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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 May 30 2009, 01:17 AM   #1
Islander
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First Contact isn't a great movie

And before you go look for Klingon Mercenary for hire, let me explain. Any good movie has to have a slow pace entry for providing points of reference and present key details of character that are important to the plot then give a hook, something that makes you wonder what would happen that you don't really what happens and builds pace as it go up to a plot twist and a more action intensive ending, and finally give you finality for the characters.

First Contact gets right into it: The Borg are attacking! Within 5 minutes they are defeated but a smaller craft escape and travels back in time, we're then told they will assimilate earth before First Contact. Then the pace slows down and we move into explaining earth's history and start to provide character develpment elements. When the story is told, they just part way back exactly where they started.

The movie is done backward. It requires you to know who all of the characters are, who the Borg are... And then it sell you the punch! Even if until STXI Trek movie have mostly interested trekkies, all movies still respected this "standard" cinematographic format and non-initiate could still somehow follow and enjoy the story.

On top of that, this is a "reset" type story where nothing happens at all. The crew did live some nice experience, grew from hit as characters and problably have hints of themselves in the history book but for the universe itself, nothing happend. The past remains has it always has been.

Sure, as fan of the Trek universe and all of these characters specifically, we're hyped! We're given so much cerebral food filled with spooky even creepy moments. Overall, First Contact is an extraordinary 2-part TNG episode...but not a great movie.

Any thoughts?
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Old May 30 2009, 01:49 AM   #2
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Re: First Contact isn't a great movie

Oh, great, another thread bashing First Contact over some trivial minutia. . You can't expect them to devote that much time to getting the "uninitiated" fans up to speed on who everyone is, and I think they did a hell of a job on that anyway in this movie, even if they didn't do as much as you say they should have. What do you want? The first 30 minutes being exposition explaining who the Borg are, how Q introduced them to the crew, how unstoppable they were, how they destroyed tons of ships at Wolf something, and then how they assimilated Picard? Why don't we just throw in a recap of Hugh's spiritual journey and Lore's perversion of it too?

The audience is given just as much as they need to know to not be confused in this movie. They know that the Borg are a powerfully destructive enemy, they know that the Borg 'assimilate' people, and they know that Picard was assimilated and is traumatized all within the first few scenes of the movie. That's definitely enough information to get the audience up to speed without dragging the movie down with endless backstory killing its momentum before it has even started.

I've said before that I think the pacing is a bit manic at the beginning, but I appreciate that it was a lot less lethargic than the exposition at the beginning of other Star Trek movies like "The Voyage Home", which had me impatiently waiting for them to get to the adventure. I like how this movie plunged right into the action. Sure, they could have taken a little more time before doing that, but I don't think it was so rushed that it ruined the movie or made it significantly faulty.
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Old May 30 2009, 02:56 AM   #3
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Re: First Contact isn't a great movie

Islander wrote: View Post
And before you go look for Klingon Mercenary for hire, let me explain. Any good movie has to have a slow pace entry for providing points of reference and present key details of character that are important to the plot then give a hook, something that makes you wonder what would happen that you don't really what happens and builds pace as it go up to a plot twist and a more action intensive ending, and finally give you finality for the characters.

First Contact gets right into it: The Borg are attacking! Within 5 minutes they are defeated but a smaller craft escape and travels back in time, we're then told they will assimilate earth before First Contact. Then the pace slows down and we move into explaining earth's history and start to provide character develpment elements. When the story is told, they just part way back exactly where they started.

The movie is done backward. It requires you to know who all of the characters are, who the Borg are... And then it sell you the punch! Even if until STXI Trek movie have mostly interested trekkies, all movies still respected this "standard" cinematographic format and non-initiate could still somehow follow and enjoy the story.

On top of that, this is a "reset" type story where nothing happens at all. The crew did live some nice experience, grew from hit as characters and problably have hints of themselves in the history book but for the universe itself, nothing happend. The past remains has it always has been.

Sure, as fan of the Trek universe and all of these characters specifically, we're hyped! We're given so much cerebral food filled with spooky even creepy moments. Overall, First Contact is an extraordinary 2-part TNG episode...but not a great movie.

Any thoughts?
Why does any good movie have to have a slow paced opening. Lot's of movies open with a bang and then go into exposition. I would argue that it is much more exiting and makes you care more about the exposition instead of boring you for 40 minutes before anything happens. Not that you can't do movies either way but it's nice to suck in the audience with some action first.

I would also argue that this movie is one of the easiest for a non-fan to watch. It's fun and exiting and all of the backstory that you need to know is easily spelled out for you in the film. This is backed up by the great reviews and excellent box office for the film. I mean check out the 91% fresh on rotten tomatoes. Alot of casual and non-fans were able to step in and enjoy this movie. This movie also stands out as being very big and cinematic to me. It looks and feels like a big budget movie.
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Old May 30 2009, 03:07 AM   #4
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Re: First Contact isn't a great movie

Actually, those are some interesting points and do suggest why Trek movies were not traditionally great attractors of new audience.
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Old May 30 2009, 03:20 AM   #5
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Re: First Contact isn't a great movie

Islander wrote: View Post
It requires you to know who all of the characters are
Oh, so like every Trek movie ever made except for XI

As I said in the other thread, "TOS Movie Worship/TNG Movie Bashing"
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Old May 30 2009, 06:18 AM   #6
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Re: First Contact isn't a great movie

Did someone say it was a great movie? My impression is that most people think that it is a good Trek movie. I haven't heard many people refer to it as great for some of the reasons that you list.
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Old May 30 2009, 04:04 PM   #7
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Re: First Contact isn't a great movie

Islander wrote: View Post
Any good movie has to have a slow pace entry for providing points of reference and present key details of character that are important to the plot then give a hook, something that makes you wonder what would happen that you don't really what happens and builds pace as it go up to a plot twist and a more action intensive ending, and finally give you finality for the characters.
Incorrect. Plenty of movies start with a jolt.

First Contact's opening gives you everything you need to know. As for the idea that it's somehow inaccessible, it has been, from the time of its release, one of the most popular films in the series.
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Old May 30 2009, 04:36 PM   #8
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Re: First Contact isn't a great movie

Ro Boat wrote: View Post
Did someone say it was a great movie? My impression is that most people think that it is a good Trek movie. I haven't heard many people refer to it as great for some of the reasons that you list.
I think its one of the best Trek movies. Depending on the day I sometimes like it more than TWOK and sometimes less, but its in my top two favorite Trek movies.
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Old May 30 2009, 05:18 PM   #9
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Re: First Contact isn't a great movie

Falcor5 wrote: View Post
Ro Boat wrote: View Post
Did someone say it was a great movie? My impression is that most people think that it is a good Trek movie. I haven't heard many people refer to it as great for some of the reasons that you list.
I think its one of the best Trek movies. Depending on the day I sometimes like it more than TWOK and sometimes less, but its in my top two favorite Trek movies.
Yeah, I rank it beside TWOK and TUC as the best films (ST09 following).
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Old May 30 2009, 05:53 PM   #10
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Re: First Contact isn't a great movie

I agree. It is a decent movie but I wasn't totally satisfied with it.

I didn't object to the introduction of a Queen but her portrayal I didn't care for. She behaved just like any other emotional villianess who was scorned by Locutus' rebuff so sought the attention of Data. It really gutted what made the Borg so frightening. I also didn't care for the unnecessary retconning of why Picard was assimilated.

And we had waited years for a big epic Borg battle but instead it was all too brief. Cochrane was more of a cartoon character. The humor didn't always work.

One aspect that the film did better than any other though was the score. It was excellent. I also liked the backstory essentially of the pivotal event that gave birth to the Trek universe.
Islander wrote: View Post
Even if until STXI Trek movie have mostly interested trekkies, all movies still respected this "standard" cinematographic format and non-initiate could still somehow follow and enjoy the story.
That's funny because I thought FC did a better job than XI in orienting the uninitiated. XI didn't bother to introduce Vulcan, the relationship between Vulcans and Romulans to appreciate the undercurrent between Nero & Spock and don't get me started on the anemic exposition centering on the events in the future that are mostly left up to a prequel comic to flesh out. Not to mention the bad habit XI had of relying on a lot of the emotional resonance to come from TOS and the relationships established there and not independently within the film itself.
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Old May 30 2009, 06:00 PM   #11
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Re: First Contact isn't a great movie

Its the best of the films. Just because someone cant get the idea of a film without everything being spelled out for them slowly doesn't make it a bad film. It is a GREAT film. It is my favourite of the films. Above TWOK.
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Old May 30 2009, 06:37 PM   #12
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Re: First Contact isn't a great movie

As others have pointed out, many good/great movies start out with a bang. Saving Private Ryan comes to mind. In regard to introducing the Borg, it's not always necessary to provide the audience the entire backstory of the antagonist. The audience was given enough information in the first few minutes or so, that the Borg were the Federation's most deadly enemy and they had assimilated Picard. That's all they need.
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Old May 30 2009, 07:13 PM   #13
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Re: First Contact isn't a great movie

In any event, it's the only decent TNG movie...
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Old May 30 2009, 07:39 PM   #14
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Re: First Contact isn't a great movie

I disagree with the review entirely, but I still appreciate your efforts to make your point. I've watched the movie on a few occasions, sometimes with people who haven't the faintest clue of TNG beyond knowing the bald guy is "Ricard or something like that." And they had a blast with it. Not knowing much or even anything going in didn't hurt their ability to enjoy it in the least.
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Old May 31 2009, 01:03 AM   #15
Islander
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Re: First Contact isn't a great movie

RyuRoots wrote: View Post
Oh, so like every Trek movie ever made except for XI

As I said in the other thread, "TOS Movie Worship/TNG Movie Bashing"
CaptainCanada wrote: View Post
Incorrect. Plenty of movies start with a jolt.

First Contact's opening gives you everything you need to know. As for the idea that it's somehow inaccessible, it has been, from the time of its release, one of the most popular films in the series.
zephramc wrote: View Post
As others have pointed out, many good/great movies start out with a bang. Saving Private Ryan comes to mind. In regard to introducing the Borg, it's not always necessary to provide the audience the entire backstory of the antagonist. The audience was given enough information in the first few minutes or so, that the Borg were the Federation's most deadly enemy and they had assimilated Picard. That's all they need.
TWOK introduced Khan with enough details to know it's Kirk who stranded him resulting in his wife's death. So he's pissed. We don't need to know he genetically augmented, we just need enough to understand why he wants revenge so bad. Every film did have some minor details like that or information that returns to generic information like military ranks that anyone can related to and follow the story.

FC starts with Picard saying, our worst enemie are there, we have to fight them. Why? Why do they attack? You'll eventually learn later in the movie about the collective mind and their motivation, much later in fact, but that's why I say it's done backward. I doesn't stop from giving you chills. The visual is just splendid but from a stand-alone point, it could have been better.

If you have read my original post, I didn't trash it at all. I just stated what I consider a small flaw as a movie. Try taking all Trek elements out, just make it a generic sci-fi action movie. Do you think it would have done as good as it did?

Praetorian wrote: View Post
In any event, it's the only decent TNG movie...
Overall, yes but I don't like to trash GEN and INS too much, they still had some value. The nexus is ass-stupid and completely trashed Generations but if you objectively take that out, the rest could have been a good movie. Insurections was alright. Slow paced, long and even a bit borring, but not all stories are super intense. But Nemesis... that's another thread!
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