The purpose of this blog is to have a little fun. It is NOT to start arguments. I don't profess to be an expert on Sci-fi, nor do I aspire to become an expert. You are welcome to comment on any and all content you find here. If my opinion differs from yours, as far as I am concerned, it's all okay. I will never say that you are wrong because you disagree with me, and I expect the same from those that comment here. Also, my audience on the blog will include some young people. Please govern your language when posting comments.

Posts will hopefully be regular based on the movies I see, the television shows I watch, and the books I read as well as what ever strikes me as noteworthy.

Spoilers will appear here and are welcome.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Resistance is Futile, Or Is It?

This Just in...
 A teaser/trailer for Star Trek: Into Darkness has been posted.
Check it out below...

According to the official Paramount Star Trek: Into Darkness web page, the official trailer will be released on December 17th! 

Podcast News

On my way home from work, I listened to another fine episode of the Scifi Diner Podcast.  My friends, Scott and Miles said some very nice things about me right at the beginning of the show while plugging this blog.  Thanks gentlemen, it is very much appreciated.  Today's show was Episode #157.  They also talked about Fringe which is coming up on its 5th (and final) mid-season break.  Miles read the Star Trek: Into Darkness synopsis and also talked about a project that is in the making over at Renegade Studios, the makers of Star Trek: Of Gods and Men.  They are working on a new project that has a great cast, and is being directed by Tim Russ (Tuvok from Voyager).  This week's installment of the Diner features an interview with Musetta Vander who has played a number of roles in various sci-fi shows.  

Scott and Miles do a great job with their interviews because they always seem to put their guests at ease and show them as real people.  You can listen to the show directly from their web site or subscribe.  Just visit their page for information.  By the way, the cat's out of the bag since Scott and Miles let out in the episode that I would be a guest on a future Scifi Rewind show.  We'll be dissecting Bladerunner!  We'll be recording in late January, and I am really looking forward to it.

Earlier this week,  finished listening to my friends from the Trek News and Views podcast.  Colin and his guests from all over the world took a close look at the Star Trek film, First Contact.  This is Colin and crew's first re-visitation of a Star Trek movie and well worth a listen.

So in light of that, I thought I would do a little review of my own.  This is all strictly from memory, so if I don't get every detail correct, please be forgiving...

Assimilate This...

Film ReleaseYear: 1996
Written By: Rick Berman, Branon Braga, and Ronald D. Moore
Directed By: Jonathan Frakes
Score By: Jerry and Joel Goldsmith
Starring the cast from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Alfre Woodward, and James Cromwell

Following the opening credits, Captain Jean-Luc Picard awakes from a nightmare that appears to be a memory of his assimilation by the Borg.  Shortly after, the Enterprise receives a message that there is a Borg cube attacking Sector 001, where Earth and the home of the United Federation of Planets.  Much to the dismay of the Enterprise crew, they are ordered to stay where they are and continue charting gaseous anomalies while a pitched battle is being fought against the Borg near Earth.  While monitoring the battle over subspace communications, the Enterprise crew learn that it is not going well for Star Fleet and decided to disobey direct orders and join the fight with their new and more powerful Sovereign class Enterprise.

Sovereign Class Enterprise and USS Defiant
 Upon joining the battle, the scene cuts to the bridge of the USS Defiant under the command of Worf, formerly a crew member of the Enterprise.  Seeing that the battle is not going to be won, Worf decides that he may have a chance to do some fatal damage to the Borg vessel by ramming his ship into the cube.  The Enterprise arrives, cutting off the badly damaged Defiant and joins the fray and at the same time rescues Worf and his crew.  The Borg, through benefit of having assimilated Picard, knows a great deal about Star Fleet, but Picard also knows quite a bit about them too.  Picard takes command of the fleet and orders them to fire everything they have at a single point on the Borg cube which results in the complete destruction of the attacking vessel.  However, before exploding, the cube ejects a much smaller spherical vessel that heads straight for Earth.

Borg Cube with Enterprise D to show scale and Borg Sphere headed to Earth
As the sphere heads toward Earth, it opens and enters a temporal vortex.  The Enterprise follows the sphere and as it enters the vortex, the scene on the view screen is of the North American continent after it has been assimilated by the Borg in the present.  Once through the vortex, the Enterprise crew learns that they have been taken back in time to just days before the first warp flight by Zephram Cochrane.  Picard realizes that the Borg have time traveled to Earth of the past to assimilate the human race before that first warp flight thus eliminating the Federation before it can be formed.  The The Borg begin to fire weapons at the place where First Contact is to be made in an attempt to destroy Cochran's warp ship, the Phoenix, then is destroyed by the Enterprise.  Unbeknown to the Enterprise crew, several Borg drones beam off of the sphere and into the engineering section of the Enterprise and begin assimilating the ship and crew.

Meanwhile, Picard leads an away team down to check out the condition of the Phoenix, locate survivors, and help anyone that may have been injured in the Borg attack.  The away Picard is informed by the ship concerning conditions aboard.  Environmental controls seem to be malfunctioning on several decks, and Picard realizes that the ship is being altered to match the environment on a Borg cube.  Picard and Data return to the ship and leave Riker, Troi, and LaForge behind to make sure that the Phoenix flies as scheduled.  Picard also takes Cochrane's assistant, Lily with him to receive medical attention.

Lily, The Phoenix, and Cochrane

Riker and the others find Cochrane, who is a bit overwhelmed at the hero-worship that is being heaped upon him by the Enterprise crew.

On the Enterprise, Picard orders to crew to resist the Borg in any way they can.  Data is captured by the Borg.  Many, including Lily see the futility of resisting the Borg and urge Picard to just self-destruct the Enterprise and have done with it.  Picard is not willing to do this vowing that he will fight them to the last.  In the meantime, Data is being tempted to join the Borg by the Queen.  The Queen has real skin grafted onto Data's frame and explains that he would be made to be far superior to humans were he to join with the Borg.

Data with grafted skin and the Borg Queen
Picard finally realizes that his only course of action is to destroy the Enterprise to preserve history and sets the self-destruct.  He orders the rest of the crew to the surface, but remains behind to rescue Data and heads for the engineering section.  Later, Data disables the self destruct, the Phoenix launches, and the Borg Queen tells Data to fire torpedoes at the Phoenix before it goes to warp to show his loyalty.  Data purposely misses the Phoenix and joins Picard in killing the Borg Queen.

As it was supposed to happen, the Vulcans, who are passing near the solar system, see the Phoenix traveling at warp.  They land in Cochrane's encampment and make First Contact with a Vulcan salute, a handshake, and a loud party.  After the Enterprise crew witness the historic occasion, they use the Borg technology to open a temporal vortex back to their time and depart.

 In my opinion, this is the best of the Next Generation movies.  Under the direction of Jonathan Frakes, it has the "feel" of the Next Generation series, with all of the camaraderie that we have all come to know.  The acting is top notch with very convincing performances pit in by Cromwell and Woodward.  As always, the regular Trek cast does their usual great job.  All around a great film.

Being One with the Borg...

The Borg is a collective made up of many species operating with a hive mentality.  In other words, they are like ants or bees; their one purpose is to serve the collective.  They do not procreate as we mere humanoids do, but they maintain and increase their numbers by assimilating other species that they encounter, often resulting in the complete extinction of many species.  This assimilation process is accomplished when a Borg Drone injects a victim with nano-probes; microscopic machines that remake the victim with technology added to the biological components already in place.  When the process is complete, the individual no longer exists, but is replaced with another drone that requires no training to perform their duties, requires no sustenance, and can survive in some very hostile environments, including the vacuum of space without the need for extra equipment.

The Borg are first encountered in the TNG episode entitled "Q-Who."  When the Q entity visits the Enterprise in this episode, Q tries to get Picard to turn the ship around and head back home telling him that there are wonders in the universe that humanity is not ready for.  Picard boasts that as far as he is concerned, humanity is ready for anything, so Q sends the Enterprise presumably into the Delta Quadrant of the galaxy where they encounter a Borg Cube.   A Borg Drone beams aboard the Enterprise and begins to assess the capabilities of the technology available, to see if there is anything useful.  Then they begin to dismantle the enterprise, but before any irreparable damage is done, Q returns the Enterprise to the Alpha Quadrant.

In later episodes, the Borg enter the Alpha Quadrant and there is a battle staged between them and Starfleet at Wolf 359, in which numerous ships are destroyed and many member-species of the Federation are assimilated.  So the Borg are aware of everything they need to know, and therein lies the reason for the attack in the past to assimilate the Earth before a federation can be formed.

Borg Drone and Picard as Locutis

"This Far, No Farther... 
They Will Pay For What They've Done..."
  So it comes down to Captain Picard, having been assimilated as Locutis, a sort of super-drone who was to aid the Borg in the assimilation of the Federation.  Is his motivation for fighting the Borg in the film to try to make sure that First Contact with the Vulcans takes place as history shows, or is Picard seeking vengance for what the Borg did to him?  This is the theme that I think is being explored in First Contact.  Lily accuses Picard of being obsessed with defeating the Borg, in much the same way that Ahab was obsessed with killing the whale in Moby Dick.  Ahab's obsession was unrelenting, there wasn't anything that he wouldn't do to avenge himself upon the Moby Dick for the loss of his leg.  It led to his death, and the loss of his ship and crew, save one who lived to tell the tale.  Picard was headed down this same path, but his sense of logic saved him and instead of losing his perspective of what was the big picture; preserving history, he let go of the notion of vengeance for what the Borg did to him.  Picards wisdom, with the help of Lily, allowed him to fulfill both objectives in defeating the Borg and preserving history.

Obsession is a recurring theme in history, and usually winds up being the undoing of many characters who are guided by it.  Obsession blinds one to logic, experience, and common sense and the consequences are often fatal.  If there is a lesson to be learned from First Contact, this may very well be it.

Thanks for reading...
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