Live long and prosper—and “ooby dooby,” too
How could the moment to which the whole movie builds—the moment the Borg try in vain to sabotage, the 21st-century moment that saves the 24th and beyond—not end up on a list of favorite Star Trek First Contact moments?
One of my clearest memories of seeing this film for the first time was muttering under my breath as the alien scout ship descended, “They’d better get this right!”
Now, no canonical source, no previous TV episode or feature film, had ever established Vulcans were the first alien species humanity met (knowingly and officially, at least).
But I’d read Margaret Wander Bonnano’s 1987 novel Strangers from the Sky and desperately hoped the movie wouldn’t contradict its core concept, that the meeting of humans and Vulcans birthed the whole Star Trek future.
Besides, what other alien visitors would have felt so right? The Klingons? The Romulans? Some extraterrestrials Star Trek fans had never seen or heard of before?
So when the alien ship’s commander descended that ramp, threw back his hood to reveal those pointed ears, and lifted his hand in that iconic salute, I was one ecstatic Trekkie!
Jerry Goldsmith’s score helps the thrill. His lush, romantic main theme swells as the historic moment approaches, and the cymbal crash accompanying our first sight of those Vulcan ears is a perfect musical payoff.
I have always wondered, though, if one reason the Vulcans were so “down” on humanity by the time of Star Trek: Enterprise was because Zefram Cochrane kicked off interplanetary relations by trying to drink them under the table while dancing to Roy Orbison’s warbled take on the hokey pokey!