Ahoy, mateys! Today we be lookin’ at the fifth installment in the celebrated Star Trek line, The Final Frontier. This be the 19th o’ September, International Talk Like a Pirate Day, an’ those of a piratical persuasion be celebratin’ from Singapore to Tortuga. Now, belike some of ya lubbers be askin’ what a science fictional spectacle be doin’ wit’ piracy. Well, sit back me hearties, an’ I shall be happy to be makin’ with the enlightenment.
You see, space, she be like the sea. She be vast, uncharted, and untamed, and one needs a hale ship to cross her black depths. And in The Final Frontier the loyal crew of the Enterprise find their ship hijacked, like a British merchant ship in the 1600s. The perpetrator be Laurence Luckinbill playin’ Sybok, a Vulcan who is disinclined to suppress his emotional side, and seeks the face of God in the center of the galaxy.
Arr, they be reachin’ fer a plot as surely as I be reachin’ fer an excuse to write this review.
This film be the last o’ the franchise to be made in ther 80s, an’ it also be the first to be directed by Cap’n Kirk hisself, William Shatner. To be true, it be his first film e’er at the helm. Although we all love the good cap’n as an actor, p’raps ’twere better if’n he had let his pointy-eared compatriot continue to steer the ship. This do be one o’ the scurvier movies ta bear the name o’ Trek, an’ as the story were bonny Bill’s, Bill be to blame. The story do be centered around Sybok, an’ Sybok just do no be an exciting villain. He be far too nice. A pacifistic pirate be no threat, an’ to make up fer it, they do be shoehornin’ in some Klingons whose motivations be decidedly spurious. Thar be no provocation, thar be no grudge. The Klingons simply be out to kill Kirk fer the sheer joy and glory of it. They possess all the personality of a jock in the top-tiered fraternity in a college comedy.
The plot be likewise lackin’ in personality and purpose. The story be mostly “fly here”, “fly there”. It be deficient in the swashbuckling department, an’ most o’ the difficulties come about only on account o’ the Enterprise bein’ inexplicably in disrepair. Ye e’er see one o’ those films where the hero misplaces his phone just so he won’t be able to call to alert people ta the danger? This film be that all o’er the place. The transporter beam don’t work, so they gotta use the shuttle craft. The weapons be faulty. The shield be faulty. The ship be no seaworthy, and it solely be to add dramatic tension to a plot that be havin’ none o’ its own.
Apparently Starfleet be shoppin’ at Stan’s Used Ships on Monkey Island.
I also be havin’ a fundamental issue with the general lack o’ knowledge on the part o’ Sybok — who be, supposedly, an educated individual. Beside making the mistake o’ creditin’ Christopher Columbus with discovering the Earth be round (a fact that twere never in question in ol’ Wrong Way’s time) he also be assertin’ that God must be at the galactic center ’cause that be the only frontier remainin’. Now, even the most uneducated a sea-farin’ scallywags be knowin’ that capes lead ta oceans, so why do Sybok be assumin’ that the galaxy be the limit o’ space? Surely if God can be visited in person, it be just as likely he be at the edge o’ the universe, and no the galaxy.
But a little confusion on extraterrestrial scale be no such a big thing. The real problem be that the story be not exciting. One villain be lackin’ in menace. Another be lackin’ in motivation. And a third be lackin’ in any sensible reason fer existin’ in this film. Questions be raised, but questions do no be answered. It just be feelin’ like somethin’ out o’ the blue. An’ even it be no sufficient ta make the film excitin’.