Star Trek: The Final Frontier (1989)

They finally went too far out there. This could have well been the last voyage of the Enterprise.

The boat didn’t go gently down the stream

Okay, okay… What happened? I don’t know what to make of this movie.
It’s really different from the previous installments. William Shatner (whom I dearly love) is directing, and I can’t tell if he’s saving the movie or making it ten times worse.

The WTF list is so long:

  • Spock and his rocket boots (twice, TWICE)
  • The trip to Yellowstone
  • The ugly Nimbus 3 hobo planet
  • Sybok, the Vulcan Jesus
  • Kirk fighting the lady/cat/stripper, throwing her in a puddle?
  • The Afro-Vulcan
  • Uhura naked dancing to distract the space hobos
  • Throwing torpedoes at the laser-eyed fake god, and it works!
  • Spock singing Row Row Row your boat
  • Spock’s birth scene

At some stages Leonard Nimoy seems physically in pain delivering his lines.

The great beard in the sky

Story-wise, not a lot happens. Sybok the Vulcan that doesn’t look like a Vulcan, enlists the hobos of crappy planet Nimbus 3 to force Starfleet to send a ship there, the broken Enterprise arrives with the Klingons in pursuit.
Then Sybok, Spock’s half-brother, inexplicably brainwashes everyone to pursue a legend of God being in the center of the galaxy.
Then it turns out it’s not God, just something really nasty, an old entity that was imprisoned there on a planet behind an ugly special effects barrier.
Sybok dies, then the Klingons kill the entity and then everyone is friends now.

I guess the movie is trying to tell a story, touch on some underlying themes. But it’s not working at all.
It can’t choose between being serious and goofy (the second boots scene, urgh).
If it has a message it’s buried within boring metaphysical babble. Nothing is really explained.
It also feels quite cheap in some ways, despite having a lot of different set pieces, like the hangars.

It’s not the worst movie, the rare moments where you see the ship models are still pretty good.
Not as slow as the first movie, but it’s tonally inconsistent. I guess it can bring a good laugh, but it marks a significant drop in quality in the franchise.

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