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This review appears direct to the web courtesy of THE CINEMA LASER.

STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT

STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT

Since STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT ($40) is the eighth film in the STAR TREK series, it is an even numbered film and lends further credence to the STAR TREK movie curse. Actually, the curse is nothing more than the track record of the even numbered films being superior to the odd numbered ones. STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT definitely bares out the curse, since number eight is one of the better entries in the series. Heck, this film wowed them at the box office and took in roughly ninety million dollars.

In STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT the Federation’s most lethal enemies, the Borg, are back to eliminate the federation and take over Earth. The Borg are a race of half-machine, half-organic beings with a single purpose: to assimilate all intelligent life in the galaxy into their collective. As a race, the Borg are nothing more than drones. They operate with a singular mind and collective consciousness. The Borg are much like the insects one would find in a hive or colony. Captain Picard, who was assimilated by the Borg six years previous, still bears the psychological scars of his experience. Picard also retains subliminal contact with the Borg’s collective consciousness. It is during the Borg’s latest attack on Earth, that Picard is able to use his special insight to destroy the Borg’s mother ship. However, the Borg launch a smaller ship which they use to travel back in time, prior to the formation of the Federation, and assimilate Earth. Picard and the crew of the new Enterprise E, in hot pursuit of the Borg ship, follow the Borg back in time to prevent their interference with the time line.

The primary story in STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT works best because it deals with the Borg’s takeover of the Enterprise. The secondary story, which portrays Earth’s development of warp drive and its first contact with an alien race, is somewhat less effective. While the Borg’s interference with the past jeopardizes the development of warp drive and first contact, the Borg never actively participate in the secondary story. The main action of the film takes place aboard the Enterprise, since that is where the Borg can be found. Without the direct threat of the Borg, the secondary story seems somewhat distracting. Placing some Borg on Earth would have given the regular characters something more interesting to do. It certainly would have enlivened the secondary story.

While STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT is an entertaining entry in the series, personally I don’t think that it lives up to the television episodes THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS parts 1 and 2, which inspired this film. The television episodes had a better dramatic structure and allowed all the regular characters to contribute to the story line. Like STAR TREK: GENERATIONS, STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT shifts most of the regular characters to the background, rendering them little more than moving scenery. Picard and Data are given the lion’s share of screen time, thus allowing their characters the most growth.In STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT the darker side of the usually staid Picard rises to the surface. In this film, Picard switches into the action mode- and he is hell bent on taking revenge on the Borg for robing him of his humanity, during the time he was assimilated into their collective. STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT gives Picard the opportunity to vent his murderous hatred for the Borg.In STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT Data comes even closer to his goal of achieving his own humanity at the hands of the Borg. The Borg Queen introduces Data to the temptations of the flesh- hoping to make him betray his shipmates and paving the way for a Borg conquest of humanity. The cast of STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT features Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes (who also directed), Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, Alfre Woodard, James Cromwell, Alice Krige, Robert Picardo, Dwight Schultz and Ethan Phillips.

Paramount has given STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT an excellent THX approved Letterboxed transfer. The transfer restores the essential sweep of the film’s proper 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio. The film features a terrific production design and spectacular special effects that would be all but lost on a pan and scan transfer. Colors are nicely saturated throughout the transfer and the image is finely detailed. The digitally encoded Dolby Surround soundtrack packs a punch, and the mix makes good use of directional effects. A Dolby Digital soundtrack is also available. The Pioneer pressing had modest speckling.

 
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Laserdisc reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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