Star Trek: First Contact is directed by Jonathan Frakes, who also plays Riker; following in the actor-director footsteps of Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner. Suffice to say, he’s better at multi-tasking than Shatner. And single-tasking, for that matter.
We’re thrown straight into the action, as Picard (Patrick Stewart), Data (Brent Spiner) and all the other ones do battle with the Borg (“sounds Swedish”) to protect Earth’s future. Or possibly its present. The Borg makes a terrifying villain, stronger than we’ve seen in many Trek movies; a single consciousness with no individuals whose sole purpose is to assimilate others into its hive, like ants or hipsters.
Unlike its predecessor, this 1996 adventure gives every character something to do: Troi (Marina Sirtis) gets drunk, Data meets a lady Borg (Alice Krige) who he’d like to take out on a Data, and Riker and Geordi (Levar Burton) get to meet Zefram Cochran (James Cromwell); the man who invented warp flight and taught that pig to talk in Babe.
First Contact has everything you could want in a Star Trek film; time travel, great sci-fi and Patrick Stewart firing a tommy gun. He manages to bring gravitas to proceedings, no matter how bizarre. There are also appearances from Adam Scott (whose Parks and Recreation character would be thrilled), Don Stark (who joins Kurtwood Smith in a That ’70s Show/Star Trek crossover), and thankfully no Wesley Crusher. He probably had school.
Easily the best-looking film of the franchise, this is the strongest instalment since The Wrath of Khan; incidentally, both movies use Moby Dick as a touchstone. It’s an epic expansion of the TV show, burning through its action-packed plot like Picard burns through Enterprises. Resistance, as they say, is futile.