Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)

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Released 6-Jul-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Star Trek Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 102:06
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (53:46) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By William Shatner

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring William Shatner
Leonard Nimoy
DeForest Kelley
James Doohan
Walter Koenig
Nichelle Nichols
George Takei
David Warner
Laurence Luckinbill
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Jerry Goldsmith

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.20:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Greek
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Way back in laserdisc's heyday, I made sure that I collected each and every Star Trek movie. One day, as I was looking through my collection of Star Trek laserdiscs, I pulled out Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and put it on, eager to test out the latest addition to my surround sound equipment. Oddly, I did not remember the opening sequence, so I kept watching. Much to my delight, I realised that here was a Star Trek movie that I had somehow overlooked. My delight was tempered, however, by a movie with more than its fair share of Star Trek cringe-inducing moments, although I thought the end sequence was rather impressive.

    Several years on, and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is available on DVD. I was interested to see how the cringe-inducing scenes fared with the passage of time, and am pleased to report that they aren't nearly as bad second time through. Still, this movie does follow the usual Star Trek rules;

Odd-numbered movies are worse than even-numbered movies Check
Any Star Trek movie which involves any of the crew singing is best avoided Check

    It also really highlights that Nichelle Nichols is no Tina Turner...

    Nimbus III is the opening setting for Star Trek V. A suitably dramatic opening sequence sets the scene quite promisingly, but then we get to the self-indulgent mountain-climbing and camping sequence. The sooner that is over with the better. Anyhow, the basic thrust of the story is that the Romulan, Klingon and Federation ambassadors on Nimbus III (the desolate but grandly-dubbed "Planet Of Intergalactic Peace") are taken hostage by a rag-tag force lead by Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill). His demand - a Federation Starship in exchange for the ambassadors.

    Naturally, the only Federation Starship able to assist is the incomplete Enterprise, along with her recalled-from-shore-leave crew. When they arrive at Nimbus III, they find out that not all is as it appears, and they begin on the next phase of their journey, to cross the Great Barrier in the centre of the galaxy.

    All quibbles with the plot to this point aside, I must say that once the Great Barrier is crossed, the movie moves into full-on action mode and the climax of the movie almost makes up for the rest of the movie.

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Transfer Quality


    This is not an easy transfer to watch. Previously-reviewed Star Trek movies have all been superbly transferred and eminently watchable, but this one is starting to show its age. The overall transfer is quite dark and muted, so ambient light will need to be strongly controlled to get best results out of this disc.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.20:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. This is significantly cropped from the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and some of the shot compositions look just a little cramped as a result.

    This transfer is not overly sharp, mainly due to the lack of 16x9 enhancement. This is probably most evident in the early rock-climbing sequence, where the fine texture of the mountain is simply not resolved. Indeed, fine background details are often poorly resolved by this transfer. Foreground details are usually fine although lacking that nth degree of sharpness offered by 16x9 enhanced transfers. Shadow detail is generally quite poor, with little-to-no detail visible in the shadows, which there are plenty of. The overall darkness of the transfer does not help in this regard. There is no low level noise, but some shots are a little grainy.

    Colours were generally muted in this transfer, with little in the way of vibrant colouration. Previous Star Trek DVDs were a riot of vibrant colour on at least the Enterprise bridge - not so in the case of this transfer. There was no colour bleeding noted, even in the one oversaturated scene - the opening campfire sequence.

    MPEG artefacts were absent. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some moderate aliasing on some surfaces of the Enterprise, and on some of the bridge displays, but this was not generally a problem, most likely because the transfer is simply not sharp enough to alias. Film artefacts were generally absent, although many of the special effects shots in the climactic scenes at the end of the movie had more than their fair share of film artefacts.

    There are a series of subtitle languages available on this DVD. I sampled the English subtitles. Words were frequently left out of the subtitles, with only 70 - 80% of the spoken words being available in the subtitle stream. Auditory cues were left out of this stream, which would not aid hearing impaired viewers at all. The one good thing I'll say about the subtitle track is that it is in quite a bold and easy-to-read font.

    This disc is RSDL formatted with the layer change placed unobtrusively at a quiet moment in the movie, at 53:46.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The soundtrack for this movie is showing its age, with muffled dialogue and uneven surround usage.

    There are 4 soundtracks available on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 5.1, and Spanish, French and Italian soundtracks in Dolby Digital 2.0 surrround. I listened only to the English soundtrack, which sounded more like a de-matrixed 2.0 soundtrack than a discrete 5.1 soundtrack.

    Dialogue is variable in quality. Some portions of it are muffled, indistinct and frequency limited. Some portions are relatively clear. Some portions are slightly distorted. The dialogue is never well-integrated spatially. All-in-all, you'll need to concentrate a little on the dialogue on offer in order to understand all of the words. Some moderately annoying aggressive ping-pong dialogue placement has been done in some scenes where the speakers are presented across the visual frame. The resultant effect is to have their dialogue spread out too far across the front soundstage, distracting from what they are saying rather than enhancing it. Audio sync is not a problem.

    The music for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is from the only composer, in my opinion, who gets Star Trek scoring exactly right - Jerry Goldsmith. This is a fabulous score, far better than this movie deserves, which is always complementary to the on-screen action and never draws undue attention to itself.

    The surround use of this soundtrack is quite limited for the majority of the movie. Most of the movie is presented with a very wide front soundstage which simply fails to wrap around to the rears. Once we get to the climactic end-sequence, however, this trend is reversed, with extremely aggressive surround activity enveloping you in the movie. There is no discrete surround use - the rear surrounds sound monaural at all times - but they are enveloping nonetheless.

    The subwoofer has very little to do until the end sequence, when it springs aggressively and appropriately to life, adding menace to the end sequence.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Not much here.


Theatrical Trailer

    1.85:1, not 16x9 enhanced and with frequency-limited Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound. Gives far too much of the movie away.

Teaser Trailer

    More like another full-on trailer than a teaser, this is presented in much higher quality than the Theatrical Trailer; 1.85:1, not 16x9 enhanced with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R4 and R1 versions of this DVD are identically specified.


    Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is probably the weakest Star Trek movie in the series. Some painful Star Trek "moments" ensure that it has this dubious honour. Nonetheless, this is partially atoned for by the decently spectacular ending.

    Transfer-wise, this is showing its age.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
Wednesday, August 15, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3300, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Art-95 (95cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderDenon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder and Denon AVD-1000 dts decoder. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationEA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifier for Left & Right Front; Marantz MA6100 125W per channel monoblock amplifiers for Left & Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
SpeakersPhilips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer

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