Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
|Year Of Production||1989|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (53:46)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Programme|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||William Shatner|
Paramount Home Entertainment
|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|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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.
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.
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.
|Surround Channel Use|
Transfer-wise, this is showing its age.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3300, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe 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 Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder and Denon AVD-1000 dts decoder. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||EA 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|
|Speakers||Philips 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|