Star Trek V - The Final Frontier
Stardatee 8454.1: Sybok stages a hostage situation on the
planet Nimbus III (a planet where romulans, klingons and humans were trying
to coexist, peacefully, without luck though). When the Enterprise comes to
the rescue Sybok hijacks the ship and takes it on a journey to find Sha Ka
Ree. With the Klingons after them.
Click to read complete synopsis
Oops! - Movie Blunders, Goofs & Trivia
The colour of Kirk's clothing when he falls down the mountain changes.
There are visible safety wires holding Kirk up when Spock catches him.
There is no wind resistance when Spock and Kirk fall down the mountain.
When Kirk is caught by Spock, the pine tree's needles are hanging to the
left, indicating that the gravity is wrong. This is because they filmed the
The metal conduit Scotty bangs his head on disappears when Sulu finds him.
When Kirk and McCoy are using Spock's boots in the turbolift shaft, they
are not standing on anything, and hardly holding on to Spock at all. They
should have fell down the shaft, but instead comfortably rose up the shaft
Wire is visible holding the dancing cat-woman's tail.
Starfleet Headquarters is in the same time zone as Yosemite, yet when Kirk,
Spock and McCoy leave Yosemite during the dark, they arrive on the Enterprise
and talk to Bob from Starfleet, whose background shows daytime.
Somewhere between leaving the bridge and going to the shuttlecraft, Sybok
appears to get a hair-cut.
As the rock spikes protrude from the ground, they create rock rubble, but
this disappears, and the ground becomes neatly flat.
When Kirk instructs the crew to "listen carefully", the scene cuts to Sybok
and Spock, but on the right (Widescreen only) you can see Kirk saying nothing,
but looking at Spock instead. Later, Sulu knows exactly what to do, without
Scotty beams up McCoy and Spock way too fast, before Kirk even finishes giving
When Spock is playing his Vulcan Lute at the end, Kirk recognizes the tune
"Row, row, row your boat" too quickly (after two notes).
The success of the Star Trek film franchise led to the creation
of a new television series, "Star Trek: The
Next Generation," in 1987. Leonard Nimoy was offered the role of executive
producer of "The Next Generation." Leonard
Nimoy: "I felt the original Star Trek's success was due to
many factors: the themes, the characters, the chemistry between the actors,
(and) the timing. There was simply no way, I told (them), that anyone could
duplicate all those things and be successful with a second 'Star Trek' show.
And so I opted out. While my argument sounded perfectly rational at the time,
my ego was certainly involved. When I said to . . . the assembled execs,
'How can you hope to capture lightning in a bottle again?' part of me was
really saying, 'How can you ever hope to do it without us?'
You know, crow isn't so bad. It tastes rather like chicken."
At Nimoy's suggestion, William Shatner asked to direct the next Star
Trek film after his co-star's second outing as director. Paramount agreed
and Shatner was named the director of Star Trek V soon after
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home achieved blockbuster
status. Given the extraordinary challenge of following what many considered
the best movie in the series, Shatner came up with two goals for his film.
William Shatner: "I have two things that I'd like to see. They're
contrasted and yet unified. One is that I'd like to see romance in the stories
again. The second is that I would like to see gritty realism. You know, with
hand-held cameras, dirt under the fingernails, and real steel clanging doors."
Harve Bennett was initially reluctant to return as producer because of the
harsh treatment that he felt he received from Nimoy during
Star Trek IV.
Harve Bennett: "There was just no way . . . I was going to allow
myself to get into another situation where I would find myself getting de-balled
by Gene Roddenberry's memos and knocked around by a star/director at the
same time. After my experience on IV, I really
felt like I wasn't a family member after all, that maybe the stars had all
the power, that everybody knew that, and that no one would accept any other
situation. I felt like a tin soldier, a dog without teeth, and I felt I had
earned the command authority, and I didn't want to be used."
Harve Bennett: "(Shatner and I) ultimately spent the better part
of an afternoon, at least four or five hours, holed up together at my bar,
talking about my feelings, and about the stuff that happened between Leonard
and me on IV, and my fears that the same sh-t could happen again on
V. I wanted to make it very clear that if I found myself having a
bad time, I'd quit. . . .We shook hands, and I came into Star Trek V
with a lot of excitement."
Harve Bennett: "With Star Trek V, we have now come to the
space imperative and we have some very, very difficult appetites: planetary
and construction appetites, things you have to show and places you have to
go, and an alien here and there. All these things make the cost and complexity
of the film more difficult."
Shatner's first outline for Star Trek V was called An Act Of
Love. In the outline, a rogue Vulcan named Zar (later renamed Sybok)
commandeers the Enterprise to seek out God. William Shatner:
"The mountain-climbing at Yosemite, the campfire scene, Zar's abduction of
Klingon, Romulan, and human hostages in the failed desert boomtown of Paradise
City - all of these ideas fell quickly into my blueprint, and ultimately
survived into the finished film. However, from midpoint to finish, my original
storyline bears almost no relation to that of the actual theatrical release."
In Shatner's early versions, Zar (Sybok) is not related to Spock but instead
is only a former acquaintance on Vulcan. After a long and intensive ground
battle at Paradise City, the huge number of soldiers under Zar's command
finally overwhelms the Federation troops. Facing defeat, Kirk manages to
set a fatal trap but Spock ruins the ploy by warning off Zar. Spock's explanation
for his actions is that he feels Zar is so brilliant that it is possible
he really could be the Messiah, which does not soothe Kirk's anger at his
friend. As seen in the final film, Zar uses images of their past to convert
McCoy and Spock to his cause. They become believers and, unlike the filmed
version, Zar then uses the same technique on Kirk.
William Shatner: "(Zar) immediately speaks to Kirk's lack of family,
and dredges up Kirk's self-imposed feelings of responsibility and guilt over
the death of his son, David. Promising that a meeting with God will cure
even such deeply embedded pain, Zar implores Kirk to believe in him as well.
Feigning acceptance while remaining the sole holdout against the powers of
this man, Kirk joins Spock and Bones on the surface of God's planet."
William Shatner: "An awesome Godlike image appears, surrounded by
angels, and demands that the Enterprise transport him back toward
more populated sections of the universe. Kirk then challenges 'God,' and
an argument ensues. As it escalates, 'God' begins showing his true colors
and his image begins to transform, ultimately becoming unmistakably Satanic.
The angels simultaneously change into hordes of gargoyles, the Furies of
Hell. At that point, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, still suffering from the effects
of their first real adversarial relationship, split up, with each man running
in a separate direction. McCoy falls, breaking his leg, and is surround by
the Furies, as is Spock. At the same time, however, Kirk has broken free,
but even with a clear path toward escape, a last look back at the fates of
his friends convinces Kirk to go back, risking his life in an effort to save
them. Spock is first, and when he's been successfully freed, the pair immediately
joins forces in an attempt to save McCoy, who's already been carried away
by the minions into Hell. Descending together into the river Styx, Spock
and Kirk fight off their hideous attackers and save their injured friend,
with Kirk carrying McCoy on his shoulders as they flee."
The trio find that the shuttlecraft has been damaged by the Furies. Scott
is forced to beam them aboard the Enterprise one at a time, due to
low power. Once Spock and McCoy are aboard, Scott beams a Fury, who grabbed
Kirk's communicator, onto the ship. Scott grabs a hand phaser and kills the
Fury, damaging the only working transporter in the process. Trapped on the
planet, Kirk is pursued once more by the Furies of Hell. After free climbing
a small mountain, Kirk turns around and begins killing as many of the Furies
as possible, armed with a phaser in each hand. Running out of phaser ammunition
and horribly outnumbered, Kirk appears to be in a hopeless situation until
the Klingon Bird of Prey decloaks and begins blowing many of the Furies apart,
the rest scurrying away. Kirk screams, "You want me, you Klingon bastards?
Come and get me!" and begins firing the two hand phasers at the vessel. As
in the final film, he is beamed aboard to find that Spock is actually the
Shatner wanted Eric Von Lustbader to write the screenplay, but Lustbader
and Paramount were unable to work out a financial agreement. Nicholas Meyer,
writer/director of Star Trek II: The Wrath Of
Khan and writer of Star Trek IV: The Voyage
Home, was then offered the writing job. He had to turn down the offer
because he was busy directing another film at the time, leaving fans only
to wonder what would have come of a Meyer-penned Star Trek V.
Finally, David Loughery was selected by Shatner and Bennett to write the
screenplay. David Loughery: "Paramount liked Bill's outline, but
they thought that it was a little too dark. After the success of
Star Trek IV, they wanted to make sure that
we retained as much humor and fun as possible, because they felt that was
one of the reasons for the big success of that film. They wanted us to inject
a spirit of fun and adventure into the story. I think they just wanted a
balance between the darker elements and some of the lighter stuff."
David Loughery: "One particular change was in the character of Sybok.
Originally, he was a very messianic, possessed kind of figure who was willing
to trample anyone who got in his way, but he began to remind us too much
of Khan and we had to take him in a different direction."
David Loughery: "The idea of God and the Devil was reflected in
the script's earlier drafts. Those drafts were much cleaner and more
comprehensible in terms of the idea that you think you're going to Heaven,
but you turn out to have found Hell."
William Shatner: "With Harve and the studio suits both worrying
that my story, featuring appearances by both God and Satan, would more than
likely offend a lot of moviegoers, Harve came up with the idea that perhaps
we should alter the story and turn God and Satan into an evil alien pretending
to be God for his own gain. This was a huge change, lightening the
script considerably, and as I look at it now I can clearly see my acceptance
of this most basic revision as my first mistake."
David Loughery: "To me, God was never the most important part of
the script. Yes, it was part of the story, but my focus and concentration
was on the relationships. The whole God idea was almost like a subplot. We
had to tread a fine line, because we could really become very pretentious
and pretend that we're saying something infinitely important."
David Loughery: "In terms of the Kirk, Spock, and McCoy relationship,
one of the things that occurred to me is that if you look at Star Trek,
you see these three men who are in middle age, and their lives have been
spent in space. They're not married, they don't have families, so their
relationship is with each other. They represent a family to each other, maybe
without always acknowledging it."
David Loughery: "One of the smart things we did early on was bring
(Nimoy) and (Kelley) in to go over the script, because we wanted their input.
These guys have lived with characters for more than 20 years, and have very
strong opinions on what their characters would and wouldn't do. There were
problems with this, too, however. As originally conceived, only Kirk held
out against Sybok, which gives you more of a one man stands alone kind of
thing, betrayed by his best friends. (Nimoy) and (Kelley) objected and it
was changed. Suddenly there were three guys against Sybok. When you start
doing that kind of stuff, bit by bit, you remove and dilute the real strength
of the original vision and finally you end up with a bit of a mish-mash."
David Loughery: "It would have been great for Kirk to have squared
off against Spock in some way. But you find the script beginning to accommodate
the needs of the actors who know their characters and say, 'Spock wouldn't
do that.' It's kind of indefensible. You don't really have an argument that
can turn them around on something like that."
William Shatner: "I didn't entirely disagree with Leonard and De,
and with their prodding, I came to realize that if Kirk were ever penciled
into betraying Bones and Spock, I too would most likely raise the roof. Fully
cognizant of the fact that film is perhaps the most collaborative of all
art forms, I had David rewrite the scene. Right? Wrong? Better? Worse? I
still don't know, although I would have loved to have seen the original scenario
William Shatner: "I'd slowly but surely allowed my original story
to become significantly diminished. God and the Devil were gone, replaced
by a mere cosmic pretender to the throne, and much of the inherent dramatic
tension that would have crackled between our main characters throughout the
second half of our film was now similarly diluted. No longer would there
be any dissension among the ranks, and instead, the three of us would ultimately
join hands, venturing down to Sha Ka Ree at film's end mostly out of curiosity.
In retrospect, and twenty-twenty hindsight, that story solution weakened
the dramatic tension of the film's climactic moments while flattening the
buildup of tension throughout our story."
William Shatner wanted Sean Connery for the role of Sybok, Spock's half-brother.
Connery proved to be unavailable because he was filming Indiana Jones
And The Last Crusade. Instead, Laurence Luckinbill received the role.
However, the planet being sought by Sybok kept the name of "Sha Ka Ree",
a play on the name "Sean Connery."
Leonard Nimoy: "I felt the idea of having Kirk, Spock, and McCoy
sitting down and being with each other with no adventure involved and nothing
to deal with was wonderful. It put the whole Star Trek experience
on a very human scale and, in a very positive way, recognized the validity
of the relationship these three have had over the years."
Leonard Nimoy: "Bill's such a physical guy to begin with and I
immediately found that was going to spill over into this film. There was
much more running and jumping than I normally like to do. I was constantly
going up the elevator, down the stairs, across the cliff, down the rocks.
We shot in the heat of the day and the cold of the night. It was a fun film
to do, but it was also a very difficult one."
William Shatner: "I didn't want (the new phasers) to be squirtguns
(like the old phasers.) I wanted them to be .45s. We load them on camera
and you can run out of power. . . .I wanted the phasers to sound differently,
too. Instead of tinkling, I wanted them to crackle." Ironically, Shatner's
new phasers would be put to their best use in the next film,
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, during
the assassination scene.
Despite the blockbuster success of its predecessor, Star Trek V: The Final
Frontier suffered from major budget crunches courtesy of Paramount.
Unfortunately, the special effects were the first to suffer from the lack
of funds. To pull off a story as ambitious as Shatner's, incredible special
effects would have been needed. George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic
(ILM) had delivered outstanding work on Star Trek
II, III, and
IV. When another effects house offered to deliver
the effects for Star Trek V in a shorter time and for less money than
ILM, Bennett and producer Ralph Winter elected not to use ILM. Instead,
Associates and Ferren (AF) was chosen for the effects on Star Trek V.
ILM has been used in all subsequent films.
AF's Bran Ferren: "My general dislike of blue screen results in
a lot of process projection wherever possible. There were many scenes where
blue screen, computer generated mattes or rotoscoping were appropriate and
useful, but whenever we had people walking in front of effects or wild camera
movements, I felt we did ourselves a favor by avoiding blue screen."
William Shatner: I had planned these beautiful shots but I was forced
to shoot close-ups not too close, and the master shots because of the demands
of the (process projection), I mean, you couldn't breathe or you'd end up
with matte lines. It was frustrating because I had imagined this film and
planned it as a series of flowing images and I ended up with some very choppy
William Shatner: "I wanted this picture to have a real epic stature,
large and impressive, and I had planned on visualizing that through a series
of unusually broad, sweeping camera shots. For example, in the first scene
of the film, I wanted viewers to find Sybok laughing, at which point we'd
tilt up into the sun, widening out, continuing to stretch our perspective
almost exponentially, until the sun was far off in the galaxy. At that point,
I wanted the camera to turn slowly toward a small planet in the distance
and begin magnifying its focus, each time by a power of ten, until the planet
became recognizable as Earth. As the zoom continued, we'd have seen America,
then California, then a giant mountain with a small speck of a being on it,
then a hand grasping the side of that mountain, which of course would have
ultimately revealed itself as Kirk's. I had planned similarly grand visuals
in several other spots throughout the film."
Bran Ferren: "The model had been borrowed and someone had spray
painted one entire side of the Enterprise model gray, destroying the
meticulous original paint job. We had to go in and fix it before we could
shoot it, which took two painters and an assistant about six weeks to do."
To save additional money, several shots of the Enterprise-A from
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home were reused in
this movie, thus resulting in ILM's credit at the film's conclusion. The
gargoyle-like Furies, which would have appeared in the film's climax, were
revamped to be less expensive and eventually dropped all together because
of the tight effects budget and time restraints. A new, less-expensive, ending
was quickly designed at the last moment.
Bran Ferren: "It's not exactly like Star Trek is a new concept.
We knew what it was supposed to look like, so our job was really to be faithful
to that look rather than try to reinvent the wheel. Star Trek usually
means models with soft light. I wouldn't light them that way if I were going
from scratch, though there's nothing wrong with it. I would've preferred
a stark, cutting, contrasty, less filled look. Unfortunately, we couldn't
just randomly introduce that, since the look of the Enterprise and
of the other models is something that has been created and maintained for
four films. We just accepted the fact that most of our model shots had to
match what had been done before."
Bran Ferren: "We weren't trying for a 'Can you top this?' approach
to the visuals. Instead it was a matter of what was appropriate, tasteful
and fit within the Star Trek genre. I'm not interested in effects
calling attention to themselves."
William Shatner: "I sat there, dumbfounded, staring at a series
of effects that were decidedly less than special. In particular, my God effect
looked cheesy. . . .Harve and I tried to scrape up the funds to re-shoot
the ending, but found the studio purse strings knotted tightly."
William Shatner: "Wanting desperately for this film to succeed,
I simply did not perceive its final ten minutes to be bad. Only much later,
well after the film had come and gone from theaters, was I clearheaded enough
to realize that they were horrendous. . . .We ultimately spent our first
one hundred minutes seeking God, and then, when we'd finally found him, he
looked not unlike a big one-hundred-watt floodlight with a face. That really
hurt us, and to simultaneously muddle through a hastily thrown together ending
left us dead in the water. It was the ruination of that film."
Harve Bennett: "The real problem with V was that the premise
was faulty. You pick up a TV Guide and you read the log line which
says, 'Tonight on Trek, the crew goes to find God.' Automatically,
and unconsciously, you know we're not going to find God because no one has
and no one will, and no one would be so arrogant to say what they're depicting
on screen is actually God, because others will say, 'No, it's not.' So we
know we're going to face an anticlimax, a trick. The nature of the trick
is the only suspense in the story. But you'd say this to Bill and he'd say,
'No, no, it's the greatest adventure of all time,' and I'd say, 'No, it's
not an adventure because everyone is ahead of you. So what we have to do
is make getting there as interesting as possible.'"
William Shatner: "In midsummer, we hit the multiplexes, and on the
morning after our official opening night, I was awakened extremely
early by a telephone call. Stumbling to the receiver, I grunted out a 'hullo'
only to be immediately greeted by the unusually cheery voice of Leonard Nimoy.
'Did I wake you?' he asked. 'Yes.' 'Good.' 'Why good?' 'That means I'll be
the first to give you the news. They love your movie!' 'What do you
mean?' 'You got a great review in the LA Times,' he told me, at which
point he proceeded to spend the next five minutes reading it to me over the
phone. I started to cry. I was so touched by Leonard's call, as well as stunned
by the realization that one of my fondest dreams had come true. Later that
same day, one of the local TV news reviewers gave me a ten plus, and I began
sensing a trend. I sensed wrong. Shortly thereafter, Variety, perhaps
the most influential of the show business papers, slammed the film rather
unmercifully, and from there on, the reviews that came in were decidedly
David Loughery: "I wondered what the factors were that reduced our
impact. One of them, I think, may be the fact that 'The Next Generation'
has been on TV the last few years. It made a Star Trek movie seem
like a less special event. I think it was Harve Bennett who said that if
you eat turkey sandwiches everyday, Thanksgiving doesn't look like such a
big deal. I look at Trek V with very mixed emotions. The effects turned
out to be very disappointing, and this is a movie where we really needed
them to put us over the top storywise, especially at the end. . . .Those
effects don't quite deliver, and in some cases, it looked a little shoddy
George Takei: "Star Trek V will please the fans, unquestionably.
It's an exciting film. It's really the Kirk-Spock-McCoy troika. They make
up the dramatic triangle, that's where the focus is. The rest of us are kind
of incidental. Bill says we all have wonderful things to do, but we're really
Nichelle Nichols: "Bill was a wonderful director. I was not so much
surprised at his ability as his demeanor. He was warm, exciting and creative.
He was far more patient than I've ever known him to be. He knew what he wanted,
and it was fun to watch him get it."
Gene Roddenberry: "No one person made it terrible, and no one wanted
it to be terrible."
James Doohan (prior to the film's release): "Bill treated everybody
beautifully. . . .Bill was very pleasant to work with, and I must say I'm
very happy with that. I wouldn't mind if he directed number six."
James Doohan (after the film's release): "There is really only one
person on the show that nobody can stand. He tried to do too much for Star
Trek V, and look what happened - it wasn't a good story and it wasn't
a good movie. He can't even act. He doesn't act, he makes faces. He'll wrinkle
his nose like a rabbit and that's supposed to mean, 'Oh look, I'm about to
Walter Koenig: "I thought it was an okay film. It was entertaining.
I think you could write a thesis paper comparing the problems of
Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek
V. In some ways, they're very similar. I think we had in each case an
antagonist that we couldn't make up our minds about. Is he going to be a
good guy or a bad guy? How much peril was this guy going to generate for
the crew? It started out one way and then became something else. And instead
of the conflict that was so necessary for good story structure, it kind of
went off in another direction. In Star Trek V, we really ended up
with jokes. In Star Trek: The Motion Picture
we ended up with awe. . . .I think the problems with the film were in terms
of structure. I also think you need good guys and bad guys and we got a little
muddy on that point in Star Trek V."
DeForest Kelley: "I feel that, regardless of what is said about
this film, Bill is a very energetic kind of man and a good director. I knew
going in that he was going to bring energy to the film, I think he did. This
was a tough film for him. It was a nightmare in more ways than one. He handled
it very well and when he looked around and got his feet on the ground, he
went forward in a thoroughly professional manner and I felt Bill did an excellent
job. I think if there's anything wrong with the film, it would be the story
content itself but certainly not in his direction."
Leonard Nimoy: "Even with numerous rewrites, the script and the
story remained weak. I believe this was the cause of Star Trek V's
woes at the box office. It certainly had nothing to do with Bill's abilities
as a director, because he shot the film as efficiently and cinematically
as any of a number of talented directors might have. He got some interesting
footage, such as Sybok riding on horseback out of the mist. With us actors,
he was personable, charming, well prepared, and boundlessly enthusiastic.
The problem was in the execution and design of the screenplay; what was on
the page is what he shot. He was riding a bad script, and as I've said at
other times and places, when you're riding a bad script, there's not much
that can be done to salvage a film. I can sympathize with him, because I'd
soon have a similar experience with another Paramount film, Funny About
William Shatner: "I see Star Trek V as a failed but glorious
attempt to make a picture full of character growth and a deep philosophical
base, delving into man's universal desire to believe. . . . I was sure it
had marked the end of the Star Trek films once and for all."
For comments, suggestions, ideas etc.etc. please
by Mario Guatteri