Jammer's Review

"Star Trek: First Contact"

***1/2

Theatrical release: 11/22/1996
PG-13; 1 hr. 51 min.
Story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga & Ronald D. Moore
Screenplay by Brannon Braga & Ronald D. Moore
Produced by Rick Berman
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Someone once said, 'Don't try to be a great man, just be a man, and let history make its own judgments'."
"That's rhetorical nonsense. Who said that?"
"You did... ten years from now."

— William Riker and Zefram Cochrane

December 11, 1996

Nutshell: Very good stuff. Probably the best of all Trek films, with an involving story and a skillful, even-handed approach.

Star Trek: First Contact is one of the best Star Trek films — probably the best Trek film — definitely the most even-handed. It successfully balances just about every element I believe a good Trek film should have — superior production and special effects, plenty of humor and fun, involving conflicts and problems that must be overcome, and a compelling story with human themes and values consistent with Gene Roddenberry's optimistic vision. All of it is wrapped into a very neat package of plotting and pacing. It's good Star Trek, and it's good cinema.

As an added bonus, First Contact brings back the Borg, perhaps the most interesting and menacing race of villains in the history of Trek. Ever since their introduction in TNG's second season episode "Q Who," the Borg have been the most compelling threat to the Federation. In that episode, they were simply hungry for any technology that was different and new. Negotiation was not a factor; they wanted your stuff, they were without a doubt bigger and stronger, their hive-like collective was overwhelming, and if you resisted them, they would destroy you.

A little more than a year later in "The Best of Both Worlds," the writers clarified another element of the Borg that made them even more terrifying — the fact that they wanted not only your technology but also you — they wanted to turn you into a mindless drone, to strip you of your individuality and add you to their single-minded collective. Unlike the relatively boring and simple-minded aliens of Independence Day, who simply wanted to destroy everyone and everything in their path, the Borg instead threaten you with a fate worse than death: Their goal is to absorb people and technology and forcibly make you one of them, so that you will become one in their hive of conquerors.

That Borg ship was destroyed, but not before they assimilated Captain Picard into their collective and stripped him of his individuality, which was only regained after the cunning intervention of the Enterprise crew. Now the Borg have returned, and they're again bent on doing whatever it takes to assimilate Earth.

First Contact opens with a powerful and magnificent-looking shot — part of a flashback dream sequence that begins as an extreme close-up of Captain Picard's eyeball, and then tracks back to reveal Picard standing in a Borg module on a Borg ship. The camera continues to track backward for what seems like miles, showing what must be millions of Borg drones on the massive vessel collective — of which Picard has forcibly become part of. Picard suddenly awakens in his ready room aboard the new Sovereign-class Enterprise-E, which, we learn, has been in service for nearly a year now.

A message comes through from Starfleet Command. The Borg have been identified in Federation space, and they're on a direct course for Earth; and as Picard states, this time there may be no stopping them. Further, Starfleet orders Picard away from the battle — they fear his past assimilation by the Borg may instigate an unstable element to an already-volatile situation.

Well, no points for guessing that once the Borg start pounding on the Starfleet ships and the losses start rolling in Picard takes it upon himself to violate direct orders and engage the Enterprise in battle. What's surprising here is the speed with which the film launches itself. Unlike in Generations two years ago, little time is wasted here on old jokes or the reintroduction of the TNG cast (a nature of the film that keeps the plot taut and should actually increase accessibility for non-Trekkers). Within ten minutes of the opening credits, the Enterprise is in the heat of battle with the immense Borg cube — as is the Defiant, commanded by Worf, apparently ordered to the battlefield as part of a reinforcement effort.

I must say, seeing a Trek battle of this magnitude on the big screen — especially with that huge Borg ship — is a sight that probably alone is worth the price of admission. It looks great. Particularly attractive are the organic motions of the Defiant, which flies around the screen with such graceful, eye-pleasing movements that it makes war look almost like choreography.

Perhaps one negative aspect about the initial battle with the Borg is that it ends a little too abruptly and easily. As Starfleet's resident expert on the Borg and their weaknesses, Picard orders the fleet to concentrate their fire on a specific point, which destroys the Borg cube in a nifty pyrotechnic display. But this victory transpires a little more easily than it really should have — especially considering Picard's aforementioned notion that "this time there may be no stopping them." By beating the Borg in five minutes under only partially explained circumstances, the threat feels a little less real than I hoped it would have, not up to the level of the Borg assault on Earth back in "Best of Both Worlds."

But there's a flip side to this coin. Like I said, First Contact wastes very little time — the pace of the movie is pretty fast, and once the Borg cube is destroyed and the damaged Defiant crew is beamed aboard the Enterprise, the main plot takes off. You see, just before it explodes, the Borg cube launches a smaller sphere which creates a "temporal matrix" that allows it to travel back to the latter half of 21st century. While in pursuit, the Enterprise is caught in a temporal wake, and upon realizing that the Borg intend to change history by assimilating Earth in the past, Picard decides he must follow the Borg back and prevent such an occurrence.

Okay, so it's Yet Another Time Travel Plot. Time travel can be dangerous territory in terms of plausibility, because it sets up the possibility of the all-encompassing Time Paradox. Fortunately, the film steers clear of most of the technobabble and confusion, and wisely delves into its story. Still, time travel has been done on Trek so many times (Star Trek IV, Generations, and numerous episodes of TOS, TNG, DS9, and Voyager), sometimes without success. There are a few things about First Contact's logic of time travel that annoy me, like, for example, how time suddenly became something that the Borg could manipulate at will, and how the Enterprise reconfigures the time matrix at the end of the film to get back to their time period. Such complaints are minor, however — the importance here is the story once the movie goes into the past, which easily makes the ends justify the means.

The Borg and the Enterprise arrive at Earth, April 4, 2063 — shortly after the widespread destruction of World War III that leaves the planet particularly susceptible to an invasion; but, more importantly, as the crew quickly notes, this date is the day before the historic "first contact" between humans and intelligence beyond the solar system, which is supposed to take place when Zefram Cochrane (James Cromwell), the Montana-based inventor of warp drive among humans, takes a test flight in his revolutionary space craft, to the interest of some extra-terrestrials who are passing near Earth's star system.

The Borg want to prevent first contact and assimilate humanity, but the Enterprise intervenes and destroys the Borg sphere. Before the loss of their ship, however, the Borg are able to beam a small invasion party aboard the Enterprise, and begin assimilating the ship and its crew like a cancer from the inside.

From here, the story divides into three narratives. One involves Picard, Worf, and the Enterprise crew's efforts to contain the Borg from taking over the ship. A second centers around Data, who is kidnapped by the Borg during a confrontation and taken to the lower decks they control where they attempt to assimilate him into their collective under the command of an element new to Borg milieu — the Borg Queen (Alice Krige), a single entity who represents the mind behind a massive collective of drones. A third follows Riker, Geordi, and Deanna's attempts to see to it Cochrane's warp flight goes through as history plans.

The type of movement between different plot lines exercised in First Contact is nothing unfamiliar to Trekkian story structure, but under Frakes' tempered direction, the plot holds together just fine and scenes work. Most importantly, the plot proves consistently interesting and the story remains involving. The key to the film is its big picture — the way it works all of its elements into a coherent, cohesive whole in which each development manages to be something both entertaining and relevant.

Picard's fight for the Enterprise takes an understandable and sturdy character-driven turn — that of vengeance. The motif begins subtly; such lines as Picard's order, "Don't hesitate to fire on crew members who have been assimilated," make sense in their context, but also add to the bigger agenda — that of Picard and his hatred of the Borg for what they do to any who stand in their path, and — more specifically — what they did to him six years ago. The vengeance factor present here is deftly executed, thanks in part to another of Patrick Stewart's convincing performances. But another important aspect here is in the screenplay's ability to make points about this theme. For this purpose the writers have a character named Lily Sloane (Alfre Woodard), Cochrane's 21st century assistant who winds up lost in the bowels of the Enterprise after a series of events. Sloane is smart, and she makes some keen observations about Picard's situation, at one point drawing a very pointed comparison between Picard and Captain Ahab of Moby Dick. Woodard's energy is very commendable; she and Stewart work well together in a host of scenes of varying depth.

It's clear that Picard allows his anger to cloud his judgment, particularly when he refuses to arm the Enterprise's self-destruct sequence and orders the futile fight for control of his ship to continue. This throws him into conflict with Worf in a charged scene filled with fiery words. Conflict is tough to do amongst the TNG cast, but the filmmakers pull it off here by making Picard decidedly wrong and, further, insulting Worf for trying to set him right. Based on TNG's history between Worf and Picard, Worf's very Klingon response to Picard's insults seems sincere: "If you were any other man, I would kill you where you stand." Pretty startling. (If the later scene where the two make up seems a tad easy, remind yourself that this is the TNG cast we're talking about.)

The entire revenge theme speaks for itself much of the time, and it's a credit to the writers that the film looks at the situation from so many perspectives. In one way it's easy for us as the audience to hate the Borg and the relentless strive toward oneness and mass consumption they represent (especially those of us who so vividly remember Picard's experience in "The Best of Both Worlds"). On the other hand, many of the Borg now trying to alter history used to be members of the Enterprise crew, and it's unsettling to watch Picard barely bat an eye after damn near enjoying gunning down a Borg (in an elaborate holodeck sequence) who used to be one of his own ensigns. Of the themes in First Contact, this is the heaviest and most complex, and the writers give it the analysis it deserves.

As Picard and the crew attempt to quash the Borg cancer, Data finds himself in the position Picard was six years ago — on the Borg "operating table," where they attempt to turn him into one of them. For some reason, the Borg take a particular interest in Data; they see him as the key to the human puzzle that has defeated them once already. There are a host of intriguing exchanges between Data and the Borg Queen, with some dialog that's really on the mark. Data's quest for humanity has always been something pervasive on TNG, but here the dialog reveals another purpose — it underlines the evil in Borg oneness. Whereas Data's quest is a search for his own human individuality, the Borg simply conquer and force their way of life on others, in their effort to become a more "perfect" network of drones. And as Data so rightly points out to the Borg Queen, "to think of oneself as perfect is often the feat of a delusional mind." The Queen has some retorts of her own, and knows that Data's quest for human feelings is his weakness and goes so far as to tempt him closer to the Borg collective with human flesh, grafting it onto his circuitry for true skin sensations. It's a witty and ironic approach by the script, that the key to the Borg's removal of humanity from humans would be in giving Data more distinctly human characteristics.

The Borg Queen turns out to be one of the film's most interesting characters, partly in the way the filmmakers realize her — both physically and mentally — but also because of Krige's skillful rendition of a calm, seductive personality who aims to simultaneously consume and create Data anew, as well as humanity along with him. (A particularly nice display of the Queen's sense of superior tranquillity comes when Data attempts to escape but freezes in pain when cut on his newfound flesh by Borg drones. The Queen simply waves her hands and the drones disperse in random directions, like a group of mindless insects. A very neat touch.) Michael Westmore's makeup designs for the Queen, as well as the rest of the Borg, are great — slick, creative, interesting to the eye, and very, well, Borg.

Noteworthy in the Data/Queen scenes are Data's emotional responses of fear and subdued anger — appropriately utilized rather than released to run amok like in Generations. (This makes sense, since Data would have learned much about controlling his feelings since that time.)

As the Enterprise copes with its problems, the script also supplies a lighter story as Riker and Geordi attempt to convince Zefram Cochrane that he's really a key figure in the future and that humanity is within a day of being forever changed for the better. While the Borg-centered angle of the story supplies issues of individuality and survival, this part of the story is the true, Trekkian "heart" of the film. It deals with humanity and how it views itself in the prospect of change. Riker's explanations to Cochrane about how much the world will change after first contact is one of the many highlights of the film. And, besides, the character interaction in this story is just plain infectious. Cromwell, in particular, turns out to be an amiable presence, with a lighthearted performance containing much grace and humor — I liked Zefram Cochrane a lot. (I honestly don't remember the Cochrane character that appeared in TOS, but I don't care, either.)

I could fully understand why Cochrane would be overwhelmed learning that he's to be labeled a historic visionary. And I got a kick out of the whole bit with the statue that Geordi explains, and the idea that the savior of the future is merely a guy who wants to get drunk and make enough money to retire to an island of naked women. (For that matter, I was amused at the notion of Cochrane getting Deanna tipsy, agreeing to talk to her only after "three shots of something called tequila.")

In a key passage, Cochrane explains to Riker that his motives were hardly visionary — that he is not and does not want to be the "great man" that everyone in the future knows him to be. Riker has a response:

Riker: "Someone once said, don't be a great man, just be a man, and let history make its own judgments."
Cochrane: "That's rhetorical nonsense. Who said that?"
Riker: "You did, ten years from now."

It's dialog like this that defines the Star Trek universe. It's reassuring that at least some cinematic version of the future has imagination and hope for humanity and still has the prudence not to always take itself so seriously.

As much that takes place in First Contact (and as haphazardly as I've probably summarized it here), it's a credit to screenwriters Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore that they manage to tie everything into a sensible, efficient whole. They also manage to spread the material around all the main TNG characters — much better than in Generations. While obviously Picard, Data, and the guest characters get much of the material, given the size of the cast it's nice to see that everyone gets into the action one way or another.

And the plot's action provides some fresh and creative technical feats. The most impressive set-piece is a neat zero gravity situation on the hull of the ship, where Picard, Worf, and Lt. Hawk (Neal McDonough, who unfortunately is provided little purpose in the film except to be the token "dead meat" character) attempt to thwart the Borg's attempt to build a beacon on the deflector dish. The special effects are convincing, to say the least, and the entire episode is played out in a sort of slow-motion. In a word, this is clever.

There's also the aforementioned Dixon Hill holodeck scene that Picard and Sloane venture into to elude some Borg pursuers. The idea takes time out from the standard chase to nearly transform into a movie with a life of its own, complete with all the typical characters. (I particularly got a good laugh out of the "Nicky the Nose" gag — one of the most subtly amusing notions in the film.)

Naturally, there are the obligatory cameos — Robert Picardo as the EMH, Ethan Phillips as a holodeck character, and Dwight Schultz recapping his character Barclay at his most Barclayness — in the context of the film though, they fit, particularly the moment when Barclay so enthusiastically meets Cochrane, which underlines Cochrane's whole annoyance with being constantly identified as a historical figure.

Nearing the end, the film brings the three plot lines together, with the launch of Cochrane's warp rocket, the evacuation of the Enterprise (which Picard finally comes to terms with losing and puts on a countdown to auto-destruct), and the Queen's revelation to Picard that she has found an "equal" to her in Data, who she is convinced is completely under her control. She orders him to destroy Cochrane's warp ship with the Enterprise's torpedoes. The most cheer-worthy moment of the movie, at least for me, came when Data turned "Resistance is futile" around on the Queen, much to her horror and disbelief. In one line, Data shows his ability to keep his loyalty to humanity, surprising an arrogant creature and bringing the entire Borg collective down with her. Nice job — it had me cheering.

After the Queen's demise, I still had some questions that left me a tad perplexed, like, for instance, how exactly the Queen was on the Borg ship in "Best of Both Worlds" that was destroyed. Seeing her again causes memories to resurface in Picard — he remembers the Queen as the master behind his own attempted assimilation. The Queen's retort that his feeble human mind is too limited to understand was mysterious but unrevealing. Perhaps my primitive three-dimensional mind isn't supposed to understand it, either. Too bad; I would've appreciated understanding the Queen's history a little better. As a symbol of oneness she works great, but the specifics are a tad overly vague.

As compensation, the film allows us to witness first contact between the humans and the Vulcans. Without going too much into detail, I'll just say that the sequence is a poignant, effective payoff, and a great way to end the movie. I think it's the best scene in the entire film and one of the better moments in Trek's history, with a genuine sense of wonder and amazement and a real epic feel (and Jerry Goldsmith's theme is top-notch). It lays down some of the background of the Federation, which I've always wondered about, and it reveals that Star Trek cares not just where it's going, but also where it came from. As a Trekker so close to the series, I was moved. (Don't begin to ask me how a non-Trekker would react, though — I wouldn't know.)

First Contact is not really the action-packed "Borg movie" the trailers want to suggest. It's got action and adventure, sure. But it's really about assembling a sci-fi plot to entertain in thoughtful ways, using the resources and history of the seemingly-immortal concept of Trek itself. If this film is an indication of where the franchise intends to go, I'll gladly be aboard for the next ride.

Previous: Star Trek: Generations
Next: Star Trek: Insurrection

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49 comments on this review

Dan - Tue, Jan 22, 2008 - 3:33am (USA Central)
Awesome movie. One question though, if it is probably the best Trek movie why only 3.5 stars and not a 4 equal to STII-WOK?
Jammer - Tue, Jan 22, 2008 - 8:57am (USA Central)
Simple: I said "probably." :) By the time I got around to reviewing ST2, I'd decided ST2 is indeed the best ST film. So, for the record, I do put ST2 above STFC (despite what I said here), so I stand by both star ratings.
JO´H - Sat, Feb 16, 2008 - 12:02pm (USA Central)
This gets back to the shortfalls of a four star rating system. Jammer, would you consider re-reviewing you whole database of Trek reviews to better distinguish beteer the great and the good?
JO´H - Sat, Feb 16, 2008 - 12:04pm (USA Central)
e.g 5 stars instead?
Jammer - Sat, Feb 16, 2008 - 3:06pm (USA Central)
The rating system is what it is. It isn't perfect, but I'm okay with that. There's really no purpose in me going back to revise ratings en masse. It do what it do.

I've never believed in the 5-star system. It's 4.
Jake - Sat, Mar 22, 2008 - 8:59am (USA Central)
I agree with the consensus that this came the closest of the 4 TNG films to do TNG justice. However, what keeps it from attaining classic status in my book is the unnecessary addition of Lily's character(with respect to Alfre Woodard, who's a fine actress). It should've been Beverly who talked sense into Jean-Luc and convince him to destroy the Enterprise.
Nick - Mon, Jun 9, 2008 - 10:59am (USA Central)
If you look at the ten movies as part of the same series and continuum than I believe Wrath of Khan is the best film. However, if we're judging them on individual merit First Contact is the by far the best in my mind. Under another category of "Best Science Fiction" I think First Contact again is superior; its high concept villain, tight plot, and superb acting put it in a class by itself. But... it doesn't have Kirk's voice crack while giving Spock's eulogy.
Dan - Mon, Jul 14, 2008 - 9:09am (USA Central)
Anyway....
I agree that ST 2 is the best of the Trek Films. This certainly runs it close though.
Dan - Tue, Jul 22, 2008 - 5:17am (USA Central)
It's also interesting to note that the two best Trek Films actually had links to episodes from the series rather than being stand alone ideas.
rob - Thu, Jul 31, 2008 - 8:26pm (USA Central)
Just watched this movie again for the second time. Wanted to like it, but maybe it wasn’t a good idea to watch it again after so many years.

Where the tv series finale for TNG was suspenseful, dramatic, surprising, and involving - by comparison, this movie felt contrived, unbelievable, sometimes out of character, and I’m sorry to say, was painful to watch at times.

Wrath of Khan holds up far far better, imo.
Tim Carroll - Fri, Aug 29, 2008 - 9:29pm (USA Central)
People often point to Voyager as the beginning of the end for the Borg as credible villains, but I've always felt it was this movie that turned the Borg from a genuinely menacing threat into something far less interesting. All Voyager did was run with the concept originally created here. Only problem was, it was never a good idea to begin with.

In fact, the Borg Queen was the Worst. Idea. Ever. The reason the Borg were so uniquely frightening to begin with was that there were *no* leaders of the Collective. It just existed, mindlessly carrying out its endless quest to reach perfection. They were the ultimate Trek Evil Computer(TM) villain.

The Borg Queen ruined all that. Suddenly, the Borg had an individual leader who made independent decisions and had emotions and all that jazz, and ALL that mystique went POOF and was never regained.

Voyager's "Scorpion" was the last time the Borg felt scary. It's also the last time we had a Borg Special (TM) without the fucking Queen. Coincidence? I think not...
OldTrekker - Wed, Dec 31, 2008 - 1:47pm (USA Central)
Nice Review. I too thought this was right up there with Wrath of Khan. And yes, the Borg Queen kind of detracts from the whole soul-less, emotionless, hive mind concept, but I think it was a necessary vehicle to make them more accessible to the non-trek audience. Plus, I think that to come up with a creative, non-contrived, plot development to defeat them might have taken a lot more screen time and slowed the pace of the film.

My other comment has to do with the wonderful use of the final scene in First Contact as a starting point for the "Evil Earth Empire" in the "Mirror Universe" episode of ST: Enterprise. In my opinion, one of the handful of "keeper" episodes in that otherwise ill-conceived ST spinoff.
EP - Thu, Mar 12, 2009 - 4:17pm (USA Central)
I completely agree with Tim Carroll.

The Borg Queen, decked out in her H.R. Geiger gear, is scary in a horror-movie sort of way. Like Jason or Freddy Kreuger. And her "seduction" of Data is intellectually intriguing.
Unfortunately, she ultimately neuters the Borg concept and makes them about a weird sort of bitch-goddess revenge, to come full-cycle on VOY.

The film is slickly produced, though. When the Enterprise swoops in to protect the Defiant I can't help but shed a manly tear. I can only imagine what some of the older films could look like with access to modern effects. I've harbored a dark fantasy where I get put in charge of re-mastering the Battle in the Mutara Nebula in Khan.
TB - Sat, Apr 25, 2009 - 10:50pm (USA Central)
Agreeing with Time and EP. Along those same lines, they threw away much of the Star Trek canon regarding the Borg in this movie. Picard tells the fleet to fire on an unimportant part of the cube. One of the great mysteries of the Borg was that there were no identifiable parts of their ships. Everything was equal and redundant. The same with giving them adaptable shielding. In Best of Both Worlds, they found a solution to that problem. Now that solution is forgotten in order to make the Borg more dangerous.
BLP - Thu, May 7, 2009 - 9:40pm (USA Central)
I can't understand the motivation of Zefram Cochrane, in building a warp ship. It's evident that he has never been in space before, so why was there a need to build a warp ship if he had no destination in mind that required that speed? The only reason to have warp capability is to explore the outer reaches of his solar system, and perhaps the galaxy. Inventions and innovation is needed to solve a problem and there didn't seem to be any need of warp capability.
Nicolás Lichtmaier - Sun, May 10, 2009 - 4:58pm (USA Central)
Hehe, you reproduce what the characters assumed about the person that would create the warp engine. Of courssss, it must have been done by an altruistic man wanting to boldly go where no man has gone before. But instead, it was really created by a man who only expected profit. He wanted to get rich with his invention. But this is the same man what would eventually become wiser and more "altruistic". So what this character is really showing is how mankind is supposed to have gone from being assholes to XXIV century gentlemen =).

And this is part of why this movie is still much better than the new J.J. Abrams' Star Trek.
Sarah - Thu, Jul 23, 2009 - 1:52am (USA Central)
I'm working my way back through all the Star Trek movies now that I've seen the new one (this is a great one, btw). But I found the commentary track by Moore and Braga particularly interesting.

Toward the end (with the hind-sight of 'Enterprise' and the latter 'Voyager' years informing their commentary): "All this continuity is a blessing and a curse." "Yeah, Star Trek's getting kind of too familiar and tired." "Yeah, maybe it needs a reboot." "Yeah, it probably does."

It's kind of shame Abrams didn't shop script-writing duties out of the pair of them, actually. Much as I enjoyed the new movie, script coherency wasn't it's strong point and these guys did a lion's share of the best writing in modern Trek. Moore's moved onto other things, granted, and Braga (whether you hate him or not, I think he gets blamed for a lot of things that weren't his fault) will probably not work on a Star Trek project again.

It's a shame they no longer write together, though. I think they brought out the best in each other and tempered each other's excesses.
John Pate - Sun, Dec 6, 2009 - 4:19pm (USA Central)
The Borg Queen issue isn't really, here's how. We posit the Borg Queen is the single attention point of the collective consciousness of the Borg - she is the ego of the Borg. Embodying herself in a particular place then, is purely situational. And if that particular body - which is really simply a waldo - gets destroyed, it doesn't destroy the Borg Queen because she is the Borg and you can't kill them all.
AJH - Wed, Jan 20, 2010 - 10:49am (USA Central)
Disagree completely with others about this film.
The great Borg film was the first part of Best of Both Worlds.
ST:First Contact pales by comparison.

And the reason ? Pacing, editing and drama.
Director Frakes and his editor have no idea.

Three things that destroy this movie.
1. Weightless scene in space. Slow, slow, slow. Both the movement and the plotline slow down to impulse power. It's a slowly editied and boring scene, it's not Trek, it lasts 'Forever !' it's not logical and it looks fake.
2. When Cochrane's warp rocket has taken off and is just about to go to warp, everything slooooows dowwwwn. Prepare for warp - look out the window - see the enterprise - torpedoes fired - torpedoes in the water - torpedoes still in the water - still in the water - torpedoes missing - Data defects...etc etc etc...THIS TAKES FOREVER.
Go to warp already !
Was George Lucas editing this film. It should have been quick and snappy action, not slow and treacly.
3. How long is the Vulcan First Contact scene.
It must take 10 minutes.
Slow motion landing. Slow motion walking. Slow motion First Contact.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

This is not the great film everyone thinks it is.
Just like Michael Bay's Armegeddon, it travels at breakneck speed when it should breath and then slows down when it should be snappy.

2 1/2 out of 4
Destructor - Thu, Jan 21, 2010 - 9:34pm (USA Central)
Saw this last night and agreed with my friends' comment: "This is better than all of the Star Wars prequels combined."

Was initially somewhat disappointed when I saw it theatrically but watching it now in context it really is a lovely, solid film.
David - Tue, Mar 9, 2010 - 8:32am (USA Central)
IMO, the best of the Next Generation movies -- and I'm not really a fan of the Next Generation. It was downhill from here.
Paul - Mon, Jun 14, 2010 - 5:54pm (USA Central)
How did the Phoenix land?
Tim - Fri, Jun 25, 2010 - 12:56pm (USA Central)
I do think this is a great film. But I agree this film is what started the “dumbing down of the Borg” (and Voyager just grabbed that baton and went with it). I mean, the Borg accept defeat rather easily. They send one ship to assimilate Earth and it gets destroyed (but not before wiping out a good percentage of Starfleet ships and personnel). You’d think they would have said, “You know…we almost got them that time. Let’s try again and send five or ten cubes. We’ll defeat them for sure then!”. Or the time travel idea. Which is brilliant and simple. Yet they never tried it again. Of course, just don’t do in full view of all of Starfleet where a ship can follow you backwards in time and you’ll be golden. And finally…The Borg have assimilated some 10,000 species, right? You’d think at least one of them would have had a cloaking device to make battle that much more efficient. =)
Luis Dias - Sun, Jul 4, 2010 - 1:28pm (USA Central)
How can you like this piece of crap of a movie?!?

Go see RedLetterMedia's review of it, he just blows it off like the shit it is. Good grief, I was about to take you guys seriously, but then 3 stars and a half to this monstruosity?!? You lost it.
David - Tue, Aug 17, 2010 - 10:27pm (USA Central)
RedLetterMedia's reviews would be better if the guy abandoned his dumb "crazy misogynist basement stalker character" and silly voice and just focused on actual critiques of the film. They add nothing in humor other than make the creator look like a sad, disturbed human being and make sitting through...every....sentence....in...the...video a slog.
Jeff O'Connor - Thu, Oct 21, 2010 - 1:32am (USA Central)
RLM's an annoying, pretentious, pseudo-misogynistic hack. I've watched several of his reviews and I can't stand his stage persona. Annoying, trite and self-indulgent barely begin to describe his so-called theatrics.

As a preemptive measure, should he happen to swing by here and attempt to stun me with a response, it won't have any effect. This is the internet. It doesn't take much to type a few words.

Maybe he's a decent guy when he isn't doing his reviews, but too much of his points get neutered by his desire to run unfunny jokes longer than he spends actually analyzing things. At least, in the reviews I've checked out.

I'm aware of his stance on "First Contact", but I just rewatched it for the first time in a long time (Blu-Ray, baby; god, the film looked like it just came out yesterday!) and it's a fairly terrific movie. Some of the Borg Queen lines are over-the-top, some of the earlier scenes are a little too 'horror' for my tastes... but apart from these quibbles, it's a good film for non-Trekkies and a great one for the rest of us.

The pacing being problematic is a complaint I disagree with. Of course the space walk scene is slow. It's SPACE. And the official First Contact scene clocking in at ten minutes? Try closer to five, and it never felt like it dragged to me. AJH and I clearly just have far separate interpretations on... time.

The producers really brought their A-game to this compared to the other TNG films, and it's bittersweet knowing that "Insurrection" and "Nemesis" don't come close. I don't hate either one like some do, but they're not this good. Not by a long shot.

I'm not planning on doing reviews for the films, but I'd give this one a heartfelt ***1/2, too, Jammer.
Luis Dias - Wed, Dec 29, 2010 - 5:24am (USA Central)
Well, regarding RLM, I think it boils down to taste. And since our tastes differ so much regarding this movie, it doesn't surprise me that we also disagree on RLM. His persona is funny and is intentionally over the top. In his star wars reviews, he even gathers some women slaves, the lines are ridiculous.

About the movie, it is quite clear why it completely sucks.

First of all, the characters are all off base. Completely contradicting the personas they did on the series. The plot is full of holes, shenanigans and outright silliness. Why does the queen travel through time only after she arrives Earth and gets her cube destroyed? Silly strategy. Why her sudden obsession with data? Completely vacuous. Why should data approve the trade? Such a dumb idea: why not help the queen destroy entire mankind so that he can be all human by himself (and all alone)? It's not even a dillema, it's just stupid. Why is Riker always smiling like a jackass? Why is the crew behaving so much like teenager trekkies down earth, and not like actual crew members of starfleet?

But I simply disconnected in the first scenes. The Enterprise, actually built to kick borg's backside, is denied permission to help the fleet 'coz Picard "may have psych issues". Then he decides just to ignore federation (again?!) and gets there in less than 10 seconds. With that start I was like "Ok this is gonna be worse than generations". And then with fleet ships being destroyed in the front screen, somehow they have to save defiant's crew. I guess all the other crews will enjoy that (specially considering that the defiant wasn't destroyed at all!!), oh no they won't coz they got borged ;).

Just ridiculous. The holodeck scene was bad, suddenly we realise that Picard doesn't care about his ensigns being borg, he just shoots them, and it's like a bad Aliens' homage.

And why oh why did Data pretend to shoot in the end? Why not just jump towards the queen and kick her ass? The script is completely bogus and it shows.
lytnin123 - Sat, Mar 12, 2011 - 10:51pm (USA Central)
Guess I'm a die-hard fan. I love to suspend disbelief and go along with the fantasy. The characters are the key. Data's dilemma and eventual deception of the admittedly illogically existent queen was unexpected and heroic. Picard's vengeance was long overdue. To answer why Lily was in the film, a crew member would have been insubordinate and relieved and/or demoted to argue further with Picard; Lily could challenge him, and she brought him back to do what he had to do. I have only one remaining question: Does this film END the Borg in the future? Does the destruction of the queen mean that it went back in time and was destroyed and all future Borg battles were "erased?" Insurrection and Nemesis ignore the Borg - ???
Matthew - Sat, Apr 23, 2011 - 2:25pm (USA Central)
I see this time you've been blinded by popular opinion Jammer. Allow to carefully explain exactly why this film is awful and point out yet more holes your FAILED to mention.
1) THE STORY AND CHARACTERS ARE NOT BIG ENOUGH FOR A FILM! This thing belongs on TELEVISION, or better yet IN THE DUMPSTER!!!!!!!!
2)WHY DO WE HAVE A TWO STUPID DREAM SEQUENCES AT THE BEGINNING?????!!!!!! WHY?????????????!!!!!!!
3) WHY ARE THE BORG MORE DANGEROUS THIS TIME AROUND??????? THEY SEND ONE CUBE WHICH IS QUICKLY AND EASILY DISPATCHED, more so that the one in "The Best of Both Worlds"
4) WHY DID THEY SAY PICARD HAD TO STAY BEHIND? WHY? IT WAS JUST GRATUITOUS!!!!!!!! IT MADE NO DIFFERENCE TO THE FILM!!!!!
5) IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN DS9, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO KNOW WHY WORF WAS ON THE DEFIANT OR EVEN WHAT IT WAS!!!! THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A FILM FOR EVERYONE, NOT JUST FANS!!!!!!!!!!
6) WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE PHEONIX IS OR FIRST CONTACT WHEN THE CHARACTERS FIRST DISCUSS IT!!!!! IT MAKES NO SENSE
7) THE ENTIRE FILM IS JUST SHOOTING AT BORG OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER!!!!!!!!!! IT'S BORING!!!!!!!
8) THE BORG QUEEN WAS SO, SO, SO STUPID!!!!!!!!!! I don't really want to go into full details about it, BUT SHE WAS NOT A BORG AND RUINED THE BORG ALTOGETHER!!!!!!!!!! "You think in such three dimensional terms" WHAT DOES THAT MEAN!!!!!!!! AND THE DIALOGUE WAS DISGUSTING!!!!!!!!!!!! IMAGINE LOCUTUS DELIVERING LINES LIKE THAT!!!!!!!!
9) WHAT'S THE POINT OF THE EMOTION CHIP?????? IT JUST MAKES DATA LOOK LIKE A CHARACTER WHO EVOLVES WHEN NEW HARDWARE IS ADDED!!!!!!!!! IT RUINED THE CHARACTER!!!!!!
10) THE SPACEWALK SEQUENCE WENT ON FOR AGES AND AGES AND AGES!!!!!!! NO DIALOGUE, NO STORY PROGRESSSION, NOTHING!!!!!!!!
11) THE IDEA OF THE COCHRANE CHARACTER WAS NEVER USED ENOUGH!!!!!!!! WHAT A WASTE!!!!!!! WHOSE GOING TO BUY THE PHOENIX??????!!!!!!! WHAT ARE HIS MOTIVATIONS?????????!!!!!!!!!!
12) DEANNA BEING DRUNK IS SO OUT OF CHARACTER IT'S UNREAL!!!!!!!!!!!!
13) LILY DOES NOTHING!!!!!! SHE JUST TAGS ALONG EVERYWHERE!!!!!! LIKE EVERY OTHER CHARACTER, SHE HAS NOTHING TO DO!!!!!!!
14) THE ONLY REASON PICARD WON'T BLOW UP THE SHIP IS FOR THAT SCENE WHERE LILY TALKS HIM OUT OF IT!!!!!! WHY IS IT SUCH A CLASSIC SCENE????!!!! IT WAS NO DIFFERENT FROM THE SCENE IN "I, Borg"?????? WHY IS IT SO OVER THE TOP AND OUT OF CHARACTER???????!!!!! IT'S SO, SO, SO STUPID
15) WE GET A STUPID PUNCH OUT ENDING WHERE PICARD REMEMBERS THE BORG QUEEN FOR NO REASON!!!!!!!
16) THE ENDING COULD'VE BEEN NICE, BUT IT WAS SO BORING I DIDN'T CARE!!!!!!!
17) EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS FILM WAS STUPID AND BORING!!!!!
I have no idea why you or anyone like it as much as you do. Whatever.
james - Sun, Sep 11, 2011 - 2:42pm (USA Central)
Watched this film again recently, have to say its the last great outing for the TNG crew. Still makes me want to see the old tv show again. Maybe Ill do just that...
tingletangle - Mon, Dec 5, 2011 - 3:03am (USA Central)
Watched this movie yesterday for the first time in about a decade, and felt the ''first contact'' side of the plot with Cochrane held up a lot better than the fight against the Borg did. Can't help thinking that's a major flaw, considering the Borg plot was the one which involved Picard and Data, probably the TNG crew's two most interesting and likeable characters.

Also agree with those who said this was where the ruination of the Borg began - in fact, I find it more annoying here than in Voyager, because Seven of Nine produced some good TV stories while the Queen never did.

All in all, I felt a lot less satisfied by this movie than I do after watching many TNG television episodes which are less than half its length. That said, it's not terrible and it's always nice to see this crew in any setting.
RG - Wed, Feb 8, 2012 - 3:28am (USA Central)
I hate, hate, hated this movie. Picard is turned into a jackass instead of the calm, collected captain we know and love, and all of the other characters act weird as well. It makes me wonder if the writers have seen even one episode of TNG. Not to mention the plot is a complete abortion and full of holes. Interesting how Jammer goes out of his way to point out the plot contrivances of Star Trek VI (which is a far better film) and yet glosses over the nonsensical garbage in the First Contact screenplay. Oh, and did I mention this is the movie that ruined the Borg forever?
Justin - Mon, Mar 26, 2012 - 2:05pm (USA Central)
@Jammer, the Borg queen is not a single individual. As she said, "I am the collective." Which means her consciousness exists everywhere the Borg do. When needed, the Queen becomes corporeal and interactive. That's why she showed up again, and again, and again in Voyager. In the Voyager finale the role was reprised by Alice Krige.

Now, I wouldn't be a real Trek fan without having a few minor nits to pick. I did think it was unnecessary to have Picard have to speed to Earth's rescue. And it did seem like it only took him 5 minutes to get there. Weren't they patrolling the Romulan neutral zone?

The other nagging question is why does the Borg sphere bombard Cochrane's compound with what seemed like nothing more than ineffectual disruptor blasts. This is The Borg we're talking about. Shouldn't they be able to just vaporize the whole area? Or use their laser cutter to scoop it up? That would have been more plausible and a more natural thing for Enterprise to be able to stop from happening.

Other than that, I agree. It's the best TNG movie and the 2nd best Trek movie overall. And I loved the Alfre Woodard character. Alice Krige was also terrific as the queen.
Duge - Thu, Apr 19, 2012 - 3:21pm (USA Central)
This was one of my favorite Star Trek movies and is what, perhaps, did the most to turn me into a Star Trek spinoff fan even though I had been casually watching the series- in various incarnations for years. Instead of meandering around a lot- like in Generations- this was thrilling and suspenseful story that reminded me of what I liked so much about movies like Aliens and other horror films. For some reason, BOBW and other TNG episodes (except maybe the first one-Q-Who?) never really made me fear the Borg. Yes, they were powerful and threatening to the Federation and, yes, they ravaged an entire Federation fleet and captured Captain Picard and turned him into one of them but here they exhbit a truly menacing presence, establishing a foothold on the Enterprise itself and mercilessly picking off Enterprise crew members one at a time and turning them into Borg drones, almost like a good zombie movie. The sight of seeing a crew member lying on the ground turning grey as he is assimilated by the nanoprobes injected into him is creepy but what is even more creepy is Picard dispassionately phasering him to death, in accordance with his previous chilling directive to fire on former Enterprise crew members assimilated by the Borg. The movie's study of how Picard's previous experiences with the Borg and how others around him viewed his actions and judgement regarding the Borg was the most compelling part of the movie, an interesting contrast with the character of Khan in TWOK. Here, our "hero" is the one with "revenge issues". Thankfully, unlike Khan, Picard had a more supportive crew and other people around whom were willing to confront him about his recklessness and ultimately saved him (and, likely humanity), from himself. The one thing that I found slightly odd about Picard's intense reaction towards the Borg is that this isn't the first time since BOBW that Picard was faced with the Borg. After all, the Enterprise did encounter the Borg in two different episodes during the TV series (I, Borg & Descent) and he did not exhibit quite the same level of intensity towards them that he did towards the Borg in this particular situations. Plus, he did have some emotional release in "Family", which immediately followed BOBW. However, this is only a minor point. Picard's relentless vendetta against the Borg made for some really memorable scenes towards the end and it was great seeing Picard get really angry and fiery for once. Data's back-and-forth dialog with the Borg Queen was really fascinating as well and I was definitely not the only one in the theater who cheered loudly when he turned the tables on the Borg Queen, who thought that she had Data under her thumb, and not only prevented Cochrane's warp ship from being destroyed by deliberately missing it but took out the Queen and the rest of the Borg collective by venting the plasma core. Awesome scene. It was also nice to see other supporting cast members on Earth playing a significant role in helping ensure that the warp flight goes as planned. The fact that Vulcans turned out to be the first ETs to make contact with Earth seemed......well...fitting, given their prominent role in the UFP. Excellent movie all around.

Note: I've often thought it would've been neat to have somehow managed to bring Sisko into the story to compare and contrast their reaction to the Borg, given that both of them were intimately affected by the Borg's invasion of the Federation and the battle of Wolf 359. It probably would've ended up being too much storyline to handle but it would've made for an interesting crossover.
Jay - Sun, Apr 22, 2012 - 6:50pm (USA Central)
This movie introduced the ridiculous concept of a Borg Queen, which runs counter to everything we've learned about the Borg so far. Worse of all is that they tried to retcon her into the events of the tour de force BOBW, having Picard, upon seeing her suddenly "remember her" from that experience, when she was nowhere to be seen. Inexcusable.

Voyager is accused of ruining the Borg, but this one film did more damage than the entire 7 year run of Voyager could ever have dreamed.
Latex Zebra - Thu, Apr 26, 2012 - 3:46pm (USA Central)
I think Picard's meltdown certainly shows the leanings of DS9 and Ronald D. Moore's influence on Trek.

I still go back to this from time to time and always enjoy it. This isn't just a great Trek film it's a great film full stop.
Brandon - Wed, Jun 27, 2012 - 6:21pm (USA Central)
RedLetterMedia has a habit of taking every possibly plot nitpick and translating it as "the entire plot doesn't make sense". Yeah, the whole "Borg go to Earth and THEN time travel" thing, and Picard's flawed portrayal as inconsistent with his TNG persona, are valid criticisms. But other than that, RLM focuses on little except other minor nitpicks and ignores the fact that, within its slightly flawed premise, it's a very well-made, exciting, and intelligent movie.

RLM's obsession on plot inconsistencies works great when he's dissecting the Star Wars prequels, but not here. It also made him a complete hypocrite when he gave a pass to XI and the forced, nonsensical hernia that was THAT movie's script, so take RLM with a grain of salt. He's pretty biased against the TNG movies as a whole, because he saw the TNG films as a misplaced studio attempt to merely turn a smart franchise into dumb action movies.
Eduardo - Fri, Aug 24, 2012 - 10:31am (USA Central)
Listen to the Brannon Braga / Ronald D. Moore commentary on the DVD/Blu-Ray, if you get the chance. It's by far the best audio commentary in any of the 11 Star Trek films.

They really delve into the origins of the story, and don't shy away from criticizing a scene or two either.

But the best moment in this commentary is during the movie's final act. Brannon and Ron really try and dissect the reason people started nitpicking Trek almost to a fault.

They both agree that what killed Trek and Enterprise was pretty much familiarity, which led to franchise fatigue. It became intimidating to continue writing new stories, without running into the pitfalls of contradiction, due to the sheer complexities of the Trek universe, as well as fan expectations.

This commentary was recording around 2004/2005. Brannon was running Enterprise, and Ron was running BSG. And even then, Brannon said it out loud that it was time for the franchise to take an "electrical jolt in order to start fresh" - his words.

In a way, he pretty much predicted what would happen in a just a few years, with the JJ Abrams 'reboot'.
Patrick - Mon, Oct 22, 2012 - 8:28pm (USA Central)
There's some cool continuity in this movie that really tickles me:

Cmdr Riker refers to The Defiant as a "tough, little ship" (to Worf's chagrin). Thomas Riker called it the same thing in the DS9 episode, "Defiant" a year earlier.

In the TNG episode, "New Ground", Geordi rhapsodizes how amazing it would have been to be there when Zefram Chochrane using the first warp drive. In this movie, he got his wish!
Rosario - Sun, Nov 11, 2012 - 1:13am (USA Central)
A lot of comments about the ruination of the Borg. I would posit that this ruination is from a seed that was planted earlier. Sadly, I believe the downfall of the Borg began in BOBW pt.2. No one should be able to come back from assimilation. This, "redemption" was a crack in the otherwise pristine armor of the Borg as relentless villains. Now they could be "saved." Then we meet Hugh and we humanize the Borg. After that Lore brainwashes them and now they're just misguided. You can't honestly say this movie is the "start" of the downfall of the Borg. This movie is more, the seed after carefull watering, finally coming to full flower.

I do love this movie though. The soundtrack especially is a favorite.

One thing always bothered me though. We see the effectiveness of Worf's blade. Why can't anyone say, "Computer. Blade, katana, 2 million folds." Boom that's it. Borg move like they're in water - just get a bladed weapon and hack them to bits
Jack - Tue, Dec 25, 2012 - 11:34am (USA Central)
It was incredibly out of character for Data to break the plasma tube in the climactic battle with the Queen without Picard being first secure from the danger of it...
Patrick - Tue, Apr 16, 2013 - 12:04pm (USA Central)
It's amazing how much the two UPN Trek series gleaned from this movie. From the fourth season on, it was "Borg, Borg, Borg, and more Borg" from Star Trek: Voyager (in fact they'll use the term "first contact" constantly). And hell, Star Trek: Enterprise was pretty much created from this movie with the introduction of the Vulcans in ST:FC. The only real influence on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was a mention "In Purgatory's Shadow" and the new, grey uniforms.

And for people wondering why the Borg were interested in Data; remember: he was considered "a primitive artificial organism" but help defeat them in "BOBW pt II".
Frank Wallace - Tue, Jul 9, 2013 - 9:41pm (USA Central)
I could NEVER grasp the fondness for this movie. People always said "it's the good TNG movie". They are all equally bad to me, but for different reasons. RedLetterMedia's review of this DOES explain quite a lot that I agree with. It's not just the minor nitpicks like the stupid pointless window room, or the Defiant not having her actual captain, or this anti Borg ship getting its ass handed to it by the Borg, only to surely be destroyed by the explosion or stuff like that.

Picard already dealt with his Borg issues in the show. Quite definitively. Data already dealt with temptation of more human like qualities previously. Picard is MASSIVELY out of character this whole film, and he's not the only one. Worf was willing to ram the Defiant into the cube, and die in battle like a Klingon, but later WON'T die on the Enterprise? Time travel plots are stupid for so many reasons. They always open the colossal door to "why didn't they do that before?" type questions.

I can't watch this movie and pretend not to be a Star Trek fan. I re-watched it a couple of weeks back on Film Four. The whole opening segment is contrived retconning nonsense to create false tension and conflict. You basically have to switch off the Trek part of your brain to just sit back and enjoy a reasonably well put together action adventure in space. The fight sequence was nice to see, but there are too many little holes in the film that annoy me and make me cringe, and too many big holes in the plot and characters to just forget 7 years of TNG. And we know now in retrospect how studio influence led to the Borg Queen, taking the first step towards ruining this uniquely interesting Trek villain species.

No, sorry, as a Star Trek story, with these characters, they've had to basically gut the whole meat and bones from TNG to make this work, and I find it hard to watch. It's only better than the other 3 because it's not boring.
Jeffrey Bedard - Fri, Jul 12, 2013 - 6:42pm (USA Central)
I do think that FIRST CONTACT is the best of the 4 TNG films.

One question that stays with me about the Borg in general (although it pertains to this film as well): If the Borg adapt to situations, why is it that at each individual encounter the Borg wait 'til the humans are a threat before assimilating them? After "Q Who" you would think that each and every time the Borg encountered humans (Federation or not) they would start assimilating immediately? Obvously, that would ruin the stories, but you would think that would be more of the case and also make the Borg more terrifying. They're wouldn't be giving us any chances anymore! :)
Paul - Thu, Sep 12, 2013 - 7:38pm (USA Central)
Having the Vulcans as humanity's first contact was an inspired move.
Moonie - Sun, Sep 15, 2013 - 10:55am (USA Central)
I enjoyed this movie immensely. IMO this is the best of the TNG movies.

But to me, it also raises questions. Did the Enterprise crew not affect/change history by assisting in the first warp flight? Sure, they merely helped achieve what happened in their past and what was *supposed* to happen but I find it hard to swallow that such a major interference in a historic event would remain without consequences.
Nick - Fri, Nov 29, 2013 - 4:37am (USA Central)
I love this film, especially the scene between Picard and Lilly in the ready room.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt your little quest! Captain Ahab had to go hunt his whale!"

Patrick Stewart is an incredible actor.
Rae - Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - 3:15pm (USA Central)
"Don't begin to ask me how a non-Trekker would react, though — I wouldn't know."

It was in very late 2000 that my best friend decided that I needed to get into Trek. I had no use for sci-fi at the time.

I let her give me a crash course in the various Trek series and characters, but wasn't convinced. She knew I liked western and pioneering stories and thought that a first contact story might pique my interest.

So the very first Trek I saw was this movie, which she assured me was a really good sci-fi movie that even a non-Trekker/Trekkie could appreciate.

I knew nothing about the characters, the Borg, and remember being incredibly confused by the holodeck sequence, but I was completely entranced.

Then we got to Lily and Picard's final exchange:

"I envy you, the world you're going to."
"And I envy you, taking these first steps into a new frontier."

I could have been me conversing with Picard. I was hooked, on both Trek and sci-fi.

I started with TOS, which I fell in love with almost immediately, tried a few eps of TNG and had no use for it (still don't), and then fell madly in love with DS9. I eventually moved on to Firefly, Farscape, BSG, Stargate, Babylon 5, etc.

I am convinced that I would not be a fan of Trek or of any other sci-fi show or movie had someone who knew me too well not ordered me to sit down and watch this movie.
Michael - Sun, Apr 20, 2014 - 10:06am (USA Central)
Firstly, I have to respond to that Mister-Caps-Is-Cruise-Control-For-Cool, because no. Just no.

1) The story is most definitely big enough, and the characters defined enough for the purpose. What could possibly be bigger than wiping out the whole of mankind before we could achieve the greatness that had been explored in every incarnation of Trek up to this movie.

2) To underscore Picard's intimate in-tuneness (I couldn't think of the right way to word it, so it's staying) to the Collective after what they did to him. People have dreams within dreams more than they realise, and that Picard is having such an experience about the Borg only highlights his anxiety about encountering them again.

3) Because of the time travel aspect. Now, granted, that's something that's annoyed me about the Borg in First Contact as well. If they had the ability to travel back in time to assimilate mankind in the past, then why not do so when there is no Enterprise around to stop them? You might argue that the Temporal Agency in the 29th-ish century would stop them, but if the Collective was able to distract them sufficiently with other events simultaneously, they could pull it off and see to it that there WAS no Temporal Agency.

4) Because that's the way bureaucracy works. Those in charge give orders regardless of whether or not they make sense. The Admiral assumed that Picard might crack, since he hasn't actually had a full-on encounter with the Collective since his assimilation. Command had no prior experience to think he would be an asset in the battle, and they made a judgement call.

5) It's assumed that all Trek fans MIGHT have watched enough DS9 up until this point to grasp it, and for those that didn't ... keep in mind they never televised or even showed us Sulu's promotion to Captain and assignment to the Excelsior prior to actually seeing him in command. It's been a couple of years since the Big-D went down, so it's assumed that SOME officers received transfers rather than wait around in limbo.

6) We don't know what many things are before they come into it. New people to the franchise will patiently wait for it to be explained, and it soon was. Trekkies know about First Contact since TOS days. It has been mentioned in the franchise, though not detailed, multiple times.

7) Skipping this point because you're only one-third right.

8) The Borg Queen was, conceivably, essential to the concept of the Collective. All the times the Borg have been in Trek, they've been described as having a HIVE MIND. Now anyone that knows anything will know that no Hive can function without a Queen, or some other individual driving that collective. It makes sense that the Borg would have a personification of that aspect of the Collective as well. When she talks about humans thinking in such three-dimensional terms, it's VERY CLEAR that she's pointing out that the Borg are capable of much more than we are. New Queens could be created as needed, with the consciousness downloaded into the new body from encrypted backup files within the Collective. That's just one example. Keep in mind that after her death in this movie, she was again seen multiple times in Voyager.

9) The emotion chip did far less than you claim. It hardly ruined the character. It gave him a quirky side when he was trying to work out its mechanisms, and made him slightly more in tune with his human/oid friends amongst the crew. Soong created the chip exactly for that reason.

10) Again, going to skip this point, because it's wrong and not worthy of rebuttal.

11) No one was going to buy the Pheonix itself. But that level of tech on a ravaged world would have been like gold during the rush. Every major power still licking its wounds from WW3 would have been after it. Why stay around on a planet with a bunch of people you hate when you can just warp to another and start over? How do we do that sir? Well, this guy in Montana has a ship. With this engine, see? We buy it. Why not steal it sir? Because we're the good guys, y'see? oooor Because he might sabotage it just to spite us. He states quite clearly that his only motivation towards building the Pheonix was to be rich. Wether or not that changed, or he put on the face of that having changed, after the flight, is left to viewer discretion.

12) Not when she's trying to get the information she wants. Would you prefer the hold a phaser to his face and hope the question he asks isn't "What the hell is that and where did you get it from darlin'?" approach?

13) Lily provides counterpoint to Picard. With his rampaging all over the ship killing anything that moves and mutilating Borg to steal their guts (obviously I'm exaggerating), the only other person in the crew that stood up to him was Worf. Did that work? No. Picard slapped him in the face verbally by calling him a Coward. It wasn't until someone from the 21st century compared him to a 19th century novel character and made him see that what he was doing wasn't justice, it was revenge. Still think she did nothing? Would you have rathered not have her there and have let the story line continue with everyone in the crew continuing to be systematically assimilated until the Borg completely controlled the Enterprise? No one else put Picard in his place and made him listen to his officers the way she did.

14) You claim that the scene is out of character, but it isn't really. From your comments, your comments I can assume that you prefer the series over the movies. But in the series, Picard was VIOLATED by the Borg. Statistically, more than 60% of humans who are wronged want vengeance. Picard showed some hints of this in I, Borg when he actually considered using an INDIVIDUAL drone against the Collective. He shows this again in a monumental scale after further years of the Borg hindering the Federation, and now seeking to take over his ship.

15) Refer to my earlier point of how the Queen could have survived. Prior to the distruction of that cube, she could have transported out. That cube could have rendezvoused with another ship en-route to Earth to offload the Queen. The Collective could have made another and had her consciousness downloaded from the Hive Mind. The possibilities are staggering. Remember that they have access to technology the Federation doesn't, and so it is believable that the Queen WAS on board the cube that Picard was assimilated by.



Onto Jammer:

I loved this movie. Of all time, it's my second favourite Trek film, and that was a tough call. Wrath of Khan will always be my favourite, because Ricardo Montalban was the villain in the very first Trek episode I EVER watched, and to see him return bent on revenge with a stolen Starfleet vessel just gave me chills. I still hum the music from the scene where the two ships approach each other in open space sometimes at random. And then that gives me the urge to watch the movie. Plenty of episodes of TNG-era Trek had the potential to show similar scenes of Starfleet-v-Starfleet battles, but those that did push that button (Defiant v Lakota, DS9; Ent-D v Pheonix, TNG, Voyager v Equinox, VOY) didn't quite match the thrill factor I experienced when the Reliant opened up on the Enterprise, or when Kirk responded in kind.

That said, I'm an EPIC sucker for space battles in any science fiction. And this rates as one of the best (included in my list are the fight from Star Trek X, Star Wars III, the season 9 finale of Stargate SG:1, and the series finale of Stargate: Atlantis). So to see the fleet fighting the Borg practically at the onset of the film was something that I enjoyed more than I can presently think to word.

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