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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies I-X

Star Trek Movies I-X Discuss the first ten big screen outings in this forum!

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Old December 22 2011, 05:54 AM   #1
AFEK ESLCAFE W
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Have you ever gone back and changed your mind about a film?

Let's face the facts here: "Star Trek: First Contact" is a popcorn flick, and nothing more. If this film didn't feature the cast of TNG, most of us would not be gushing all over it, or giving it positive reviews.

"Star Trek is dead" is what kept going through my mind as I walked out of the theatre 6-years ago, on a cold, wintery night. I still couldn't believe that this was the script that Ron Moore and Brannon Braga submitted to Rick Berman for approval as a Star Trek feature film. I kept thinking to myself that Star Trek soldout to cash in on a quick buck, by pleasing the lowest common denominator crowd. This is when I first realized that Star Trek was going downhill, a once intelligent series, now dumbed-down for the masses. If "First Contact" was supposed to represent the pinnacle of Star Trek's 30-years worth of quality entertainment on the small and big screen, then it represented a harbinger for the level of mediocrity that came and went in the past 6-years of this franchise's once illustrious history (And, we know what shows we are talking about here...).

Anyway, the curse about the even-numbered films being good, and the odd-numbered films being bad wasn't broken with "Star Trek: Nemesis" (which admittedly was a better film for featuring the protracted space battle between the Enterprise-E and the Scimitar, that "First Contact" failed to deliver). All the gushers of this film rave about how good "First Contact" is compared to the rest of the TNG films, without comingup with the hard facts and concrete proof. Some of you may say that "Hey, it's a pretty cool action film," but having seen a good number of quality episodes from the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" television series, we all know that "First Contact" bears little resemblance to the intelligent, thought-provoking television episodes that it was spawn-off from.

This is just a movie where things happen, because it happens to be in the script, without any rhyme or reason as to why things should unfold as is on screen. How does Picard all of a sudden know the weak spot on a Borg cube? Because its happens to be in the script. Why doesn't the Borg time travel into Earth's past away from Federation space, in order to accomplish their plans in eliminating humanity, rather than attacking it head-on, knowing that the risks are far greater? Because it happens to be in the script. Why is Zefram Cochrane so radically different in appearance, and overall personality to that of his more affable Original Series counter-part in the 60's TV series? Because it happens to be in the script. Why doesn't any of Picard's crew members object (this happens in all 4 TNG feature films) when the captain decides to confront the Borg Queen alone, without any reinforcements? Because it happens to be in the script.

As for the Borg themselves, they were neither threatening nor intimidating. Their mere presence in the film was to serve as cannon fodder, nothing more. It was a mistake of the screenwriters to blowup the Borg Cube at the beginning of the film, because to the fans, the sight of the Borg Cube represented the embodiment of the Borg as relentless, merciless beings, out to conquer and assimilate the galaxy. The Borg Queen represented none of that. She was flat, 1-dimensional, very predictable, and quite possibly the most redundant and useless villain in the 36-year history of this franchise. A tease for Data, and nothing more.

Infact, "First Contact" has to be the most predictable film I've ever seen in my entire theatre-going experience. We all knew that the Enterprise-E wasn't going to self-destruct (the writers already did that in "Generations"), Data wasn't going to betray Captain Picard, and that the 3 quantum torpedoes would clearly endup missing Zefram Cochrane's warp ship. Even the moment when Cochrane told Riker and Geordi that he forgot to bring something, I just knew that he was desperate to find a CD, cassette, or a storage device that contained his rock-and-roll music. And, who in the theatre wasn't surprised by the fact that the mysterious aliens passing through the solar system turnedout to be the Vulcans? It was only logical that it be them than the Ferengi! The only surprises in this film were the funny cameos by Trek alumnus Dwight Schultz, Robert Picardo, and Ethan Phillips. Other than that, "First Contact" was very predictable from beginning to end, with no surprises whatsoever.

As I walked out of the theatre 6-years ago, and saw the solemn looks on the faces of the departing theatre-goers, I could feel a high level of disappointment permeating throughout the room. At least "Generations" had its moments, elevated by the charisma of William Shatner and Malcolm McDowell. All "First Contact" featured was a terminally psychotic Picard, and a drunk, burntout bum who was masquerading as Zefram Cochrane. "First Contact" is one film you have to force yourself to enjoy as a fan, checking your brain at the door, in order to brainwash yourself into thinking "Well...this is an even-numbered film, so it has to be good???" Don't fool yourself! We expected a cinematic equivalent of "Jaws in Space," but what we endedup getting was a cheap Steven Seagal-esque flick (1-dimensional hero, 1-dimensional villain, 1-dimensional revenge story, 1-dimensional action flick) that was "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
Now, the above review was written exactly 9 years ago. However, after some time and distance away from watching TNG rerun episodes ad nauseum and comparing the film on its own merits and not that of the true A-grade sci-fi classics such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Alien, Aliens, Back to the Future, etc. it's a pretty, fun-filled ride of a film.

I still have issues with the fact that the film feels not so smoothly cut and editted, and the obviousness to the viewers that the scale of this Borg epic was shot on a modest studio budget...but, you have to admit that it's a really fun, feel-good action film that pretty much paved the way for the J.J. Abrams film in terms of that particular cinematic feel that you put into Trek that pulls in a massive worldwide audience at the box-office.

To tell you the truth, nowadays I would probably use the above review to either refer to Insurrection or Nemesis. I was in that whole "You have to shoot it like Stanley Kubrick, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron" mode of thinking back in my 20's, but as of now in my 30's I judge a film's merits particularly on how it ultimately makes me feel. Not all films have to cater to the "thinking man" to be considered the cream of the crop. Heck, before Alfred Hitchcock passed away his 2 favorite films in recent years were Smokey and the Bandit and Benji.

Director Jonathan Frakes proudly earned his 3-stars for this one!
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Old December 22 2011, 02:55 PM   #2
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Re: Have you ever gone back and changed your mind about a film?

I thought TUC was excellent when ot came out. Now it's cheesy and militaristic. You know, I left the theater liking most of the films and I think I could only ise the term "like" for I and II now. But that's me. I'm either crankier or more discriminating now.
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Old December 22 2011, 03:28 PM   #3
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Re: Have you ever gone back and changed your mind about a film?

plynch wrote: View Post
I thought TUC was excellent when ot came out. Now it's cheesy and militaristic.
I'm the exact opposite. Was lukewarm to The Undiscovered Country when I first saw it, now it's one of my top two Trek films along with The Motion Picture.

Just watched it along with First Contact yesterday.
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Old December 22 2011, 06:13 PM   #4
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Re: Have you ever gone back and changed your mind about a film?

I don't think TVH held up as well over the years.

FC is as exactly as I remember it when it came out - popcorn flick. Too rushed at the beginning, and wrapped up too nice and neatly and quickly at the end.

TUC - It's still a fine Trek flick. The attempts at humor with the supporting cast falls flat for me now. Doohan, Nichols and Koenig's acting just comes off painfully bad.
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Old December 23 2011, 04:01 AM   #5
AFEK ESLCAFE W
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Re: Have you ever gone back and changed your mind about a film?

I go back and forth on my rankings - but as it is with many viewers' opinions - I do know for a fact that the TOS films tend to be regarded in the top-tier and the TNG films are ranked towards the bottom-tier.

TUC is still considered my favorite of the 11 Star Trek films, eventhough my opinion on it wavers now and then (Considering I reside in South Korea and have the real potential threat of North Korea up north kind of diminishes that...); but me thinking it is the greatest thing since sliced bread is long gone. However, it is still a fine, solid film with rich dialogue that is rarely ever heard in today's CGI/action-packed cinema.

Last edited by AFEK ESLCAFE W; December 23 2011 at 04:14 AM.
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Old December 23 2011, 04:08 AM   #6
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Re: Have you ever gone back and changed your mind about a film?

TMP hasn't aged well.
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Old December 23 2011, 09:41 PM   #7
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Re: Have you ever gone back and changed your mind about a film?

TUC is one that was great when I first saw it in the theater but has grown cheesier over time. Personally, I think it was so well received back then because we were following the dismal TFF. But even so, it's a good Trek film, but I find the "whodunit" aspect to not hold up at all. The peace accords, the conspiracy bits are all still great, but the mystery plot is badly done and it makes the supporting cast look like idiots: the phaser alarm, Crewman Dax and his feet, Uhura and the books. Seriously, Chekov was borderline retarded in this movie. Plus the fact that Burke and Samno were killed and dumped in a hallway and Kirk and everyone just HAPPENED to stumble upon them on their way to (I guess) the bridge. Funny how nobody else did as it seemed to be a main walkway. Even if they were just recently killed, they weren't hidden very well (at all).

I won't mention the door that reveals them slides UP through the conduits in the ceiling. ;-)

Even if Cinefantastic didn't blow the reveal before the film opened, it wasn't hard to figure out the traitor: Velaris was the only new main character on the ship.

Also, some of the humor was "meh," some of it felt like it should have been ion Trek 5. Everyone laughs at the Kirk/Martia-Kirk "must have been your lifelong ambition" joke, but it's really meta humor. It points up Shatner's ego, not Kirks (tell me when did Kirk demonstrated loving himself so much), so as far as the characters go, it makes no sense. It's also badly acted by Shatner who uses every facial muscle to make the joke land. It's out of place and looks like a late entry into the scene. It certainly works well without it. Good character humor is funny (most everything from Spock), but the gags in Trek really were wearing thin. It was a far cry from the seriousness and maturity of the first 3 movies. And Nick Meyer's staging of his extras is distracting. He overloads the bridges of both ships with people wandering around doing nothing. In the beginning, it looks like the Excelsior's bridge is The Place to Hang Out. There are so many now they all wear name tags. The clothing search is hilarious in its busy-ness. When the door opened and the guy with the Space Divining Rod walks in with goggles saying "coming through!" the audience laughed. Every time.

But even with that stuff, it's a fun flick and it moves fairly quickly. I just wish they spent more time on Kirk and Bones on Rura Penthe and less on the Scooby Doo crap.

I admit, it's nitpickery form a person who has seen the movie a few times too many, but that's what Trekkies do. :-)
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Old December 23 2011, 10:16 PM   #8
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Re: Have you ever gone back and changed your mind about a film?

and saw the solemn looks on the faces of the departing theatre-goers, I could feel a high level of disappointment permeating throughout the room...
What session was this? Certainly not mine!

If the fans were solemn it was only because Picard had just taken them with him through an emotional wringer.

Now the audience coming out of ST V? Some of them were hysterical, almost paralytic with laughter. In disbelief. Then we noticed that teaser poster on the wall: the one with the cinema seat fitted with a seatbelt. And the hysteria was maintained. The seatbelt was to stop people leaving early!
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Old December 24 2011, 09:53 AM   #9
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Re: Have you ever gone back and changed your mind about a film?

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
and saw the solemn looks on the faces of the departing theatre-goers, I could feel a high level of disappointment permeating throughout the room...
What session was this? Certainly not mine!

If the fans were solemn it was only because Picard had just taken them with him through an emotional wringer.

Now the audience coming out of ST V? Some of them were hysterical, almost paralytic with laughter. In disbelief. Then we noticed that teaser poster on the wall: the one with the cinema seat fitted with a seatbelt. And the hysteria was maintained. The seatbelt was to stop people leaving early!
Good to know.

The watercooler discussion in regards to FC back then (in the states where I lived) was that it was a good film, but it still felt staged like a 2-part episode just like Generations.
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Old December 24 2011, 10:52 AM   #10
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Re: Have you ever gone back and changed your mind about a film?

I've grown to enjoy TVH less and less over the years. I was really disappointed with NEM when it came out, but after a few years I watched it again and it wasn't as bad as I remembered.
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Old December 24 2011, 11:27 AM   #11
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Re: Have you ever gone back and changed your mind about a film?

AFEK ESLCAFE W wrote: View Post
The watercooler discussion in regards to FC back then (in the states where I lived) was that it was a good film, but it still felt staged like a 2-part episode just like Generations.
A criticism often leveled at "Insurrection" - and quite often here - but not "First Contact" AFAIK.
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Old December 24 2011, 03:49 PM   #12
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Re: Have you ever gone back and changed your mind about a film?

For me, it's mostly FC. I still like it a lot, but it doesn't feel like Trek. Which is weird, since a lot of people hate Insurrection, which I feel is more Star Trek then FC, which so many people seem to love to death.
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Old December 24 2011, 05:41 PM   #13
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Re: Have you ever gone back and changed your mind about a film?

I recently watched "Insurrection" for the first time in a long time, and it wasn't as bad as I had remembered it. I agree with many people who say they feel it would have been a better TNG episode than a film, but I have to admit that I did enjoy watching it.
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Old December 24 2011, 08:04 PM   #14
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Re: Have you ever gone back and changed your mind about a film?

Dr. Crusher wrote: View Post
I recently watched "Insurrection" for the first time in a long time, and it wasn't as bad as I had remembered it. I agree with many people who say they feel it would have been a better TNG episode than a film, but I have to admit that I did enjoy watching it.
That's the thing though, they say it would've been better as an episode. But wouldn't that be a GOOD thing, since we as fans are supposed to like the episodes?
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Old December 24 2011, 08:18 PM   #15
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Re: Have you ever gone back and changed your mind about a film?

Mage wrote: View Post
Dr. Crusher wrote: View Post
I recently watched "Insurrection" for the first time in a long time, and it wasn't as bad as I had remembered it. I agree with many people who say they feel it would have been a better TNG episode than a film, but I have to admit that I did enjoy watching it.
That's the thing though, they say it would've been better as an episode. But wouldn't that be a GOOD thing, since we as fans are supposed to like the episodes?
But non-fans go to a movie expecting a movie experience, not a tepid TV style outing.
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