Star Trek: First Contact Movie Review

Movie Review by Anthony Leong © Copyright 1997

Quick... what do you get when you have the talking-heads of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the Moby-Dick-as-analogy-for-the-destructiveness-of-vengeance of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the blowing up of the Enterprise as a last resort of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, the let's-go-back-in-time-and-tell-everyone-we-meet-about-the-future-and-expose-them-to-our-technology of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the throwaway attempts at humour of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, the slow pacing of Star Trek: Generations, the Captain Picard with a kick-ass attitude from "Yesterday's Enterprise", a soundtrack that borrows from "Reservoir Dogs", cameos by some of the Voyager cast, and of course, the Borg?

The Enterprise NCC-1701-E

Why, you get Star Trek: First Contact, of course. An uneventful movie. If you are a die-hard Trek fan, you'll probably enjoy it. Sure, the cameos by well-known minor ST:TNG and Voyager characters are delightful and the new Enterprise-E looks great, but what is lacking in this Trek outing is some good writing. For example, there is a 'Counsellor Troi is drunk' scene that goes for cheap laughs. There is an attempt to re-hash the Moby Dick subtext that doesn't carry quite the same resonance as it did in ST II. The movie is peppered with melodramatic moments that try to say something... but somehow the message becomes muddled.

If you are looking for the visceral thrills, First Contact is also lacking in this department too. Though director Jonathan Frakes was hoping to do another Aliens, the action sequences don't really get the audience on the edge of their seats. The big battle with the Borg at the beginning of the movie is too short and seems to have a certain feeling of detachment to it (a battle against the Borg was done far better in the pilot of DS9). The whole movie has a very dark look to it, from the dim interior lighting of the ship to the dark colours of the uniforms, which carried over from Generations.

I believe in the Star Trek franchise, and I hope they get the formula right (they managed to do it in II, III, IV, and VI) for the next one (hell, even Generations was slightly better than this one). Oh well, at least there's still DS9.

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