review for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier on AllMovie

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
by Derek Armstrong review

The title The Final Frontier prompted rumors that the Star Trek saga was finally about to feature the (permanent) death of a major character. The rumors persisted with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, which references Hamlet's famous musings about death in his "To be or not to be" speech. But Trek fans had to wait until Star Trek: Generations for the death of a series regular, and far less satisfyingly, said Final Frontier is actually a hyperbolic quest for God. Whether the crew actually finds the Almighty on a distant rock, which He seems to have forsaken anyway, is best left murky, since it's such an idiotically handled concept, though it does meet the movies' criteria of featuring weightier issues than those covered in individual TV episodes. Helming the movie as well as the Enterprise, William Shatner tries to continue the pleasing comedic tone that made Star Trek IV such a superlative effort, but he's far too self-conscious. Instead of the sharp dialogue that made that film so funny, Shatner puts Bones, Kirk, and Spock into folksy settings that will draw out their well-worn comfort, such as camping trips and rock-climbing expeditions. These situations accentuate their age more than their familiarity. The less said about the strange mission past the Great Barrier, the better. It has all the gadgets and set pieces that audiences have come to expect -- plus Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) making rare use of her feminine wiles -- but it's an inane mess of a plot, leading one to wonder whether there wasn't an air leak in the room where the writers met.