Star Trek: First Contact holds up all these years later.
Star Trek: First Contact was released on Nov. 22, 1996, 27 years ago on Wednesday of this week. The film features Jean-Luc Picard having, at the time, his last major encounter with the Borg. It brought together elements of time travel, love, trauma, action, and countless cameos from major names across the world of Hollywood, sci-fi, and Star Trek.
And even though the film is pushing 30 years old, it’s not only as good as it’s ever been but it’s arguably the greatest film that Star Trek has ever created. Yes, even against the famed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Now, personal tastes aside, it’s hard to argue that First Contact isn’t the top film in the franchise.
Its plot echoed action from the series but existed beyond needing to see any one episode, doing a great job of catching the viewers up to the history of Jean-Luc Picard before the events of the film. Which, if we’re being fair, was the one thing Wrath of Khan leaned too hard into; it ties into the original series episode Space Seed.
And while First Contact owes its existence to the two-part episode The Best of Both Worlds, it isn’t a direct sequel to that story as Wrath of Khan is to Space Seed.
That alone makes First Contact as good, if not better than Wrath of Khan. As both films are incredible works of art and both tell compelling stories, one needs prior viewings to fully enjoy the creative and dynamic story, the other is able to do the same thing with a short recap to start the film.
Wrath of Khan is for the diehard Trekkies, while First Contact is a Star Trek film that anyone, old or new to the franchise, can enjoy. Don’t get it twisted, Wrath of Khan is truly a masterclass in storytelling, but if you weren’t familiar with who Khan was when they revealed him in the early stages of the film, his arrival wouldn’t have the same impact.
While First Contact on the other hand took their time to reestablish who the Borg were, and why they were so feared within the first 10 or so minutes of the film. That key difference is why, at least in one writer’s opinion, First Contact tops all other films in the Trek lexicon of films.