According to Star Trek future history, today is First Contact Day. As established in the 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact, humans will be visited by a team of Vulcans on April 5th, 2063. This first contact with aliens ushers in a new era leading eventually to the formation of the United Federation of Planets and the rest of Star Trek history. So, today at TrekMovie we thought we would take a closer look at what most think of as the best of the TNG era films with some personal reflections from members of the crew of TrekMovie.com .
Hooked from the opening scene
Laurie Ulster, Writer/Editor
A lot was riding on this one, for me as a fan. It was the first REAL Next Generation movie, since Generations had relied so heavily on the Kirk mythology to give impact to its story. We sat in the theater with that same sense of anticipation that comes before any Star Trek movie, and the important names hit: Screenplay by Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga. Director: Jonathan Frakes. We were in good hands, at least. Intake of breath. What comes next?
What came next was a revelation. The movie wasted not a second before plunging us in deep. Picard is still struggling with his Locutus demons, and the Borg are on their way back. Here we are. It was dramatic, it was visually striking, it was personal, emotional, and gripping. Then: a step back! We’re patrolling the neutral zone? Counting dust particles? I stopped worrying whether the movie would be good, and slipped right into the story, the dust particle calm before the Borg storm. I was in.
First Contact just works
Brian Drew, Senior Editor
Next Generation grows up
Matt Wright, Senior Editor / Home-Video Reviewer
As a teenager when First Contact hit theaters, I had basically grown up with TNG, Generations was fun and all, but now it was time for the TNG crew to have a proper standalone story. The opening with Picard’s flashback to his assimilation was perfect. The movie level money let the production team establish a much larger, more detailed, much scarier Borg. The Borg Queen was an intriguing concept/character with a bizarre and sensual “body horror” kind of design. Alfre Woodard was a perfect actress to go toe-to-toe with the Shakespearean excellence of Sir Patrick Stewart. James Cromwell portrays Zephram Cochrane as a likable reluctant hero type, Cromwell even delivers the rather cheesy: “And you people, you’re all astronauts on . . . some kind of star trek?” convincingly, I remember eating it all up in the theater.
The much lighter storyline on Earth is counterbalanced by the zombie movie-inspired seriousness going on up in orbit on the new Enterprise-E. The stunning walk along the hull and the subsequent fight on the deflector dish is a visual standout in the Enterprise storyline. On Earth, the early scene with Picard and Data discussing why Picard feels compelled to touch the beat up metal of the Phoenix, and how tactile feeling brings a new level of realness for humans, is a quintessential Data/Picard moment, and of course one that gets echoed later with Data and the Borg Queen.
Goldsmith’s score was perfect and easily his best after TMP. At the end when the Vulcan shakes hands with Cochrane and Goldsmith’s appropriately titled “First Contact” music track swells, it’s hard not to get a little emotional. “The money is on the screen” as they say, I like the Enteprise-E design, the new somewhat more militaristic uniforms were perfect for the current climate in the Trek universe at the time (the Dominion War was ramping up over on DS9, the Borg are attacking, etc.), the extra detailed Borg cube and new sphere designs, and of course the much more detailed and varied Borg drone costumes/makeup all show what TNG could do with a bigger budget. Tying it all together, is director Jonathan Frakes, who clearly knows his co-stars and the TNG world well, his directing chops are top notch here.
Inspired a yearly ritual
Christine Rideout (aka Starfleetmom), Social Media Manager
I watched Star Trek: First Contact this week, as I usually do every April 5th. It still entertains me. The Borg are still scary as heck at this point, having not been humanized in Voyager yet. The darkness of the Borg Queen seducing Data and her drones assimilating sections of the Enterprise-E and her crew is balanced well with the humor of the scenes on Earth.
My favorite character is still Zefram Cochrane himself. He is thrust into history kicking and screaming, but eventually steps up in the final scene to greet the alien visitors. There are several small comedic lines that always bring a smile: The EMH saying “I’m a doctor, not a doorstop,” Geordi and Riker chuckle when Cochrane says “Engage,” and of course Zefram saying, “And you people, you’re all.. astronauts on some kind of Star Trek.”
Some random thoughts i had while viewing: The Holodeck scene always feels out of place and a little silly. WTH is Geordi wearing? This is the best version of Worf. That Vulcan ship looks so dinky!
The only reason I have Roy Orbison on any road trip playlist
Kayla Iacovino, Editor-in-Chief
Star Trek: First Contact is, to me, Star Trek at its finest. This is a major sticking point for some – what is the best Star Trek movie of them all? But, for me, First Contact wins hands down. This movie gets the opportunity to show off the Next Generation crew at the peak of their popularity. It was the end of the seven-year run of the most successful incarnation of Trek to ever grace a television set. We all knew the characters as well as we ever would, and their secondary, perhaps more vivacious, movie personas had been fleshed out a bit in Generations.
While First Contact isn’t immune to silly plot points – or outright plot holes – they are easily forgiven set amongst a competent script that is exciting, playful, funny, and insightful. After Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, First Contact comes in for me as the most quotable of the film franchise. With one liners about the Borg’s potentially Swedish origins to drunk Troi listening to Roy Orbison to poor old redshirt Lt. Hawk (a random new, and yet for some reason, named redshirt on the bridge at the beginning of the film definitely doesn’t have a long life to look forward to), it’s easy to overlook things like how easy it is to time travel back and forth with no consequences. So, don’t go criticizing my film critiquing techniques. Timeline?! This is no time to argue about time! We don’t… have… the time.
First Contact Re-engaged
Anthony Pascale, Founder
For me personally, Star Trek: First Contact was a bit of a turning point, or perhaps a re-turning point. In the ’80s the release of any new Star Trek film created anticipation akin to Christmas and a birthday rolled into one. The launch of Star Trek: The Next Generation created a must-see TV ritual. Along with books, comics, games and more, I simply could not get enough Star Trek into my life. But after the show ended and with Generations being a bit of a let down, I thought that maybe it was over for Trek on the big screen, and maybe it was over for Trek for me too.
I think like a lot of fans, by the mid 90s I had sort of moved on from Star Trek. I wasn’t really into Voyager and in the pre-DVR era found it hard to follow Deep Space Nine (a show I later obsessed over through DVD binging). During this period I looked forward to the X-Files more than either of the Star Trek shows on the air. Leading up to the premiere of First Contact I didn’t have high hopes, thinking it couldn’t compete with the sci-fi action of films like Independence Day or the cerebral sci-fi of films like 12 Monkeys.
Yet, I remember watching for the first time when Adam Scott turns to Worf and exclaims “It’s the Enterprise!,” it changed the course of the battle with the Borg and re-engaged me with a franchise that was a key part of my formative years. The film provided a near perfect balance. There was fan service, like the call back to Picard’s penchant for pulp detective stories. But the film also challenged fans, like not being afraid to show conflict between Worf and Picard or dousing the sometimes naive views of these 24th century characters with some hard 21st century realities. I laughed, I cried, and I remembered “Goddammit I love Star Trek!” A decade later, I founded this site.
What about you?
What are some of your personal reflections on Star Trek: First Contact? Share them in the comments section below.
First contact may have been a great film but it was a terrible Star Trek film.
First contact was the turning point in the Star Trek franchise which lead to its collapse.
This is film was where the Star Trek franchise went off the rails.
Really? It’s considered to be a decent Trek film. Sure, they aimed for it to be a ‘blockbuster’ but considering Generations before it (and the two after it!), it sure has to be a fan favourite.
It was a great film but it mucked up Star Trek in the sense of following this film no one seems to have remembered how time travelled worked in Star Trek.
Also without this film we probably never would have enterprise and its take on Star Trek either.
And without enterprise we might have gotten a show that even if it was only as okay as voyager it probably would not have killed the franchise for a decade.
You must be great fun at parties..
I wouldn’t say it was a *terrible* Star Trek film per se, but it definitely presented Picard as an action hero whereas the series portrayed him as a more thoughtful, intellectual man. That has always bothered me somewhat- but not enough for me to label it as a terrible Star Trek picture.
The whole idea of Picards breakdown in this movie was that he was facing his true enemy, an enemy who violated him. This was a personal revenge mission for Picard, a very human story actually.
Picard showed a bit of this more aggressive side in the episode I, Borg if you remember.
Picard as action hero on FIRST CONTACT? No more so than “Starship Mine” or “Chain of Command,” or even “Darmok,” where Picard wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty on away missions.
People often say that, but it is the thoughtful Picard that wins the day over action Picard with the character ultimately turning his back on his obsessive quest for revenge.
Your wrong. Just wrong. Capital W!
This is a great Star Trek film. It has heart. It has character. It has scares. It has a terrific score. It has an awesome epilogue which captures the spirit of Star Trek like I’ve not seen in any of the New Star Trek movies.
Patrick Stewart was at his absolute best here and so was Brent Spiner.
And the action-movie Picard was very much at the insistence of Patrick Stewart, who didn’t want to be pontificating in a chair during a popcorn picture.
Patrick was right.
The story of a man fighting his past demons, another man overcoming his cynicism to be a future hero, and an android tempted to be fully human by a cybernetic she-devil…
All sounds like pretty standard Star Trek to me.
Yup. First Contact turned our ship of peaceful scientists and diplomats into just another space warship. This is where Star Trek died. But fans, being fans, still loved it because there was lots of shooting and stuff.
If lots of shooting and warships are the requirements for Star Trek to die, then damn, it’s gone to the grave often!
Jesus brings it back.
WTF? You understand that the Borg never responded well to diplomacy, right? Plus, the Enterprise has always been heavily armed since TOS. It was always a shoot `em up with the Borg, way before First Contact.
Kirk described himself as a soldier in “Errand of Mercy,” early in season one of TOS. There were battle drills in “Balance of Terror,” also early season one. Yes, there have always been scientists and diplomats on Star Trek, but the military component has always been there, too.
I love First Contact because it is uplifting, has heart and soul and, as someone else said, has probably THE most Star Trek like positive message at its end of any Trek movie made since the classic cast films stopped.
I never once came to the movie for it’s action scenes – which aren’t that heavy anyway. You have the opening space battle and a few corridor shoot ups and that’s about it.
What’s your view about TWOK, because that has ten times the shooting that FC does. Why is it considered a masterpiece? Because it has a human story underpinning the action. FC is the same. You can’t say that about something like Into Darkness.
Yeah well, that’s just like, your opinion, man.
I know what you mean. This is when the quest to satiate the insatiable with endless thrills, explosions and violence got into full gear. A foolish path that in the end gutted Star Trek of its core qualities and USP as the only popular sci-fi that was deep, thoughtful and heartfelt. Quick profits were made, but in the end the brand was cheapened and destroyed.
Hmm, I’ve not sure that’s a fair claim. Despite the Borg theme the movie us ultimately uplifting. It deals with moving past grudges and selfishness and I don’t feel I need to highlight the obviously uplifting ending. For me it was the last truly good Star Trek film. To pin the entire direction of the franchise on it over the past 22 years is a little unfair. First Contact is more Star Trek than things like Into Darkness or Discovery are.
I remember sitting in the theatre in Bozeman, MT watching this as a teenager. When Riker mentioned that the complex was in central Montana, the theatre erupted in cheers.
I keep thinking there’s going to be some kind of party in Bozeman, MT in exactly 45 years.
I think I’ll head over there in 45 years and join it. I live in southern Idaho. Wouldn’t be too difficult.
I went on opening night with a couple of friends who’d never seen Star Trek but had bad, preconceived notions based on stereotypes. They were both blown away by the film. To me it seemed the most ambitious in cinematic scope since TMP and one of the few from the original (1979-2002) movies I can still watch today without occasionally cringing at dialogue/plot-points/acting.
Generations wasn’t a ‘disappointment’, it’s where the franchise hit bottom creatively. First Contact was a helluva rebound film, a good story and the TNG characters felt in their own element. As someone who believes a truly great Star Trek film hasn’t been made yet, First Contact is on my list of ‘must haves’ Trek movies.
While First Contact was a definite step-up, I have to confess that I didn’t find Generations disappointing at the time. That came later, when it became apparent TNG was four movies and done, with only FC great. They all had potential but turned out to be full of missed opportunities.
What really makes FC truly epic for me, is that it’s more than a TNG film. The Defiant from DS9. A holographic Doctor cameo. An origin tale with Cochrane breaking the warp barrier and introducing the Vulcans. It’s actually almost become representative of the whole franchise.
@Chris Roberts — I don’t know. Sitting in the theater I was pretty disappointed when Kirk had a lame fight with Soren and fell to his death by being crushed under a bridge. It was quite apparent at the time. The movie in general was OK, certainly the Enterprise D crash-landing was a highlight. But whatever decent goodwill the movie had garnered by that point was ruined with that ending. First Contact made me forget about it for a while, until, as you say, INS and NEM failed to measure up — the best you could say about them was at least they weren’t as bad as GEN.
Exactly, First Contact actually in a way made the whole Star Trek world larger by involving many different elements and characters from different parts of the universe. It also used all these elements effectively instead of just throwing everything at the screen and seeing what sticks. There was a small element of exploration at the beginning, element of action, horror, holodeck, vulcans, comedy.
Yeah, I know what you mean about representing the whole franchise. It’s hard to watch the ending and think that it is metaphorically Kirk and Spock shaking hands for the first time.
“As someone who believes a truly great Star Trek film hasn’t been made yet”
Poor The Undiscovered Country!
TUC is horrendous. Step back and think about dialogue – it’s all historical or literary allusions! I once calculated (using a pencil and paper) there was one allusion every 13 seconds in the film. It. Is. Criminal. And folks just love it. It is crap.
They went a bit overboard with it in TUC, but it’s hardly unusual for Star Trek to make historical or literary allusions. I mean, the bulk of Khan’s dialogue in TWOK is lifted from classic literature.
To this day TUC is my second favorite film (First is WOK and third FC) but I can’t disagree some of the dialogue was pretty bad. But I still thought overall its a great film.
“TUC is horrendous. Step back and think about dialogue – it’s all historical or literary allusions!”
God forbid you watch GANDHI or LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.
Only Nixon could go to China!
I’m pretty impressed you took the time to calculate it. That aside, while I liked it at the time, it had aged badly.
A lot of Trekkies think the Kirk of TUC (“Let them die”) has very little to do with the principled man depicted in the 1960s. Some aren’t crazy about Spock’s mind-raping. And one could quibble with the logic of the hidden-boots plot. But, Christopher Plummer.
You mean the man who tried desperately to convince ethereal beings to allow him to go to war with the Klingons? Or who armed primitives due to Klingon interference? This was before they killed his only son and forced him to destroy his ship, mind you. So his “let them die” attitude was not only justified but completely in keeping with his history.
Spock was the one behaving uncharacteristically illogical. They destroyed their own world, the Klingon belief system is antithetical to Federation ideals and after Praxis the UFP had a massive leverage advantage squandered.
I get folks like it. I think TPTB tried really hard – the music, for instance, took a bit of thought with the opening being based on Holst’s ‘Mars’. I swore up and down when it came out that it was awesome, but that wore off.
There’s so much laughable in the movie that isn’t supposed to be. My friends and I joke to this day about that Veridium patch the size of Nova Scotia on Spock’s back.
Uhuru – the communication’s officer -can’t speak Klingon. That scene was done for laughs, but think about a scene where Uhuru (the original!) spoke fluent Klingon?
“Your honors! PLEASE!”
The disappointment in the judge’s voice when they couldn’t execute Kirk and co. LOL!
Scotty sitting down in the conference room with a set of Pocket Books Enterprise blueprints.
Phasers in the galley.
Crewmen sleeping in bunks on the Excelsior.
Praxis explosion traveling FTL OR the Excelsior in Kronos’ home system.
Why does the Enterprise have “gaseous anomaly” detecting equipment when it’s specifically stated that’s what the Excelsior has been doing with no mention of the Enterprise doing the same… while at Earth…
Naming the home world Kronos so they could make the “Clean their Kronometers” joke.
Making the Klingon blood pink so they could reveal to the audience (in a deleted scene) “Dis is not Klingon blood…”
Shaggy, Scoob… “It’s Colonel West..!”
The cruddy aliens in the cruddy hotel room compared to the awesome aliens in the Federation Council chambers in TVH.
And my personal favorite: briefing the Federation president on the rescue plans WITH the Romulan ambassador in the room!
Honorable mention: when the Fed Prez throws his hanky down in disgust!
And folks, I could go on and on…
Ah… the memories!!
Eh. I mean, I love the basic setup of TUC and the concept of a political thriller in the Trek universe. BUT, I can’t get over the character of Valeris; she was just too obvious as the villain, as the newcomer in the cast. It really needed to be Saavik to pack the emotional punch it should have.
And the original concept of Kirk meeting a Klingon scientist on Rura Penthe, who changed his mind about Klingons, probably should have stayed; that worked well on ENT.
Some of the humor also stuck out like a sore thumb. Klingon dictionaries? Really?
None of this is to say it was a bit film, and indeed it remains one of the best Trek films, but it was a three-star film that COULD have been a four-star.
I know the characterization of Picard is often said to be inconsistent with the TV show. I see it the other way around. The TV show should’ve alluded more to the effect being assimilated by the Borg had on him. To me, FIRST CONTACT showed a part of Picard’s personality that we should’ve seen all along.
Excellent review. Couple of personal thoughts:
1. Easily the best TNG film and I’d argue best presentation of that crew outside of Yesterday’s Enterprise. Still not on the level of TOS, but I’m quite biased.
2. The Borg Queen is the best movie villain not named Khan or Chang. She was equally arousing and repulsive.
3. The Enterprise E was such a thing of beauty seeing it for the first time on a big screen. What a massive improvement over the D, which is always thought looked like an Excelsior with down syndrome.
4. Picard was taking his testosterone pills in this one. I greatly prefer badass Picard over college professor Picard.
5. Am I the only one who rewatches FC and still half expects Cochrane to shoot the Vulcan? Damn you, mirror universe!
Lol at your bizarre description of the ‘D’, even though I disagree.
The ‘E’ is juat another pretty face: while it is cool, there’s nothing endearing about the design. It’s too much sleek and sexy.
Really? I thought it was the only true “flagship” looking ship of the TNG era. Then again I’m a TOS homer so I was pretty much looking for a suped up Connie. The E hit the spot for me. What did you think about the Ent-C/Ambassador class?
Loved the ‘C’! Loved it!
To be honest, I was lukewarm on the ‘D’ until the day I was sitting in the theater and saw it blown up in ‘Generations’ for no good reason (except the F/X pron). I immediately embraced the ol’ girl, and I have a soft spot for her.
The Galaxy Class in general is a pretty incredible construct, if you think about it.
Of course, I like the Phase II Enterprise, so take my opinions with a grain o’ salt!
Ha! Same here both on the C and Phase II. I really would love to visit some alternate universe where the show actually got made instead of becoming TMP. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a proper Phase II someday on CBS.
You both should check out Eaglemoss’s ship models for the Trek Phase II and original Probert-concept Enterprise-C. I just ordered mine and I can’t wait to see what the ships would’ve looked like on screen.
Got the Phase II betwixt my TOS Connie and movie-era Ent A right now on the shelf!
Not keen enough on the Probert C to pick it up yet, but I HAD to have that Declaration class!
Saw it in the theatre when it came out and wasn’t disappointed, and I think it holds up well to this day. It showed the Next Gen crew could ‘boldly go,’ on their own with both a great adventure/time travel tale, and some fine levity mixed in. I like how Cochrane and the Vulcans fit in to tie us ‘old-timers’ in to TOS a bit, too. A great entry, up there with my favorite Trek films.
As a matter of fact, it’s about time I give this one another watch.
Cromwell’s Zephram Cochrane was an abomination. Besides, ZC is from ALPHA CENTAURI.
Marina Sirtis’ drunk Troi is bad acting at its worst.
The Enterprise wasn’t destroyed, but Picard sure wanted to follow suit with the movies previously doing so…
It’s easily the best of the TNG movies and among those does the best job of balancing drama and humor. The actors all seem very comfortable in their interactions with one another.
But, like most Trek movies, it feels more like a TV production than a theatrical motion picture. The space battle at the beginning is over almost before it begins and the few action sequences such as the one on the underside of the ship feel slow and plodding. The advent of high definition TVs also doesn’t help sell the sets and props (especially Picard’s miniatures in his ready room).
This would be right at home as a TV series two parter; as a “Major Motion Picture Event” it doesn’t hold up quite as well.
That’s the first I’ve ever heard anyone call FC on par with a TV production.
This sums up Rick Berman pretty well – of all the 1950s rockabilly classics to choose from, Rick picks bloody “Ooby Dooby.”
Don’t you know Trek is obsessed with late 20th century culture. Honestly who wouldn’t be?
I liked it at the time, but unfortunately the film doesn’t hold up very well. In particukar, the defector dish battle at the end is just painfully silly to watch and completely ruins the end of the movie for me.
Why does it ruin it for you?
To each his own, I suppose. In my book, the deflector dish battle holds up remarkably well.
There’s one Easter Egg in that scene that made it worthy to me when I first saw it in the theater: the element they’re trying to access is coded AE-35.
AE-35 Unit was the name of the element that was malfunctioning according to HAL9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I just love the scene for that reason.
Agree about the deflector dish space walk scene – looked amateurish on the big screen. Especially comparing it to the very well done space battle sequence in the beginning.
I’m just wondering like how you would improve upon it, or what didn’t work for you about the scene?
I think the scale was off when they arrived at the dish and switched to the fight scene. Picard on one side and Worf on the other should have been much farther apart. Limit of the studio, presumably. Easily made more realistic with a CGI background today.
Easily my favourite Star Trek movie and one of the top three ST movies ever imo.
Everything worked in this project and still works for me. I watched the movie at least 20 times and I always look forward to the opening scene, the Enterprise E floating through the nebula, the best space battle in Star Trek history gives me goosebumps…the Cochrane story line, the Borg queen, the fantastic space stroll scene…the excellent production design, the great costumes, the wonderful score…the list is endless.
Too bad there weren’t equally or similarly great TNG movies after this one. What a shame this marvellous cast received not the treatment it deserved.
The damage this movie did to Star Trek continuity cannot be overstated. It is a real shame it is the most popular TNG film.
First Contact was my favourite Star Trek movie. I remember going to see an early afternoon screening on opening day. I was so excited I couldn’t eat my lunch (and I’m a BIG fan of eating). I left the cinema speechless. It pushed so many of the right buttons for me. It had time travel. It had the Borg. It had 30th anniversary moments (such as the EMH, Defiant, and Cochrane himself). It explores some deep character stuff for Picard. Lots of serious drama. Some funny moments which didn’t deflate the tension. I practically cheered out loud when the Pheonix jumped to warp. It wasn’t a perfect movie. The introduction of the queen was understandable for a movie, but kind of diluted what the Borg would become on Voyager, but all in all, I loved it.
First Trek movie I ever saw in theaters. I remember cringing as a 4-year-old when Data and the Borg Queen made out on screen. I covered my eyes, I was so little. But I still remember that moment! Cuz FC was badass and exactly the kinda Trek movie I wanted to see. But RedLetterMedia’s Plinkett review has forever ruined it and all the TNG movies for me. I still revere it, but if we’re being honest it’s a bit of a mess. Like all good Trek.
Definitely one of my favorite Trek films, and just a damn good film in general. I’m still torn on the Borg Queen, as it pretty fundamentally changes how the Borg operate. Before they really were just some faceless massive hive collective with no leader and no followers. The Borg Queen changes the dynamic to be more like that of honey bees, but it also makes the concept of Locutus make more sense. The one big thing about FC that still bugs me to this day is, as a result of DS9 and the Dominion War, we know that Starfleet has a massive fleet of ships (as seen at the end of the DS9 season 5 finale “Call to Arms”), yet we barely see any ships in First Contact. I imagine some of the reason was monetary based, but DS9 had no problem showing massive fleets of ships on a TV budget. But really, that is a nitpicky detail that only a hardcore Trekkie fan would get annoyed by.
With that being said, perhaps one of the best things about FC is that it stands the test of time – it was a good movie back in 1996, and it’s still a good movie today!
Well by the time we see the battle on screen, Starfleet had fought the cube from the Typhon sector or whatever all the way to Earth, and I’m pretty sure the losses from the battle were on par with Wolf 359. So in theory there was a huge fleet that got whittled down by the time the Enterprise showed up
People always forget the HUGE plot loophole to First Contact. When the Borg cube first attacks Earth, and the Enterprise stops it, the Borg spit out a sphere that can (at leisure) go back in time. If they have that capability, the Borg would simply go back in time while in their sector of space and then travel to Earth and easily assimilate it in the past.
STUPID! STUPID! STUPID!
Star Trek has a lot of that. But, if you ignore that fact, it’s a very good movie. I had great fun watching it, over and over.
Also, in my opinion, Star Trek is about stories, lessons. It was always better as a serial. The movies are just a nice extra.
Yeah, the Borg were pretty dumb. I would have gone back and made sure the dinosaurs didn’t go extinct. Hmmm – Star Trek and Jurassic Park…
Yeah, but Trek is littered with them. That’s my gripe with the Nexus in the previous movie. It’s a giant mobile Guardian of Forever, apparently everyone knows what it can do, and it’s completely unguarded. So, Generations is basically Groundhog Day in Space. Jean Luc, pop back into the Nexus one more time and remind Kirk to stay off the bridge, will you?
And Starfleet had time-travel ability 80 years earlier in “Assignment: Earth”. They could ‘erase’ lots of errors, thwart surprise attacks, etc. But never do.
One thing I’ve never understood about the time-traveling Borg is apparently the Borg assimilate because the Collective doesn’t encourage the thinking-out-of-the-box that it takes to invent new advances in tech? So why’d they waste all the extra resources that it takes to travel backwards in time to assimilate an Earth with MORE primitive tech? I mean what’s the point of their winning the war but denying themselves all the marvelous tech that an non-assimilated Earth had developed but now wouldn’t?
From the Borg objective, it makes more sense to go forward in time to some point where the Borg predict Earth’s tech will have advanced enough to make the resources expended in making the jump realize a reasonable return on the investment. One where presumably the advanced tech benefits the Borg’s assimilation of it, but not so advanced that it risks preventing their prevailing when they pop up at some random future moment to claim it and the planet.
The score elevated the material to an ethereal level. VISOR should’ve been off years ago. E bridge lighting was epic!
I’ve recently gotten into reruns of the Ted Danson sitcom BECKER on AntennaTV, so the first time viewing the 15th episode, where Becker reconnects with his ex-wife…and watching that ex-wife character and being drawn-in by the actress playing the role, I knew there was *something* about her that rang a bell. Her face, her voice, her sexiness. And then it hit: THAT’S THE BORG QUEEN! :D
Yesss, Alice Krige guest-starred in a more-hilarious-than-usual episode of the delightfully snarky BECKER! It was then I knew that I had to have that series on DVD in our video library.
ST:FC has many things to recommend it, but Alice Krige’s performance is definitely up there. ;)
I don’t know if it is a great Star Trek movie but I had a god time watching it, and left the theater feeling uplifted. Nemesis left me devastated it was like watching the literal death of star trek.
Good Time sorry, bad spelling.
I totally agree with you. ST:FC was a blast, lots of fun, and still is. Nemesis on the other hand is a mess, horrendous and moronic, and still is.
This is by far the best thing about FC, for me: http://redlettermedia.com/mr-plinketts-star-trek-first-contact-review/
I enjoy this review so much, I’ve seen it many times more than I’ve seen the movie. It’s really the best of both worlds (npi)——you get the Trek, but you also get somebody venting on your behalf, in riotously entertaining fashion, about how stupid the movie is.
I enjoyed this one in the theater (apart from Alfre Woodard’s character, which I found insufferably self-righteous, which is of course how she was written), but this movie really does not hold up well, at all. For the life of me, I can’t understand how people can watch FC today and get past the fact that almost none of the main character motivations and plot points make any sense. The whole conflict with the Borg has no reason for happening, as it requires the Borg to be, not just uncharacteristically stupid, but stupid by any measure——a storytelling flaw that Roger Ebert referred to as “the stupid plot.” Zefram Cochrane has no reason to be an alky, and wasn’t one in TOS “Metamorphosis.” FC’s Cochrane does not overcome his alcoholism, nor is his condition related to any meaningful theme. It is painfully obvious that the choice to make Cochrane an alky was no deeper than the lazy-minded want of comic relief——why not make this important character in Trek canon a clown to add levity to the dark, Borg-centered plot? Data’s whole non-arc makes no sense. Picard’s arc makes no sense; it’s arbitrary and contradicts a previous TNG arc of his. And so on….
I think you are forgetting that in METAMORPHOSIS Cochrane did not leave on his jaunt in tip-top shape. Seeing death imminent from age-induced ill health, he’d gone off because he wanted to take his last breath in space where he’d made his mark.
Also, The Companion was giving him Gary 7 textbook perfect ageless health. I doubt he could have gotten drunk even if he tried — let alone suffer from alcoholism — with that hale of a metabolism.
That’s all well and good, but he still wasn’t an alky in “Metamorphosis”. They made him an alky in FC just for comic relief. It’s as though the writers (Berman, Braga and Moore) were trying to imitate some movie with a protagonist who overcomes his personal demons and learns to believe in himself, but ditched or forgot about the overcoming and learning parts of the character arc. Meanwhile, up on the Enterprise, they have Picard overcoming demons that he already overcame eight years ago, in a lazy knock-off of the Wrath of Khan revenge arc, complete with a plainly stated Moby Dick analogy by finger-wagging Lily. Picard’s whole arc consists of Lily lecturing him like he’s an adolescent schoolboy, and then, after she’s guilt-tripped him enough, Picard admitting that she’s right. It must be the plot and the performances that people like about FIRST CONTACT, because the story is abysmal.
Re: he still wasn’t an alky in “Metamorphosis”
You keep repeating that but the episode never establishes exactly what his ailments were when he left Earth. I mean, neither was he shown to be a dying 87yo man on screen in METAMORPHOSIS but Cochrane says, “No, it’s true. I was eighty seven years old when I came here. …. I was tired, Captain. I was going to die, and I wanted to die in space.”
Just because you find a man on a desert island who hasn’t touched a drop in years is no reason to unequivocally declare him “not an alky.” He might be one, just one without opportunity for some time.
We do know McCoy, who has a taste for the liquid to the point where he breaks the law to acquire the illegally strong varieties, lives to see at least 137 passings of the sun bird. Rampant alcoholism on Cochrane’s part is one possible explanation for the wide disparity in the two’s estimated lifespan potentials while each man resided within the economic empire of Earth’s exploration and colonization of space.
Re: Picard overcoming demons that he already overcame
The man was the first known sentient de-assimilated after being assimilated and you’ve declared him free of any possible lingering PTSD effects from this unique traumatic experience after ONLY 6 years based on what?
The man was the first known sentient de-assimilated after being assimilated and you’ve declared him free of any possible lingering PTSD effects from this unique traumatic experience after ONLY 6 years based on what?
Based on no such problems ever arising, despite the myriad battles and other high-stress situations that Picard is shown coping with, in a clear and serene manner, after being de-assimilated, including subsequent encounters with the Borg in which he is as rational and non-revenge-obsessed as one could reasonably ask for, even going so far as to decide not to kill them all when he has the opportunity to do so (“I, Borg”).
Then, suddenly in FC, Picard is revenge-obsessed. What changed? What brings on Picard’s sudden, radical change in attitude toward the Borg? Nothing. No reason for the change is given. The writers need a dramatic arc for Picard because they’re making a movie, and arbitrarily decide to write him as revenge-obsessed about the Borg. The success of TWOK, with its revenge theme, was almost certainly a motivator, given that the writers simply lifted its Moby Dick theme for use in FC, albeit in a very watered-down fashion.
Re: Based on no such problems ever arising
And that’s NOT my known understanding of the limits of such a disorder’s possible diagnosis:
“Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.” – Mayo Clinic’s listing of symptoms of PTSD
Picard’s arc in FC is not about him having PTSD.
It’s about him suddenly becoming revenge-obsessed about the Borg after years of having a calm, rational, sympathetic mindset about them.
Is it possible to have a radical, sudden mindset reversal? Yes. Would it happen for no particular reason? No. There would be a cause. And no cause for Picard’s mindset reversal is given in FC. He goes to bed one night feeling sympathetic for Hugh and the rest of the Borg, and wakes up the next day bent on “making them PAY for what they’ve done!” That’s poor storytelling.
Re: It’s about him suddenly becoming revenge-obsessed…
You mean something akin to the Weinstein abused’s quiescence?
But you are correct, that, while I didn’t and don’t find the notion itself incredulous, it was indicative of something inartfully grafted on to a story, at the star’s insistence, that wasn’t originally written that way:
“Why am I not on the ship? I’m the one who got raped by this species.” — Patrick Stewart
the episode never establishes exactly what his ailments were when he left Earth.
…Which means that he was not portrayed as an alky in the episode.
Whether or not the absence of certain information in “Metamorphosis” allows for Cochrane to be retconned as an alky in FC logically and in a canon-consistent way is not the point. Neither, by your own argument, does anything in “Metamorphosis” preclude Cochrane from being retconned, for example, as a blood-thirsty, revenge-crazed madman. But, if you are going to retcon the character to have that particular flaw, then there should be a dramatic purpose in so doing that services character development and/or a theme in the story, as opposed to merely turning the character into a clown for comic relief. If your goal is a meaningful story, that is.
Re: Clown for Comic Relief
I definitely disagree with you that that was how Cromwell saw the character and/or chose to portray him. I’ve seen Cromwell do clown and Cochrane wasn’t it. And clown was not how he was written.
Now, bigoted jerk or a$$hole as the character was portrayed in the original episode in regards to his views as to whether he could love a “monster” or such a creature could love him?:
“And the other “aha” moment for me was the idea that the hero to all of the people on the Enterprise, Zefram Cochrane, was a drunk asshole who is creating warp drive for all the wrong reasons and him realizing why he needs to do it because it’s going to change the world and I thought, if you could go back in time and meet one of your great heroes from history and they’re a jerk, it’s very shocking.” – Brannon Braga
I definitely disagree with you that that was how Cromwell saw the character and/or chose to portray him. I’ve seen Cromwell do clown and Cochrane wasn’t it. And clown was not how he was written.
I have no issue with how Cromwell portrayed the character, but rather with how Braga and Moore wrote the character. If the character seems more of an asshole or deek than a clown to you, I’m not looking to split hairs over it. “Clown” is my overall impression of FC’s Cochrane. He gets drunk, makes funny faces and gesticulations, runs away and hides from his own ship, mostly for levity and comedic effect. The mood during the Cochrane scenes is typically a lighthearted respite from the dark mood of the scenes up on the Enterprise. Hence my classification of Cochrane as comic relief.
And reflecting back on that introductory episode, I recall Cochrane, while maintaining a thin veneer of affability, always came off to me as a bit of a condescending “deek”, as my grandfather would put it.
He lies straight out to Kirk about not knowing why they were shanghaied, and only comes clean after Kirk eventually calls him on his BS and threatens him. And he knows these people are younger, and fresher of thought and knowledge with more advanced tech than he, but just because his 150+yo self hadn’t come up with a solution he repeatedly pronounces to them that they are “wasting their time”.
And let us not neglect to mention the painfully bad attempts at humor in FC, though they are typical of the TNG movies.
RIKER: (to Worf) You do remember how to fire phasers?
Get it!?! See, Worf is a battled-hardened Star Fleet officer who served admirably with Riker for many years. And, here, Riker is pretending that Worf is incompetent! But, Riker’s only teasing; he doesn’t really mean it! See how Riker smiles at Worf after delivering the line? That lets you know that he’s just teasing Worf!
I saw that as a comedy reference to the best of both worlds part 1 ending, mr worf fire.
Well, Worf fires an energy beam from the deflector dish in that scene, instead his usual job of firing phasers. It would be an awfully obscure callback to reference a relatively trivial detail from Season 3 in a movie, when Worf has been back at his regular job of firing phasers for eight years by that point. If someone was going to ask Worf if he remembered how to fire phasers as a reference to the one time that he fired a deflector beam, you’d think that they’d have done it much sooner, like in Season 4, and most likely in the second episode of that season, if not at the end of BOBW Part 2. I think the FC joke attempt was just another corny joke, like so many others in the TNG movies. The comedic style of those movies was consistently corny.
Definitely my favorite of TNG movies (I guess along with 99% of people out there). It was the lone blockbuster film of the 4 (though I did like all 4 to varying degrees). This movie was huge for me. I loved the Borg as a villain and this movie somehow made the Borg looked more creepy. There was a bit of campiness, true, some of the humor didn’t come off that great. But overall, an excellent Star Trek film. It’s nice to now at least one of TNG films hit it off big. It was a great show and they deserved at least one blockbuster.
“First Contact” was a thrill ride, and it’s still pretty damn enjoyable all these years later. It certainly did a better job than any other in terms of cameos and fan moments (Barclay, the EMH, Ethan Phillips, Dixon Hill… the list goes on). And like “Voyage Home”, it had the best balance of action/plot/lines distributed amongst the cast.
It used two “can’t fail” plot hooks – the Borg and Time Travel – but at least they were competently written & complimented each other. It’s just too bad there wasn’t any gas left in the tank for the next two flicks.