Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
In Star Trek II we found Khan. In Star Trek III we found Spock. In Star Trek IV we found whales. What is bigger than all of that? One of us is looking for God. And – surprise! We find Spock’s brother! And we weren’t even searching for him. Strap in for a fun movie… or a movie, anyway. It’s Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
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Tags: God, religion, Sha Ka Ree, Sybok, The Final Frontier, The Original Series, The Original Series Films, TOS, V, William Shatner
Ughh. I hated the movie but loved your remarks. Thanks.
My biggest concern with this movie wasn’t the story’s blatant mockery of and attack on anyone who believes in a deity, stereotyping them as a bunch of gullible nutcases (despite even famous atheist Carl Sagan’s admission that more than 90 percent of the planet’s population believe in a deity, making atheism a microscopic and very clamorous minority… but I digress).
Nor was my concern with the crappy special effects (we tolerated three seasons of that in TOS). The only people who would complain about Star Trek special effects are not Star Trek fans.
My concern was with the horrendous script which is 100% built on faith – not religious faith (which is simply a red herring), but, similar to the doctrines of Evolution, we have two hours of theories thrust on us with the message that if we do not throw our brains out the window and immediately on faith accept as fact these doctrines herein presented, it is therefore we who are out of our minds.
Unlike religious faith, in which a person has the proof of his own experience with the divine without any regard to what anyone else believes about it, there is no “proof by experience” that an individual can have with the non-entity of Evolution theory. In the exact same vein, in this story we are told and expected to have faith to believe that the relationship between Spock and Kirk at this point in their acquaintance is NOT intimate enough for Spock to reveal Sybok as his brother until AFTER Spock has committed treason, betrayed Kirk, let the Enterprise – flagship of the Federation – be captured by an armed party, and has allowed himself, Kirk and McCoy to be held prisoner by people who we must deem as mad simply because they believe in a god. And, we are expected to believe that Sybok alone knows the location of Shaa Ka Ree and god without even attempting to convince us with any form of research or evidence or precedent of any kind – though it is quite clear that Sybok has stolen the concept from the writings of Joseph Smith’s Mormon religion which teaches that their god lives on or near a planet or star called Kolob(1).
We are meant to believe that Sybok, whom Spock goes out of his way to say was very intelligent, actually thinks that the Almighty lives utterly secluded on a barren planet – and we are meant to be shocked, and we are meant to believe Sybok’s shock, at discovering that the Being on that obviously forsaken planet is not god and that he is actually a prisoner.
And we are meant to believe that some how this imprisoned alien criminal is fully versed on the similitudes of the galaxy’s deities with the ability to instantly know the exact species of Kirk, McCoy, Spock and Sybil and what their personal visual concept of god is.
The cartoons notwithstanding, we are meant to believe that the Enterprise is capable of flying an unspeakable number of lighters to the center of the galaxy, pass thru the Great Barrier without so much as a blip of its existence on sensors, and arrive at the home of god in a hop, skip and jump of a couple of hours.
I’m sorry, but I just don’t have that much faith.
(1) Mormon canonical writings: Book of Abraham 3:2-3, Times and Seasons, Pearl of Great Price, Grammar & Alphabet of the Egyptian Language by Joseph Smith
Agreed, I thought the travelling of the Enterprise to the Galactic Barrier was ridiculously smooth. I figured there’d be some buoy warning people to stay clear, but hey it’s your funeral. Poorly done film, pulling Sybok out of nowhere, the Paradise City assault and the hypno powers of Sybok were disappointing. Bummer start to finish….
I think “Who Watches the Watchers” TNG conveyed the same message w an easier tone. Also, when Wesley and the Traveler reunite in “Journey’s End”, the notion of religion is touched upon…but not hammered. DS9 spiritual aspect w the Prophets, the Bajoran “Pah” energy feel and Celestial Temple are other ways the Trek universe addresses spirituality/religion and the concept of an all powerful…w/o knocking the faithful down…
I think you have misjudged Star Trek. I think Roddenberry wanted to show a hopeful future where we have more or less done away with many societal failings that have hampered human flourishing. Among these are greed, racism, aggression, superstition, and religion.
Faith is NOT an evil, and that is a great insult to the 5 BILLION people on earth who KNOW that a God exists. Atheism is a tiny but loud mouth religion which has deleted from historic fact that nearly every scientist who made astronomical discoveries and inventions were ALL PEOPLE OF FAITH and WROTE of their devotion – even DARWIN who was a minister! Atheism – which relegates Humanity to nothing more than a worthless, pointless, disposable accidental afterbirth of an accidental universe – is quite literally the most dangerous religion in earth’s history, and cannot possibly produce a world like that of Star Trek without murdering most of the planet’s population and then enslaving in a dictatorship those who remain. A person who does not believe he will be held accountable before the Almighty for his thoughts, words and actions is utterly untrustworthy because his “morality” is based on his own personal biased puny human opinion without any absolutes or convictions so that he changes it whenever those morals become inconvenient – and then inflicts that warped morality on others. The result: Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Kim Jung Il, Mao, and in Star trek, Khan himself. That is the ultimate in horror. On the other hand, the doctrine of the Lord God Jesus Christ is very simple: love the Lord God with all your being and love [ie RESPECT] your neighbor as yourself, do good to your enemies, bless them that curse you, forgive all that is done against you as I have forgive you for all the wickedness that is in you, do no harm to anyone. See how easy that is. Logic dictates that those who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ but do not do as He says, are not Christians, and it is there for totally illogical to judge Jesus Christ by their actions. It is only the doctrine of Jesus Christ that could bring us anywhere near the World of Star Trek. But faulty, lustful, greedy Man (which by the way is very single human without exception) wants everything HIS OWN way, thinking that despite being flawed he can somehow attain perfection if given unlimited time to “evolve” to it. But as any honest scientist can tell you, NOTHING that is already corrupt can ever produce perfection. Humanity is at the bottom of a dark and dank well; Jesus Christ is the only stairway out. But stupid arrogant prideful Mankind thinks that somehow it will get itself out, and it will spin its wheels until it goes mad.
Very forcefully stated, but I’m sure this isn’t the forum to discuss why you think you know things that you can’t possibly know. Star Trek shows us a future where people aren’t shackled by these baseless superstitions. That day can’t come soon enough. I’m not planning on answering any further on this.
Spock’s Personal ( Audio ) Log entry : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6K6482krlDI
AS seen in “The Continuing Mission”
I had totally forgotten how bad this movie was…
Soon after moving to the UK I was introduced to the phrase “curate’s egg”, which I learned described something that was partly good but which was ruined by its bad parts. The first time I saw this movie, I applied that phrase to it. I considered it irredeemible. Now, I can’t say that, and your intriguing podcast comments have reinforced that reassessment. There are some amazing, real moments in this. They just happened to be stitched together badly.
Favourite bit of trivia: Shatner’s daughter Melanie cameos as the yeoman who hands him the Captain’s datapad for his log. You know, the one whose design is so flawed it has a huge section dedicated to flash SYSTEM FAILURE when something goes wrong.
I thought the humor was one of the only things that worked in this one. Lots of great humor and a warm, well-worn dynamic between the Kirk, Spock and Bones. Also one of my favorite funny Trek moments.. “I know this ship like the back of my hand” BONK. The rest of the movie? A hot mess.
The mutiny of the rest of the crew really rubbed me wrong. I’ve read that Kelley & Nimoy had to lobby for a script change, arguing that Spock & McCoy would never betray Kirk. But Scotty and Sulu and the rest would? Scotty, who only has to hear from Kirk, “Scotty, General Order Twenty Four. Two hours! In two hours!” and will go ahead and wipe out a planet with no further explanation, is going to turn on him in this movie?
Seriously though, thank you for forever associating the guy at the beginning with Midnight Oil! I don’t think he was in awe of him being Vulcan, just surprised that he was Vulcan after having behaved in such a non-Vulcan way. I was also instantly taken by that opening which made the rest of it such a let down. The desert, the horse, the lone & lonely man digging a hole…. “All I have.” It had promise.
There was a comment about the closing dialogue during this podcast… making fun of Kirk’s comment “I lost a brother once… I’m glad I got him back”
Since 1989 I clearly interpreted this as Kirk *absolutely* talking about losing his biological brother… but “gaining” a new brother … Spock… through their 25 yr friendship.
Just watching this on SyFy here in the UK.
Never realised the opening music was the TNG theme. Also some of the corridors look very much like the Enterprise D. Where these sets used in TNG?
Yep – they had to do a lot of redressing of the existing sets. They weren’t going to build all new corridors while the TNG ones were there on the same lot. Same thing for all the sets that were carried over from the movies to TNG and then back again!
Also – nice profile pic, Pete!
Thank you. On both counts!
The message was pretty heavy-handed in this movie for my taste. Not that I don’t agree with the themes. In an enlightened future, there is no place for unquestioned faith in anything.
Weirdly enough, watching Star Trek and listening to your podcast has made me less of an atheist. Mostly because it’s made me really examine what God is. An intelligent being with power so great to my own that I am unable to comprehend it? God, an alien, a superhero, a supernatural creature, a freak of nature: it’s all essentially labels at that point. And who am I to say that in this infinite universe, there isn’t something so powerful that we could call it a God? Or even that Gods are so common that we refuse them a label so pregnant with contention and complicated history? Perhaps one has visited us and interfered with our development. Probably not. But I don’t really have all of the data necessary to KNOW something like that.
Anyway, it’s always good to be reminded that your perspective is only a fraction of the bigger picture. Sometimes to best way to prevent yourself from being one of the fools and fanatics is to accept that maybe you’ll never see the whole thing and be okay with it.