STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT
Review by Michael Jacobson
Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael
Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, Alfre Woodard, James Cromwell, Alice Krige
Director: Jonathan Frakes
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Features: See Review
Length: 111 Minutes
Release Date: March 15, 2005
must follow them back...repair whatever damage they've done!"
Trek: Generations allowed the Next Generation cast to test the waters on the big
screen by safely segueing their story from the original tried and true
characters. But with First
Contact, the crew of the Enterprise E proved they were more than up to the
challenge of handling a feature film adventure all on their own.
started by bringing the series' most formidable villains into the mix (the
Borg), added an ever stable story line of time travel to the past, and most
importantly, allowed Trekkies to finally witness the moment that made everything
possible for earth in the Star Trek universe...namely, first contact with
Frakes, who spent seven years on board the Enterprise as First Officer William
Riker, helmed many of the television series' episodes as a director, and
fortunately for fans everywhere, he got to take the reins of the first all-Next
Generation production. He's a solid
director at ease with both action and character driven stories, and managed to
combine both into one of the best of Star Trek films.
begins with the Borg's newest assault on Federation space.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Stewart) is eager to lead the fight against
them, having once been assimilated by the enemy collective and forced to act as
a pawn in their game of universal conquest.
But the Federation's victory is short lived...the Borg send an escape pod
to earth's past in order to assimilate the entire human race and change the
course of history.
By sabotaging the once and future flight of Zephram Cochrane (Cromwell),
whom history recorded manned the first human warp drive flight and attracted the
first contact, which drew earth out of a hell of world war and into a bright new
future. Now, it's up to the
Enterprise and her crew to follow the Borg back and make sure Cochrane's ship
flies as scheduled. But something
wicked their way comes when the Borg begin their attempt to take over the ship,
meaning Picard and company are in a race against time to save the future of
is a spirited, well paced story that takes characters we've grown to know and
love over the years and turns them loose in an all out sci-fi adventure of
excitement and intrigue. Moving
from TV to features meant bigger and better ideas, and you'll see some sequences
that will definitely have you agape in your seat.
As a director, Frakes was obviously ready to use a bigger budget to his
advantage, and the money spent is definitely there on the screen for the fans to
consider First Contact the last great Star Trek film.
As for me, I'm still hoping against hope that the series hasn't really
ended up decommissioned in dry dock for good.
There's still plenty of life in these characters and these stories that
traced their roots back to the fertile seeds of Gene Roddenberry's imagination.
One need only look at this movie to realize there's still a galaxy of
potential left unexplored.
original release of First Contact was one of Paramount's first DVD
offerings, and at the time, I thought it was one of the best looking discs I've
ever seen. I still think so.
This is possibly the best anamorphic transfer I've seen for a space
movie. Detail and color levels are
incredible, right down to the most miniscule piece of visual information,
whether it's the twinkling stars or the texture of the Borg's circuitry.
Despite a wide range of lighting levels, including many sequences in
smoky atmospheres, every frame renders with amazing integrity and clarity. Highest marks.
The audio likewise always sounded great, but with the addition of a DTS track, there's even more bang for your buck. Either 5.1 track will give you a full, open audio experience, but if you can opt for the DTS, you'll find much more dynamic range, much more clarity in the sound detail, and a more spatial sense of ambience for the background effects. And either track will deliver the late great Jerry Goldsmith's terrific score with full sonic potency.
double disc Special Editions of the Trek films continue to offer fans
everything they could ask for. Disc
One features the usual great text commentary trivia track by Star Trek
Encyclopedia authors Michael and Denise Okuda, plus an audio commentary from
director/star Jonathan Frakes. It's
a little slow going at first, but as the movie progresses, it evolves into a
delightful listen, as Frakes offers insights and thoughts with a winning,
self-depreciating sense of humor.
Two has the rest of the goods, divided into six sub-sections for easy
navigation: The Star Trek Universe
has a tribute to Jerry Goldsmith, a look at how the saga of Zefram Cochrane
developed over the years, and a discussion of the possibilities of first
contact. The Borg Collective has
three featurettes devoted to our favorite sci-fi bad guys. Scene Deconstruction examines three of the film's big special
effects sequences in detail. First
Contact Production has six featurettes devoted to the making of the film.
Archives has storyboard and photo galleries, while the Trailers section
has both theatrical and teaser trailers, as well as a look at the new Borg
attraction in Las Vegas...where they're no doubt assimilating the slot machines
as we speak.
out are some good animated menus with sound.
This DVD is a Trekkie banquet!