Ossus Library Index Science Fiction Movie Index

STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT

Directed by Jonathan Frakes (1996, Paramount Pictures)
Starring Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, James Cromwell and Alice Krige

The Enterprise travels back in time to prevent the Borg from assimilating Earth by destroying the first warp vessel.

View count: 3 times

 

 

3 stars+

June 11th, 2003 on TV  
   

This movie is always great to return to. It is the best of the Next Generation movies; unfortunately, it still doesn't compare to most of the Original series movies. What made the original cast so much fun to watch was the chemistry they had together, and how the humor came out of that naturally. Even in serious situations, they could pull off one-liners. The Next Generation cast didn't do that in their TV run, so it feels unnatural to see them cracking jokes, especially groaners, from time to time. The TV show was much more serious, and the movies don't follow that.

Being shown on TV, the quality of the movie fell even more, because of the inevitable commercial breaks and cut scenes to fit it into a two-hour timeslot. Still, because I know the movie well enough, it only bothered me because the scenes were missing.

However, the movie also brought home how different Star Trek is today. I am bored by the new Enterprise, and there are very few characters that I even like. However, because it is part of the Star Trek universe (for the moment, anyway), I keep watching it. But from the very beginning, this movie shows a Captain who knows how to lead. The dialog is snappy, the crew follow his orders, and there is genuine tension when they disagree, like when Worf questions Picard's orders about pursuing the Borg instead of destroying the ship. I'm not sure if the revenge factor plays into Picard's character, but I can accept it, because the actor brings it to life. This only accents the differences between The Next Generation and Enterprise.

It's interesting to note that Data must have been tempted by the Borg Queen's offer for longer than he admits, otherwise he would have broken the warp conduit when he first escaped his bonds, instead of simply going hand-to-hand with his adversaries. That would have ended the movie much earlier, and we would have lost some of the character moments achieved here.

I also wonder, from an astronomy perspective, how they managed to keep the starship in the telescope for so long -I didn't see the 'scope tracking, and if it was in geostationary orbit, I can't imagine it being large enough to see!

I must also point out that nothing of consequence happens from the beginning to the end of the movie, except that the Federation is saved, once again. Time is reset to normal, and except for a passing reference to the Borg attack in a Deep Space Nine episode near the end of the Dominion War standoff, the movie is quite stand-alone. (I don't count the recent Enterprise Borg episode, which also bored me nearly to death, and was also quite stupid in most of its story logic, even though it was a direct "sequel" to this movie.) It would have been nice to see an evolution to the crew from movie to movie, instead of making them big budget episodes. Nemesis finally did this, but was apparently too late with its efforts.

The special effects and music were wonderful, as usual. I was amazed in the very last scene, where the theme of the original Star Trek was played, turning into the TNG theme as we cut to the departing Enterprise. The Borg-encrusted Earth was wonderfully done, as was Data's make-up during and after the warp-conduit breach that dissolved his new flesh (though he could have covered up a little by the end, I think!).

Of the four TNG movies, this one is definitely still the best. It's not great, but it's definitely worth seeing, repeatedly.

 

 

3 stars+

November 3rd, 1999 on TV  
   

That was a lot of fun.  The characters were those I remember watching for seven years back in the 80's and early 90's.  But Troi looked even better than ever!  Crusher didn't get much to do, but she doesn't ever.  I still hate Riker, but at least he didn't get to endanger the ship.  But he didn't seem too concerned that he couldn't hail them for a long time. 

The plot takes place in two sections, with Riker, Troi and Laforge on the ground trying to get the damaged warp vessel back in order, and Picard, Data, Crusher and Worf trying to save the Enterprise from the Borg. 

The plot on the ground was standard, with few if any surprises.  That Zephram Cochrane wasn't exactly as history books describe him, or how he will end up after First Contact, is not too surprising, and that was about the only conflict down there.

On the Enterprise, the main part of the movie is set.  Picard is out for vengeance, and he delivers.  The scene on the holodeck, when Picard disables the safeties and kills the Borg, were plain haunting.  Most things here fit very well, and the dialog was just right for a lot of it (aside from some corny lines).  Worf's speech to Picard late in the battle was great. 

Standard fare came into the movie again with the expendable crewman on the spacewalk scene, and even though it had a nice twist to it, he was still the expendable crewman. 

Data was neat to watch, as usual.  His interaction with the Borg queen (I'm still not comfortable with that concept) was great to watch.  I do have to wonder what his motives were for actually firing the photon torpedoes near the end, though.  Except for dramatic effect, and trying to fool the audience, it should not have shocked the queen more than if he had simply refused.  Ah, well.

A great outing, and still the best from the Next Generation crew.

 
   

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