Star Trek: First Contact (Jonathan Frakes)

Rating: ** (out of ****)

Let me admit right up front that I am not remotely a Trekker. I've seen exactly two episodes of the original Star Trek TV series ("The Apple" and "Bread and Circuses," in case any of you Trekkers are curious), as well as installments IV through VI of the subsequent film series; I've seen only one episode from the Next Generation era. Star Trek IV was kinda cute, but otherwise I've been utterly unimpressed by the whole Trek phenomenon, and First Contact doesn't make me eager to see more of Picard and his crew on the big screen. My almost total lack of familiarity with the TV show made it extremely difficult for me to get involved with the characters and their various crises -- this in spite of the copious and deadly exposition that was clearly designed to bring neophytes up to speed. More damagingly, however, First Contact was written, edited, paced, and directed like television; for all its expensive special effects, it's about as cinematic as a network promo. Also, if any of the show's fans would care to write to me, I'm curious to know: is Riker always this boring?