‘Star Trek: First Contact’ (1996)
by Jason Koenigsberg
Thanksgiving of 1996 I remember seeing one of my favorite science fiction movies and one of the best Star Trek movies of all time, certainly the best to feature the Next Generation cast. Star Trek: First Contact is a great vision of the future and embodies what humanity should strive for. After last weeks election results left our country more divided than it has been in decades, this is the ideal future that mankind should strive for and it uses technology to bring our species closer together, encapsulating everything Star Trek and Gene Roddenberry stood for.
Star Trek: First Contact is also a phenomenal movie. From it’s opening credits with Jerry Goldsmith’s elegant score, followed by a shocking dream sequence of Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and then it immediately dives into the plot involving the Enterprise crews greatest threat, the Borg. A cyborg collective that travels through space and time accumulating and consolidating life everywhere it goes. The Borg is a metaphor for communism and all things that threaten human individuality and emotion. First Contact delves deeper into the Borg than any previous Star Trek episode or film has including the extraordinary two part episode where Captain Picard is taken by the Borg. This time Picard has to save Data, an android, from the Borg Queen as she tries to seduce him to conquer the Enterprise and planet Earth as the crew followed a Borg ship back in time. While on Earth they try to aid a reluctant and offbeat scientist named Zefram Cochran, played perfectly by James Cromwell, from achieving warp drive and subsequently making first contact with an alien race, the Vulcans.
The performances from all the Next Generation cast are spot on, and non-tv actors Cromwell and Alfre Woodard elevate Star Trek: First Contact into being one of the best and most humanistic science fiction movies of its era. Woodard was so great I thought she deserved a Best Supporting Actress nomination. The scene where she talks to Picard about Captain Ahab and Moby Dick is one of the most revelatory in any Star Trek film. Discover or Rediscover Star Trek: First Contact on its 20th anniversary. You do not need to be a Trekkie or even a casual Trek fan to appreciate this transcendent action-packed film.
Star Trek: First Contact is currently available to stream on Netflix.