Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch

“The line must be drawn here!” Star Trek: First Contact

Star Trek: First Contact
Written by Rick Berman & Ronald D. Moore & Brannon Braga
Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Original release date: November 22, 1996
Stardate: 50893.5

Author’s Note: I had debated doing this rewatch the same way I did Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home two years ago, to wit, as a liveblog. Or I could do it the same way I did all the episodes of TNG, with the categories and stuff. Unable to decide, I put it to readers of my blog, who voted 4.5 to 1 in favor of doing it rewatch-style over a liveblog. The people have spoken! So, herewith, the rewatch of the second TNG movie….

Captain’s Log: Picard awakens from a nightmare about his assimilation by the Borg six years earlier to learn from Admiral Hayes that a single Borg cube has destroyed the colony on Ivor Prime. Hayes is mobilizing a fleet to meet the cube, but the shiny new Enterprise-E—which has been in service for a year now—won’t be part of it. They’re being sent to the Neutral Zone, even though there’s been no unusual activity on the Romulan border for nine months, because Hayes doesn’t trust Picard in proximity to the Borg.

The Enterprise listens in on the battle, including the Borg themselves making the same announcement that Locutus made at the end of “The Best of Both Worlds, Part I.” Unable to stand listening to it any longer, Picard turns the audio feed off—and then orders Lieutenant Hawk to plot a course for Earth. When he gives anyone in the crew a chance to note their discomfort with Picard’s disobeying of Starfleet’s orders for the record, Data speaks for everyone when he says, “To hell with our orders.” (Gotta love that emotion chip…)

They arrive to find a fleet of Starfleet ships getting their asses kicked—including the Defiant, with Worf in command. After being told that shields and weapons are offline, Worf orders ramming speed, figuring to take the Borg out the old-fashioned way, but then the Enterprise rescues them. Picard then orders the fleet to target a section of the Borg ship that does not appear to be a vital system—but it seems to be enough, as the concentrated fire on that one section destroys the cube.

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

Crusher escorts one of the patients beamed over from the Defiant who insisted on coming to the bridge: Worf. Picard happily asks him to take over tactical, after assuring him that the Defiant is intact and salvageable. (“Tough little ship,” Riker comments, to which Worf retorts, “Little?”)

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

A sphere ejected from the cube before it was destroyed and is heading for Earth while creating a temporal vortex. The Enterprise is caught in the vortex’s wake—and then the sphere disappears. Earth changes before their eyes, and Data reports that the planet has been completely assimilated by the Borg—in the past. Being caught in the vortex’s wake has spared the Enterprise from the timeline changes, and Picard orders Hawk to fly into the vortex before it collapses so they can fix whatever damage the Borg did in the past.

Cut to April 2063, Montana. Dr. Zefram Cochrane and his assistant, Lily Sloane, are stumbling home from the bar. Cochrane wants one more round, but Sloane doesn’t wish to fly into space with a drunken pilot. Cochrane replies that he sure as hell isn’t going up there sober.

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

They’re interrupted by an orbital bombardment from the Borg. The Enterprise shows up in space with Worf destroying the sphere with quantum torpedoes. Once Data confirms the date—the 4th of April 2063, the day before Cochrane took the first human ship with faster-than-light travel out and humans made first contact with alien life—the crew realizes the Borg’s plan. If they stop first contact, they stop the Federation from forming.

Picard, Data, Crusher, and a security team beam down in contemporary clothing to assess the damage, since sensors and shields are down after going through the vortex. The silo where the Phoenix, Cochrane’s ship (a retrofitted nuclear missile), is docked is filled with corpses. The ship itself is damaged, but repairable, especially since the Enterprise has the ship’s specs in their library computer.

Sloane fires on them with a small rifle. When Picard tries to convince her that they’re there to help, she replies, “Bullshit!” and keeps firing. Luckily, Data’s bulletproof, but when he tries to explain to her (once her clip is empty) that they come in peace, she collapses from her wounds.

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

Crusher has to treat her for radiation sickness in sickbay, promising to keep her unconscious. She beams back with Sloane, while La Forge beams down with an engineering team to repair the Phoenix. (La Forge leaves his deputy chief engineer, Porter, in charge and tells him to look at the environmental controls, as it’s getting a bit hot. That isn’t at all ominous.) Riker and Troi also beam down to aid in the search for Cochrane, who needs to be located so he can fly the Phoenix the following day and keep history on track.

On the Enterprise, Porter and another engineer try to figure out what’s wrong with the environmental controls. Both of them find Borg in the Jefferies Tubes and are quickly killed. On the surface, Picard senses this and immediately beams back with Data, leaving Riker to supervise the search for Cochrane and the repairs to the Phoenix.

Worf and Hawk report the precise atmospheric changes, which Picard reveals matches the atmosphere on a Borg ship. Some Borg had to have beamed over before the sphere was destroyed while shields and sensors were down. Within moments, all communications with the away team are cut off, and power starts being rerouted to main engineering. Crusher and Ogawa manage to evacuate sickbay—using the Emergency Medical Hologram as a reluctant distraction (“This isn’t part of my program; I’m a doctor, not a doorstop”)—though they lose Sloane in the confusion.

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

The Borg have taken over engineering, intending to make it their new hive. Picard (who, along with Data, has taken the time to change back into uniform despite the crisis) instructs his people to, if they make it into engineerng, aim for the plasma coolant tanks, which will destroy organic matter.

On the surface, Troi has found Cochrane in the bar. When Riker catches up to them, they are both exceedingly drunk. Troi thinks that they need to tell Cochrane the truth, as he isn’t buying their cover story. (She also declares that, in her professional opinion as ship’s counselor, Cochrane is “nuts.”)

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

On the Enterprise, Picard and Data lead one team through the corridors of deck 16, the Borg’s new home base, while Worf leads another. The corridors of the deck are being changed into a Borg-like configuration, and they find alcoves with inactive Borg in them. The two teams converge at the entrance to main engineering, but they can’t get in—and their attempts to get in awaken the nearby Borg.

The subsequent firefight is one-sided, as several crewmembers fall—including Data, who is dragged into engineering. Picard orders a retreat and regroup on deck 15. Pausing along the way to fire his phaser on a crewmember who’s being assimilated (his version of “helping” the poor bastard), Picard crawls through a Jefferies tube only to be ambushed by Sloane. She gets his phaser and orders him to get her out of there.

Data has been captured by the Borg Queen. The android encrypted the Enterprise computer before the Borg could gain access to it, and they start drilling (literally) into him in the hopes of getting the code.

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

Riker—with some help from La Forge turning Cochrane’s own telescope toward the orbiting Enterprise—convinces Cochrane that he has to make the warp flight the following morning. Cochrane struggles with it (“You people are all astronauts on some kind of star trek…”), but agrees to assist La Forge with the repairs and make the flight.

The Borg have assimilated decks 26 through 11, but have stopped at 11. Worf isn’t sure why, as there’s nothing vital there. Meanwhile, Picard takes Sloane to a cargo bay and shows her Earth. That rather stuns her, as she thought she was still in Montana. Reluctantly, she hands Picard back his phaser—at which point he reveals that she would have vaporized him if she’d fired. She says, “It’s my first ray-gun” by way of apology. Picard takes her through the corridors. She’s overwhelmed by the sheer size of the Enterprise, especially given how difficult it was for her to scrounge enough titanium for the Phoenix’s itty-bitty cockpit. They encounter several Borg (“Sounds Swedish”), whom Picard lures to the holodeck, where he actives a program called “The Big Goodbye.” It’s, of course, a Dixon Hill program and, once again, Picard takes the time to change clothes (though he looks awesome in the trenchcoat, white tuxedo, and hat). He finds a character whom he knows has a Tommy gun and uses it on the two Borg who chase after them into the holodeck. He removes the neural processor from one of the Borg corpses (which was a crewmember, Ensign Lynch, to whom Picard barely gives a second thought) and examines it with his tricorder.

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

Data and the Borg Queen engage in a debate on the subject of evolution, perfection, and assimilation. The Borg are grafting human skin onto Data, and the touching of that skin stimulates him. At one point, Data almost escapes, but the Borg stop him by the simple expedient of slashing his new skin, which almost cripples him, as the sensations are overwhelming. But he can’t bring himself to remove the new skin, either. The Queen then tries seducing him.

Cochrane is incredibly uncomfortable with the hero worship he’s getting from the Enterprise crew. The tipping point is Barclay fangoobering him and La Forge telling him about the statue that will be erected in his honor (and also that he went to Zefram Cochrane High School), and Cochrane runs away. Riker and La Forge catch up to him, but he refuses to go back (“I don’t want to be a statue!”). Riker finally just shoots him on stun and has done with it.

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

Picard and Sloane make it to the bridge. The Borg are planning to repurpose the deflector dish—which is on deck 11—into a subspace beacon that will summon this century’s Borg to Earth. They have to destroy the deflector dish, and to do so, Picard, Worf, and Hawk go EVA. While the Borg construct the beacon, the trio go to the three maglock releases to manually remove the dish. Unfortunately, their actions alert the Borg. Hawk shoots one into space, but they adapt to the phasers. Picard fires on the floor beneath one, shooting him off into space, while Worf uses his mek’leth on one. Another attacks and assimilates Hawk (whom Worf is forced to knock out into space to save Picard), but they are able to release the deflector dish, which Worf then destroys (“Assimilate this!”).

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

Cochrane—hung over as hell—is ready to fly. Riker and La Forge serve as his copilots, since Sloane is stuck on the Enterprise (presumably the third seat was for one of the people who died in the initial Borg attack), while Troi runs mission control. Cochrane is concerned that he’s forgotten something, and then remembers—it’s his music. The Phoenix takes off to the dulcet tones of Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” (at least until Riker, the big stinky, tells him to turn it down).

The Borg have adapted to every weapons modulation. Worf and Crusher both recommend that they activate the autodestruct, but Picard refuses, insisting they stand and fight. Worf accuses Picard of the very thing that Hayes cited as the reason for keeping the Enterprise away from the Borg in the first place: letting his personal feelings about the Borg get in the way of what must be done. Picard responds by calling Worf a coward and kicking him off the bridge, then retreats to the observation lounge. Sloane is aghast, especially since Worf and Crusher then follow Picard’s orders.

Sloane confronts Picard, accusing him of being Captain Ahab chasing his whale. He insists it’s not about revenge, it’s about saving humanity, to which Sloane replies succinctly: “Bullshit.” Picard rants and raves like a crazy man, and only after he hears himself does he realize how far gone he is.

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

Picard returns to the bridge and gives the order to evacuate and start the autodestruct. He apologizes to Worf, and then learns that Data is still alive in engineering. After giving Sloane a note for Riker, Picard heads for engineering while the Enterprise escape pods all head for Earth. He’s got less than fifteen minutes to rescue Data, just as Data helped rescue him back when he was assimilated.

The Borg Queen confronts Picard, trying to bargain for Data’s release by agreeing to be Locutus again. But Data—who has now had a third of his face replaced with organic skin—refuses the freedom the Queen grants him when Picard makes the offer. Data then deactivates the autodestruct and releases the encryption on the Queen’s order. She instructs Data to destroy the Phoenix—but the torpedoes he fires miss the mark. Data then turns to the Queen, says, “Resistance is futile,” and smashes the plasma coolant, which floods the engineering floor. Picard quickly climbs to higher ground, and the Queen follows—but Data (his skin having been boiled off by the coolant, leaving internal circuitry of his head and arm exposed) grabs her and brings her back down to the floor. She’s destroyed by the coolant, which in turn deactivates every Borg on the ship.

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

Meanwhile, the Phoenix successfully goes to warp and makes it to the edge of the solar system in a few minutes. (Cochrane says “Engage” upon activating the warp drive, prompting a big smile from Riker and La Forge.)

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

After the Phoenix returns to Earth, a large ship lands in Montana. An alien being with pointed ears—a Vulcan—steps out of it and greets Cochrane with a familliar hand-gesture, while Picard, Riker, Troi, Crusher, and La Forge observe from the background. Picard says goodbye to Sloane, and the Enterprise is able to re-create the vortex and head home. Meanwhile, Cochrane introduces the Vulcans to whiskey and rock and roll, thus showing the aliens just how civilized humanity is….

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

Thank You, Counselor Obvious: If you want to get Troi drunk, give her tequila.

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

There is No Honor in Being Pummeled: Worf is nauseated by being in zero-gravity, but manages to kick some Borg ass on the deflector dish in any case. Since Michael Dorn had joined the cast of Deep Space Nine by this time, his appearance in TNG movies would need to be explained. This time ’round, it was fairly easy, as Deep Space 9 has a vessel attached to it, the Defiant, which was originally designed to combat the Borg, and one of Worf’s duties on the station is overseeing it. So having that ship be part of the armada is very fitting.

Composer Jerry Goldsmith also uses the Klingon leitmotif he himself created way back in Star Trek: The Motion Picture several times in the film when Worf is on camera, starting with the scene on the Defiant.

If I Only Had a Brain…: Since Generations, Data has learned to turn off the emotion chip. He also assures the Borg Queen that he is still fully functional, and—based on the time span he gives the Queen regarding how long it’s been since he used the multiple techniques he’s been programmed with—he hasn’t gotten laid since Yar seduced him way back when. (Poor Jenna D’Soura never got to take full advantage of that subroutine…) He also admits to Picard that he considered the Queen’s offer for 0.68 seconds, which is an eternity for an android.

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

No Sex, Please, We’re Starfleet: Cochrane hits all over Troi in the bar. When Riker shows up, he asks her if he’s a friend of hers. After she says yes, then he asks if it’s her husband. She says no, he grins a mile wide and says, “Good!” Just wait two more movies, there, fella….

What Happens on the Holodeck Stays on the Holodeck: Picard lures some Borg onto the holodeck while it’s running a Dixon Hill program. He does this primarily to make use of Tommy guns, since the Borg never developed a defense against bullets. Picard disengaged the safeties, and again I say, why is it even possible to disengage the safeties? (Amusingly, “Dix” has a lady friend on the holodeck named Ruby. In earlier drafts of the script, the character that eventually became Lily Sloane was named Ruby and was supposed to be a love interest for Picard.)

In the Driver’s Seat: Lieutenant Hawk flies the ship, at least until he’s assimilated while assisting Picard and Worf with the removal of the deflector dish. Worf is forced to shoot him, giving this film its very own redshirt….

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

I Believe I Said That: “Someone once said, ‘Don’t try to be a great man, just be a man and let history make its own judgments.’”

“That’s rhetorical nonsense. Who said that?”

You did. Ten years from now.”

Riker hoisting Cochrane on his own petard.

Welcome Aboard: The biggest “guest stars” are James Cromwell as Zefram Cochrane, Alice Krige as the Borg Queen, and Alfre Woodard as Lily Sloane.

Cromwell had previously been on TNG’s “The Hunted” and both parts ofBirthright,” as well as DS9’s “Starship Down.” He’ll reprise the role of Cochrane in Enterprise’s “Broken Bow” and, after a fashion, “In a Mirror, Darkly, Part I.” The character of Cochrane previously appeared in the original series’ “Metamorphosis,” played by Glenn Corbett.

The Borg Queen will appear again in several Voyager episodes, but Krige would only reprise the role in “Endgame.” When the character appeared in “Dark Frontier” and the “Unimatrix Zero” two-parter, she was played by Susanna Thompson.

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

Woodard is a longtime friend of both Jonathan Frakes and LeVar Burton, and in fact Frakes refers to her as his godmother. Frakes, the film’s director, was the one who pushed to cast her in the role of Sloane.

Dwight Schultz and Patti Yasutake reprise their TNG roles as Barclay and Ogawa, respectively. Robert Picardo makes a cameo as the Enterprise’s Emergency Medical Hologram; Picardo was a regular on Voyager as that ship’s EMH, which was pressed into permanent use due to the ship being stranded with no medical personnel. Another Voyager star, Ethan Phillips, has an uncredited appearance at the maître d’ on the holodeck. Michael Horton plays a security officer; he’ll be back in Insurrection as the ship’s tactical officer and be named Daniels. Jack Shearer plays Admiral Hayes, a role he’ll reprise twice on Voyager (in “Hope and Fear” and “Life Line”), which means that he must have survived the destruction of his ship. And Neal McDonough—who has gone on to a fine career—plays the ill-fated Lieutenant Hawk.

Trivial Matters: This film is a sequel to “The Best of Both Worlds,” and indeed reads as though no other Borg stories ever happened between that episode and this movie. It’s also, in many ways, the prequel to the series Enterprise, which picks up a century after the events portrayed here and shows the long-term consequences of humanity’s first contact with the Vulcans.

This is the first appearance of the Sovereign-class U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701-E. It’s the sixth Starfleet vessel by that name, and at this point all six have been seen onscreen: the original (Constitution-class) was first seen in “The Cage,” with A debuting in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, B (Excelsior-class) in Star Trek Generations, C (Ambassador-class) in TNG’s “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” and D (Galaxy-class) in TNG’s “Encounter at Farpoint.” The ship—indeed, this class of ship—was only seen in this and the subsequent two films. Despite the many dozens of types of ships seen on DS9 over the years, a Sovereign-class vessel was never among them.

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

This movie went through several title changes in pre-production, starting with an early draft called Star Trek Renaissance, in which the Enterprise travelled back in time to medieval Italy. Star Trek Resurrection was the working title for some time, until Alien Resurrection was announced, at which point several alternate titles were suggested (Destinies, Future Generations, Generations II, Regenerations, Borg) until they settled on First Contact.

Two years after the release of this film, which has thematic resonances with and quotes from Moby-Dick, Sir Patrick Stewart would actually play Captain Ahab in a USA miniseries adaptation of the Herman Melville novel, which also featured Gregory Peck and Ted Levine.

Like all the Trek movies, this film was novelized. It was written by J.M. Dillard, who also novelized The Final Frontier, The Undiscovered Country, and Generations, and would go on to do the same for Insurrection and Nemesis. John Vornholt also wrote a young adult novelization and scripted the comic book adaptation published by Marvel.

Your humble rewatcher addressed why Worf was the only familiar face assigned to Deep Space 9 on board the Defiant in the eBook Enterprises of Great Pitch and Moment, part of the Slings and Arrows miniseries. (Basically, Starfleet didn’t trust Sisko against the Borg any more than they did Picard, and so they deliberately assigned people who’d only served on the station for a year or less to the Defiant. Worf was the only exception due to his past experiences fighting the Borg on the Enterprise.)

The Slings and Arrows miniseries also is one of the few stories that chronicles the first year of the Enterprise-E’s service. The vast majority of the tie-in fiction involving Picard’s second Enterprise take place after this film. One exception is Ship of the Line by Diane Carey, which is the launch of the ship on year prior to First Contact, and another is the Section 31 novel Rogue by Andy Mangels & Michael A. Martin, which fleshes out the character of Sean Hawk. (There was a rumor that the character of Hawk was intended to be gay, and therefore the first onscreen portrayal of a homosexual character in Star Trek. The producers have denied that that was ever intended, but both Rogue and Slings and Arrows portrayed the character as gay, and his boyfriend at the time of his death, Ranul Keru, has gone on to be a recurring character in several TNG novels and in the series of post-Nemesis novels taking place on Titan.)

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

Both Slings and Arrows (particularly The Insolence of Office by William Leisner) and the short story “Friends with the Sparrows” by Christopher L. Bennett in The Sky’s the Limit dealt with the evolution of Data’s emotion chip between Generations and First Contact, including how he came by the “off switch” used here.

Some Borg technology is still floating around the Earth of the past, as seen in the Enterprise episode “Regeneration.”

The Mirror Universe version of the film’s climax is seen in the Enterprise episode “In a Mirror, Darkly, Part I,” in which Zefram Cochrane leads an assault on the Vulcan ship that lands in Montana, the first strike of what would soon become the Terran Empire.

Another version of Cochrane’s invention of the warp drive can be found in the Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens novel Federation, which was published two years before First Contact’s release. Another version of humanity’s first contact with the Vulcans can be found in Margaret Wander Bonanno’s novel Strangers from the Sky, published way back in 1987.

This is the last time Picard brings a woman from a pre-warp society onto the Enterprise and impresses the hell out of her by bringing her to a window. He did it previously in “Justice,” “Who Watches the Watchers?” and “First Contact.”

Make it So: “Watch your caboose, Dix.” As a general rule, I hate Star Trek movies. Trek is primarily about the exploration of the human condition, and it’s much harder to do that in a two-hour movie, especially in the post-Star Wars age of spectacle. Every once in a while you get a decent movie out of it—The Wrath of Khan, e.g., which had some powerful themes about aging and consequences of past actions, plus a superlative villain—but mostly you get high-octane stuff that barely qualifies as Star Trek. There’s a reason why you rarely see any of the movies in a list of finest Trek tales.

This movie, though, works, both as a spectacle and as a Star Trek story.

Regarding the former, one of the issues many of the Trek films have had is that, after The Motion Picture—the budget for which is the textbook definition of “bloated”—Paramount refused to commit significant dollars to a Trek film. None of the TNG movies had a budget over $60 million. Here, though, the low budget is camouflaged by having the big-budget ’splosions all happen in the first twenty minutes or so. The heavy action of the battle against the Borg carries the weight for the rest of the film, which is actually very claustrophobic and low-budget—but still tense and enjoyable.

Trek at its best isn’t about how great humanity is but how great humanity aspires to be and can be—but also that we still have flaws that we need to overcome. Picard has to go on a journey in this film, getting past the trauma of his assimilation by the Borg. Cochrane has to go through one of his own, as he’s confronted with the foreknowledge of the consequences of his little experiment, which are far greater than he ever expected.

The pacing of the movie is superb. No time is wasted, as we plow right into the action, and it doesn’t let up. Picard’s obsession grows as the film goes on, most notably in his cathartic shooting of the Borg on the holodeck. And the film has so many nice little scenes: Data calmly getting shot by Sloane, Cochrane and Troi being spectacularly drunk, Barclay fangoobering, the EMH cameo, “You broke your little ships,” and that great final moment when the aliens everyone’s been talking about turn out to be (of course) Vulcans.

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

I would like to address a couple of issues that others have criticized this film for. One is the alleged absurdity of having some woman we’ve never met be the one to have the come-to-Jesus speech with Picard, that it should’ve been Crusher or Worf rather than Sloane who whupped him upside the head. But the thing is, we’ve spent years having Picard always be right, always be in charge, and the crew has come to trust him implicitly. Because he is Jean-Luc Picard, Crusher and Worf aren’t going to question him—at least not more than once or twice. It requires an outsider’s perspective to see that he’s being an ass.

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

Some of the more strident fans have complained that the Zefram Cochrane of First Contact isn’t consistent with the one we met in “Metamorphosis.” Beyond the obvious—James Cromwell is seven inches taller than Glenn Corbett—Corbett’s Cochrane was far more reserved than the drunken lout of First Contact. The thing is, Corbett’s Cochrane was someone who a) had lived his entire life, much of it as the hero Cromwell’s Cochrane hadn’t become yet and b) had then after that lived for two centuries alone on a planetoid with only a giant floating omelette for company. Honestly, it would’ve been far more ridiculous for the character Riker and the others interact with to be exactly like the one Kirk met.

Not that there aren’t legitimate complaints to be made. There’s not enough for the ensemble beyond Picard and Data to do (a perpetual problem with the TNG films), and the holodeck diversion seems utterly absurd. Why not just go into the holodeck and have the computer give him a Tommy gun? Did we really need to have silly costumed drama in the midst of the ship under siege? The movie actually had some legitimate comic relief to alleviate the tension of the Borg attack, there was no need to insert that particular bit of nonsense.

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

This movie has a lot in common with the second go-round for Kirk’s crew: sequel to an episode of the TV show it spun off of, resonating with Moby-Dick, dealing with revenge and consequences, and so on. But unlike the next TNG movie attempt to channel The Wrath of Khan two movies later (Nemesis), they didn’t just ape the structure of the 1982 film and hope for the best. First Contact took thematic rather than structural lessons from TWOK, and is a better movie for it.

But most importantly? This movie established the critical importance of Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” to the history of the Star Trek universe. That was quite possibly the single greatest moment in any of the Trek movies, one that can be appreciated by anyone who’s taken a long road trip and has to have just right tunes in the tape deck/CD player/iPod on shuffle. I still remember the absolute thrill I got in the theatre in 1996 when the song started as they took off. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you make your first warp flight. Honestly, the whole movie’s worth it for just that crowning moment of awesome.

Star Trek: First Contact rewatch

Warp factor rating: 9

Keith R.A. DeCandido will be one of the VIP guests at TrekTrax Atlanta from the 19th to the 21st of April. Miss it not! Also present will be actors Manu Intiraymi (Voyager), James Cawley (Phase II), and Ken Feinberg (Enterprise), as well asDr. Lawrence Schoen (Klingon Language Institute), Emmett Plant (Trek audio producer), the bands Il Troubadore and Go, Robo! Go!, the Merrybellies dancing troupe, drag queen Moxie Magnus, and a metric ton of folks from the various Trek fan films.


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