Before I sat down for yet another midnight screening, this time for the dreaded Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, two of my friends - avowed Trek mega fans Nick and Scott Matey - pleaded with me in two lengthy emails not to see this piece of total garbage.
Sometimes, though, watching trash can be a semi-cleansing experience. If nothing else, it can help you appreciate the good cinema to be had in nearly any other cineplex (Marmaduke notwithstanding). After seeing Star Trek V, which I had experienced in a theater upon its disastrous 1989 debut, I was able to reconfirm a few things: a) it still sucks, b) I still laugh at its appaling special effects, none-too-interesting plot about taking on "God" and the beyond-silly sing-along with Kirk, Spock and Bones singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" (twice [!]) and c) despite this hugely disappointing installment, I still love Star Trek, and now more than ever can appreciate the beloved characters and the series' mission to seek new worlds (any except this one's Sha Ka Ree, thank you...which, by the way, is a name play on Sean Connery, who the makers sought to play Spock's half-brother Sybok before the role went to Laurence Luckinbill...who's about the only bright spot in this thing).
So why did I subject myself to dreck which has been disavowed by pretty much everyone involved in the Trek universe, including the screening's honorable speaker, Walter Koenig (a.k.a. our loveable Commander Pavel Chekhov), and the film's maker William Shatner (who claimed the script was re-tooled without his blessing, and that the effects were given the short shrift). The midnight show was the only way I could fit in my regular life today and make it to my dear friend Lisa's birthday. Plus, I did want to promote the cool movie series The Royal Theater has set up for the fans. The Royal has been screening every Trek film in sequence on Saturdays at midnight with special guests along the way, and have more upcoming on the way to last year's re-boot of the franchise. If you live in L.A. and are Trek lovers, you owe it to yourself to make it out for this. Even a crap movie like V - the absolute nadir of Trek - drew a big crowd that laughed and applauded all the way.
To sum up, before I try to forget it and move on with my life, if you have a choice and aren't a movie masochist like myself, avoid Star Trek V: The Final Frontier at all costs. You might think you're dying to see Captain Kirk climbing mountains at Yosemite, or Bones flaunting his own fashion statements (what's with the neck scarf?), trust me, you're better off not bruising your I.Q. with such ridiculous folly (catch Inception instead). If there's any positive to be taken away from my screening, it's that they did show a brilliantly conceived Star Trek short called "Russian Misconceptions," which makes you appreciate all over again the sheer genius of Pavel Chekhov. Google it. It actually was worth the price of admission.
O.K., Star Trek fans, now you can let me have it - in how many ways is part V completely unworthy of being viewed on anybody's moviewatching journey? Also, comment below with your favorite Trek movie or character, and how you'd rank the series from top to bottom. I vote for part II (surprise, surprise, right?) and a tie between Sulu and Chekhov. I know everyone else votes for the bigger characters, but I'm always fascinated with the second-in-commands (or third or fourth in this case...and while I'm on that subject, let me give props again to Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Inception). Now, here's to boldy going to better movie assignments for the remainder of the journey...