to their work on the second and third Back to the Future films. So instead the crew went with the much smaller company, Associates & Ferren . The special effects supervisor, Bran Ferren, publicly admitted he didn't care about the quality of the effects work, and the end results were predictably poor.
The ending of the movie originally involved Kirk being chased by a creature hewn from the rocky terrain. This footage was scrapped when it was decided that the costume looked unconvincing. Due to budget cuts, Shatner was unable to refilm sequences and ended up having to use stock shots of the false god's face.
Trek creator Gene Roddenberry jokingly considered elements of this film to be "apocryphal at best". He made similar comments concerning elements of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Nonetheless, these movies remains part of Trek canon. Exactly what Roddenberry objected to is uncertain, but there is speculation that he objected to the revelation that Sarek had fathered a child with a Vulcan female before Amanda; he might also have objected to technical issues, such as the Enterprise being able to reach the center of the galaxy in such a short period of time.
The name of mythical planet Sha-Ka-Ree was derived from the name of the actor originally sought for the role of Sybok: Sean Connery, who was unavailable because he was busy filming Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
- This film makes the first known appearance of the Starfleet marines, a platoon of which are seen accompanying the Enterprise crew on their mission to save the hostages on Nimbus III.
- To explain the glaring contradiction of the Enterprise being able to reach the center of the galaxy, while later starships (in particular the USS Voyager) would take decades to complete such a journey, the novel of Star Trek V indicated that Sybok was an engineering genius who had modified both the shields and engines of the USS Enterprise so that the trip to the center of the galaxy would only take a few days.
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