Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!

Trek Tuesday: First Contact

After the lack-luster Generations, Paramount let Rick Berman do whatever he wanted for the follow-up.  With that freedom, Star Trek: First Contact improves upon almost everything from its predecessor by being a solid action-adventure film in the Star Trek canon.

first contact

In it, the villainous Borg (think robot zombies) travel back in time to enslave Earth without any resistance.  Fortunately, the crew of the USS Enterprise follows them back to stop their plan.  I like the core-concept in that our characters travel into their past, but it is still our future (the year 2063).  It makes different enough from the successful Star Trek IV.  It also allows the film to explore some Trek lore (how humanity got into space) though some very meta-textual references (as far as I am concerned, Zefram Cochrane is Gene Roddenberry).

The film also touched on the themes of revenge and obsession and how to overcome them.  There is some really good natural comedy and some very dark survivalism (without it becoming needlessly bleak).  Actor/Director Jonathan Frakes balances everything extraordinarily well, and you feel the stakes without being consumed by them.

That said, the film is completely inaccessible to people who are not Star Trek: The Next Generation fans.  The backstory is much more complex than that of sister-film Star Trek II.  If I was not a Trek fan, I probably would have been completely lost and, if memory serves me right, when I showed this movie to Zack for the first time, we had to stop the film so I could explain what Picard (Patrick Stewart) was talking about when it came to the Borg.

Star Trek: First Contact is a good film.  It was released when Trek was at the apex of its popularity.  It does have its flaws and it is not for a Trek-newbie, but at the end of the day, it is a fun, exciting action flick with some depth.  What more could anyone ask for?



8 responses to “Trek Tuesday: First Contact

  1. CultureCast-Z April 23, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    This is probably my third favorite Trek film after Wrath of Khan and Voyage Home. I think it just edges out Undiscovered Country.

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