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With: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Levar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, Alfre Woodard, James Cromwell, Alice Krige
Written by: Brannon Braga, Ronald D. Moore, from a story by Brannon Braga, Ronald D. Moore and Rick Berman
Directed by: Jonathan Frakes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sci-fi adventure violence
Running Time: 111
Date: 18/11/1996

Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

I Was Borg, But...

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Among the two or three best of the Star Trek films, Star Trek: First Contact was not afraid of a little intensity. It draws from the "Next Generation" television show plotline featuring Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) being turned into a Borg, and plays with the terror and hatred he feels regarding that experience. The premise here may or may not hold water for fans, as the Borg suddenly decide to take over the earth by traveling back in time and preventing "first contact."

The Enterprise crew follows and meets one Zefram Cochrane (James Cromwell), who builds the very first warp drive and is the reason for first contact. Meanwhile, the Borg have set up shop on the Enterprise and Picard must decide whether or not to stay and fight or evacuate. Worse, the Queen Borg (Alice Krige) has abducted Data (Brent Spiner) and threatens to absorb him into the collective. Alfre Woodard co-stars as a twentieth century woman who suddenly finds herself on board the Enterprise and the only one who can reason with Picard.

Cast member Jonathan Frakes directs, and gets a crisp film with plenty of suspense and a nice balance of drama and humor. (Unfortunately, his second effort, Star Trek: Insurrection, fell far short of this one.) He even adds a strange sex appeal in the form of Krige's Borg Queen, a sultry creature with thick lips and moist skin, seductive and dangerous at the same time. I'd seen it several times before, and Star Trek: First Contact still holds up.

DVD Details: This is the latest of Paramount's double-disc DVD Special Editions, and the last of any interest. It comes with several fascinating extras, including one on the visual effects (only partly done with CGI), one on the history of the Zefram Cochrane character, and a tribute to the late, great composer Jerry Goldsmith. The sound and picture on the film itself are tops, and the speaker rattling I found in The Undiscovered Country is now gone.

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