Why Star Trek: First Contact Sucks

Essay by Anthony Leong © Copyright 1997

"Two Thumbs Up"
"The Best Star Trek Adventure Ever"

You've seen the ads, extolling the virtues of the latest Star Trek adventure. Though it was commercially successful and well-received by critics and a non-traditional audience, the problems with this eighth Star Trek outing were many, and the true fans of the Star Trek universe could see them:

Production Problems

The opening credits were blurry.

What is this obsession with making the Enterprise a dark and moody place, instead of the well-lit and warm environment of the television series? The only time they did this on the television series was when they were in the alternate universe where the Federation was at war with the Klingons ("Yesterday's Enterprise").

Plot Holes

At the opening of the movie, the Enterprise-E is doing research near the Neutral Zone, which is such a long distance from Earth that subspace messages are delayed an hour. However, Picard and company listen to 'live' battle communications and manage to warp back to Earth in time for the final battle.

If the Borg wanted to go back in time to stop the formation of the Federation, why travel all the way to Earth, and then do the time warp, when someone can see what they are doing? Why not go back in time where no one can see you and then go to Earth? Or alternatively, the Borg could have just gone back in time and destroyed either Vulcan or the Vulcan survey ship.

Why do the Borg always only send one ship to attack the Federation? If they sent two or three, they would be unstoppable (especially with the ease by which Starfleet vessels are destroyed in a firefight against the Borg).

If the Borg Queen was present when Picard was Borgified in "Best of Both Worlds", how did she escape the destruction of the Borg vessel at the end of the episode?

So the Vulcan survey team picks up a warp signature from Zefram Cochrane's ship during the very brief warp trip. How did they know to land in Montana to find him?

Who financed the building of the warp ship? In a post-apocolyptic world, I don't think there would be too many venture capitalists with risk capital to spend on this sort of thing. Hell, even NASA can't get money for unmanned space probes in this day and age.

When Picard and Worf went outside the ship to stop the Borg from completing their communication beacon, why didn't they just beam out there or use a shuttlecraft instead of doing a time-consuming spacewalk along the hull?

The Borg are slow, yet they manage to take over the Enterprise-E virtually undetected and assimilate crew members. Even if a crew member was trapped by one of these things, about to assimilated, they must have had time to alert someone with their comm badge. And wouldn't the shipboard sensors have detected the presence of the Borg as soon as they got on board (in the television series, the bridge was always alerted to the sudden appearance of an alien presence anywhere on the ship). And once the Borg were detected, couldn't the crew just have beamed them all into space?

Picard shows up in the middle of the Starfleet battle against the Borg and assumes command of the whole fleet. Who died and made him Admiral?

Earth is a post-apocolyptic world following World War III fought with nuclear weapons. Where's the nuclear winter?

Changed Premises

Picard has had seven years to get over being Borgified in "Best of Both Worlds". So why is he still so vulnerable when it comes to the Borg. He didn't whig out in the other Borg episodes of the series ("I, Borg", "Descent")... so why should he now? Plus he had the opportunity to destroy the Borg with the invasive program in "I, Borg", but he felt it was unethical. And what is it with this mental telepathy with the Borg Queen? How come Picard never experienced it before?

It is possible to 'rescue' a Borgified human being... after all Dr. Crusher was able to save Picard. But in "First Contact", Picard shoots anyone who has been assimilated because he's "doing them a favour" (proof that he's whigged out).

If the Borg have a collective consciousness, why do they need a Borg Queen? What purpose does she serve?

Troi seems to have lost her telepathic abilities. She was alone in a bar with Zefram Cochrane and couldn't figure out who he was.

In DS9, Sisko always sends out at least two of his command staff on the Defiant. In "First Contact", he only sends Worf.

Equipment Oddities

The plasma coolant leak at the end ate away all organic tissue but did nothing to Data's uniform.

Zefram Cochrane's warp ship was a modified ICBM. How did it land after the historic flight? It didn't have any wings or landing gear.

In "Thine Own Self", Data was 'killed' when he was stabbed by a metal spike. In "First Contact", Data is unharmed by bullets.

The Borg personal shields can stop phaser blasts, but don't protect them from knives or holodeck machine gun bullets.

Speaking of the holodeck, when Picard ducked in there to escape the Borg, when did he find time to change his clothes?

In "Generations", Data was prisoner to the rampant emotion chip. However, in "First Contact", he can turn it on and off at will.

The USS Defiant is pretty useless for a supposed 'Borg fighter'. Not only has it been crippled so many times on DS9 (by the Maquis and the Jem Hadar), but Worf had to abandon it at the beginning of "First Contact" after being pummelled by the Borg.

When Picard was assimilated in "Best of Both Worlds", they removed his uniform and comm badge. In "First Contact", Picard kills a Borg and finds a Starfleet uniform and comm badge underneath the Borg outfit.

The Recycling Bin

Time travel, self-destructing the Enterprise... nothing we haven't seen before.

The Moby Dick allegory for destructive obsession was already used before in "Star Trek II". The use of it in "First Contact" was really contrived.


Counsellor Troi was wasted in this movie, both figuratively and literally. The highlight of her appearance was getting drunk for the sake of some cheap laughs.

Another character lost in the shuffle was Dr. Crusher. Unlike in the television show, where she was seen as someone Picard could talk to, she merely 'did her job' in this movie. And her scene in sickbay was upstaged by Robert Picardo's cameo appearance as the Emergency Medical Hologram.

"You broke your little ships." 'Nuff said.

So much for preserving the time-line. The loose-lipped crew of the Enterprise reveal interesting tidbits about the future to Cochrane, which is a definite no-no and use their futuristic equipment in plain sight.

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