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(Special Edition)

STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER ($25) is truly the weakest entry in the movie series featuring the classic cast. There are a number of places where this film went wrong, but there are two things that leap right out at you- first is some rather bad special effects work, and second is the movie’s reliance on ill advised humor that demeans the characters. While director/story writer William Shatner has had bear the brunt of the blame for this debacle, he wasn’t entirely at fault. STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER did suffer from some studio penny pinching, as well as other circumstances that caused Shatner to alter his vision of the film. Of course, I am not trying to let Shatner off the hook, just trying to point out that he wasn’t solely responsible for the movie that is STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER.

I will say that STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER plays better at home than it ever did on the big screen and there are some aspects to the plot are intriguing, but there are still moments that are difficult to sit through without squirming. STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER opens with Terran, Klingon and Romulan diplomats being taken hostage on a desolate world by an enigmatic Vulcan named Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill). Of course, the Federation wants their most experienced captain leading the rescue mission, which forces the recall of Kirk (William Shatner), Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and McCoy (DeForest Kelley) from shore leave, despite the fact that the new Enterprise is in chaotic state of disrepair. With only a minimal crew, Kirk and company attempts a rescue mission, but the overwhelming numbers allows the enigmatic Sybok to hijack the Enterprise, and take it on a trek to the center of the galaxy to go in search of God. The cast of STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER also includes James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei and David Warner.

Paramount Home Entertainment has reissued STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER on DVD in a two-disc set, which offers the film in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. This is a rather nice looking transfer that produces a pretty sharp looking image with solid definition. There are some occasional shots that appear a bit softer, but for the most part, the picture is quite fine. Colors appear vibrant throughout the presentation and the flesh tones tend to be quite appealing. Blacks are solid and inky, while the whites are crisp and stable. Contrast is smooth and shadow detail is good for a film from 1989. The film element utilized for the transfer displays some minor blemishes, as well as an occasionally noticeable grain structure. Digital compression artifacts are never a cause for concern.

STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER comes with a good sounding Dolby Digital 5.1 channel remixed soundtrack. Sure, there are some dated qualities to the track, which are indicative of matrixed surround origins, but the track proves to be engaging enough during the film’s action oriented moments. Sound effects aren’t quite so "in your face" as newer digital tracks, although they do hold their own. The forward soundstage does tend to dominate, with the surrounds lending reinforcement when required. English dialogue is always completely understandable, however, voices occasionally sound a bit canned. Jerry Goldsmith’s fine score tends to be the highlight of the track- having good fidelity and integration into the forward and rear channels. The bass channel is reasonably solid, but never ground shaking. English and French Dolby Surround tracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English subtitles.

Computer animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's attractively designed interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the nice array of supplements, which have been spread across both discs of the set. Disc one starts off with a running audio commentary featuring William Shatner and his daughter Liz, who authored Captain's Log: William Shatner's Personal Account Of The Making Of Star Trek V. The track is interesting and entertaining, but not delving as deeply into the nitty-gritty one might hope. Disc one also features a text commentary on a subtitle track by Michael and Denise Okuda, authors of The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Again, the text commentary proves to be a great source of information for Trek fans.

Moving on to disc two, we find the main body of the supplemental programming. Under the section entitled The Star Trek Universe one will find Herman Zimmerman: A Tribute, Original Interview: William Shatner, Cosmic Thoughts, That Klingon Couple and A Green Future?. Herman Zimmerman: A Tribute runs shy of twenty minutes and looks at the contributions of the production designer. Original Interview: William Shatner is fifteen minutes with Shatner in Yosemite from the time of the film’s actual production. Cosmic Thoughts is twelve minutes waxing on space travel, the heavens, science & spirituality, STAR TREK and God. That Klingon Couple is a thirteen-minute profile of the film’s resident Klingon baddies Spice Williams and Todd Bryant. A Green Future? could be called tree hugging in outer space, but this nine minute program actually concentrates on how Trek helps to spread an optimistic environmental message.

In the Production section, one will find Harve Bennett's Pitch, Makeup Tests, Pre-Visualization Models, Rockman In The Raw, Star Trek V Press Conference and The Journey Harve Bennett's Pitch is two minutes of the producer "selling" the fifth film. Makeup Tests delivers ten minutes of alien makeup designs captured on video. Pre-Visualization Models and Rockman In The Raw are two and six minutes respectively, offering a glimpse at some incomplete special effects work, including the film’s abandoned climax sequence. The Star Trek V Press Conference runs under fourteen minutes and finds the costumed cast members on the last day of production chatting about the coming feature. The Journey clocks in shy of a half hour and features new interviews with cast and production team members, who discuss, among other things, some of the problems of this production. Also featured on the second disc are four brief deleted sequences, two theatrical trailers and seven TV spots, a production gallery of video and stills, plus storyboards.

STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER is undeniably the weakest entry in the movie series featuring the classic cast. Some aspects of the movie are quite interesting, but much of it falls flat. Still, diehard trekkers, like myself, are going to want to own this movie on DVD. Since the disc looks and sounds pretty darn good and features a solid supplemental section, this DVD becomes more than a worthwhile acquisition for trekkers. One last note, coming next is the Special Edition of STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY, which was one of the best Trek movies period- as a Trekker; I can’t wait till that one hits DVD.



Star Trek V - The Final Frontier (Special Edition) (1989)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2003 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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