The Star Trek franchise goes back to the original story idea that Gene Roddenberry conceived and throws out a stinker.
I like to imagine William Shatner making the pitch to the producers that anything Leonard Nimoy can do, he can do better. If this movie is any indication, he failed. There are a number of people who like to debate the “odds are bad, evens are good” argument and I don’t believe it is necessarily true. However, this movie is easily the worst movie starring the original crew by such a large measure that it brings all other odd numbered movies down on its own.
The Final Frontier takes Gene Roddenberry’s original idea for the first movie, a world discovering that God is not who you expected him to be, and runs with it. However, after such a fun movie in The Voyage Home, this plodding, boring movie was like a kick to the face of Star Trek fans. When a Star Trek story is not fun and exciting, it needs to be intriguing and question everything. This movie throws out a ton of questions but gives us no answers – at least answers that matter.
While a lot of the complaints have to go to the screenwriters, Shatner does nothing in his directing to make the movie interesting, to make the audience care, or to make anything that happens coherent and connect in any logical way. William Shatner has a one-upmanship contest going with Leonard Nimoy and, in this one instance, is trumped in every conceivable way.
There are two commentary tracks included here, the first with William Shatner and his daughter Liz and the second with Michael & Denise Okuda, Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens and Daren Dochterman. The track with the Shatner’s is not as funny as you might expect and I am finding that his commentary tracks never allow him to be as funny as he really is. However, they point out a lot of scene specific information and it remains informative. Now, the other track is with a group of writers and experts of the franchise and it is clear through the tone of the voices that they know the movie is crap but are careful not to bash it too much. The same Library Computer feature that was on the other movies is also available here.
The Journey: A Behind-the-Scenes Documentary looks at the creation of the movie, talking to everyone involved. William Shatner talks about how hard it was to make the movie as a director and lead actor. Shatner says his original plan was to go in search of God but instead finds the Devil, proving that God does exist. When Roddenberry explains that making a Star Trek movie about God won’t work, which seemed to really bum Shatner out. A compromise was made with the writers and The Final Frontier was born. Harve Bennett still seems to believe the movie has stood up to the tests of time. He lies.
Harve Bennett’s Pitch to Sales Team is a gimmick pitch where Bennett uses the Vulcan symbol for “truth” to say that Star Trek V is as good as, if not better, than Star Trek IV. He lies. There is a series of Make-Up Tests for God, Sybok, General Korrd, Caithlin Dar and an assortment of aliens. These include drawn sketches, photos and the actual screen tests themselves. There is no dialogue or music played during this feature. Pre-visualization Models is a very short feature (with no sound at all) where the effects team plays with the models.
Rockman in the Raw explains that there was originally an elaborate climactic sequence with Kirk’s escape, with Kirk fighting ten Rockman creatures. Thanks to budget constraints, Shatner was denied and only one Rockman was built. After tests, they cut it completely from the movie. This shows production design of the creature, with sketches and photos and some test footage. There is also a thirteen minute press conference taking place on the last day of photography. We get to hear the answers but never hear the questions asked. It is the first time the cast has been assembled together for this type of press conference.
Herman Zimmerman, the production designer on most of the films and many shows, is given a nice 20-minute tribute. It includes an interview with Zimmerman as well as other production team members talking about what he brought to the table. We also get a 14-minute interview with William Shatner from Yosemite Park during the time of the shoot. Cosmic Thoughts is a discussion with sci-fi writers and scientists about the themes of the movie. Todd Bryant and Spice Williams talk about playing the Klingon couple Klaa and Vixis and the effect it had on their lives. A Green Future? discusses the original hopes that Yosemite Park will still there for many, many years and then climaxes with a discussion about Global Warming.
Star Trek Honors NASA is a new feature talking to astronaut Terry Virks and the influence Star Trek had on his life. A number of experts discuss how the show inspired a number of people who work at NASA. A short feature is included about James Doohan (Scotty) being honored on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It includes kind words from both Walter Koenig and George Takei. Also included is another stupid Starfleet Academy feature. Rounding out the features are four deleted scenes, a 4-minute production gallery, 2 trailers and the TV spots.