Star Trek IV turned out to be the most popular Star Trek film, which to date, I think it still is. On the other hand, Star Trek V turned out to be the least successful and certainly the most risible of the original crew films. Several unfortunate factors to do with budget restrictions and other problems meant that certain sequences were cut or changed. ILM were unable to handle the effects and so they are often fairly weak and certainly not up to the superb precedent held by the first two films in either grandeur or action. William Shatner being the director didn't help much - one more think to bitch about - although in fairness, there isn't a great deal wrong with his directing. The character interplay is enjoyable, even if some find the opening campside sequences a bit embarrassing and the action works well. The idea and setup were pretty good, it just falls apart with an unconvincing finale which again, was further weakened by some poor effects work.
One of the undoubted highlights is Jerry Goldsmith's great score, a mixture of his original Star Trek march, the return of his Klingon theme and some more ethereal moments for the Great Barrier and the quest for God which has far more dignity and inspiration than the film itself could muster. The opening track is perhaps the finest performance of his march and is far more suitable for this action adventure film than the original, Motion Picture for which it was penned. The addition of a noble version of the Courage fanfare works superbly and the re-working of the orchestration is terrific. This segues into The Mountain, a gorgeous, expansive trumpet elegy as we watch William Shatner's stunt double rock climbing in Yosemite.
The remaining cues are either quasi religious or all out action. The Barrier is one of the former and introduces Goldsmith's broad theme representing Sybok's misguided quest to find God. The use of synths here works very well in providing an extra texture to the orchestra rather than simply sounding tacked on. The material is reprised during A Busy Man and An Angry God to great effect, although in the latter it disintegrates as Sybok discovers that God is nothing more than a trapped but power malevolent alien entity. The action material is similarly top rate with some excellent use of 5/4 time which has a great feeling of movement as the each bar sounds like it ends before it should, thus pushing things along. Unusually for a Goldsmith score, the action features some liberal uses of the major themes, notable a few blasts of the main theme during A Busy Man and a propulsive reworking of his Klingon material which got fairly short shrift during the opening to the first movie.
Life is a Dream rounds out as the end credits, abridged from the film version which has both the ethereal theme and the Klingon theme, but here only features the latter with the now almost obligatory opening and ending use of the main theme. The Moon's A Window to Heaven uses a minor theme featured during one of the film's more dreadful sequences and is actually very good indeed, although the song interpretation is fairly dreadful and is probably best forgotten. I'm just glad it wasn't used as the end credits. It's a different type of score to his first Star Trek outing and his swaggering theme seems a lot more suitable here than it did originally and it's great to hear it woven into the action sequences. The performance and recording are notable good, the brass playing being particularly crisp and captured well in the sharp recording. Not destined to be a classic the way the original is, but a hugely enjoyable ride that is far more exciting and awe inspiring than the film ever was.