Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

Rating: C+

Dir: Jonathan Frakes
Star: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Alice Krige, James Cromwell

Rather like The Two Towers, this entry in the series tries to join two almost entirely separate plots, and the results are just as lumpy. Taking place largely in the 21st century, the Borg uber-baddies are slowly hijacking the Enterprise, with the aim of “assimilating” the future. Down on Earth, Zefram Cochrane (Cromwell), inventor of warp drive, is being helped get his act together in time to alert a passing Vulcan spaceship. [This assistance is not technically violating the Prime Directive, since it doesn’t exist yet. :-)] Either story would be fine, but the switching back and forth largely destroys any tension, and they’d have been better off sticking with one or the other

Individually, there’s still a fair bit to admire, beginning with a startling sequence, showcasing the top-notch special effects which are present throughout. The Borg thread is particularly well-handled, with Krige a wonderful leader, though the way they completely ignore you until you attack them is a bit dumb; you’d think they’d have learned a long time ago that, wherever Captain Picard goes, trouble follows. Best not dwell on the time-travel stuff either – I doubt a script exists that effectively deals with the paradoxes inherent in the concept. But it is satisfying to see that the real Cochrane isn’t quite as heroic as history believes. Given the Borg are among the best all-time Trek villains, the overall effect is slightly disappointing, albeit a definite improvement on Generations.