by That Car Guy
Those words opened the original "Star Trek" and "Star Trek: The Next Generation" TV shows, and also closed my favorite Star Trek movie, "Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan." Whether spoken by James T. Kirk, Jean-Luc Picard, or Mr. Spock, they have an almost ethereal quality of their own.
Released on June 9, 1989, "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" was supposed to be the last film with the original cast, but fans' reaction to the production left quite a bit to be desired. It even left a black hole in many hearts, if I may be so bold.
I remember a late-night TV joke and others who said that their next movie should be called "Star Trek VI: The Apology". But STV:TFF is really a quite logical story, once the plot line is better understood. The movie was directed and co-written by that man with a life, William Shatner. <---- Please click! LOL
"Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" may be the least-liked film of the series, possibly because the audience did not mind-meld the connection between our friends on the USS Enterprise and what was happening down here on earth in the late 1980s, when the script was written. At the time, televangelists were falling from Grace faster than a lazy, fat, drunk hooker playing a stolen slot machine. A few even went to jail.
To parallel their plight, STV:TFF presented a fictional futuristic prophet whose message was also a bit far from the truth - Captain Kirk summed it up when he asked the "Almighty", "What does God need with a starship?" Or, for that matter, what does He need with a pickup truck?
"I know this ship like the back of my hand."
Certainly not a starship, the 2009 Nissan Frontier has no transporter, photon torpedoes, or invisible energy shields. But it does have two available engines: a 4-cylinder with 152 horsepower, or a V-6 with 261. Sorry, neither will get you up to warp speed, you'll just have to settle for one-quarter impulse power.
All Frontiers sold in America are made at the Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, where I used to work. To my chagrin, production started on the truck after I left, so I never saw one coming down the line. The first generation Frontiers were known to be very carlike, but the present truck is much more brutish. It has also grown into a mid-sized pickup, sharing the Nissan F-Alpha truck platform and many body components with the Nissan Pathfinder, also built in Smyrna.
"I don't want my pain taken away, I need my pain!"
The first modern 4-door pickup I ever sat in was a Frontier in 2000, before the Super Crew and Sport Trac were introduced. But I was disappointed then, and now, that the rear doors on the Frontier are really just ¾-doors, not quite the width of the front doors. To me, they look a bit truncated... abbreviated... even narrow. A Horta could never pass through these portals. I was hoping that this would have changed on the second generation, but it did not. Nissan has a few styling quirks, like the oddly-mounted outside rear door handles on the Pathfinder, that make their way from body style to body style. I guess this is one of them.
In STV:TFF, Mr. Spock surprised us with a half-brother, Sybok, brilliantly played by Laurence Luckinbill, who just happens to be married to Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball's daughter, Lucy Arnaz. Desi & Lucy owned Desilu, where the original "Star Trek" TV series was filmed.
I just read that the "God Planet" name, "Sha Ka Ree", was an abbreviated pronunciation of "Sean Connery", the first pick for Sybok's pointed ears. But he had been contracted to film "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade", and was not available to play the Vulcan.
In reality, the Nissan Frontier has a half-brother, the Suzuki Equator. Both are built on the same assembly line in Smyrna, share the same backbone, heart, and DNA, yet differ somewhat by facial and body features. The Suzuki version, like the Frontier, comes as either an extended cab or crew cab model. These days, regular cab pickups seem to be dying faster than an Enterprise away team member wearing a red shirt.
"Maybe God is not out there, maybe He is in here... the human heart."
STV:TFF may not be us Trekkers' favorite Star Trek movie, but I'll never forget the campfire scene where Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, sipping on some 23rd Century black-labeled Tennessee whiskey, sings "Row, row, row your boat." Captain Kirk also joins in, reminding us again why he is a ♫Rocket Man♫ and not a singer. The group also asks why, after all the time they spend together in outer space, do they stick together while on vacation, and why don't they have families. Later, Kirk replies that they are a family.
Pavel Chekhov and Hikaru Sulu were also off in the woods together, perhaps spending some quality "family time" of their own, and got lost. I still wonder how they could communicate with Uhura via radio, but could not be tracked. Was there not/will there not be some form of GPS in the 23rd century? Mr. Scott should take a look at those communicators!
Some day, Nissan will replace the Frontier with another truck. When the last one rolls off the line, I hope the folks in Smyrna will set their phasers on "Fun" and have a party, banner, and pass out T-shirts to celebrate its success and retirement. Maybe the theme of the day will be to honor "The Final (Nissan) Frontier."
--That Car Guy (Chuck)
At separate times, I met Walter Koenig ("Chekhov") and James Doohan ("Scotty") right after this film was released. May both our favorite Star Fleet Engineer and Doctor rest in peace.