Star Trek: First Contact

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

Star Trek: First Contact is a time-travel story dealing with the Next Generation crew. When the Federation is attacked in force by a Borg ship, Star Fleet orders the Enterprise to a remote system. Because of Captain Jean-Luc Picard's previous capture by the Borg Collective, the senior command fears that he may not be sufficiently stable to deal with another encounter with them.

However, things quickly turn desperate and Picard decides he has no choice but to disobey orders and come to Earth's assistance. Using knowledge gained during his period as Locutius of the Borg, he focuses the Enterprise's attack upon a particular weak spot in the Borg cubeship and destroys it.

Moments before its final explosion, the Borg ship releases a probeship with time-travel capacity. It goes back in time, apparently leading to a future in which Earth has been assimilated into the Borg Collective. However, the Enterprise is caught in the timeprobe's wake and is shifted back into the past as well, giving humanity one desperate hope.

They arrive in the mid-twenty-first century, just days before Zefram Cochrane is supposed to make his historic warp flight, attracting an alien survey crew that had previously dismissed humans as too primitive to be contacted. However, the Borg are trying to turn the Enterprise into a Borg hive, and the crew must fight a double battle, simultaneously repairing Cochrane's ship before it's too late and eliminating the threat from within.

It was interesting to see Cochrane portrayed as an aging hippie with a drinking problem. It's a very different view than the brief glimpse of him in old age that showed up in one of the original Star Trek TV episodes, and some may think the two of them are irreconcilable. However, this is a universe with time travel, so it's perfectly possible that one or another of the time-trips that either the original or New Generation crews took has changed that bit of the past.

Another interesting and evocative bit was the reference to Moby Dick apropos to Picard's obsession with striking against the Borg. A few years after the filming of Star Trek: First Contact, Patrick Stewart (the actor who plays Picard) starred as Captain Ahab in a television adaptation of Melville's classic tale of a sea captain obsessed with revenge against an albino sperm whale.

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Review posted December 29, 2000