"Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - Star Trek V Review

11 August 2023

"Star Trek V: The Final Frontier," directed by William Shatner and released in 1989, stands as an ambitious but polarizing entry in the Star Trek film series. While it features the beloved crew of the USS Enterprise and explores philosophical themes, it also faces criticism for its execution and departure from the franchise's established tone.


Directed by William Shatner, who also portrays Captain James T. Kirk, "The Final Frontier" sought to delve into profound themes while delivering a thrilling space adventure. This unique directorial approach brought an insider's perspective to the film, as Shatner had been an integral part of the Star Trek franchise since its inception. Fans were intrigued to see how his creative vision would shape the film's narrative and character dynamics, especially after Leonard Nimoy had directed the Search for Spock and Voyage Home.

the final frontier trek poster

Plot Summary:

In "The Final Frontier," the crew of the Enterprise is lured into a dangerous mission by Spock's half-brother, Sybok, who seeks to find the mythical planet Sha Ka Ree, where he believes he will encounter a higher being that will bring universal enlightenment. The central conflict revolves around the crew's internal struggles, as Sybok's influence exposes their personal vulnerabilities and desires. As they journey to the planet, they confront both external threats and the complexities of their own emotions.

This premise adds layers of psychological and emotional depth to the storyline, prompting characters to confront their deepest fears and aspirations.

Themes and Messages:

"The Final Frontier" tackles themes that resonate with the Star Trek franchise:

  • Spirituality and Belief: The film delves into the characters' spiritual yearnings and questions about the existence of a higher power. Sybok's charismatic persuasion to confront their inner pain through the journey to Sha Ka Ree highlights the characters' quest for meaning beyond the cosmos. The juxtaposition of science and spirituality continues the franchise's tradition of exploring the intersection of the unknown and the metaphysical.

  • Unity and Brotherhood: Despite their differences, the crew's bond is tested and ultimately strengthened as they face both physical and emotional challenges. The film emphasizes the unity and camaraderie that define the core of the Star Trek experience. This theme echoes the series' long-standing message of diversity, cooperation, and shared purpose.

  • Human Nature and Desire: The crew's individual desires and vulnerabilities are exposed by Sybok's empathic abilities, revealing their deepest fears and longings. This exploration of human nature adds a layer of complexity to the characters and their interactions. By acknowledging the imperfections and inner struggles of these iconic figures, the film humanizes them in a relatable and poignant manner.

  • Critique of Religious Exploitation: While exploring spirituality, the film also critiques the manipulation of faith for personal gain. Sybok's manipulation of the crew's beliefs highlights the potential dangers of blind devotion to charismatic leaders. This thematic element serves as a cautionary tale about the manipulation of people's hopes and aspirations for self-serving agendas.

Execution and Reception:

"The Final Frontier" garnered mixed reviews upon its release. While it attempted to tackle complex themes, the film faced criticism for its uneven pacing, underdeveloped plot points, and occasional departure from the franchise's established tone. The film's pacing sometimes struggled to balance the weighty philosophical themes with the action-adventure elements, resulting in a narrative that occasionally felt disjointed.

Additionally, some of the humor, particularly in scenes involving the crew's encounter with "God" on Sha Ka Ree, received backlash for its tonal inconsistency, diverting from the franchise's more serious tone.

Legacy and Impact:

Despite its mixed reception, "The Final Frontier" remains a part of the Star Trek canon, contributing to the ongoing exploration of the franchise's themes and characters. The film's willingness to tackle philosophical questions and delve into the crew's inner struggles showcases its commitment to pushing boundaries within the science fiction genre.

While it may not have achieved the same level of acclaim as some of its predecessors, it still adds depth to the overarching narrative of the Star Trek universe and provides fans with an opportunity to engage with its themes in new and thought-provoking ways.


"Star Trek V: The Final Frontier," directed by William Shatner, is a film that ambitiously engages with deep themes while navigating the complexities of character dynamics. While its execution may have fallen short of expectations, it remains a testament to the franchise's commitment to exploring thought-provoking ideas and the enduring appeal of the USS Enterprise crew.

Despite its challenges, the film serves as a reminder of the Star Trek universe's willingness to boldly venture into new territories, both on and off the screen. Shatner's directorial effort, while not without its flaws, contributes to the ongoing legacy of the franchise, sparking discussions and interpretations that enrich the broader Star Trek narrative. 


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

At The Astromech, you can expect to find a variety of articles, reviews, and analysis related to science fiction, including books, movies, TV, and games.
From exploring the latest news and theories to discussing the classics, I aim to provide entertaining and informative content for all fans of the genre.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Trek fan or simply curious about the world of science fiction, The Astromech has something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and join me on this journey through the stars!
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