Star Trek First Contact is the second of The Next Generation films, and the best one of the four films. The Borg attack Earth and send a ship back in time to assimilate the planet prior to it achieving warp capabilities. The USS Enterprise-E follows the Borg ship back and arrives the day before Zefram Cochrane tests his warp drive and makes contact with the Vulcans.
The screenplay by Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore was excellent. The story flowed well and kept my attention throughout the entire film. I found it to be eclipsed only by The Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country in the lineup of Star Trek films. Most of the main characters from the television series were able to contribute meaningfully to First Contact, which says a lot for the creativity of the writers and the work of the director.
Alice Krige was excellent as the Borg Queen, bringing a poise and deadly beauty to the role. She reminded me of a beautiful snake or spider, carefully working to trap all of humanity. James Cromwell was excellent as Cochrane, giving the character a good presence but keeping his fallibility and insecurity that must have plagued him given the recent events on Earth. Alfre Woodard gave a stellar performance as the feisty and protective Lily Sloane, Cochrane’s assistant. I especially enjoyed her scene where she gave Picard the tongue-lashing he needed.
The music by Jerry Goldsmith and Joel Goldsmith worked well throughout First Contact. I absolutely love the theme he created; it is actually my favorite Star Trek theme, and it helps tie this film into The Next Generation. I also loved how he was able to use the original theme from the television series, and do so in a way that fit into the flow of the music.
The film is not very accessible to anyone unfamiliar with The Next Generation or Star Trek in general. However, I find it unlikely that too many people who aren’t familiar with the series would bother viewing the film. It was too bad that Crusher (Gates McFadden) and Troi (Marina Sirtis) were not given more significant roles in the film, but the parts they played fit into the narrative well.
Star Trek First Contact is definitely one of my favorite Star Trek films, right up there with the best of the original series films. There is a lot of good action, interesting dialogue, solid characters, a great musical score, and solid effects work. I strongly recommend this film, so go watch it if you have somehow not yet seen it. This one is definitely worth your time.
Release Date: November 22, 1996 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (very brief social drinking)
Language: 2 (some, mostly minor)
Sexuality: 1 (brief and intense suggestive situations)
Violence: 3 (some brutal violence, space battles, phaser fights, death)