Directed By: Jonathan Frakes
Written By: Rich Berman, Brannon Braga, and Ronald D. Moore. Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek)
This is far and away my favorite Star Trek film. Watched it in the theater, bought the VHS, rode the ride (for a few years a nearby theme park, then owned by Paramont, had a premier roller coaster called The Borg Assimilater). When this film came out I actually felt OK admitting I was a Star Trek fan. Albeit I was 12 and dangerously close to high school so it was a short lived openness.
After an abysmally long intro where bluriness transitions into credits the film starts with a bang. The scariest enemy to date is attacking in this large cube shaped spaceship and the entire federation fleet can’t handle it. Captain Picard shows up and takes command to annihilate the enemy. The space battle is cool and I spy with my little eye a really young Adam Scott piloting the ship commanded by Worf, who promptly gives the order to ram the enemy. I’ve watched like seven Star Trek films in a row and I’m wondering why they didn’t all start with a space battle.
I watched a lot of Star Trek as a kid but I don’t remember ever seeing the episodes featuring the Borg. My mom probably deemed it too scary for me or something like that and I’ll admit it probably would have given me nightmares as a six year old. The episodes this movie are based on were a season three finale and season four premier that aired in 1990. The Borg are decidedly scarier in this film with all the budget that comes with a major motion picture. At times this movie almost feels like a horror film but if the bad guys are that scary it only makes it better.
This is the eighth Star Trek film in a row that I’ve watched and I can honestly say the stakes have never been higher. The very existence of Earth hangs in the balance and whales aren’t the answer this time. This time there’s a real threat, one that will infect you and make you one of its own. The Borg are like techno zombies before zombies became the craze of society.
I don’t take part in Star Trek fandom, but I am sure there is a debate about the original cast vs the next generation. I may be biased because I grew up with this one but I do not see how the two compare. The Next Generation cast is far and away cooler and this being the best movie to date only proves that. Yeah I’m saying it, this is better than The Wrath of Khan. This crew has Data, it has Worf, and Captain Picard is far and away more badass than Captain Kirk ever dreamed of being. I hate that in this movie Geordi ditched the visor. Apparently LeVar Burton wanted to be able to use his eyes to act but I always thought the visor made his character cool.
The Next Generation movies continue to bring Data into the limelight. Generations introduced the emotion chip which brought about much conflict for the character. Here again his character comes into conflict with himself as he fights with his desire to be more human. The Borg try to reverse turn him into one of their own by adding organic flesh to his robotic body. Data is a total badass in this movie but succumbs to the weaknesses of flesh. For a while you have to fear whose side he is on but Data is very much the Spock of the Next Generation and he always comes through.
One of the specific things that made The Next Generation better was the Holodeck and I think it’s cool that they were able to utilize it in this film. They gave us that fun scene in Generations with the crew all decked out in old school naval gear and Worf getting promoted. In this film they do even better by putting Picard in a tuxedo and having him shoot the shit out of a Borg. Again, Patrick Stewart as Jean Luc Picard is just hands down superior to Captain Kirk. I can’t speak to the show but the last seven movies I just watched never had Captain Kirk rocking a Tommy gun.
“Mr. Worf, do you remember your Zero Combat training?” I love this scene because it’s the scene that features “the other guy.” That one Lieutenant whose name you can’t quite remember who comes along just so a non important character can be killed. You have Captain Picard, Commander Worf, and Lieutenant other guy walking on the hull of the ship. Anybody wanna take a wild guess on whose expendable on this particular mission? We get teased that something happens to Worf in this scene but he’s too badass to die. First he breaks out his secret Kingon melee weapon he just happened to bring along but when the Borg tear his suit he just ties that shit off with a severed Borg arm. Decompress this bitch, adapt to my blade #Worfissocool.
Speaking of how cool Worf is, anybody that wants to present an argument contrary to Picard being the cooler Captain should check the scene when Picard calls him a coward. One of the finest moments in this movie is Picard standing ground while Worf tells him if he was any other man he would kill him where he stood. Captain Picard tells a Klingon to his face that he is a coward and lives to tell about it. Not just any Klingon either but Worf, the silver band thing wearing Chief of Security Worf, who always has a blade in the era of phasers. Patrick Stewart is not only more badass as Jean Luc Picard but he’s just a flat out better actor than Willaim Shatner.
At this point in the series they’ve destroyed the Enterprise too many times. It was a big deal to plenty of people in The Search for Spock and it was a big deal to me in Generations but had they followed through with it in this movie it would have been overkill. It still makes for a cool scene when the ship is evacuated and Picard stays behind to save Data. It’s a good thing they were able to save the ship and get back home too. What was Worf going to do on Earth trying to blend in?
As this movie comes to a close I can honestly say I’ve gotten more entertainment out of this one than any of the seven that have come before it. Yes, The Wrath of Khan is fantastic, but not even the greatest achievement of the original cast can match up to The Next Generation. This is hands down the most fun I have had so far in this journey through Star Trek film.
There is so much more I haven’t even covered in this review. James Cromwell is great in this little future history lesson that serves as the other half of the story. That is only one thing in a movie full of many things to like. Having put down over one thousand words just while watching this movie I think I have said enough. To cap it off I think this movie is worth your time. Trekkie or not this is a badass movie and I dare you to watch it and not get sucked in.
NEXT MOVIE: Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)