Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Movie Poster Image
Worst in series; some tricky religious content.
  • PG
  • 1989
  • 108 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Starfleet is notably racially and species-integrated, and there is a strong sense of friendship, military duty, and loyalty. Religious believers, though -- to the extent that the cultists here can be described as such -- are pretty much brainwashed, uncivilized rabble.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The members of the crew work together and are very loyal to each other (Mr. Scott won't disregard an order to get a transporter working, even with Klingons and God on the attack as potential distractions). However, they are quick to use weapons and violence, and demonstrate some anti-religious prejudice.

Violence

Ray-gun and rifle-type fire, bloodless hand-to-hand combat.

Sex

Uhura does a skimpily clad dance to distract some bad guys. There is a catlike alien woman with prominent (multi-breasted) cleavage.

Language

"God-damned" and "pisses me off" uttered.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Dr. McCoy praises the merits of Kentucky bourbon. Drinking in a riotous interspecies bar. Klingons are shown especially drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that some critics of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier have interpreted an unsubtle anti-religious message here. The villain is a religious fanatic with a barbaric flock of pilgrims and a fondness for mind control. As for the vague, godlike being (perhaps even the God) he seeks, it comes across as a manipulative, power-crazed alien-monster menace. There is also drinking, mild curse words, and some fist-fighting and ray-gun violence. A brief subplot involves physician-assisted euthanasia (portraying it more or less with disfavor).

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written by6of7 March 20, 2020

Star Trek V

It is not their finest moment, but I don't think it deserves such low ratings. I find that it has lots of amusing moments. The plot was provocative.
Parent Written byCooldee March 25, 2010

Star Trek 5 has not relgious issues!

Religion is not an issue in this movie! I had not seen this movie yet, but in my opinion, there are not religous issues in this movie!
Kid, 11 years old January 9, 2017

Excellent movie, but a bit too much for younger kids

I think this is an excellent movie. But it is still best for older kids. Aside from like 3 scenes, there isn't really any violence. But there is one scene... Continue reading
Kid, 8 years old May 21, 2015

Boring, and still violent.

My rating PG: for some violence.

What's the story?

The first four Star Trek movies flow neatly into each other to tell one continuous saga, wrapped up in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, but now the series starts over from scratch in STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER. But Starfleet still orders Captain Kirk and his crew from their camping trip and marshmallow roasts (!?) to speed to a desert planet, where ambassadors of the Klingon and Romulan Empires have been taken hostage. The Enterprise is thus lured into a trap and hijacked by Sybok (Lawrence Luckinbill), Mr. Spock's long-lost brother, a renegade cult leader. Sybok intends to literally find heaven and God by taking the ship into a forbidden zone of space.

Is it any good?

With uneven scripting and effects, this is considered the least worthwhile of the big-screen Trek adaptations; it feels like a slipshod, just-before-cancellation episode of the original TV series. It's great to see the classic cast interacting -- and there's a revelation about Dr. McCoy that explains the spacegoing physician's grouchy House-like attitude -- but the rest is mediocre. In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier's defense, the previous three Star Trek movies were a tough act to follow.

The journey to this "Final Frontier" resolves in unsatisfactory fashion, with lots of ray-gun blasts but few answers. In fact, it's easy (and, unfortunately, makes the most sense) to interpret the movie as a photon torpedo-salvo against religion.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the tone of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Is it anti-religious? Producer Gene Roddenberry (not the only major contributor to Star Trek, but a leading figure) is often counted among celebrity atheists, yet nonfiction books have also been written about the "spirituality" of Trek.

  • How does sci-fi in general regard traditional religion? How do kid-favorites like The Golden Compass and Harry Potter regard religion?

  • Which elements of the Star Trek universe are possible and which are purely science fiction? Is there any technology that they have in Starfleet that is similar to something that exists today?

Movie details

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