Borg borg borg. THE BOOOOORRRRGGGGG!!!!!! [ahem] If there’s any particular plot device Star Trek: The Next Generation over-used – other than the separation of the saucer section from the ship – it has to be the Borg, although Star Trek: Voyager used it far more yet. Still, the mindless inhumanity of the machine is a powerful image and one which is tough to beat for the sheer insurmountability of the challenge of its defeat. So… there’s that.
This one is intriguing in that we not only go back to the time that Earth first makes direct contact with an Extra-Terrestrial (April 4th, 2063; a few days prior to my 97th birthday; something to look forward to), we also get to meet the guy who invents Warp Drive. It also turns out that the two things take place not only on the same day, but in the same location, the one causing the other to occur. The guy who makes the faster-than-light propulsion engine ends-up being, frankly, a bit of a jerk, as he really wants to be left alone to tinker on stuff, not become some sort of high-technology hero figure. Granted, both Edison and Tesla were cranky bastards as well, so there you are.
Directed by Johnathan Frakes, this is effective as a story, even if the pacing seems slightly television-like in its rhythm in the editing and a tad conventional in its lighting and camera-work. He does well, however: even when the action is taking place in three locations we don’t get stuck with typical meanwhile… in an other part of space jump-cuts.
The story draws heavily on the themes of personal sacrifice being valued for the benefit of the larger goal, as well as the notion that everyone plays a role in the continuing development of history, no matter how insignificant they might seem to be in their contributing of details. Solid stuff, and we’ve seen it before, but it always works. Plus there’s a bit of comedy sprinkled throughout and that always helps.
The Borg Queen is actually a bit sexy, frankly, which goes back through James Bond, Dracula, and all the way to Cassandra and Medusa in its roots. Evil is always a seductress, causing otherwise intelligent individuals to lose their minds along with their principles in the pursuit of the bawdy and powerful opportunity being offered. Again, this isn’t over-played, and the dénouement is perfectly controlled without being filled with “gosh darn, aren’t we just something, gang?” hokum. Hooray!
This is probably the best of the 2nd iteration of the “Star Trek” series of films, although it also marks the beginning of a tendency to be too connected to the television versions running at the time.
Star Trek VIII: First Contact (1996)
presented by Paramount Pictures
Gene Roddenberry (television series Star Trek)
story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga & Ronald D. Moore
with screenplay by Brannon Braga & Ronald D. Moore
This year, I’ve been watching DVDs from the library for a number of reasons, mostly to do with a combination of “filling in the gaps in my ‘pop culture’ knowledge”, as well as a concerted effort to better understand story editing by both watching a film and then re-watching listening to people who have studied that particular movie for years in order to better appreciate the themes, plot construction, symbolism, and so on.
The process would be nothing without the secondary audio tracks. Sometimes it’s like having actually been through the film-making process with the people involved.
Table of contents for the series “The Star Trek Trek Films: Which is the Least Goodest?”
- RE:VIEW ~ Star Trek I: The Motion Picture (1979)
- RE:VIEW ~ Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
- RE:VIEW ~ Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
- RE:VIEW ~ Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
- RE:VIEW ~ Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
- RE:VIEW ~ Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
- RE:VIEW ~ Star Trek VII: Generations (1994)
- RE:VIEW ~ Star Trek VIII: First Contact (1996)
- RE:VIEW ~ Star Trek IX: Insurrection (1998)
- RE:VIEW ~ Star Trek X: Nemesis (2002)
- RE:VIEW ~ Star Trek XI: Star Trek (2009)