*** (3 stars out of 5)
In a barren desert where nothing wholesome survives...
A rotten-toothed hole-billy is accosted by Vulcan Jesus.
Meanwhile, McCoy angrily watches Kirk free-climb a mountain. "I'm a nervous wreck. If I'm not careful, I'll end up talking to myself."
I thought Spock's gravity boots and last-second save of Kirk was cool. Sadly, on my big TV the effect looks pretty chintzy now.
It had to happen. Three boobs. On a felinod exotic dancer. Cat-stripper, for the layman.
Back in the 2270's, some hippie set up Nimbus III on the border between Klingon, Federation, and Romulan space and conned a bunch of settlers into moving there. Twenty years on, it's still a shite-bucket, and Sybok's Groovy Jonestown Super Buddies storm the capital Paradise City and take the consuls hostage.
"I think this new ship was put together by monkeys," says Mr. Scott, proving that I'll give more stars to a Trek that makes me laugh now and then.
Uhura puts the moves on Scotty, and brings him potato chip bags for dinner.
The Bones family recipe for whiskey and beans on a camping trip brings up a lot of... feelings.
"I've always known... I'll die alone," says Kirk soberly.
"Well, I'll call Valhalla and have them reserve a room for you," quips Bones.
Leave it to Spock to lighten the mood. "I believe we are required to engage in a ritual known as the sing-a-long." Which also starts a fight.
"Oh, I'm sorry Doctor. Were we having a good time?"
That Earth probe with the nudie pics on the side meets its last critic as Klingon rebel youth under Captain Klaa gun it down. They rush to Nimbus in the hopes of shootin' somethin' that fights back. Klaa seems to have bested Gannon and seized the Triforce as a necklace.
"If you ask me, and you haven't, I think this is a terrible idea." I love Bones.
Sybok leads 'The Galactic Army of Light' on a quest for Eden. Spock speaks of a revolutionary Vulcan scholar who sought emotional knowledge and was banished for seeking disciples.
Chekov plays Captain and bluffs Sybok. Meanwhile, sneaking in the back, here comes Kirk's strike team of crack commandos... I mean Uhura going commando while on crack.
A phaser and fist fight with the cast of Ishtar culminates in Kirk apparently killing the stripper. Drowned on a literal pool table! Sorry, Miss Kitty.
Spock gets the drop on Sybok but defies Kirk's order to shoot the fanatic. From the brig, Spock admits the revolutionary is his older half-brother.
With the greatest of ease, Sybok telepathically recruits Uhura, Sulu, Chekov and others. By 'sharing and releasing their pain' they become loyal to his cause. 'The greatest adventure of all time... the discovery of Sha Ka Ree.' Fabled source of life beyond the Great Barrier in the Center of the Galaxy. (Granted, Mr. Sean Connery is a force to be reckoned with. But the source of all life? Debatable.)
Scotty evades the religious kooks, concocts a plan, makes a jailbreak, and knocks himself out on a low hanging beam. FOR COMEDY!
I do so want me a pair of Mr. Spock's Anti-Gravity Rocket Boots. I would break both ankles within seconds, but I wouldn't care.
Sybok wants to end all fear and pain. (He could start with the drab sweaters. I thought we learned our lesson in Star Trek TMP?)
Kirk refuses to go to rehab. "I don't want my pain taken away. I need my pain!"
In fact, Sybok's mesmerism didn't work on Spock, and McCoy shrugs it off from... peer pressure?
Sybok is following the vision given him by God. "He waits for us on the other side."
The other side of a so-so gassy special effect. And apparently the sound and fury of The Great Barrier also cut Sybok's hair.
Heaven looks like Nevada, which I guess is fine for a Vulcan. Not my idea of Paradise, to be sure.
While everybody smiles beatifically at the view screen, the Klingons sneak up behind them.
The sky goes dark and the stone ribs of God's Creepy Steakhouse rise up with much menace. Superman's father Charlton Heston shows a couple of faces before settling on curly bearded sky father Qual Se Tu.
"What does God need with a starship?" asks Kirk.
"You don't ask the almighty for his I.D." suggests Bones.
God shoots lightning from his eyes at the blasphemers.
"I doubt any God who inflicts pain for his own pleasure." Bones decides.
"An eternity I've been imprisoned in this place." snarls God, before being gunned down by Spock in the Klingon ship.
Much of this film depends on Laurence Luckinbill as Sybok, and he's doing a fine job with the nonsense he's been given. Last seen strangling his God to save his half-brother: gotta give him props for that, right?
David Warner as skuzzy, smoking Federation Consul Talbot. I have and will always love him in everything ever. He'd shine in Dungeons and Dragons II and TRON 3. I mean it. TRON 3. Bring it.
Jerry Goldsmith's music is very good, too.
But the final word on STAR TREK V: The Final Frontier? I'll give you two: God. Awful.