Star Trek: First Contact
First Contact perfectly captures everything that I love about Star Trek: TNG, keeping the tone and energy of a great episode in the series. Though the film lacks much of the philosophy and questions about the human condition that many episodes of the show featured, it replaces this with both great action and excellent performances from the cast. All of the original cast members from the show bring the performances that made the show so great, with Patrick Stewart’s performance as Jean-Luc Picard especially riveting. Picard has a personal vendetta against the Borg, as he once was forced into their collective, and the tension and anger he feels toward them makes him the most interesting of the characters.
The rest of the actors are great as well, bringing the quirks of their characters from the small screen to the big. The characters are all as charming and interesting as they have ever been, which might be the perfect way to describe this movie. It is the best reminder of the quality of The Next Generation that I can think of, a movie that perfectly expresses and characterizes everything that made the show great. It’s one of the best ways that I can think of to experience Star Trek’s excellent atmosphere and charm.
Star Trek (2009)
Most of what makes Star Trek’s best iterations so great are the characters, and this film does an overall good job at creating interpretations of the original characters that are both similar and different from the originals. The majority of the films performances are quite good, with Simon Pegg, Karl Urban and Zachary Quinto all doing a great job. Each actor captures the tone of the original characters, but adds different layers of depth that weren’t present in the original. The only performance that lacks much depth is that of Eric Bana, who plays the very one-note villain Nero. While Nero has a very powerful motivation, which one would think might lead to a very tortured and deep villain, he basically fills the film’s need for a bad guy without adding much to the movie.
However, unlike most Trek films and shows, the movie is much flashier and more action filled. This is where fans of the original series may take umbrage with the movie, feeling as though it is much more “summer blockbuster” than classic Star Trek. Because I didn’t grow up with Star Trek, and this film was the first Trek product I saw, I didn’t have a problem with the action. Director J.J. Abrams creates a more active and less diplomatic Star Trek world, feeling more like Star Wars than Star Trek. The action and special effects are very well done, but turning Star Trek into an action movie might still turn many audiences off of the film. I, however, don’t mind the more action-packed Trek adventure.