Star Trek V was doomed to fail and more than William Shatner deserve blame

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was dead from the start.

On the set of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
On the set of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier / Sunset Boulevard/GettyImages

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was never going to be a huge success. Whether William Shatner sat in the director's chair or not. The movie has been one of the few Trek properties that haven't found a new fanbase with time, and for good reason. The script is uneven and janky, with too much time dedicated to the quieter, less interesting moments, and a climax that falls flat, despite a villain worth paying attention to.

Arguably, the best thing about the film is Sybok, Spock's brother who believes in emotions and wants to end up finding God, known as Sha Ka Ree. Which in turn is the beginning of the end. The quasi-desire to find "god", only for it to be a giant talking head, alien being, doomed the movie. It was absurd. It was nonsensical and the fact they named the giant-talking-head-alien-God after Sean Connery makes it even worse.

The whole idea was bad. Shatner, as poor of a job, as he did, was only ever going to make this movie so good. If a script is bad, you're only ever going to make it so good and believe me, the script for Star Trek V was bad. It was the worst script the franchise ever produced. To be fair, Shatner came up with the story, but David Loughery is the one credited with taking Shatner's idea and turning it into a workable script.

Also, it should be pointed out that the producers and executive producers on the project still approved the script. Plenty of blame to go around.

With other poorly received movies, Nemesis and Insurrection, and even Into Darkness, the general idea or execution is good, even if there are elements that don't land. Insurrection being about the Enterprise fighting against a corrupt Admiral is a good story, even if it's not a good Star Trek story. Nemesis sees the Romulans clone Jean-Luc Picard in order to topple the Federation. Solid.

The Final Frontier? Floating-head-God. Shatner's handling of the production is well documented, he only did so well as a director and that's not up for debate. Yet, when you're handcuffed with a poor script and next to no money to make it work, what were you expecting to happen?