Even diehard Trekkies may be disappointed by Star Trek V. Coming after Leonard Nimoy’s delightful directorial outing on Star Trek IV, William Shatner’s inauspicious feature directing debut is a double letdown.
A major flaw in the story [by Shatner, Harve Bennett and David Loughery] is that it centers on an obsessive quest by a character who isn’t a member of the Enterprise crew, a renegade Vulcan played by Laurence Luckinbill in Kabuki-like makeup. The crazed Luckinbill kidnaps the crew and makes them fly to a never-before-visited planet at the centre of the galaxy in quest of the Meaning of Life.
Better they should have stayed home and watched reruns of the TV series, which had a lot more to say about the meaning of life.
Shatner, rises to the occasion, however, in directing a dramatic sequence of the mystical Luckinbill teaching Nimoy and DeForest Kelley to re-experience their long-buried traumas. The re-creations of Spock’s rejection by his father after his birth and Kelley’s euthanasia of his own father are moving highlights.