Greg Cox wrote:
What bugged me about ST V (on the exactly two occasions I've watched it) is just how muddled and unfocused the narrative is. The movie makes a big deal about those three ambassadors, then pretty much forgets about them until the end of the movie, when it suddenly remembers that, hey, isn't David Warner in this film? Sybok is kinda, sorta of a bad guy, who kinda, sorta brainwashes the crew, except when he doesn't (and the idea that Sulu and Uhura and the rest would actually choose Sybok over Kirk of their own quasi-free will is beyond the pale right there). And Kirk wants to stop Sybok's insane quest, except when he doesn't. The whole thing is such a muddle of confused, ambiguous motives that the story struggles to acquire any sort of urgency or momentum.
I get that, with Sybok, they were deliberately trying to make him morally ambiguous, instead of just a two-dimensional black hat, but they didn't pull it off. There's a fine line between ambiguous and unfocused and ST V crossed it . . . which, as I recall, is an even bigger problem than some ill-advised attempts at humor.
And, yeah, I cringed at "row, row, row your boat," too. Thank God they made another film so the TOS saga didn't end on that note . . . .
Very true, and it's why I wouldn't have bothered with the Klingons at all or the Romulan representative or the David Warner character. The crew's behaviour only makes sense if it's some sort of mind control. But because it isn't depicted as outright mind control then their behaviour is bullshit.
Part of the problem with Trek films, and sci-fi movies in general, is this mindset that the story always has to be huge, and consequently some interpret that as there has to be a lot of different things going on. Sure that can work, but unless you're adept at juggle a lot of elements then you're best to stick to something more straightforward and tell it the very best you can.