Sunday, 4 August 2013

Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

Second film (or sequel?) for the next generation crew and this time there is no hint of the classic crew what so ever, its all new now baby.

So this next Trek rumble is a lot more straight forward plot wise and probably has the most action seen for awhile. Quite simply the Borg are on the rampage and out to assimilate pretty much everyone they can, namely all of Starfleet. This goes a little pear shaped for them so they jump through time to assimilate the entire Earth...the naughty rascals. Is time travel a regular function for everyone in the Trek universe? handy if so.

I liked this film for the simplicity of everything and the fact you get some basic action mixed with some genuine tension along with the insecurity of not knowing what may happen, seeing as its the Borg. Bottom line there are plenty of deaths or assimilation's (close enough), a decent baddie, some good back story to Earth's future and plenty of phaser action.
Its not exactly a top notch sci-fi action flick lets be honest here, this is no Die Hard in space. Visually most things still have that TV show quality only on a slightly grander scale. Everything looks a bit plastic amongst the obvious plastic sets.

Effects again are more CGI based than models unfortunately. The space battle against the big Borg cube ship thing at the start actually looks like a videogame sequence, obvious CGI without weight or depth. I know this is still only 96 but geez you'd think they could do better, compare this to Star Wars! The deadly Borg look quite decent with some good facial makeup but their cyborg body armour, weapons and general body attachments do look pretty rubbery and plastic.

I really don't know who decided to put silly little flashing lights all over the shop, it just makes everything look so childish and fake. Data again suffers with this indignity, when his android under layers are revealed it just appears to be bare grey plastic with stupid flashing fairy lights all over, so very crap looking.

As for the bad guys I do like them, space zombies if you will, lets face it that's what they are really. Part robotic and part organic space zombies from the planet Romero. I do like the Borg as they do actually come across as creepy plus they manage to add real tension and dread to a Star Trek film. Can't really over look the fact they are a mixture of various ideas from various other sci-fi/horror films all pieced together ('Hellraiser' springs to mind). Plus the fact that they transform whole areas into cold dead robotic hives that visually appear the same as the Borg themselves kinda copies ideas used in 'Aliens' but hey ho.

Apart from that the Borg are quite a cool creation and do actually add a genuine threat to the Star Trek universe. Yet at the same time they kinda don't fit in the Trek universe, they're almost too cold, calculated and merciless for the family friendly franchise. Not sure I ever really liked the design of their ship (I guess its a ship), why is it merely a large cube? what's the deal with that? On a final note why are they called Borg? are they Swedish?

The Borg queen is a nice touch to the faceless enemy that does come across as an interesting character, not just a cyborg on auto pilot. She also has some really good prosthetic makeup on the face and chest regions, looks that bit more realistic than the other drones.

A definite improvement over the last rather dull film, a basic story which is more savage and quite dark in places, although not too extreme of course. I did notice this is another film where actually having some knowledge of a previous TV episode/s is slightly required. They got away with it for 'Star Trek II' and I believe they got away with it for this film also, but seeing that particular episode would appear to help when watching this film.