Star Trek: First Contact | Chicago Reader

Star Trek: First Contact

In this densely visualized 1996 adventure the cast of TV's Star Trek: The Next Generation travels back in time to ensure that an enemy doesn't tamper with the past enough to affect the future. Alternating between two locations—the intricate interiors of the starship Enterprise and the expansive exteriors of a near-contemporary earth—the movie oppresses us with claustrophobia, then gives us room to breathe. The light, comical earth scenes contrast with the tense scenes on the starship, where crew members battle partly organic, partly mechanized opponents that are often camouflaged by the ship's architecture. High points in the plot are infused with a crucial sexual energy as the good guys—the humans and an android whose ambiguity makes him all the more vulnerable—are menaced by a seductive cyborg queen (Alice Krige). The script by Brannon Braga and Ronald Moore provides all the background necessary for viewers unfamiliar with the characters' previous movie and TV-series exploits, but not so much as to annoy fans. The elegance of the story is enhanced by the sure direction of Jonathan Frakes, who also plays Commander William Riker.

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