FILM: Star Trek: First Contact
Posted 30 May 2012 - 12:43 PM
Warning review by a Trekkie!
I remember 1996, Trekdom was at an all time high and the sequel to Generations was gonna be released. I attended the Dutch premiere, which was at the end of a Star Trek Marathon showing all the previous films. I caught TMP, TWOK, TYH and Undiscvovered Country. It has to be said that by that point I was tired and falling asleep.
Then First Contact started. Differently then the previous films. The courage fanfare, but no star field, the cast names fading, underscored by Goldsmith's beautiful theme. The film proper begins with a shot from Picards eye, the camera travelling away from him, revealing his season 4 uniform, revealing the inside of the Borg ship. Everyone knew that we were in for a hell of a film.
The cast is all back. Patrick Stewart is in top form as Picard. The usually so though full captain consumed by a burning wrath. Everyone else is also great. one of my fav moments is the scene were a drunken Troi finds Cochrane. The way Sirtis plays drunk, and the way Frakes responds to her is one of my fav Trek scenes ever.
The non-series cast is simply superb. Alice Krige is icy, alien but somehow incredibly sexy as the Borg Queen. The way her and Brent Spiner play of each other us great.
Alfre Woodward creates her own chemistry with Picard. And when at the end he says he will miss her, we believe it.
James Cromwell, creates a Zephram Cochrane which is completely different from the character with the same name in the TOS episode Metamorphoses. Some Trekkies still hold that against him. Who cares? He's a great actor with a good character to play.
This is Jonathan Frakes first motion picture, but he directs with confidence and gusto. The camerawork is very good, and he managed to keep a time travel story completely intelligible.
The special effects are also top notch. a mixture of CGI and models and they really look impressive.
Borg Cube versus the fleet. TNG never had the possibility of doing a big, multi ship battle and seeing this one, however brief is fantastic. Plus it has the Defiant.
Temporal Wake, a really tense scene that is not killed by techno babble.
The Holodeck scene. To see Picard in a Dix story, in the middle of a suspense film is priceless
The scene were Picard calls Worf a coward, and the "Moby Dick" scene afterwards with Lilly. Really good stuff.
The escape pods lifting of, underscored by Jerry's triumphant Borg theme.
Flight Of The Phoenix
First Contact. Very moving, but funny. Cocrane trying to do the Vulcan greeting is fantastic.
Now we move on to the music.
Jerry had only 3 weeks to write this score, so he brought his son to help. I remember ack in 1996 seeing the BBC program Film 96 reviewing this film, they showed 2 clips. The first one was a part of temporal Wake. I got goosedumps when I heard the Klingon Theme. The second clip was part of Fully Functional, I heard Jerry's mixed meter percussion and knew for sure he was back in Trek land!
His First Contact score is NOT the masterpiece that TMP is. And it's far more conventional them TFF. But it's an incredibly effective and well sorted score. The First Contact Theme is brilliant, one of his best of the era. But for most of the emotional scenes Jerry uses his Quest motive from The Final Frontier. The funny thing is that it does not sound at all like it did in that movie. Using this motive as a musical backbone for the film allowed Goldsmith to keep his use of the First Contact Theme to a minimal, untill he finally unleashes it in full force in the end, were it's wonderfully effective.
Either by design or incident, no score is used for any of the scenes on earth (save the brief scene between Data and Lilly in the silo). That fact alone makes the final scene even more effective. The Borg are repressented by 2 ominous motives, related to each other. and creepy, and sometimes erotic synth textures. The action music is as always propulsive, adrenaline pumping stuff (love the second part of The Dish).
A fantastic Star Trek film, and a bit underrated these days!
Posted 30 May 2012 - 05:25 PM
As you say the acting, whether because Frakes is a fellow actor at the helm of the picture or because of everybody having worked for so long together, feels natural and has chemistry and believability. Stewart steals the show and it is interesting to see the usually so composed man unraveled and find out why it is so.
Goldsmiths' score is a marvel to have been written in 3 weeks and works fantastically in the movie, especially the new theme, which Goldsmith reveals so splendidly in the opening and it then appears subtly throughout the movie and in the end grows to its grandest statement adding gentle sense of beatific awe to the major moment in the finale and history of mankind in ST universe, perhaps telling better than words or images what the spirit of ST is about.
I also like the use of the Quest motif which sort of binds the different threads of ST universe continuity, Picard and Kirk, together under the same mission and spirit.
Ars superior est vita hominum.
"We pop out and come into the world and music is there. We didn't invent it - it's all organised in the atmosphere by divinity or whatever. It's a miracle." - John Williams-
I think music is a stream of some kind. It could be blood. It could be water. It could be ether. Whatever it is it seems to be a living, organic force that’s in motion, that serves humanity and is part of humanity and part of what describes us as humans. We sing, play, dance, all the things that we do. And there is a vibrant and great literature we have been given. ... As musicians, we join the stream. We swim in the stream with all the other millions of music makers. It’s a life force, a strong one, surrounding us and we are part of it. -John Williams-
Posted 31 May 2012 - 01:05 AM
Of the ones I've seen in the theaters, this was probably the favorite one. My first was Generations and I was on the edge of my seat when the ship crashed, but this one was just cooler.
Posted 31 May 2012 - 07:37 PM
Generations...you brought back Kirk to kill him for this?
Insurrection...I've seen this episode before, gimme back my $5.
Nemesis...a good friend of mine saw this in the theater and convinced me that it killed the franchise, so I saved my money, making it the only Star Trek film since 1994 I've skipped in the theater.
FC is quite good if you ignore the gaping plot holes and utterly stupid way that Starfleet condemned so many of its finest to die by keeping its flagship out of the defense of Sector 001 but -- hey --
It's a TNG movie! That meant watching the TNG show or expecting the movie characters to in any way be faithful to the show will only slow you down.
@Wojo: stop being facetious.
Posted 31 May 2012 - 09:13 PM
But then we would not have had so much of Patrick Stewart, so lets look beyond that.
Posted 01 June 2012 - 12:22 AM
Posted 01 June 2012 - 12:33 AM
But then Picard would have been lazy and just killed him, instead of trying to save him like was done with him and later, though he would not learn of it for many years, Seven of Nine, among other Delta Quadrant Borg.
@Wojo: stop being facetious.
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