trailer), ranks right up with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn as their favorite of the first ten films. Somehow, I managed to go in with an open mind and come out with this easily surpassing Generations as the best Next Generation crew movie yet.
I have not seen the two episode special of The Next Generation, "The Best of Both Worlds" where Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) is captured and assimilated into a new villain race called the Borg that is able to capture and transform its victims into their collective. Essentially, they are space zombies. First Contact brings the Borg to the big screen, with the gigantic cube that is a Borg ship engaging in a huge star battle against an armada of Starfleet vessels. When it looks like Starfleet is going down, the Enterprise intervenes to save the day, but not before a Borg escape ship leaves and creates a time travel vortex as it approaches Earth. The Borg time travel back to April 4, 2063 (hey, that happens to be my 80th birthday!) in hopes of altering history and preventing humans from launching their first space vessel that makes first contact with extra terrestrials. That does not happen as the Enterprise easily disposes of this escape vessel, but not before the Borg are able to beam aboard the Enterprise and start to assimilate her crew.
Interesting notes of the cast include Data (Brent Spiner) still having the emotion chip that was introduced in Generations part of him, but now being able to enable and disable it on his own accord. This plays a vital role later on when the film introduces the Borg Queen (Alice Krige). There is a well shot zero gravity space combat scene where Picard, Worf (Michael Dorn) and Hawk (Neal McDonough) tear up the Borg on top of the Enterprise. It is worth going into the special effects got exponentially better in the two years since Generations. The aforementioned dogfight against the Borg ship is a dazzling showpiece of warfare that at first glance looks like it came out of a Star Wars film. The Borg outfits also got a significant leap in quality since they were last seen on Next Generation.
Among the ton of original extras included I would suggest checking out Making First Contact, which is a insightful 20 minute look at how Frakes wound up as director and a look at all the new guest stars of the film. The Story is a fascinating what could have been 15 minute piece on how the original draft of the film had Frakes' and Picard's roles reversed. There is a very well made 20 minute tribute on the life and career of series composer Jerry Goldsmith that is essential watching for any Trek fan that has identified with Star Trek's vintage scores. Finally, there are three separate features totaling 40 minutes apiece that are all about the Borg, and how they evolved onto the big screen and their lore throughout the Star Trek universe that provided a very entertaining and informative watch.
For a person who only previously directed about a dozen assorted Star Trek television episodes going into his feature film directorial debut, Jonathon Frakes did a fantastic job with Star Trek: First Contact. It finds a great new direction to take the series in on the big screen by bringing in the whole 'space zombie' dynamic that is the Borg, while mixing it just the right amount of comedic relief to keep everything well balanced from beginning to end. As I stated in the intro, it blows away Generations, and has me excited for what is to come from him next seeing that he is also the director of the next film.
Star Trek Film Ratings
Star Trek: The Motion Picture - 5.5/10
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn - 10/10
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock - 7.5/10
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home - 9/10
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - 6.5/10
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - 7.5/10
Star Trek VII: Generations - 8/10
Star Trek VIII: First Contact - 9/10