Yes, Shatner and Nimoy had such a contract clause, meaning if Nimoy directs, so does Shatner. Now, I’m not going to bash Bill’s direction, definitely the story he worked with, but not his direction. Paramount, in a summer where they knew they had no chance in hell against ‘Batman’ or even a poor James Bond effort, never mind Indiana Jones’ Last Crusade, cut the film budget incredibly short day by day.
Shatner, to his credit, worked with what he had. Yeah, ‘Trek meets God’ just sucks. But, Kirk and crew get to play in the dirt and run around and save some people before being hijacked and so on… Sure, some of the back story effort should have been left alone, Spock’s mysterious brother for one, but there is some good to it, such as ‘McCoy’s pain’.
Though not an epic effort, it makes for a great shore leave interrupted buddy film and a nice performance by Jerry Goldsmith in his return to Trek features. Saturday afternoon popcorn and one bathroom break is allowed.