4 January 2005 | brianwolters
Poor Story Redeemed by Character Moments
Star Trek V ranks at or near the bottom of the Trek films for most fans and casual viewers. And upon viewing this on its special edition DVD, my opinion has not changed. This is a film that tries hard but ultimately fails due to poor plotting, sub-par special effects and poor character development. The movie opens with probably the best scene in the film, where you meet Sybok and learn a little about his quest. The visuals alone in the opening shots are very impressive. Then, slowly, scene by scene, the movie falls apart. Yes, there are a few peaks in there, which I will discuss later, but overall, the idea of a "God Like Being" in the center of our galaxy, it just so illogical.
The movie has a lot of embarrassing and just plan bad moments. The first of which is the meeting of three characters who represent the "Planet of Galactic Peace." However, their intro is rushed and these characters are not given any depth at all. Why introduce us to these "important" characters if they care not going to be used in any meaningful (maybe one of them at the end) plot point at all? The direction by William Shatner also seems very uneven. Take the scene with Scotty and Uhura on the bridge. There is a very awkward moment of silence after their main dialogue is over. And the mugging Shatner does when McCoy makes very awkward comments to Spock's story about Sybok is just out of place. And add to that a semi-naked Uhura and Scotty hitting his head for a "Three Stooges" laugh and you begin to sink in your chair. The Klingon plot seems tacked on just to add depth to the story. And by the time we see where the movie is going, we just feel very disappointed and underwhelmed.
That said, I can't help but enjoy the wealth of good character moments in the film. I for one liked the campfire scene and the attempts of deep philosophy about old age and death. I also liked exploring the "pain" of McCoy and Spock and Kirk's insistence that he "needs his pain." While most of the humor was forced and bad, the best had to be the "I could use a shower" scene, which is one of the biggest laughs in all of the Trek films. There were many moments of good direction by Shatner, especially in McCoy's "pain scene." I do sympathize with Shatner a little, when listening to the commentary track, about how this was cut and that was cut but I still think on a whole, this movie was doomed to fail.
The DVD's picture is sharp and the sound is excellent. The extras are quite good but I would have liked more insight as to what went wrong with the film besides tight schedule and budget. Shatner's commentary with his daughter is good but has too many quiet moments. Check out the hidden and brief "comic reel."
At this point in time, I do rank Star Trek V above Nemesis, mainly due to that movie's bad continuity issues but just barely. Still, it is Star Trek and if you like the characters, just sit back, don't expect much and enjoy the show.