Plot: What’s it about?
With the success of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the bar was set fairy high and the natural progression was feature films. In 1994, Star Trek: Generations bridged the gap between the original cast and the, well, “next generation.” The movie was widely received, made a profit and set the stage for the sequel – First Contact. Likely any Trek fan knows that this was also the title of an episode by the same name, though this time around the film centered around the Enterprises’ arch-nemesis – the Borg. Stepping behind the camera was Jonathan Frakes, who plays Cmdr. Riker and established himself with a career in direction as well as acting. Dare I say it…resistance is futile.
We waste no time getting to the action as the crew, led by Capt. Picard (Patrick Stewart), are in pursuit of the Borg. The battle leads to the Enterprise chasing the Borg through a time portal that lands them 300 years in the past. Picard, six years removed from his personal experience, wants nothing more than to conquer his foes but with the crew trapped in the past, it’s not looking too hopeful. Around the same time we encounter Zefram Cochrane (James Cromwell), the man who would ultimately invent the warp drive. While part of the crew is trying to let history run its course, the other are battling the Borg Queen (Alice Krige). Who said exploring the galaxy was easy?
The best way I’ve heard this movie described is that it’s like a really good episode of the series. And it’s a fair and fitting description. But with the more cinematic look and feel of an actual film, the experience is heightened. Couple that with the fact that the crew is battling the Borg and, well, you’ve got all the elements of a great science-fiction film. Frakes knew what he was doing with this one and with the supporting cast having worked together for nearly a decade, it was a well-oiled machine. He would go onto direct the next installment (Insurrection) as well. First Contact is, by far, the best of the TNG films and this one has something for every Trek fan.
Video: How’s it look?
I alluded to this in my review of Star Trek: Generations, but the Trek motion pictures have a different look and feel to them. The warm, natural hues found on the television show have been replaced by a more dark, corporate look that gives the film a bit of an edge. The big difference to me was the color. It’s taken me several years to accept that the main draw with 4K film isn’t so much the picture quality (detail), but rather the increased color spectrum. Others might have figured this out years ago, but I’m slow. That said, it’s a step above the Blu-ray and it’s what fans have been waiting for, to be sure.
Audio: How’s it sound?
If memory serves, and it’s getting more and more difficult for me to say “yes, it does” (kidding), this is the same Dolby TrueHD track found on the Blu-ray from the legacy set. That said, there’s not a lot wrong with it. We get to hear the warp drive in uncompressed sound, Patrick Stewart’s booming, deep voice commands the center channel and the surrounds do their thing (and well). I’m sure fans would have preferred a Dolby Atmos track, but this one is no slouch.
Supplements: What are the extras?
There’s no new content to be found here, but the legacy extras (found on the Blu-ray) are more than enough to keep any Trekkie occupied for a few hours.
- Audio Commentary – By director and actor Jonathan Frakes.
- Audio Commentary – By screenplay writers Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore
- Audio Commentary – By Damon Lindelof and Anthony Pascale
- Text commentary – Michael and Denise Okuda
- Library Computer
- Production – Six shorter featurettes that go over the basics like art, the overall story and a few behind the scenes segments.
- Making First Contact
- The Art of First Contact
- The Story
- The Missile Silo
- The Deflector Dish
- From “A” to “E”
- Scene Deconstruction – Essentially just that, a trio of scenes that get broken down.
- Borg Queen Assembly
- Escape Pod Launch
- Borg Queen’s Demise
- The Star Trek Universe – We get some information about Star Trek as a whole as well as some of the characters, some of the visual effects and even a roundtable to boot.
- Jerry Goldsmith: A Tribute
- The Legacy of Zefram Cochrane
- First Contact: The Possibilities
- Industrial Light & Magic – The Next Generation
- Greetings from the International Space Station
- SpaceShipOne’s Historic Flight
- Brent Spiner – Data and Beyond Part 2
- Trek Roundtable: First Contact
- Starfleet Academy SCISEC Brief 008: Temporal Vortex
- The Borg Collective – Everything you wanted to know about the Borg…and more.
- Unimatrix One
- The Queen
- Design Matrix
The Bottom Line
Star Trek: First Contact was, as mentioned above, the “best” of the Star Trek: The Next Generation films. The bad news is that it was downhill from there with Nemesis and Insurrection. What goes up, must come down, right? This 4K set ups the ante with improved picture quality and the same bevy of supplements.