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Star Trek: First Contact

Film Review by Dean Duncan Feb 4, 2015

The Borg are a really formidable antagonist. This is true conceptually, and it’s true in practice, because they are really well rendered. A relentless, incomprehensible, unstoppable force—classical horror, the monster as complete Other. Very nice. Alice Krige’s Borg Queen localizes and specifies the menace, without domesticating it at all. That’s quite a character intro! She brings an erotic frisson to the proceedings, which only adds to our distress.

In Contact our Saturday afternoon cinema pleasure is deepened by and with some generic contrast. It’s horror and suspense—and a bit of sci-fi philosophizing—up in the ship, and comic knockabout down below. Some of that comedy is a little ham-handed, but the end result is a satisfying smorgasbord of sensibilities. It’s pure D.W. Griffith/parallel montage as these two strands work their way toward a collision, and then a resolution. That cadence is very pleasing, fear and hope giving way to an unexpected and even moving resolution. It was the Vulcans!

If you want this could show how pathetically subject to pop culture we are. Moved by a commercial contrivance, and by naked fiction? Or, if you watched all those episodes with your brother, or your kids, then it suggests the many wonderful ways in which people turn this straw into the most abiding brickwork. Let us lighten up, once in a while.