Monday, October 5, 2015

Short Treks Movies - 5

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Star Trek V
Release Date: June 9, 1989
The Final Frontier

The Trek film with a triple breasted, cat lady, go-go dancer. I wonder who directed it?

This one gets picked on a great deal, but I think it’s largest crimes come from the studio mandated changes to give it the lightness and humor of the last film, while reducing the budget, and the major offense of not using Nichelle Nichols’s own voice for the singing scene. 

What detractors of this movie fail to notice is it represents the culmination of the Extra Galactic Invasion story arc, whether I made it up or not.

All the various tests and modifications on the Enterprise goaded the technology forward to the point that the ship can pass through the barrier at the center of the galaxy.

All of the manipulations of Spock have led him toward being more accepting of emotions in general, and particularly of his brother’s viewpoints.

All of the societies controlled have been conditioned to unquestioning, passive loyalty to a divine figure.

Even the rock monsters, deleted due to financial constraints, looked like Excalibans and faded in and out of the surroundings in a similar fashion.

Besides it’s the only excuse I can think of for Uhura and Scotty suddenly flirting. The Talosians, or whoever, must have messed with their minds to keep her normally fantastic intuition and observation from picking up problems with Spock and messing up their plans.  

They must have also altered the perceptions of the Big Three after their jail break to make it seem like they were trapped in an infinitely long turbolift shaft.

Yes, decades of Star Trek have led up to this one story, geared around the rescue of “God” – actually the leader and most powerful of the non-corporeal beings from Andromeda- in order to unleash him on a galaxy that has been populated with planets pre “converted” to follow his will.

Or…y’know… It’s a film with an overly goofy central premise that, while nowhere near as good as Trek’s best, is still full of fantastic character moments for the crew we know and love.

Some thoughts about those moments and other things:

The Enterprise-A has the same beepy sounds and photon torpedo noises as the original series.  Yay!  And Bill's daughter works there with him.

Sulu and Chekov are both awesome and hysterical together.  Again, I lament them not playing First Officer and Captain on Star Trek: Excelsior.

“Plan B…for Barricade!” He may be old, but there’s still no one better than Captain Kirk at pulling a ridiculous, improvised plan out of his butt and making it work splendidly because he trusts the abilities of his people.
The biggest risk to “Plan B” is relying on yet another shuttle named “Galileo.” How many of those things have to get blown up before they pick a new name?

Scotty was too busy working to see God. He is totally an engineer.

The enemy races have an interesting showing in this one.  They never state which Neutral Zone Nimbus three is in.  With all three there, it means one of two things:

1) The Klingon or Romulan delegate had to cross the entire Federation to get to the meeting.
2) The Tholians are going to be ticked off…again.

David Warner is awesome, as always, as a Federation Ambassador who is as useless as is the norm for that post, not through the normal levels of pomposity, but to to entertainingly massive levels of least until he meets a hot Romulan.

Looks like Klingons and Romulans not only share ship designs, but hair styles as well.

The Klingons are by no means the best of breed, but their interaction is interesting. Due to Spock’s prodding, General Korrd gives us old guys some hope by showing even though he’s tired and mostly apathetic; he can still take command and get it done.

Klaa on the other hand, is the Q’onoS poster child for “Young and Stupid.” Much like Kang, his first officer, and chief advisor is also his lady. Unfortunately for poor Klaa, vastly unlike Mara, Vixis is also Young and Stupid.  This is why he’s working as a courtroom translator in the next film.

The “We killed God” reception with the Klingons goes swimmingly well.  Heck, Scotty introduces the only being in the galaxy that may know more about alcohol than he does to Scotch Whisky.  The serving of Romulan Ale at this function paved the way for no one worrying about when they meet Chancellor Gorkon.  Whoops.

The real key antagonist, who becomes a last minute ally, is Sybok.  Lawrence Luckenbill’s acting abilities add some gravity to a role with a great deal of goofiness infused into it.  His delivery saves many scenes. 

When Kirk learns of his visions and calls Sybok mad, his reply, “Am I…we’ll see,” passes through multiple emotions.  He begins sounding like he actually doesn’t know, and for a moment looks to be in agreement with the Captain.  His confidence in his quest refills him by the end of the line.  Not bad for four words.

My theory is Sybok’s Gift is an advanced form of the “psychics” we have on Earth today.  He’s not actually pulling peoples deepest pain to the surface.  He’s using his enhanced Vulcan telepathic abilities to perform a “cold reading” at a level the charlatans on this planet could only dream of.  Then, based on carefully watching and reacting to the emotions he generates, he takes a best guess at what the “secret pain” is.

The proof of this is his total failure with Spock. He believed he knew his brother and didn’t take into account how much Spock had progressed since leaving Vulcan.  This led his guess to be completely wrong.

Sybok’s Gift serves as yet another means to highlight the bond between the Big Three in this character piece, as they are the only ones who see each other’s pain.  Kirk made a big show of refusing to have his pain removed…because that’s what he does.  Based on my above idea, plus the failed attempt at Spock and McCoy snapping out of it, I think we did get to see the Captain’s hidden secret.  His pain comes from the fear that he can’t always save or help all of his crew, especially his closest friends.  He was forced to watch them face their inner darkness while unable to interfere.

Yes, the Big Three continue to get the best moments.  Once more, Bones shows why he deserved the Katra as he is far more understanding of what Spock is going through with Sybok than Kirk is.

Kirk’s still got it as demonstrated by out talking a deity once again.  Sure it’s a dumb line, but Shatner’s delivery of, “What does God need with a starship?” is the anchor for that scene.  Having Kirk precede it with a Colombo like, “excuse me,” adds to the dramatic build up.

Why they question the leader of the Extra Galactic Invasion offers further insights to the Big Three:
Kirk doubts because it wants to take his vessel.
Spock doubts because of logically noticing it deflects questions rather than directly answering.
McCoy doubts because it is cruel and not compassionate.

Dang, it burned Spock clean through.  He’s lucky his heart isn’t where ours is…one more time.

Shatner gets a great deal of (probably deserved) grief for scene stealing, but in HIS film, Sybok and Spock are the ones that kill the villain and save the Captain.

The campfire scenes are the heart and soul of the character study in this piece. People that want the whole movie stricken from cannon (and Gene Roddenberry was in that group) suggest that the whole thing was Kirk’s dream while camping.  That means even the folks that want to erase the whole film from Trek lore enjoyed those campfire scenes.

I still have my Kraft Marshmellon dispenser.
Doesn't everyone?

Spock lies about being incapable of lying in this film showing how much he’s changed from a “standard Vulcan.” I’m sure he was also lying about not knowing a children’s song, which his mother, who read him Lewis Carroll, must have taught him. Never mind that he’s an accomplished Earth historian and musician. He’s just screwing with them.

The campfire book ends the film with important Big Three Moments.

The opening at the campfire, with the McCoy family bourbon and beans recipe, provided the first fart joke in Star Trek history.  

The final scene at the campfire provides the Awesome Ending Line delivered by all of them, just three drunken buddies having fun together.

“Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream...
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.”

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longbow said...

The only good thing about this movie is that is added another layer of wonderment the first time I went to Yosemite valley.

Jeff McGinley said...

There were some good character moments in there. Unfortunately there was a tendency to bury them under cheap gags, but they were there.

Nick said...

This film had its moments...

Jeff McGinley said...

Thanx for reading and joining in. You are correct. While it didn't gel together as a whole as well as other Trek films, it did have a lot of great moments between the characters.