To: Harve Bennett, William Shatner & David Loughery.
From: Paramount Big Wig
RE: Star Trek V Final Draft
I have read the final draft of the Star Trek V screenplay and have some issues. The story is absolutely workable, but there is far too much sophomoric humor and excessive plot holes. With this in mind, I feel we cannot proceed with filming until we have worked them out.
Owing to the ambitious nature of the story, I have prevailed upon the board to provide additional monies for optical effects. We cannot go with a small effects house for his film. Star Trek is one of our largest properties and a higher quality product would produce larger box office revenue. We hope. Therefore, please look further into effects houses if ILM is not available. Associates and Ferren is not sufficient for this project.
Now please note comments on the story and make appropriate changes.
1. The prologue is great. Sets up Sybok and his quest well. Leave as is.
2. Kirk climbing mountain. I cannot believe a 50+ year old Jim Kirk could do this free-hand. I would buy it if he used ropes or some sort of Treknology. A rope or Treknology which fails and he falls. I note the intended us of rear projection against which Bill will hang and flail his arms to simulate free fall. Please reconsider. Suggest only having an actual fall until Spock catches Kirk at the ver end (in other words, no back projection at all). This will provide a really fast, tightly edited and somewhat more exciting scene. The “drop in for dinner” crack actually works because it’s natural to play off shitting yourself with a joke. Even a bad one.
3. Caithlin Dar. What’s the point of a Romulan and then giving her an Irish name? Yikes.
4. Enterprise should not be junkily assembled. It had been years since we’d seen the grand lady in action and brining her back as crap was a bad move. Trek III already had her still damaged from Kahn, so we only got one torpedo out of her. Seven years, then, since we’ve seen her tough as nails. So, I’d change this.
5. Scotty and Uhura. I didn’t have that much of an objection to them being cozy, but I would have started it here instead of picking it up as an established fact.
6. The camping scenes are funny, but it needs to be less broad. Cut back some of the jokes, but keep the singing. It works as a bookend later.
7. Klingons: again, no objection to their use – again – but instead of just some bored warrior, why not pick up the thread introduced in Trek 4? Send the BOP to get their hostage back. However, Kirk no doubt has a price on his head, so let Klaa take up the challenge once he realizes the Enterprise is involved.
8. Sybok: lose the half-brother thing. Sybok, who always embraced Vulcan emotions, could have been that one Vulcan who understood and respected Spock. Remember, only his mother treated him well, so Sybok could have been “like “a brother to him, creating as strong a bond. In fact, seeing how his family and people rejected him, Spock probably would have had a DEEPER bond toward Sybok. Then, Sybok was banished and word came back that he was dead (“a lie?” “a necessary deception”) so Spock never had reason to bring him up. Let Sybok move too quickly for Spock to shoot him, but leave some doubt as to whether he would have or not. Kirk knows Spock can move quickly, so let him have a flash of doubt.
9. “I need Jim Kirk.” This is the most ego centric line in the whole film. It needs to go and an alternate reason for wanting the Enterprise there concocted. This one is pretty easy: Sybok knew Spock was on the Enterprise and, in his hostage tape, demands the Enterprise comes parlay. Kirk knows it’s a trap, but Kirk runs from nothing and knows it’s the only way to free the hostages. He also feels he can turn the tables on Sybok. Spock, of course, recognizes Sybok and, as before, briefs Kirk – still not mentioning his closeness to the man. It’s not necessary. Or so Spock believes. Yet he does mention that the Sybok he knew would not harm the hostages. There is more to this. Kirk agrees, and continues the mission.
This allows them to have the rescue mission and still have the surprise of the hostages winding up on Sybok’s side.
10. Lose the fan dance. Period. Keep Uhura in the pilot’s seat in the shuttle, this works well for Nichelle and adds to her skill set.
11. Don’t break the transporters yet again, but have Sybok put up a beaming shield around the building. He planned well in advance, so he would have the necessary widget for this.
12. Getting everyone on the Enterprise without Kirk looking foolish. This is also easy, have a line of dialog where Kirk decides letting them aboard with him is better than them taking the shuttlecraft and leaving him on the surface. Even better, have Sulu and Uhura converted BEFORE lift off. This will still allow them to dodge the Klingon torpedo.
13. When Spock fills in Bones and Kirk in the brig, lose the “you made that up” exchange. Kirk is not 12. But, without the brother connection, that dialog wouldn’t be necessary anyway. However, play up the scene to give some friction to Kirk and Spock. Kirk could confront Spock on his hesitation to shoot Sybok, and Spock tells them the rest of it.
14. Center of the galaxy: let’s lose this, because it’s unnecessary as well as impossible. The Great Barrier could be a very dangerous anomaly surrounding a mysterious area in an off-limits sector. Nobody has been able to get through. Sybok can, but we don’t know why yet. . .
15. Of course, lose the head on the beam pratfall. Have Kirk assign Scotty to sabotage the engines to stop the damned ship. On the way to Engineering, after Sybok discovers the trio is missing, Scotty is cut off by search parties. He is knocked out in the scuffle and sent to Sick Bay.
16. Klaa realizes the Enterprise is on a course to the “forbidden zone” and follows cloaked. Make Klaa more shrewed and less of a bonehead surfer.
17. Rework the turboshaft scene. Kirk and the guys have to get to the comm station deck by deck (and not 70+ of them). Have at least one scene of Kirk knocking out a follower, give Shatner a heroic fistfight. I picture McCoy feigning injury to distract the Sybokkian who goes around a corner and runs into Kirk, who kicks his ass. Another guy comes out and Spock pinches him. Once a firefight begins, they duck into the turboshaft, but only have a few decks to climb.
18. Scotty is revived in sick bay, Uhura is not quite so fawning, but a little more affectionate thanks to the Sybok meld. Scotty takes advantage to talk her into letting him go to Engineering to work on the shields so they can survive the trip through the barrier. Thinking he is telling the truth and not going to sabotage anything, Uhura lets him go. But J’Onn (let’s give the guy something to do, he did have the big opening scene) steps in and says “you won’t object to some help, would you?” Sighing, Scotty goes with him (obviously, he won’t be able to do anything).
19. The McCoy and Spock meld scene is perfect as is, but when Sybok does the big reveal of God, he mentions how God will let them pass through the barrier: he was told this specifically.
20. As the Enterprise approaches, Sybok plots a specific course through a weak point in the barrier. Sensors get all scrambled. They don’t see (but we do) that the Bird of Prey is following directly in their wake. As the Enterprise emerges on the other side, the BoP is hit with a energy strike, sending them spinning off course. This is, we assume, sent by God.
21. The intent is to beam down, but some force is preventing it from operating (we will learn that the God Thing needs a physical vessel to leave the planet). Kirk orders Scotty to find a way to punch through the interference so they have the transporter as a backup. Then they take the shuttle down.
22. As much as it’s a nice scene, landing the shuttle craft miles from God make little sense. Have them land closer.
23. Give God a more physical body once it is revealed it’s a trick by an alien. This will make it easier to buy Sybok wrestling with him.
24. Once God Alien’s physical body was destroyed by the torpedo, but an energy form has broken free. ILM can make this very terrifying. The alien is weaker now and the interference lessens to the point where Spock and McCoy can beam up.
25. Klaa attacks, shorts out the transporter, but the Enterprise fires back a few times. Finally, Koord talks to Klaa.
26. Kirk was in the shuttle, so let him grab a couple of phasers, they were there. The God Thing is dodging and weaving all around him, while Kirk keeps trying to tag him with this two fisted shooting. The BoP swoops down, guns blazing, distracting the alien long enough for Kirk to be beamed up. Then, as the BoP zooms away, the Enterprise lets loose with a huge volley of phasers and torpedoes, scattering the creature.
27. Kirk does not get an apology, since Klaa was acting on orders from his government. However, Klaa does respect the old warrior and out of that respect, agrees to not kill Kirk (besides, Koord ordered him to stand down). Kirk does not go to hug Spock. I mean, really, Kirk would do this in front of everyone? Harve, you are too sentimental. Let a nice smile pass from Kirk to Spock, who does his eyebrow thing.
28. Sensors have showed the alien has reformed itself below, but is too weak to do anything to them (Roddenberry would like this a lot more if we didn’t kill the alien). Kirk plans on taking the Enterprise back through the same weak spot (but Scotty has reinforced the shields anyway). Koord will speaking to his government about repealing the bounty on Kirk’s head. Kirk, Spock and McCoy talk about God. But, one difference in the ending: Spock has his Lyre with him at the party. Uhura, oblivious to what she’s about to start, says “you going to just pluck that thing, or are you going to play something?”
Kirk and McCoy smile as Spock starts playing “Row Row Row Your Boat” and we see Kirk and McCoy make the motions, but the orchestra picks up before they start singing.
Thanks, guys. This will be a great picture.