Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - Special Collector's Edition DVD Review
PictureThe movie was shot 14 years ago so one would expect a less than pristine print, and indeed that is what we get. Skin tones and colours remain true throughout, but there is a distracting amount of grain, scratches and pops on the print. There appears to have been no attempt made to digitally clean these up, despite this being a “special collector's edition”. I expected better. The picture is slightly soft and this probably explains the lack of edge enhancement, but shadows have a reasonable amount of detail. Without the “wear and tear” it would be a perfectly watchable though hardly cutting edge print. With it, it is too distracting, especially on a decent sized screen.
SoundThe sound, unlike the picture, has had a major overhaul. This will undoubtedly be the best you have ever heard this movie. The whole sound stage is well used and every one of your speakers will be well utilized. Bass digs deep, the music score is rich and enveloping and the actors' voices are not drowned out, as is so often the case with action movies. God's voice has an all-enveloping resonance that works very well. Full marks to whoever mixed this 5.1 soundtrack
ExtrasWilliam Shatner, apparently not happy with merely directing, writing, and starring in STV, decided to rope another family member into the production, as he provides commentary on the movie with his daughter Elizabeth. She was also on set during production and wrote a book about the experience.
Despite what you might think about William Shatner the actor, William Shatner the man is an endearing person, and with his daughter he provides a gentle insight into the problems he faced with time and money, and his constant battles with Paramount to get the movie he wanted on screen. The evolution of the plotlines, and the insistence on character consistency by the relevant actors is fascinating. It almost made it worth watching the movie again!
Also provided is a text commentary. This is “written” by Michael Okuda, author of the Star Trek Encyclopaedia. It can be watched at the same time that the spoken word commentary is provided by the Shatners, although taking in both can be a little confusing. This is not a feature I have seen before, and it is not one I would like to see again. If the relevant people can't be bothered to sit and commentate, I can't be Bothered to sit and read! It's distracting and fragmenting, and I don't think it works. However for the sake of you dear reader I read every word. The information was mainly interesting, providing factual details on the production, (for example a scene was planned where a shot of Mt. Rushmore revealed the face of a female African-American President carved into the mountain), character motivation and background, and even a little humour, although there was some duplication with Shatner's recollections. As an experiment in added value features I think it fails. Stick to the commentaries.
Disc 2 contains a number of excellent featurettes and documentaries that go above and beyond the usual marketing fluff on DVDs. Of particular note is a 30minutes retrospective with interviews with director, producers and production staff, further outlining the budgetary constraints, the major changes required to the end of the movie in order to stick to budget, and the experience of Shatner as a first time feature director. There is also video footage of the Star Trek V press conference, which proves if nothing else that an actor without a script is as dumb as you and me.
There are also short videos on the actors playing the lead klingons. Who are interviewed fawning over each other, and relating tales from the make-up room, and two mercifully short videos entitled Cosmic Thoughts, and A Green Future containing a variety of scientists doing what they do best, speculating and theorising on the cosmos and the future of the planet. The extensive package is further enhanced with production stills and make-up test footage for all the major and minor characters, theatrical and TV trailers, and lost footage of the wisely deleted Rockman ending and other deleted scenes.
Overall, an exhaustive and entertaining couple of hours, which shows that even bad movies are made with the best intentions.
VerdictPoor dialogue, poor acting, poor special effects and a poorly restored print. These are not redeemed by a very good sound edit and a well featured list of extras. Ultimately this is for die-hard trekkies and collection completists only.