For Those who have not seen Star Trek First Contact yet, don’t’ go any further. (And by the way, where have you been?)
I went to see First Contact at Christmas 1996 and I must say I was a little disappointed. It was a good action movie, and the special effects were good. It is apparent that The Powers That Be were more interested in Box Office Takings than making a good Trek movie.
The good thing about First Contact is that you don’t have to be a Trekkie/Trekker to watch it. This was good for me because, I went to see it with my partner who is most definitely not a Trekker. (It was part of his punishment for not buying me a Star Trek Voyager alarm clock for Christmas). He enjoyed it! He was impressed with Captain Picard, which was surprising since he usually refers to him as, “That bald git.” My Partner is a ‘Kirk’ man. He thinks Picard is a shaper, (meaning a coward or, all talk and no action). Now he understands that Picard will act when necessary.
For me seeing Picard in his vest was ah um, amazing. I wasn’t surprised that Picard was taking more of an active part in this particular mission, after all the Borg had abused him in the past. But to strip him down to his vest well, I think that was a bit too Kirk/Arnie S/Sly Stalone.
I realise now that if your making an action movie to appeal to all cinema goers then, you haven’t got the time to dwell on the relationships between the crew. Also, there was no time for a build up that would have left no questions unanswered. The first question being: How did Picard know that firing on that particular non critical part of the Borg ship, would cause its destruction? If he gained this knowledge when he was forcefully assimilated by the Borg, then why did he not pass it on to Starfleet so that it was common knowledge?
Why didn’t the Enterprise censors detect that the Borg had boarded the ship? Why did the Borg stop assimilating the crew half way through? How come it was now possible to fist fight with a Borg and destroy them? Why didn’t Commander Shelby think of that before in Best of Both Worlds? What did the Queen Bee…er, Borg mean when she said; “I am Borg? Why was she so different looking from all the others? Why didn’t she need eye implants? (I’m getting petty now).
Best of Both Worlds is one of my favourite double episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation. I loved the Borg, I loved the fact that they were so determined and unstoppable. I’m easily spooked so, the idea of resistance being futile seemed real, right up to the point when the Federation found the solution to stop them. Brilliant stuff. The FC Borg where not at all frightening. They looked a bit meaner because more work went into the costumes but, they were not threatening in their manner. Resistance was not futile, it was a pushover to defeat the Borg. A couple of punches and they were out. Where was the menace?
Alice Krige as the Borg Queen was as hauntingly beautiful as Director Jonathan Frakes envisioned. I was impressed when we see her for the first time descending from where ever it was… and being joined to her body. This was brilliant special effects. I thought this is it, this is the crazy bitch behind those madmen. Now we’ll see what makes them tick.
Wow. I have never been so disappointed. She spouted some stuff about three dimensional thinking. I didn’t want to hear this. I wanted to be totally menaced by her. I wanted her to substantiate the belief that the Borg were a formidable enemy. To give us insight into what drives them, why they perceived themselves to be better than the rest. A better dialogue would have dealt with that. Instead we see her pussyfooting around with Data.
I think the Queen Borg was just introduced to give Data another chance to explore humanity, especially the sexual side. She wasn’t the big deal I thought she would be. First Contact has definitely killed off the Borg as a replacement for the Klingons as the Federations worst enemy.
We were lucky to see Crusher and Troi, they had such small parts. The Award winning actress Alfre Woodard had the best female role. However, I can’t help thinking that some of her lines would have been better suited to Crusher, or Troi. The scene where she rips into Picard (usually referred to as “The Captain Ahab scene”), should have been played by someone who knew Picard better. Popular opinion is split between Crusher, Troi and Guinan. I go for Guinan. She had as much reason to hate the Borg as Picard. Who better to tell him to let go?
When Picard kissed Lily (Alfre) at the end and tells her he’ll miss her, it confirms for me that the part was meant for someone closer to him. I mean what was to miss? He hadn’t known her that long. The fact that Whoopi Goldberg was not in the movie makes me wonder if that was why Alfre was cast! That aside, she did a great job. My favorite scene is the holodeck scene. It was beautiful, and reminded me that I was watching Star Trek.
I liked the concept of First Contact, the turning point for earth, the beginnings of the United Federation of Planets. I would have liked the ending more if the Vulcans had not spoken in English. We take universal translators for granted in Star Trek, but I doubt very much that Zephram had invented it along with warp drive. For first contact with an alien race the language barrier should have been apparent.
Seriously, when watching First Contact, I never got the feeling that I was watching the crew of the Starship Enterprise from the series the Next Generation. This film could have been played by the cast of The Original Series, or anyone else for that matter, with the same effect. You really didn’t have to have an affinity with any of the characters to watch the movie.
As an action movie I liked it enough. As a Trek movie – Better luck next time.