Sybok: Let us explore it together. Each man hides a secret pain. It must be exposed and reckoned with. It must be dragged from the darkness and forced into the light. Share your pain. Share your pain with me, and gain strength from the sharing.
Sybok: What you seek. What all men have sought since time began. The ultimate knowledge.
Spock: [To Kirk while he is climbing] Concentration is vital. You must be one with the rock.
James T. Kirk: Spock, I appreciate your concern, but if you don't stop bothering me, I'm liable to be one with the (Kirk slips off the rock face) GROUND!
Montgomery Scott: [voiceover] USS Enterprise, shakedown crew's report. I think this new ship was put together by monkeys. Oh, she's got a fine engine, but half the doors won't open, and guess whose job it is to make it right.
Montgomery Scott: There's nothing amazing about it. [walks away, speaking to himself] I know this ship like the back of my hand. [Klunk!-Smacks into a utility pipe and knocks himself out.]
Sybok: The people of your planet once believed their world was flat. Columbus proved it was round. They said the sound barrier could never be broken. [shrugs] It was broken. They said warp speed could not be achieved.
James T. Kirk: What is this power you have to control the minds of my crew?
Sybok: By making you face, and draw strength from it. Once that's done fear cannot stop you.
James T. Kirk: Damn it Bones, you're a doctor. You know that pain and guilt can't be taken away with the wave of a magic wand. They're the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. [to Sybok] I don't want my pain taken away! I need my pain!
James T. Kirk: [to "God"] Excuse me... I just wanted to ask a question. What does God need with a starship?
As I've said, my awe was real. It was also brief. Once the Enterprise crew members (and the Vulcan who was holding them hostage) landed on the world beyond the Barrier, the possibilities of god or Eden or whatever quickly disintegrated into an anticlimactic special effects show with a touch of "The Wizard of Oz" thrown in for good measure.
"Star Trek V" is pretty much of a mess - a movie that betrays all the signs of having gone into production at a point where the script doctoring should have begun in earnest. There is no clear line from the beginning of the movie to the end, not much danger, no characters to really care about, little suspense, uninteresting or incomprehensible villains, and a great deal of small talk and pointless dead ends. Of all of the "Star Trek" movies, this is the worst.
More than anything else, Star Trek V is a work of profound ego. While Leonard Nimoy was mostly invisible behind the camera on Star Trek III: The Search For Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Shatner can’t help but make himself the Star Of The Show in every scene of his movie. There isn’t a single scene where Kirk isn’t completely right! The rest of the crew are barely themselves, bumping their heads on low passages and instantly falling for the old “ancient alien claims it’s actually God” trick. Only Kirk – powerful, brilliant, macho Kirk! – knows what to do in any given situation!
Star Trek has always been a simple life form that seems to propagate itself, the amoeba of the movie world. Each new episode must be different but the same, offering a moderate twist on the crisp money-making formula no one dares to abandon. With its built-in audience of insatiable fans - mostly aging baby-boomers who now prefer the more businesslike name Trekkers to the too-cute Trekkies - of both television and film incarnations, Star Trek has remained successful by stealing only from itself.
But Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is absolutely baroque, borrowing snatches of Mad Max,Star Wars,The Greatest Story Ever Told,2001 and The Wizard of Oz while diffusely chasing after a plot best described as Indiana Jones Finds a Field of Dreams in Space. The film's references are not auteurist allusions to the cinema - Star Trek hasn't drifted that far from its pulpy origins - but part of an unwieldy, misguided attempt to make this the biggest, grandest Star Trek yet.
I got the chance to direct a several-million-dollar movie, Star Trek V, and I did not get the help I needed in allocating my budget, so when it came to shooting the ending — needing a good villain and lots of computer graphics — I had run out of money. Sorry about that. I had to use footage that I had already shot — and spit on it a lot. I wanted to give [the audience] earth-breaking granite monsters spewing rocks and fire. Instead, I had a few pebbles in my hand that I threw at the camera.
So when you came along, though it was years later, with very similar themes, Gene was really hurt. I think it hurt Gene's ego that you finally going to tell the story that he wanted to tell ten years earlier. You were about to succeed where he had failed. At the time, Gene's secretary, Susan was making matters worse by walking around the office stating things like "I can't believe it! He stole your idea. Bill's an asshole. Bill's a bastard." So that did not help, and additionally, I know there was a fairly legitimate concern on Gene's part that your sense of humor [remark: in regard to the way the secondary cast was eventually portrayed in the movie] was a little different than had ever been visualized before."
Susan Sontag, Star Trek Movie Memories, 1995, pp. 46-49, 289-291
Shatner's Capt. James Kirk and his colleagues have retained the reflexes and openness of youth but at the same time they possess the perspective that only the passage of time can bring. For all its intergalactic cliff-hanging, "Star Trek V" is a mellow experience, a contemplation of life's possibilities and rewards in maturity, tinged with an awareness of mortality.
Shatner and his colleagues are clearly aware that at heart "Star Trek" is pretty square stuff, and they honor this quality with affection and just the right touch of tongue-in-cheekery. Without humor as well as wisdom, Sybok's big moment of the truth would be hokey rather than affecting. The film's loveliest scenes, however, are those which enclose it so gracefully near its beginning and at its end, with Kirk and McCoy sitting around a campfire, earnestly trying to teach the solemn Spock how to sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."
We had fun and felt good about IV, that wasn’t the case on V. I think on V we were smoking our own press releases. We made the mistake of searching for god. That is what the first movie did. What did we think we were going to find? What did we expect? We were focused and we wrote a good script. Larry Luckinbill (Sybok) was terrific. There were a lot of good things about it. I think we were, not delusional, but we almost killed the franchise. And, unfortunately I almost killed the franchise in terms of the visual effects. We felt like we got taken advantage of by ILM and so we shopped to go to other places. We found a guy in New York, Bran Ferren, who had a pretty good approach to doing the effects, but ultimately they were horrible. And the combination of a story that was not working, it just wasn’t commercial, the effects were terrible – we almost killed the franchise, it almost died.