Six years after being assimilated into the Borg collective and then rescued, Captain Jean-Luc Picard finds himself battling the deadly enemy once again. Despite him and his crew on the Enterprise helping to defeat a Borg ship in battle, a smaller ship within it escapes and goes back in time to a defining moment in Earth’s history. Having followed the ship, the crew realise they must stop the Borg from assimilating all humanity but with Picard’s personal hatred of the Borg clouding his judgement, will he be able to lead effectively and defeat the enemy he was once forced to be a part of?
Star Trek: First Contact (1996) – Director: Jonathan Frakes
Running Length: 111 mins
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Alice Krige
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller
‘The Next Generation’ crew have been through a lot together and now they take on their second big-screen mission. With audiences divided on their first cinematic adventure, ‘Star Trek: Generations’, it was unclear how well ‘First Contact’ would be received. Thankfully, those concerns were put to rest due to ‘First Contact’ being an excellent example of the science fiction genre.
While it helps to have the background knowledge of the characters from ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’, it isn’t essential to enjoy this movie which perfectly showcases the acting talent of its stars, particularly Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn and Alfre Woodard (Picard, Data, Worf and non-crew member, Lily, respectively). The nail-biting plot with the merciless Borg makes for a truly exciting story that is more than just sci-fi, including plenty of horror, drama, a sprinkling of well-timed comedy and a good dose of light-heartedness to balance out the darkness and tension.
Director, Jonathan Frakes (who also plays crew member, Will Riker, in the film), has created a Star Trek movie which has made all other ‘Next Generation’ big screen attempts pale in comparison. How it stands against other classics such as ‘The Wrath of Khan’ or ‘The Undiscovered Country’ is debatable but it has certainly stood the test of time and is highly entertaining, even after the recent glossy reboots have set a new standard for sci-fi.
IS ‘STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT’ SUITABLE FOR KIDS?
The movie opens with Captain Picard having been assimilated by the Borg. He has technology attached to his face and a drill slowly moves towards his eye. It isn’t turned on but, in close up, the drill pushes against Picard’s eyeball, making it depress but the camera cuts before anything more is seen.
A man crawls through a small, confined space alone, the lighting is dark and shadows move behind him. The camera zooms towards him and, when it cuts away, he screams. A woman then goes in after him and is obviously afraid, she briefly looks around but is also attacked. Due to the nature of the attackers, it is clear that both have been killed.
A few characters lock themselves in a room, the doors are metal and the attackers attempt to break the door down. Suddenly, a loud thump is heard and the indentation of a fist appears on the inside of the door. There are numerous attackers and before long, several indentations are seen in the door.
A male and a female character are both seen to be very drunk after heavy drinking. The woman slumps lazily on a table and tells another character that she has had ‘three shots of something called Tequila’; the man stumbles around near her. They both slur their words and speak nonsense. This scene is light-hearted in tone but some parents may be uncomfortable with their kids seeing ‘good’ characters in such a state of intoxication.
The Borg are very frightening; staring intensely, walking slowly but relentlessly and are seemingly unstoppable. They have no mercy so will ‘assimilate’ (turning their victims into one of them) anyone they come across, this is done by the victim’s neck being exposed and tubes piercing the skin, this causes the victims pain and distress although the process seems to be relatively quick. It is made clear that it is preferable to be killed when the process starts rather than ‘live’ as one of them. One incidental character who has begun to be assimilated reaches out to another and begs them for help. The other character, knowing they can’t save them, shoots and kills them in order to prevent their suffering. Some of the newly assimilated Borg are shown walking around the ship or having Borg technology implanted onto them. There is a close-up of a man who has had the lower part of his arm removed, there is a large hole on the stump and a metallic replacement is fitted onto it. There is another close up of an eye which is almost entirely made up of Borg technology. While these moments are quite graphic, there is little blood and no suffering is seen.
Numerous Borgs are killed, normally by being shot but one has their neck broken, making their body convulse for several seconds. Another is slashed with a large blade in the neck and blood flies out from the wound.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
‘Star Trek: First Contact’ manages to do what much of science fiction struggles with, balancing the genre with good three-dimensional characters, relatable drama, and genuine light-hearted moments which never outstay their welcome. It also ensures that die-hard, casual and new fans of ‘Star Trek’ are all included so that everyone with even a slight interest in it will be entertained.
Due to some scary scenes, high tension and violence, we feel this movie is appropriate for kids aged eleven and over.
- Violence: 4/5 (a woman is consumed by toxic chemicals, the flesh is stripped from her face; she writhes and screams in pain. The chemical cloud obscures some of this but it is still quite graphic)
- Emotional Distress: 0/5
- Fear Factor: 4/5
- Sexual Content: 2/5 (Data is given a small amount of human flesh in place of his own, a woman blows gently on it, making him gasp and shudder from the unexpected sensation. This is quite erotic and the woman asks him ‘was it good for you?’ A woman asks a man if he is adept with ‘physical forms of pleasure’. He replies that he is skilled with ‘multiple techniques’)
- Bad Language: 2/5 (infrequent mild to moderate cursing and blasphemy)
- Dialogue: 0/5
- Other notes: Deals with themes of facing a difficult past, the consumption of revenge, hero-worship, fighting a seemingly unstoppable enemy, the potential consequences of time travel, standing up to authority when necessary and trusting and depending upon your team.
Words by Laura Record