Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Star Trek: First Contact

Another Trek Tuesday post.  I’m a bit late, but I’ve been wrapping up the final assignment for a course I’ve been taking.  I’m very happy to have finished the course.  Now, on to Trek!

I think the movie did a great job juggling all the different things that were going on in the episode.  You had the race against time going on with the planet and the ship, Picard working out his inner demons, and then the conflict between Data and the Borg queen.  I don’t think there was any one part that got too much or too little screen time, they were all pretty evenly balanced and satisfying.

I got to thinking of the even-numbered-Trek-movie continuum of awesomeness* as I was watching this one, since it is technically Star Trek VIII, and started drawing some parallels between this one and the other even numbered films that come before it.  Here’s what I came up with.  As in Star Trek II, you have the return of a formidable villain.  The new twist is the villain is an entire race that is now given a figurehead.  As in Star Trek IV, we had to deal with time travel in order to save humanity from an alien species wiping out Earth.  They still worry about polluting the time line and have all the hilarity that ensues when the crew from the future have to interact and get by in the past (Deanna’s introduction to tequila).  However, in this one, they don’t actually make any changes to history and they just restore what has already happened.  And, as in Star Trek VI, the movie commemorates the beginning of a new relationship between humanity and an alien culture and the end of war and conflict.  But, in this movie, it’s humanity that has brought itself to its knees and is just ready to begin rebuilding a bright new future for itself.

The other major reflection that I had was how incredibly Westernized the Star Trek philosophy is.  The Star Trek universe is sort of based on the continued betterment of the individual.  The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many.  So it stands to reason that the great menace is the Borg, who espouse the extreme opposite of that philosophy and embrace the complete erasure of the individuality in favour of the collective.  However, I wonder if other cultures that emphasize the group over the individual would characterize the two philosophies as ‘hero’ and ‘villain’ the same way as Star Trek did?

The movie had some very solid supporting cast that fit very nicely within the established chemistry of the Next Generation crew.  I liked the smooth reintroduction of Commander Worf, as he was technically reassigned to Deep Space Nine at this point in the Star Trek timeline.

The spacesuit scene I thought was a bit gimmicky and overdone.  Though I suppose it kind of replaces the gratuitous ship scenes that many of the earlier movies had.  Another interesting tidbit, I think this might have been the first time that the starship Enterprise makes use of escape pods.  Before I guess they would just have the option of separating the saucer section if they were going to self-destruct.

Ok, enough ramblings . . .

Cool Tech:

  • Geordie’s new eyes!  I could have done with fewer of the close-ups, since they had the cool factor right from the very beginning.  But, I guess they had to play it up.
  • The entire ship!  Another new Enterprise.  Much more warlike to match the galactic tension between the Federation and the Gamma Quadrant.
  • Emergency Medical Holographic program

Fun Stuff:

  • Another really great intro theme.  I thought the opening credits were really well done too!
  • The EMH program is a guest star from Star Trek: Voyager, of course.  His few lines were characteristic of his dry wit.
  • Another Voyager guest star – unnamed host at the holodeck restaurant was played by Neelix!

For more Trek Tuesday awesomeness, go visit Shannon the Movie Moxie.

*Yeah, I like making up words and phrases like that.


Karen said...

My favorite it IV.
I think its the whales...

Looking forward to the new movie?

Jenn said...

I am looking forward to the new movie quite a bit. I think they made some very good casting choices and I can't wait to see how the actors connect with one another. Also, a friend of ours is an extra in the movie, so I want to see if I can catch a glimpse of him in the background too!

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Fun review Jenn! I love how you always see all the guest stars and cameos. I couldn't remember if the EMH was new with First Contact or Voyager.

I totally forgot how much I enjoy this one, and the wonder in the crew when they go to earth.

I really like the spacewalk scene - it's one of my faves of Trek overall!

Less than a month to the new film will be out..I can't believe it!