Star Trek: First Contact

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Star Trek: First Contact is the eighth feature film in the Star Trek science fiction franchise, released in November 1996 by Paramount Pictures. First Contact is the first film in the franchise to feature no cast members from the original Star Trek television series of the 1960s. The primary cast for First Contact is from the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series, to which the film's producers added Alice Krige, Neal McDonough, James Cromwell and Alfre Woodard. In the film's plot, the crew of the USS Enterprise travel from the 24th to 21st century to save their future after the cybernetic Borg conquer Earth by changing the timeline.

After the release of the seventh film, Star Trek Generations, in 1994, Paramount tasked writers Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore with developing a sequel. Braga and Moore wanted to feature the Borg in the plot, while producer Rick Berman wanted a story involving time travel. The writers combined the two ideas; they initially set the film during the European Renaissance, but changed the time period the Borg corrupted to the mid-21st century after fearing the Renaissance idea would be too kitschy. After two better known directors turned down the job, cast member Jonathan Frakes was chosen to direct to make sure the task fell to someone who understood Star Trek.

The script required the creation of new starship designs, including a new USS Enterprise. Production designer Herman Zimmerman and illustrator John Eaves collaborated to make a sleeker ship than its predecessor. Principal photography began with weeks of location shooting in Arizona and California before production moved to new sets for the ship-based scenes. The Borg were redesigned to appear as though they were converted into machine beings from the inside-out; the new makeup sessions took four times as long as on the television series. Effects company Industrial Light & Magic rushed to complete the film's special effects in less than five months. Traditional optical effects techniques were supplemented with computer-generated imagery. Jerry Goldsmith and his son Joel collaborated to produce the film's score.

First Contact was the highest-grossing film on its opening weekend, making $30.7 million. The film made $92 million in the United States and an additional $57.4 million in other territories, for a theatrical run of about $146 million worldwide. Critical reception was mostly positive; critics including Roger Ebert considered it one of the best Star Trek films. The Borg and the special effects were lauded, while characterization was less evenly received. First Contact was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Makeup and won three Saturn Awards. The film has been released on videotape, LaserDisc, DVD, and Blu-ray home video formats. Scholarly analysis of the film has focused on Captain Jean Luc Picard's parallels to Herman Melville's Ahab and the nature of the Borg.

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