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Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
A Paramount Home Video Release
1989, 106 Minutes, Color, Rated PG

Starring:  William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei
List Price:  $29.99 USD, released 04/20/99
Packaging:  Keepcase, Region 1 NTSC
Disc Format:  Single Sided, Single Layered (DVD-5)
Aspect Ratio:  2.35:1 Widescreen
Audio Formats:  English 5.1, English 2.0 Surround, French 2.0 Surround
Closed Captioning:  English
Features:  Interactive Menus, Scene Selection, 2 Theatrical Trailers

Set out across uncharted space once again with the original cast of the television show Star Trek. in their fifth theatrical movie, The Final Frontier. In this outing, the Starship Enterprise is hijacked by Spockís half brother who, along with some idealistic companions, are obsessively searching for the center of the galaxy where they expect to find the "Supreme Being". Directed by William Shatner (Captain James T. Kirk), this film has all the Star Trek atmosphere one would expect, but packaged with a plot line that can be difficult to get around. Made in 1989, the special effects seem pretty dated Ė in fact, a longer version of the ending was cut due to "unsatisfactory" quality.

Paramount is working backwards through the entire series and released this disc three weeks before the debut of their winter Star Trek blockbuster on DVD, Insurrection. Possibly due to time constraints they chose not to create a new video master (something they have promised to do for the remainder of the films), and instead used an older Laserdisc transfer in 2.35:1 non-anamorphic widescreen. Overall, I wasnít that impressed with the visual quality. The master is getting old, so image detail and color saturation is weak. Grain is noticeable on many shots, as are jaggies and image shifting. For a particularly strong example of this last problem, watch the edges of the white Klingon subtitles closely. Black levels are even throughout the entire movie, however it is not the same shade of black as used for the widescreen bars. The movie is presented on a single layered disc.

For audio, the soundtrack has been remastered from the original Dolby SR to a brand new Dolby Digital 5.1 version. The rear channels are used frequently throughout the movie, however itís very hard to find any discrete activity. The largest problem is that someone somewhere added a horrible echo effect to much of the music. This is very noticeable on the horns during the opening creditís orchestral score and is evident throughout the film. For some reason the effect is much less pronounced when using the 2.0 ProLogic soundtrack. Also, during loud action sequences some distortion can be heard in the rear channels, while static in vocal recordings stand out on many other scenes. The 5.1 track must be manually accessed from either the discís setup menu or by using the Audio button during the film.

Paramount has included two theatrical trailers with this disc, one in 1.85:1 and stereo sound, the other in 2.35:1 widescreen with 2.0 and 5.1 audio. Otherwise, the only other features youíll find are the typical interactive menus and scene selection screens.

While the special effects certainly wonít blow anyone away, I still find The Final Frontier it to be an entertaining movie with some enjoyable humor. Due to the merely average quality of the disc, however, I can only recommend it to Trekkie fans.

- Reviewed by Daniel Tonks on May 24, 1999.

Video Quality:
Audio Quality:
1-Poor 2-Fair 3-Good 4-Excellent
System Equipment
Sony DVP-S500D DVD Player
Sony STR-GA8ES 5.1 Receiver
Sony KV-27V65 27" Television using S-Video
Nuance Spatial & Star Series Speakers

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