Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

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April 15, 2013
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Life is but a dream... if only the movie this comic is based on was one, too.

(For The Nostalgia Critic's review of the actual movie, click here)

Linkara: (wearing a Starfleet uniform) Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Well, it's time once again to review a Star Trek movie comic, and this time, it's a movie that's pretty universally reviled.

(Footage of that movie, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is shown)

Linkara (v/o): Although, I've got to admit, this movie is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. It's a train wreck, to be sure, but one that I kind of enjoy in a bad movie kind of way. It aspires to greatness, but is full of plot holes, characterization issues, bad jokes, and weak villains. You know that Mystery Science Theater 3000 clip I'll play from The She-Creature?

(Cut to a clip of that episode)

Mike Nelson: Space is warped, and time is bendable.

(Cut back to the Star Trek movie)

Linkara (v/o): Yeah, that's the one. Star Trek V's a movie so bad that Euclidian geometry collapses so that someone can not only go past the number of floors on the ship, but past the same floor twice while going up. Star Trek: The Motion Picture was incredibly boring, but it's got its defenders as a slow cerebral story. Star Trek V, though? The only cerebral thing you get out of this movie is the headache that results from some of the bad comedy and dollar store psychology. It is the movie that almost killed the Star Trek film franchise.

Linkara: Mind you, plenty of problems with the film were a result of the production getting screwed over again and again by bad luck, but in the end, some people are capable of making a great film, even with a bad production. (smiles smugly) William Shatner is not one of those men.

Linkara (v/o): The earliest draft of the film, by Shatner himself, would have had Kirk literally fighting Satan and trying to rescue his crewmates from being taken to Hell.

Linkara: (looking up in thought) I've gotta admit, though, after "One More Day", the idea of Captain Kirk fighting Satan? (gives a thumbs-up) Nice!

Linkara (v/o): I won't go into the film's troubled production much in this review, since it's actually pretty well documented, except to say that the effects in the finished movie were... yeah, not very good, to put it kindly. However, that just makes me more curious about this comic as an adaptation, since one of the great things about comic books is that there is no special effects budget to worry about. If an artist can conceive it and draw it, it'll be done. Plus, the condensed format of a comic book one-shot means that some of the stupider or superfluous bits might end up getting cut. By that same token, however, as we saw last time with Star Trek IV, lots of good stuff might end up getting trimmed.

Linkara: So let's dig into Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and see if the comic is better or worse than the movie it spawned from.

(AT4W title sequence plays, and title card has music from Star Trek V playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)

Linkara (v/o): The cover is... blecch! It's a nice rendition of the Enterprise and Kirk, Spock and McCoy, but as a cover that's meant to evoke the epic nature of the story or even as a movie poster or the like, it's just dull: three heads and the Enterprise. Oh, but at least we have that filmstrip logo coming across the top and informing us that this is a "DC Movie Special".

Linkara: As opposed to those movie comics that are not special.

Linkara (v/o): We open on the planet Nimbus III, "the planet of galactic peace", where some guy in a robe [Sybok] has found a bald guy [J'Onn] in the middle of the desert and is touching his forehead. (as Sybok) Does this bug you? I'm not touching you.

Sybok: Each man hides a secret pain.

Linkara: Yyyyeah, no, they don't. I know I don't, at least, unless you count the time I tried to eat the spicy chicken nuggets at Wendy's instead of the regular ones? Those things are nasty! (raises index finger) Stick to the regular nuggets, my friends.

J'Onn: Where did you get this power?

Sybok: The power was within you.

Linkara: (as Sybok) In other words, (holds up fist) the power is yours!

Sybok: Join my quest. I seek what you seek...

Linkara: (as Sybok) Rogaine.

Sybok: What all men have sought, since time began...

Linkara: (as Sybok) Affordable car insurance.

Sybok: ...the ultimate knowledge. But to find it... we'll need a starship.

Linkara: (as Sybok) Now, you might be wondering how the hell I got to a different planet without a spaceship, but don't worry, I move by the power of plot convenience.

Linkara (v/o): We cut to Yosemite National Park in the mountain El Capitan. We finally get a movie comic without a big poster as the title page, instead letting Star Trek V: The Final Frontier be written along the side of the mountain, while Kirk Free Solos it.

Narrator: The time: Stardate 8454.1.

Linkara: (as narrator) Do you know where your children are?

Narrator: The situation: self-explanatory.

Linkara: (holds up index finger) Ah, so Kirk was fighting against the lizard monster and is clinging to the side of the mountain because he was knocked over. (beat) What? You said it was self-explanatory. There are a number of reasons why this could be happening.

Spock: I regret to inform you, Captain, that the record time for free-climbing is in no danger of being broken.

Captain James T. Kirk: I'm doing this because I enjoy it Spock, not for (unhh) records.

Linkara: You may be wondering just grunted like that. (holds up index finger) Don't worry, William Shatner can explain that.

(Cut to a clip of the Star Trek V movie)

Kirk (Shatner): He wants to envelop that mountain within his body. He wants to make love to the mountain.

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): Oh, yeah, and judging by this face he's making, I think Kirk is definitely doing his best to screw the mountain. Anyway, he loses his footing and starts falling, and strangely enough, we get a thought balloon that Kirk is thinking...

Kirk: (thinking) Sam...

Linkara (v/o): ...probably in reference to his dead brother.

(Cut to a clip of an episode of Star Trek, showing said death)

Linkara (v/o): The one who was killed by plastic vomit creatures. Weird.

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): Spock catches him by the leg, which should naturally snap his leg off, considering how fast he was falling, but as we see here with Spock at a horizontal angle, he's wearing magic boots.

Spock: Perhaps "because it is there" is not a sufficient reason for wanting to climb a mountain.

Kirk: I'm hardly in a position to disagree.

Linkara (v/o): And again, the wisdom of Shatner shines through.

(Cut to another clip of Star Trek V)

Kirk: But the mountain is climbed... because I think the climber wants to hug the mountain.

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): Back on Nimbus III, some narration explains what the planet's deal is.

Narrator: Twenty years earlier, the governments of the Romulans, Klingons, and Federation had agreed to develop the planet together, believing a new age was dawning. The new age died quickly. The Great Drought turned it to dust.

Linkara: (as narrator) And instead of figuring out a different, better planet and settling there, the project was farmed out to a few private companies and, well, lowest bidder and all that.

Narrator: When weapons were forbidden, they fashioned their own. When entertainment was needed... they found that, too.

Linkara: Cat girls, the universal form of entertainment!

Linkara (v/o): And of course, because this is a DC comic, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out a cameo here. The dude with the fishbowl on his head?

(Cut to a shot of a comic called "The Space Ranger")

Linkara (v/o): That's actually Rick Star, AKA Space Ranger, a DC sci-fi hero from the '50s and '60s who has had occasional appearances since then in the DCU.

(Cut back to the Star Trek comic)

Linkara (v/o): And of course, the bar with the dancing cat girl is also the Ambassadorial Suite, since in the back of the bar are the three respective ambassadors from the Federation, Klingon Empire and the Romulan Empire all bickering with one another.

(Cut to footage of the concurrent scene in the movie)

Linkara (v/o): The Federation Ambassador in the movie was played by David Warner, completely wasted in his role to the point where I wonder if the ambassadors were supposed to play a larger part in the story, but ended up getting cut.

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): Anyway, the guy from before and his forces storm the bar, and subsequently, the town the bar is located in, and quickly takes the ambassadors prisoner – and only in three panels, no less. We then cut to the Enterprise in space dock. If you'll recall, at the end of Star Trek IV, the crew took command of the Enterprise A and warped off to new adventures and stuff, full of excitement and wonder! But I guess someone got drunk and spilled their beer on the controls, since now, at the beginning of this one, the ship is in crappy shape. However, unlike the movie, the unnecessary and out-of-nowhere subplot of Scotty and Uhura developing a relationship has been completely excised. Starfleet orders the Enterprise to be the one to rescue the hostages. They're told to recall personnel on shore leave, and we even skip the useless and kind of dumb scene with Chekov and Sulu lost in the forest. Speaking of skipped scenes, it's time for the campfire scene with Kirk, Spock and McCoy, and in another wise cut, we no longer have the part of it with bourbon and beans, and instead just skip to the good part of it. McCoy says that Kirk needs to stop risking his life in pointlessly futile macho gestures, like Free Soloing El Capitan.

McCoy: ...when you fell off that mountain, you should've been killed.

Kirk: It crossed my mind, but even as I fell, I knew I wouldn't die... because the two of you were with me.

Linkara: Well, Spock was with you. McCoy was watching with binoculars and laughing at the thought of you getting impaled on a tree. McCoy's kind of sadistic like that.

Kirk: I've always known I'll die alone.

Linkara: (as Kirk) I had a premonition of my own death. This film is actually a sequel to Final Destination and not Star Trek.

McCoy: All that time in space, getting on each other's nerves, and what do we do when shore leave comes along? We spend it together! Other people have families!

Kirk: Other people, Bones. Not us.

Linkara: (as Spock) Actually, both my father and my mother are still alive. (as McCoy) Aw, shut up, Spock! (as Spock) Also, you still owe me ten bucks.

Linkara (v/o): Spock, having studied up on camping, has prepared some camping food.

Spock: I am preparing to toast a marsh melon.

Linkara: Ah, marsh melons. Those will go great inside that other traditional camping food, s'morlins.

Linkara (v/o): They try to have a sing-along of "Row Row Row Your Boat", which is thankfully only one panel in this version. Uhura suddenly shows up to inform them of the orders from Starfleet, since the captain left his communicator back on the ship and the transporters aren't working. They take the shuttle back up to the Enterprise, and we cut to a Klingon Bird of Prey, where Captain Klaa is attacking some random satellite.

(Cut to the matching scene in the movie)

Linkara (v/o): In the movie, it was the real-life Pioneer-10, which is incredibly laughable since that would mean that Klaa was attacking something right on our doorstep.

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