Monday, August 31, 2009

Random Movie Rant - Star Trek V

So many years ago someone came up with the Odd Numbered Trek Film Rule, which stated that the only good Star Trek films had even numbers, beginning with #2. While #3 is an odd one out in my opinion, the rule still rings true for the remainder.

On the heels of Star Trek IV's success, William Shatner raised a big stink about having his chance to direct one since Nimoy was successful with #3 and #4. Taking the directorial reins and dealing with a sub-par script turned it into the biggest Failboat ride since the first feature.

Now, this is not to say the basic element of the storyline was bad; in fact it was a common thread in many original series plotlines, that being God is not really a deity but a megalomaniacal, possibly insane superpowerful alien being who sees humans as toys or pawns in a chessgame. It was the one issue that many writers had with Roddenberry, and the character of Q became his last hurrah in the Next Generation series. Even though John DeLancie did a decent job with the character, the annoying, omnipotent entity playing with the crew became very old, very quick.

This feature was no different, with an A-plot surrounding a half-brother of Spock, Sybok, who gave up Vulcan logic to become a sort of evangelist, using his telepathic abilities to isolate and remove emotional pain from people and allowing them to live happier lives. A specific element of this was a seeming form of mind control, in that those he 'cured' were immediately in line with Sybok's goal: To discover Sha-Ka-Ree, a fabled Vulcan Eden where he would ultimately find the one who gave him the original vision, God. Sybok uses his talents to control a group of colonists and ambassadors, and later the main crew of the Enterprise. Eventually Spock and McCoy--their deepest pains uncovered by Sybok--seem to be in alignment against Kirk, who objects to this treatment, seeing the removal of emotional pain as a fantasy and in conflict with the human desire to succeed in spite of odds.

As we do eventually find out (again, the denouement for most of these Roddenberry-like stories) is that God isn't really a god but an insane, violent, non-corporeal entity who thrives on being worshipped, with Sha Ka Ree (a planet kept behind a powerful energy barrier at the center of the galaxy) as a prison designed to contain it. We destroy wannabe God, hug Spock, subdue the Klingons and a good time is had by all. It had almost all the makings of a sexy party. Almost.

Now, the one element in the movie I had the biggest issue with was the singing. Yes, I know that both Nimoy and Shatner released various musical albums that were more tongue-in-cheek than anything else, but the singing around the campfire bit had to be the most awful, cringeworthy bit in the entire run of movies. I would have hoped by the 23rd century we'd have learned ways to refrain from making asses of ourselves.

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