My Favorite Movies #95 – Star Trek: First Contact

Star Trek First Contact - PosterStar Trek: First Contact

1996

Directed by Jonathan Frakes

Netflix says… The Borg have time-traveled to Earth’s past to prevent the first contact between humans and Vulcans, which resulted in the Federation’s birth. Bent on revenge, Picard follows the Borg to the 21st century.

  • Is it possible to watch and enjoy this movie without some working knowledge of the Star Trek: The Next Generation universe?
  • Probably not.
  • This movie assumes a lot from its viewers.
  • First, it assumes you have a basic understanding of what characters make up the crew of the USS Enterprise.
  • Second, it assumes that you understand how dangerous a threat the Borg are to Earth and the United Federation of Planets.
  • Third, it assumes you understand that Captain Picard was once assimilated by the Borg and rescued by his crew.
  • So that’s a lot… And most people probably just assume that a Star Trek movie will involve Kirk, Spock, and their generation of Enterprise crew.
  • This is the first of only two Star Trek films to make my personal top 100. The other, well, we’ll get to that much later.
  • We begin after the events of the previous film, Star Trek: Generations. In it, Picard and Kirk met and worked together (it was complicated) and the Enterprise that was present throughout The Next Generation series was destroyed.
  • Jean-Luc Picard now captains the EnterpriseE… the sixth Federation ship to bear the name Enterprise.
  • Picard awakens from a dream in which he is once again a Borg drone known as Locutus.
  • He then gets a call from Starfleet Command… the Borg are making their way toward Earth. After a lot of years of playing cat and mouse with the Federation, they’re on the attack.
  • The Enterprise is assigned to the Neutral Zone to make sure the Romulans don’t take advantage of the Borg’s attack and advance into Federation space.
  • Truth is, Starfleet doesn’t trust Picard due to his prior experience with the Borg, when really, his experience is what they need to beat them.
  • Eventually, Picard and his crew disobey their orders and head to the front lines to take on the Borg.
  • They’re able to destroy the Borg’s cube ship, which then ejects a sphere ship that goes back in time to assimilate Earth in the past.
  • The Enterprise follows the Borg back in time and destroy the sphere… but not before a handful of Borg can secretly transport onto the Enterprise.
  • The good guys determine that the Borg were attempting to stop Zeprham Cochrane from successfully testing warp drive technology, thereby preventing humans from making first contact with Vulcans.
  • Picard, Data, and several other crew members beam down to the surface to see if Cochrane and his ship were destroyed.
  • They’re attacked by Cochrane’s co-pilot, Lily. She passes out from radiation poisoning, so they beam her back up to the ship to treat her.
  • Picard and Data return to the ship, while a number of the Enterprise‘s crew stays on the surface to help Cochrane get the Phoenix ready for her maiden flight.
  • On the Enterprise, the Borg slowly assimilate the ship, moving deck by deck from engineering up.
  • Data is able to halt the Borg’s progress by encrypting the computer, so they can’t control the ship from engineering. And then he is abducted and the Borg Queen attempts to seduce him into joining her.
  • Picard runs into Lily, who has gotten away from Dr. Crusher and is exploring the ship on her own. They form a tight bond and, when all hope seems lost for the ship to survive, she manages to talk some sense into the captain.
  • She compares him to Ahab and his relentless hunt for Moby Dick.
  • Meanwhile, on the surface, Riker and the rest of the crew discover that Cochrane isn’t exactly the hero that their history books make him out to be. But they manage to get him on board with continuing his experimental flight anyway.
  • The good guys stop the Borg. Cochrane successfully crosses the warp threshold. And the Vulcans land on Earth to make first contact with humans.
  • And they speak perfect English. Because… reasons.

I’ve tried to keep this one brief because last week’s review of It was way too long. But I do want to express how much I love the character of Lily in this movie. She’s definitely my favorite addition to the Star Trek universe. Alfre Woodard plays her spectacularly and I think it’s amazing the way she’s able to stand up to Captain Picard in ways that anyone under his authority would never dare. The dynamic between the two of them is incredibly entertaining. Again, it’s the kind of thing you may not get if you’re not familiar with The Next Generation to this point. It’s not exactly a movie that invites newcomers to feel welcome at the conventions, you know?

I’d like to say that next week’s movie won’t be as exclusive in nature. Number 95 is Rogue One. So with that you kind of have to have an understanding of the Star Wars universe. But maybe it’s just a fun spy movie set in space if you’ve never seen the original Star Wars.

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