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Star Trek: First Contact
directed by Jonathan Frakes
Patrick Stewart Captain Picard
Jonathan Frakes Commander William Riker
Brent Spiner Lt. Commander Data
Levar Burton Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge
Michael Dorn Lt. Commander Worf
Gates McFadden Dr. Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis Counselor Deanna Troi
Alfre Woodard Lily Sloane
James Cromwell Zefram Cochrane
Alice Krige Borg Queen
Neil McDonough Lt. Hawk
Dwight Schultz Lt. Reginald Endicott Barclay III
Robert Picardo Holographic Doctor
Ethan Philips Holographic Maitre d'

Past Feature Reviews
First Contact draws the line by Tom Julian

In the eighth installment of the Star Trek film series, Captain Picard and the gang take us to where we've gone before. This wham-bam, Borg-o-rama has got what has made Star Trek so endearing to so many. It defines the human condition in the same instant it brings us nose-to-nose with the weird galaxy around us. It's action packed and thoughtful as well as being scary and down right funny.

Taking place primarily in the wilderness of the 21st century and on an Enterprise being rapidly Borg-a-fied, First Contact takes us to an era never before shown in the Star Trek universe. The plot revolves around a Borg foray into the past to destroy the first human warp ship, essentially erasing the future of the Star Trek Universe. After a ferocious 24th century battle between Starfleet and a Borg cube above Earth, the Enterprise follows the collective bad guys back through time to the day before we make first contact with an alien race.

The crew finds Zefram Cochran (James Cromwell), the man scheduled to take the first warp flight, reluctant to play the part history has already carved out for him. Meanwhile, a few Borg managed to beam aboard the brand new, sleek Enterprise-E and start to assimilate crew members and set up a mini Borg collective in engineering. Picard, still haunted and horrified from the time he spent a part of the Borg hive, struggles to take back his ship deck by deck. Patrick Stewart brings an anger to Picard never seen before. He draws the line against the invaders, claiming angry vengeance from every Borg who falls.

Introduced is the Borg queen, played with cybernautic erotica by Alice Krige. She tempts Data with real flesh (take that two ways) in exchange for his loyalty and the Enterprise command codes. Beaming throughout the entire escapade is Riker. Jonathan Frakes also directed First Contact and has thrown in tons of jokes and highly amusing cameos by past and present Star Trek actors including Voyager's Robert Picardo, playing the holographic doctor, and Ethan Philips (Neelix sans the makeup) as a maitre d' in a Dixon Hill hologram Borg trap. Also look for Dwight Schultz as good old Reg Barclay.

With all the action and story going on, there isn't much room left for Dr. Crusher, Geordi, Riker and most disappointedly, Worf. Hopefully, they'll get their day next time out.

This is the most enjoyable Star Trek movie since The Voyage Home, but oddly also the most disturbing. The Borg do their zombie-like dirty work, leading newly assimilated un-dead to a surgical chop shop. But even in its darkest moments, First Contact still cracks a smile. Even Marina Sirtis gets to play for laughs. The most fun are Cochran and his feisty assistant Lily who get to examine Star Trek from a unique perspective. Look for the best one-liners from these two. "The Borg? Sounds Swedish."

Keep on Trekkin'.

Copyright © 1996 by Tom Julian

Tom Julian is a teleplay and short story writer. He will be pitching to Paramount DS9 and Voyager in March 1997. Check out his web magazine, The Outpost

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