Matthew Lickona 2:02 p.m., Sept. 23
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
William Shatner, inheriting the director's hat from Leonard Nimoy, seems to camp his role here a little more than he was ever allowed to do under any other director than himself (it's his first such assignment). And the action, in his uncallused hands, is flabby in the extreme. However, it is at all times clearly laid out in strategic terms, and it is never bogged down by hardware and special effects. Nor is it bogged down, as the original TV show was, by the opposite: impoverishment. And to a great extent, any Star Trek production, propped up as it is by idea and by myth, and well settled as to its "look," is probably director-proof. The main idea this time enacts that theological question familiar to every little Sunday schooler who has spent more time with comic books than with his Bible: if Heaven is a place, can it be found by spaceship? This, needless to add, is not the most sophisticated or cerebral sort of idea to be taken up in contemporary science fiction, nor even for that matter in the Star Trek series. But it does recapture the innocent sense of wonder so essential to the form. You can hardly ask more than that. Or rather: you can ask, but you mustn't insist. With Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, and Laurence Luckinbill. 1989.