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Film / Star Trek: First Contact

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"I will not sacrifice the Enterprise. We've made too many compromises already, too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, no further! And I will make them PAY for what they've done!"

The one where the Borg Time Travel to Make Wrong What Once Went Right.

Star Trek: First Contact is the eighth movie in the Star Trek film series, released in 1996.

The most popular Next Generation villain, the Borg, make another attempt to assimilate Earth. The newly-commissioned USS Enterprise-E scrambles to confront them, only to learn that the Borg have decided to use Time Travel to stop Earth's First Contact with aliens and Take Over the World, thus preventing The Federation from ever existing. Arriving above Earth in the year 2063, the Borg aim to stop Zefram Cochrane, the inventor of warp drive, from making his historic flight.

Captain Picard is having none of that. An away team (led by Riker, Troi, and Geordi) immediately beams down to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, discovering in the process that the man their history paints as a visionary luminary was really a cynical drunk who just wanted to get rich. Regardless, they work to restore the damage the Borg caused and make sure that first contact goes as planned.

Meanwhile, as if the remaining crew didn't have enough problems, they soon discover the Borg have invaded the Enterprise and are slowly assimilating her. Picard, who was assimilated by the Borg in the TNG two-parter "The Best of Both Worlds", is a little unstable, and becomes moreso as the plot progresses. His third-in-command, Data, isn't of much use either, as he's been captured and brainwashed by the Borg Queen.

Often seen as one of the best of the series—let alone the best TNG film—as well as a major step-up from Generations. Continued with Star Trek: Insurrection.

First Contact provides examples of the following tropes:

    open/close all folders 
    Tropes A-F 
  • Abandon Ship: Captain Picard finally realizes the fight for the Enterprise is futile, and orders his crew to leave the ship in escape pods aimed at an isolated island.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Cochrane to Troi, establishing the former as a Bunny-Ears Lawyer.
    Cochrane: Look, Deena—
    Troi: Deanna!
  • Actionized Sequel: Compared to most of the previous films this movie is notably action heavy (and has been praised by some for it).
  • Actor Allusion: La Forge's exposition to Cochrane about how the whole launch site will become a museum and Cochrane is standing where his statue is going to be sure channels LeVar Burton's work on Reading Rainbow.
  • After the End: The crew travels back in time to the mid-21st century, when civilization is in ruins following World War III (the Enterprise herself comes from centuries further ahead, After The New Beginning as it were, and Zefram Cochrane's warp-drive experiment is about to give Earth a huge push in that direction).
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Data, and to a lesser degree, Picard, are a little sorry that the Borg Queen is dead in the end.
  • The Alcoholic: We first see Dr. Cochrane stumbling drunk out of a bar before the Borg attack sobers him up in a hurry, and the next time we see him he is getting thoroughly re-plastered in the same bar. He also sneaks nips from a flask, so when Geordi La Forge spots someone in the woods from some distance away he knows it's definitely Cochrane when he sees him take a drink.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Apparently not, since the Vulcans seem a little weirded out by Cochrane's choice of music.
  • Alien Invasion: Implied as to the Borg's motives — had they succeeded, they'd have invaded and assimilated the entire Earth, as the Enterprise detects whilst in the time vortex.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: In the Star Trek universe, First Contact with an alien species takes place in rural Montana.
  • Aliens Speaking English: The Vulcan envoy addresses Cochrane with the traditional Vulcan greeting, "Live long and prosper" in clear English, despite this being the Vulcans' first encounter with humans and no evident Translator Microbes. But it had long been established in the novels (and would later be canonized in ENT) that the Vulcans had been observing Earth for decades by this point, and they made First Contact now because it occurred during one of these survey missions.
  • Allegiance Affirmation: Data pulls a Fake Defector on the Borg Queen. During the scene where he's supposedly turned on Starfleet, the Queen makes Picard watch as Data fires torpedoes at The Phoenix. She doesn't notice in the background as he gets closer and closer to the coolant tanks, until the torpedoes miss the Phoenix entirely in a clearly deliberate manner. She turns, realizing a moment too late what's happened, as Data smugly declares his allegiance to Starfleet by declaring that "Resistance is Futile."
  • All There in the Manual:
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us:
    • Earth (and, by proxy, the Alpha Quadrant) has already been conquered in alternate 2373.
    • By the end of the movie, much of the interior of the Enterprise-E resembles a Borg Cube. Picard's madness is more understandable when you recall that he's now lost three ships, this one practically new.
  • And I Must Scream: The Enterprise crewmembers who are being assimilated all look like they know what's happening to them and are powerless to stop it.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: Picard gives Lily a peck on the cheek.
  • Apocalypse How: It's set shortly after a major nuclear exchange has caused a human die-back on Earthnote  (Class 1, bordering on Class 2). Naturally the Borg want to escalate it to engineered human extinction or Assimilation.
  • Art Evolution: The movie was right in a transitional phase for both the franchise and Hollywood in general in switching to both CGI creations and digital compositing, as opposed to traditional physical models and optical compositing. Most of the new ship designs seen in the opening battle were entirely CG models, along with a number of other visual effects like the escape pods, the Phoenix taking off and uninterrupted opening shot of the Borg complex that would have been much more difficult with older techniques.
  • Ascended Fanboy: The whole Enterprise crew, but especially Riker and Geordi, who go from reading about Cochrane's first warp drive flight to helping him prepare for it. And in Geordi and Riker's case, they get to take part in the actual flight!
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: After the admiral's ship is destroyed, Picard takes command of the fleet by virtue of flying the most powerful ship in the armada, even though a large majority of the other Federation starships' commanding officers in the battle are also likely ranked Captain. Star Trek: Voyager will later establish this as a regulation that the most powerful ship in battle takes charge when two or more commanding officers of equal rank are in combat without a superior officer (in this particular case, Commodore or higher) present.
  • Assimilation Plot: Since this film deals with the Borg, it's a foregone conclusion.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Starfleet resorts to this as the Borg Cube begins to reach Earth, after the Starfleet admiral leading their defense had been lost and the battle appeared to be the Federation's last stand.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Once Picard and the Enterprise are on the scene of the Borg's attack, he rallies the battered remnants of the armada and focuses all their firepower on a seemingly non-vital system, which reduces the entire Borg cube to a massive green explosion. Also, from a historical perspective, the Borg travel back and attack mankind at their weakest point; 10 years after World War III when the planet is in ruins, most of the world's cities and governments are gone, and over 600 million people are dead. For bonus points, by interfering with Human/Vulcan First Contact, they will prevent the Federation from forming and weaken the entire Alpha Quadrant in the process.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Picard, after being confronted with the decision to destroy the Enterprise or to continue fighting a near-hopeless battle against the Borg. (See his quote above.)
    • The Borg drone that was originally Lieutenant Hawk is noticeably aggressive and murderous, as he attempts to kill Picard outright rather than assimilate him.
  • Bad Present: Borgified Earth. The atmosphere is copper brownnote , the landscape is metallic grey, and transport links stretch like cobwebs over the oceans.
  • Badass Boast: "Brave words. I've heard them before, from thousands of species across thousands of worlds, since long before you were created. And now, they are all Borg." Data counters "I am unlike any being you have ever encountered."
  • Batman Gambit: Data's attempts at lying earlier in the movie are really really REALLY poor. This turns out to be a ploy to trick the Borg Queen into thinking he's a terrible liar, so when he later lies convincingly about his change of allegiance, the Borg Queen fails to realize he's playing her.
  • Become a Real Boy: The Borg Queen attempts to win Data over by giving him the gift of organic skin and the ability to experience tactile sensations as a human would, something that the movie sets up earlier on that he can't do.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Played straight and averted. The only change that the crew really does is that Riker and Geordi take the flight with Cochrane instead of Lily (though see Stable Time Loop below). However, Picard instructs his crew while abandoning the Enterprise to take their lifepods to Gravett Island (an isolated isle in the South Pacific) and as for the rest of the crew already in Bozeman, to find a "quiet corner of North America and stay out of history's way." The crew also only stick around in the background to watch first contact (who wouldn't?) before making a quiet exit, stage left.
  • Big Bad: The Borg Queen is the leader of the Assimilation Plot employed by the Borg by preventing the first Earth warp flight, enabling the Borg to take over Earth. For what it's worth, she's the only female Big Bad in all thirteen Star Trek movies to date.
  • Big Damn Heroes: After the Enterprise saved the Defiant, Worf returns the favor when he saves Picard from an assimilated Hawk.
  • Big "NO!": Picard yells "No!" when Lily tells him to blow up the Enterprise due to his revenge against the Borg getting the better of him, complete with smashing his model ship collection.
  • Blind Shoulder Toss: After having a glass of "the good stuff" with Troi, and gagging on it, Cochrane decides it wasn't so good and tosses the bottle away.
  • Body Horror:
    • The Borg take a level in gross for their trip to the big screen. Especially the Queen, who is introduced as a disembodied head attached to a snakelike robotic spine before she's fitted onto her largely mechanical body. Also, assimilation in general. There is entire montage of footage in the film showing the Borg quickly assimilating the ship and crew, ending with the fresh drones being escorted in with their skin in patches, turning white with gray blood vessels; the sickbay converted to an assimilation chamber with crew hooked up to strange medical equipment; and seeing the attachment of the Borg prostheses. Bonus horror points: the score for the entire scene is "Smorgasborg."
    • Data, as more and more of his artificial skin is replaced with organic flesh takes on a ghoulish appearance as if sewn together from several corpses. Appropriate, since the only source of flesh the Borg would have is what their new drones don't need... Even worse is after the climax, seeing Data after all of the organic flesh has been burned off his body and you can see the exposed circuitry underneath.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase:
    • Dr. Cochrane borrows Picard's "Engage!" when he gives the first order to engage a Human-made warp drive. Riker and LaForge, on board as flight technicians, exchange giddy glances, knowing the historical weight of the context.
    • Data borrows the Borg's catchphrase when he reveals he was faking his betrayal. "Resistance is futile."
  • Brick Joke: The jukebox's loud music.
  • Broken Faceplate: Picard takes a blow to the head while wearing a Starfleet space suit, causing the visor to crack. Fortunately for him, it still holds.
  • Broken Pedestal: Cochrane. Unusually for this trope, the crew doesn't seem to mind. Cochrane slowly coming around is a lighter inversion of Picard falling from the "more evolved" sense of responsibility and morality he tells Lily humans have in the 24th century.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer:
    • Cochrane is without a doubt one of the brightest minds of his time. He's also a heavy drinker and thinks first contact is best celebrated with whiskey and dancing. In the Novelization, based on the original script, it's revealed that Cochrane is bipolar and was fitted with a cerebral implant to administer the proper medication, but since he couldn't get refills for it after World War III, he took to self-medicating with alcohol.
    • Reg Barclay, Enterprise's own resident Bunny-Ears Lawyer, also has a small cameo as part of the engineering team helping to fix the damaged Phoenix. In between showing Geordi the makeshift plasma conduit he managed to rig together out of bits of spare junk, he also geeks out over meeting Cochrane.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Troi gets royally plastered trying to get information with Cochrane. Then again, if you spent most of your life drinking Synthehol, what chance would you have against Post-Apocalyptic moonshine?!
    Troi: (slurring, stumbling over tables) I'm just trying to blend in!
    Riker: You're blended, all right.
  • Call-Back:
    • Moby-Dick is a major theme in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, though from a villainous angle, with Khan quoting Ahab, "To the last, I will grapple with thee... from Hell's heart, I stab at thee! For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee!" Picard quotes from the exact same scene, from the narrator's perspective;
      Picard: "And he piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the rage and hate felt by his whole race. If his chest had been a cannon, he would have shot his heart upon it."
    • The Enterprise-E is a Sovereign-class, which is a huge design call-back to the TOS-era Constitution class, but flattened out, larger and sleeker.
    • One of the ships in the Fleet vs. the Borg was the Bozeman from the television episode "Cause and Effect".
    • When the Borg Queen asks Data when the last time he had sexual intercourse was, his answer (including Data's comment that's he's "fully functional" and "programmed in multiple techniques") dates back to TNG's second episode "The Naked Now". (On a side note, this means that he never had sex with Jenna D'Sora in the episode "In Theory".)
    • The holonovel Picard runs in order to access a Tommy Gun is "The Big Goodbye". This callback is especially apt as the plot of that episode is not only the first ever Holodeck malfunction, but also features a character being maimed with a holographic gun. In this case, the safeties were deliberately turned off to achieve the same effect.
    • Also in the list of holographic programs are "Cafe des Artistes" and "Charnock's Comedy Cabaret".
    • Worf's "Perhaps today is a good day to die!'' is a call-back to a few Klingon episodes.
    • Riker calls the Defiant a "tough little ship"; Thomas Riker had said the exact same thing to Sisko. Given First Contact co-writer Ronald D. Moore also wrote "Defiant", it's almost certainly an intentional callback.
      Worf: (displeased) ...'Little'??
    • Data rapidly encrypts the Enterprise systems, just like he did in the TNG episode "Brothers".
    • The order to arm a self-destruct sequence on the Enterprise requires two bridge officers to give a code followed by a final authorization code from the Captain, just as in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
    • The film's closing shot is a close replication of the closing shot of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Co-writer Ronald D. Moore notes on the invoked DVD Commentary that the writers had a very firm policy of not acknowledging that film's existence in any way, shape or form, but didn't take it so seriously as to demand that director Jonathan Frakes remove the shot.
    • Lily's argument with Picard has some similarities with Picard's own argument with Ambassador Sarek in TNG's "Sarek", as an emotionally-compromised character is confronted about being unable to control their own emotions after their subordinates were unwilling to stand up to them.
  • The Cameo: Robert Picardo as the Enterprise-E EMH and Ethan Phillips along with producer Brannon Braga in the holodeck club scene, with Phillips being the one stopping the drones and being disrupted by Borg laser scanners. Dwight Schultz as recurring character Reginald Barclay also appears. The Millennium Falcon can also (just barely) be seen zipping around the battle with the Borg cube as a Creator In-Joke on the part of Industrial Light & Magic.
  • Capital Offensive: This is the second time the Borg launch an attack on Earth directly, though this time they actually come close enough to bombard the surface.
  • Cargo Ship: Lampooned in-universe by Troi. Picard reaches out and touches the Phoenix, because he was never allowed to do so seeing her at a museum, and Data tries to understand why touching her would mean anything, which makes for an interesting conversation for Troi to walk in on...
    Troi: (amused) Would you three like to be alone?
  • Casting Gag: The Enterprise's Emergency Medical Holographic program (EMH) is played by Robert Picardo. At the time of the film's release Picardo was starring as a different iteration of the same computer programme on Star Trek: Voyager.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Averted and then played straight during Picard's Dream Within a Dream. When he falsely wakes up from his first nightmare he simply opens his eyes while sitting in his desk chair; when he wakes up for real, he jumps up from his bed (although what wakes him up is a distress call, so there's somewhat more logic to it).
  • Character Development: Again, this film is Worf's first return to the TNG corner of the 24th Century since joining DS9. So he gets to demonstrate his character growth during his time serving under Sisko and after shifting from security to the command track. In particular, the Worf of TNG would never have stood up to Picard and openly challenged his continuing to fight a hopeless battle against the Borg.
  • Chekhov's Gun: During the battle against the Borg cube, Picard hears the Collective in his head, allowing him to exploit a weakness in the cube and destroy it. Later, while he's on the surface of 21st-century Earth, he hears the voices again and realizes that the Borg are on the Enterprise. Towards the end, as he's preparing to evacuate the self-destructing Enterprise, he hears Data's voice in his head and realizes that Data is still onboard the ship and in the Borg's captivity.
  • Chekhov's Lecture: Picard's plan in the battle on Deck 16 is to rupture one of the coolant tanks by the warp core, flooding Engineering with the corrosive materials inside and destroying the Collective the Borg have established there. This plan is repelled by the Borg before Picard's team even gets inside Engineering, but breaking one of the coolant tanks is how Data finally defeats the Borg in the climax of the film.
  • Chewing the Scenery: During the scene where Picard gives his Motive Rant to Lily about where he was once Borgified and made into Locutus as the reason for his hatred of the Borg, Picard lets out a Big "NO!" (not willing to let go of and blow up the Enterprise) and smashes a glass display of past Enterprises, including the 1701-D, which he helmed.
  • China Takes Over the World: The Eastern Coalition or ECON, one of the factions in the Third World War (and who Cochrane originally thinks the Borg's attack comes from) is said to be a version of this in the Star Trek Expanded Universe, although it's not detailed in the film itself.
  • Choke Holds: During the melee on Deck 16, Data kills a Borg drone by grabbing its neck and slamming it into a wall.
  • City Planet: Earth has become this under Borg rule in an alternate timeline. Oddly enough the population consists of only 9 billion Borg even though the planet's entire surface seems to have been completely urbanized and technified. Presumably, the rest of the space is taken up by automated factories or other automated urbanization. Possibly justified—at the end of 2012, the world population was only 7 billion, and realistically, without significant advances in farming and food production, the world cannot support much more than about 9 or 10 billion. A significant amount of humans were most likely rendered unable to be assimilated by use of nuclear weaponry. 9 billion may be a high number. The Borg may have also moved drones both on and off the planet in the 300-ish years, so it's anyone's guess as to how many of those 9 billion life forms were once human.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • The Borg drone who is slashed up by Worf makes a small hole in the knee of Worf's spacesuit, forcing him to pause and try and close the leak. Of course by then, it's too late for the drone.
    • Lily, probably due to her having to live in the post-atomic horror. She's fully willing to shoot at two (seemingly) unarmed men who are claiming to help her, even shooting one of them in the back when given the opportunity to do so. When she later finds out that the Enterprise crew has the ability to auto-destruct the ship and escape she's absolutely flabbergasted that they haven't done so.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: By Marvel Comics.
  • Conqueror from the Future: The Borg's plan.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Robert told Jean-Luc in "Family" that he was going to have to live with being turned into one of the Borg for a long, long time. This film showed that, yes, Picard definitely had not gotten over it, even after having dealt with Hugh.
    • The moon hiding the Enterprise-E from the approaching Vulcan ship is probably a nod to The Wrath of Khan, where the Enterprise hid from the Reliant by circling around Regula on its opposite side.
    • When Picard shatters the glass case in the Ready Room and the starship models fall to the ground he takes a long look at the Enterprise-D, destroyed in the previous film. Heavily implied in the movie, the novelization confirms that he was wondering if he was upset over losing another Enterprise or if he was actually lost in revenge.
    • Data's sexual experience with Tasha is referenced, and the time since is even accurate In-Universe.
  • Continuity Overlap: The film premiered concurrently with Season 5 of DS9 and Season 3 of VOY, and had to acknowledge developments elsewhere in the franchise:
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Worf had joined the cast of DS9 the previous year, so the film had to bring him back into the TNG-corner of the 24th century. Having the Defiant as part of the Starfleet armada both solves this and is a nod to the ship's origins as an anti-Borg project.
      • The Enterprise-E is also carrying Quantum Torpedoes, which had debuted on DS9 during the interim between Generations and this film.
    • Star Trek: Voyager: The Enterprise-E is equipped with the newly developed Emergency Medical Hologram.
      • Doctor Crusher's mention of the Borg coming from the Delta Quadrant is a hint that the Voyager crew would be encountering them in the future.
  • Cool Starship:
    • The new and improved USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E makes her glorious debut in this film. The television version, 1701-D, had been destroyed in the previous film for no other reason than to introduce a more cinematic version in this one. This was a practical motivation as much as stylistic, since the old ship's sets were built for TV and the level of detail shown on film meant they had to make them Darker and Edgier just to hide the lower quality, and the models of the ship were either too difficult to shoot effectively or not detailed enough for film.
    • The USS Defiant was introduced on Deep Space Nine as being a prototype starship specifically designed to fight the Borg. Apparently it was a running fight from where the fleet engaged the cube to when it came in orbit around Earth. This is the only time the ship got to fulfill her purpose, and despite her size, she lasted the entire running fight from initial contact all the way to Earth, which lasted three hours.
    • Several other background starships from the opening battle, most notably the Akira-class, have gotten surprising amounts of love from the fans. Canonically the ships were designed and built after the devastating defeat at Wolf 359 from the episode "Best of Both Worlds," already forming a major backstory to this film, and were meant to be more battle-hardy than previous Starfleet ships.
    • One of the starships fighting the Borg was the Millennium Falcon in a sub-blink-and-you-miss-it cameo courtesy of ILM who worked on special effects for the film.
    • The Borg Cube, as in the series, is a huge, menacing cube of circuitry and organics, flying ominously through space.
  • Cowardice Callout: After the Borg have taken over several decks of the Enterprise, Picard insists they stay and fight, against Worf's suggestion that they evacuating the ship and setting her to auto-destruct, resulting in the following exchange:
    Worf: With all due respect, sir, ...I believe you are allowing your personal experience with the Borg to influence your judgement.
    Picard: You're afraid. You want to destroy the ship and run away. You coward.
    Crusher: Jean-Luc...
    Worf: (Death Glare) If you were any other man I would kill you where you stand.
    Picard: Get off my bridge.
  • Crapsack World: By all accounts, Earth of 2063 is a pretty miserable Scavenger World in which everyone is suffering from radiation poisoning to one degree or another, and things like murder are commonplace. Not surprising, considering it's the aftermath of World War III.
  • Creator Provincialism:
    • First Contact occurs in rural Montana, outside Bozeman. Writer Brannon Braga is from Bozeman, Montana. It also, retroactively, makes an appearance of the USS Bozeman in the tv series more meaningful.
    • Zefram Cochrane himself, who was firmly established in TOS as being an inhabitant of the Alpha Centuari system, is retconned here into being an Earthling (an American Earthling, naturally).
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The Borg Queen is killed by Data dragging her into a cloud of plasma coolant engulfing main engineering, liquefying her organic components as she screams in agony. Even that is not enough, however. After Picard uses the ventilation system to clear out the gas, her robotic brain and upper spine are still helplessly writhing on the floor. Picard snaps that in two to finally kill her, which is probably a Mercy Kill.
  • Cryptically Unhelpful Answer: The Borg Queen's answer to Data's question of whether she controls the Borg.
    Queen: I bring order to chaos.
    Data: An interesting, if...cryptic, response.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Starfleet fares better against the Borg than at Wolf 359, but the battle still goes very badly: the Borg Cube tears through Starfleet's lines in seconds, and destroys or cripples at least 10-15 Federation capital ships. Listening to the subspace transmissions of the damage and request for help convince Picard to take the Enterprise into battle. Picard's crew don't do so well against the Borg inside the ship either; they manage to assimilate half the ship in a matter of hours and only stop momentarily to use the Deflector Dish as an interstellar communication device so they can contact the other Borg.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Though the Starfleet armada still gets the shit kicked out of it before the Enterprise rallies the armada, they manage to inflict heavy damage to the Borg cube's outer hull and are causing power grid disruptions; a far better showing than at Wolf 359.
  • Cut the Juice: After taking over engineering, the Borg reroute all the power to Deck 16, making other decks inoperable.
  • Dawn of an Era: Zefram Cochrane's first warp flight not only gives humanity a means of practical interstellar travel, it also prompts the Vulcans to come meet us face-to-face. When humanity discovers it is not alone we mature enormously, which ushers in the end of post-World War III misery and leads eventually to humans and the Earth becoming one of the founders of the Federation.
    Deanna: It unites humanity in a way no one ever thought possible when they realize they're not alone in the universe. Poverty, disease, war. They'll all be gone within the next fifty years.
  • Darker and Edgier: TNG was sometimes criticized for lacking in action and character drama, which admittedly was because Gene Roddenberry wanted a series that spent more time on ideas rather than violence and characters who argue all the time. This movie is a rock-em action flick with some serious interpersonal conflict (Picard and Worf especially), with a literally darker color palette in both the new uniforms and the sets even before Borg assimilation. This was the first Star Trek film to receive the PG-13 rating, although in the UK, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was initially rated 15. note 
  • Deadly Gas: The plasma coolant, once exposed to air, manifests as a gaseous substance heavier than air, creating a brownish-green fog of death on the ground floor of Engineering.
  • Deal with the Devil: Data seems to accept the Borg Queen's offer to give him organic skin and tactile sensation in exchange for his support of her cause. However, he was a Fake Defector the whole time. Picard later asks him if he actually considered her proposal, and Data replies that he did... for "0.68 seconds, sir."note 
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Think time travel is confusing now? Try discussing it with alcohol.
    Troi: TIMELINE?! This is no time to argue about time! We don't have the time! (hic) What was I saying?
  • Detrimental Determination: Picard starts slipping down this slope in fighting the Borg assimilation of the Enterprise-E, but is eventually pulled out of it by an escalatory needling from Lily. She compares Picard to Captain Ahab, which he acknowledges when he snaps out of it.
  • Did the Earth Move for You, Too?: When the Borg Queen blows lightly on Data's new skin, causing goosebumps, Data gasps at his first organic sensual experience. She invokes the trope, asking, "Was that good for you?"
  • "Die Hard" on an X: Picard's storyline in last third of the movie is pretty much Die Hard on the Enterprise. Picard is the last (fully) human crewmember on the ship that has been taken over by the Borg and feels obliged to rescue Data. While all the Jeffries tube crawling has taken place already earlier in the movie, it should be noted that in this last segment Picard even sports a very John McClane-like tank top. It isn't the first time, though.
  • Disobeyed Orders, Not Punished: Picard has been ordered by Starfleet Command to stay away from Earth and the approaching Borg cube, fearing "an unstable element" due to his prior experience with being assimilated. Picard overhears the carnage befalling the fleet over subspace radio, and then informs the crew that he's about to disobey a direct order from Starfleet, and if anyone has any objections, speak up and it will be noted in the ship's log. It turns out that Starfleet's concerns were NOT unfounded, but Picard managed to save the day and is not punished for it.
  • Distressed Dude: Data is captured early on by the Borg and held in engineering.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Played with when Data tries to use the manual override to open the door to Engineering and the handle comes off in his hand, though this is more because the Borg have sealed the door.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Picard's hate for the Borg in his "The line must be drawn here" speech is like a person's hate for a rapist. Many actors and producers have said Picard's trauma after assimilation was modeled on a rape victim, while the Body Horror of assimilation was specifically designed to evoke a sexual assault.
    • It's also a Cold War reference, containment and domino effect; it's why the United States fought The Vietnam War — This Far, No Farther! Older pulp sci-fi often represented communism as Borg-like in the era's rhetoric (the accusations of its collectivist, materialist, and racially uniform nature at home here and in Cold War propaganda, though fascism and other foreign ideologies were described similarly).
    • The interactions between Picard, Data, and the Borg Queen come across as a jilted girlfriend wanting to show her ex how he could never measure up to her new boyfriend, and prove that she's totally winning the break-up.
    • The Borg Queen introducing Data to the *ahem* pleasures of the flesh. See Did the Earth Move for You, Too?, above.
  • Drama Panes:
    • Early in the film, after briefing the command crew of the orders from Starfleet to keep the Enterprise on the Neutral Zone, Picard is in his quarters, looking out the window, listening to loud opera.note  We see Riker's reflection enter the scene just as the music hits a crescendo.
    • Later in the film, Lily is holding Picard at phaser-point, saying she wants to get out of there. Picard taps a panel, opening a slot in the wall, showing the Earth, revealing for the first time to her that she's currently in space. Lily, stunned, realizes there's no glass. Picard touches the surface, revealing the force field keeping the air in.
  • Dramatic Space Drifting: As Picard, Worf, and Lieutenant Hawk attempt to disconnect the interplexing beacon from the Enterprise, a Borg drone advances on Hawk before being shot with a phaser rifle, the force launching him off the hull and leaving the drone to aimlessly drift in space.
  • Dramatic Shattering: Picard smashes the model ships in his quarters in his rage at the Borg, prompting Lily to remark, "You broke your little ships".
  • The Dreaded: Picard notes in his log that the Borg are the Federation's most lethal enemy bar none and that he has been dreading another attack by them for nearly six years.
  • Dream Intro / Dream Within a Dream: The film starts with not one but two of these, as Captain Picard is having nightmares about his assimilation by the Borg seven years prior. He is on the Borg cube, but it's All Just a Dream, so he rinses himself off when a Borg implant pops from his face, but that's All Just a Dream too!
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The viewscreen on the Enterprise-E's bridge is depicted in this movie as a hologram — when the viewscreen is turned off, the front of the bridge is just a blank wall. In subsequent movies, the Enterprise-E has a more conventional viewscreen like other Star Trek ships.
    • This is the only movie in which the coolant tubes on either side of the Enterprise-E's warp core have a Sickly Green Glow, because it's relevant to the plot. Afterwards, the coolant tubes are illuminated in benign white.
  • Embarrassing Statue: The crew assisting Cochrane in getting the Phoenix ready keep showering him with hero worship, but it's when Geordi starts telling him about the statue that will be built of him in the future that he snaps and tries to escape.
    Cochrane: I don't want to be your statue!
    Riker: We don't have time for this. (stuns Cochrane with a phaser then turns to Geordi) You told him about the statue?
  • Emergency Temporal Shift: The Enterprise is able to destroy the Borg cube before it can assimilate Earth; unfortunately, the Borg themselves escape the destruction of their ship via a sphere ship that they promptly pilot through a temporal warp before it can be shot down down. As a result, a Bad Future ensues in which Earth was assimilated by the Borg long before Starfleet was ever established, forcing the Enterprise to follow the Borg through the warp in order to preserve the past.
  • The End of the Beginning: The film ends with the dawn of the new era ushered in by the eponymous first contact with the Vulcans.
  • Epic Launch Sequence: The Phoenix arguably manages this twice in one flight - first as she blasts off from her silo in Bozeman, Montana (with Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" blaring on the way up), and second as she deploys her prototype warp engines and makes the jump to lightspeed, setting in motion a path that will change the face of the galaxy forever.
  • Epic Tracking Shot: The movies start almost inside Picard's eye and then pulls back to show the humongous Borg complex he was in, All Just a Dream, or rather a traumatic memory.
  • Escape Pod: The crew evacuate the Enterprise in several of them. We never see them go back up when the ship gets saved.
  • Evil Overlooker: The poster does this in a pretty interesting manner. Data and Picard are wary of an approaching army of Borg drones underneath them, but the Borg Queen, the film's Big Bad, is hovering over them both.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    • After figuring out where on Earth the Borg were attacking, Picard needs to know the date and realizes what's really going on.
      Picard: They were firing at the surface. Location?
      Riker: Western hemisphere, North American continent. Looks like a missile complex in central Montana.
      Picard: A missile complex...the date! Mister Data, I need to know the exact date.
      Data: April 4th, 2063.
      Riker: April 4th. The day before First Contact.
      Data: Precisely.
      Crusher: Then the missile complex must be the one where Zefram Cochrane is building his warp ship.
      Picard: That's what they came here to do. Stop First Contact.
    • Picard, when he asks Lt. Hawk to describe the environmental conditions in Engineering:
      Hawk: Atmospheric pressure was two kilopascals above normal, ninety-two percent humidity, thirty-nine point one degrees Celsius.
      Picard: Thirty-nine point one degrees Celsius. ...Like a Borg ship. They knew their ship was doomed. Our shields were down; somehow, they transported over here without being detected. They'll assimilate the Enterprise and then...Earth.
  • Eye Scream: To Picard. In the freaking opening sequences, no less! Later on, assimilated Enterprise crew appear to have had one of their eyes gouged out and replaced with some kind of interface circuitry prior the the installation of an eyepiece.
  • Facepalm: After Drunk Cochrane restores power to the jukebox and starts drunkenly dancing again, Riker dances slightly too... and then Troi passes out, which Riker promptly responds to with a facepalm.
  • Failed a Spot Check: When discussing why the Borg stopped on Deck 11, the crewmember names several departments including Deflector Control, before dismisses it as not being a vital system. In "Best of Both Worlds," the crew of the Enterprise-D were capable of turning the deflector dish into an anti-Borg cannon. Thanks to Locutus, it didn't work, but the idea that that system could be turned into a weapon probably should have been considered by the crew. This becomes particularly baffling when you remember that the deflector dish is the only thing allowing the ship to travel at Warp without being destroyed by space dust. Considering at this point the Borg also controlled engineering, how did they know they weren't intending to head back to the Delta Quadrant after sabotaging First Contact?
  • Failsafe Failure: In order to get into the sealed off Engineering, Data accesses the main door's manual release system. And then he manages to tear the whole thing out of the wall. Oops. And of course this wakes the Borg up.
  • Fake Defector: Data is seduced by the Borg Queen with the promise of becoming more human by having human skin grafted onto his body and serving as her consort. He pretends to join them by deactivating the Enterprise's self-destruct and firing at the Phoenix...only for the shots to deliberately miss, at which point he reveals his duplicity to a furious Borg Queen and enacts the warp core plasma coolant rupture plan, willingly forsaking the superficial opportunity of becoming more human by experiencing the sensation of skin in exchange for retaining his deeper humanity by remaining loyal to his friends and nation. Data notes that he actually considered the offer for 0.68 seconds — for an android like him, that is almost an eternity.
    (viewscreen shows torpedo volley missing the Phoenix quite deliberately by a hair)
    Borg Queen: (furious) DATA!!!
    Data: Resistance. Is. Futile.
    (Data smashes open the warp core's plasma coolant tank and immediately gets a facefull as the contents spill out into the room)
  • Fan Disservice: What's left of the Borg Queen after her flesh melts off.
  • Fashions Never Change: Averted. Picard tells the computer to replicate mid-21st century clothing for the away team before beaming down.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Picard expresses this conviction about being turned into a Borg drone. While the strike team is preparing after the Borg are found to have infiltrated the Enterprise, he tells his men that when they encounter assimilated crew members they shouldn't hesitate to kill them, because they'll be doing them a favor.
  • First Contact: Obviously. Also the very thing that the Borg try to prevent.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Before first leading the crew into battle against the Borg, Picard advises Data to switch off his emotion chip when he starts feeling fear, then glibly says "Data, there are times when I envy you..." after he complies. Around the climax of the film, Picard's struggle with his own emotions turns out to be one of the movie's primary themes, becoming evident when his desire for revenge against the Borg nearly drives him mad.
    • Foreshadowing the same madness, Picard starts screaming in rage as he machine-guns down a couple of Borg drones inside the holodeck and is about to pistol-whip the corpse before Lily stops him.
    • Before heading to the surface with a team, Geordi observes it's unusually warm in engineering and tells a subordinate to check the environmental controls. We later learn this is the first indication the Borg have snuck aboard and are slowly taking over the ship.
  • Foil:
    • Lily and Riker. Both are Number Two for their respective places, but get switched for story purposes. Lily is a 21st Century person involuntarily dropped in the middle of 24th Century affairs, she helps keep Picard grounded and not become overwhelmed by the task of defeating the Borg. Riker, on the other hand, is a 24th Century person, put in a 21st Century position, where he helps put Cochrane back on task of completing his flight.
    • Cochrane and Picard. Cochrane is running from his destiny, while Picard charges head first into facing his past.
    • Crossing over with Deliberate Value Dissonance, the mid-24th Century and late 21 Century. The former is enlightened, has no need for money, and (Picard not withstanding) is above revenge and being hurt by their idol not living up to the image. The latter is cynical and war-weary, paranoid, and humanity's Darkest Hour.
  • Foregone Conclusion: In-universe example. Picard's known ever since Wolf 359 that another Borg attack on the Federation was inevitible. He admits in his log that he's been dreading this day for nearly 6 years.
  • Frontline General: Picard personally leads the first attempt to retake engineering.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • When Cochrane whacks the jukebox back to life, a drunken patron is jolted awake and immediately goes back to drinking his booze.
    • When Picard is using a holographic tommy-gun to fill a couple of Borg with holographic lead, most of the holodeck program's NPCs are running for cover... except for Nicky "The Nose", who's still sitting at his table, calmly smoking his cigar.
    • Well, not "funny" in the slightest, but watch when the Borg cube goes up. One of the Starfleet ships doesn't quite manage to get out of the blast radius. Poor souls.
  • Future Imperfect: Only applies in the crew's hero worship of Cochrane. Otherwise — like many other Time Travel Tropes in this film — averted. Picard simply asks the computer to make them some period costume and then they fit right in.
  • The Future Will Be Better: Not from the perspective of the viewers, but from that of the people living in the wreck of late twenty-first century Earth. Although there is a little bit of linguistic confusion.

    Tropes G-O 
  • Get Out!:
    • Picard says this to Lily when she confronts him about his lust for revenge against the Borg.
    • Earlier, Picard tells Worf to get out of his bridge when he said he would kill Picard right where he stood if he was "any other man", after Picard called him a coward for suggesting they get off the Enterprise.
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Marina Sirtis likes her drunken bar scene the best, because seven years of playing Troi had erased her ability to be funny.
    "So (poke) don't (poke) go criticizing (poke) my counseling (poke) techniques!"
  • Going Down with the Ship: Even after Picard reluctantly agrees to set the self-destruct sequence on the Enterprise-E in order to destroy the Borg, he remains behind due to the fact that Data is still in the Borg's clutches.
  • Greeting Gesture Confusion: The Vulcans greet Cochrane and humanity with "Live long and prosper" and its accompanying salute. Cochrane tries to return the salute himself, but can't, deciding to simply shake his hand saying "Thanks", instead.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Data throws a dead Borg drone into two more.
  • Gunship Rescue: During the space battle between the Federation fleet and the Borg cube, the Defiant (captained by Lt. Commander Worf) is almost destroyed and prepares to ram herself into the cube, before the Enterprise shows up to position herself between the Borg and Worf's ship.
    Worf: Report!
    Helmsman: Main power's offline, we've lost shields, and our weapons are gone!
    Worf: (pounds a console in frustration) Then perhaps today is a good day to die! Prepare for ramming speed!!
    Helmsman: Sir, there's another starship coming in! It's the Enterprise!
    (Enterprise swoops in with a heroic musical crescendo and draws the Borg Cube's fire off the beleaugred Defiant)
  • Hand Wave: After the Borg sphere goes through the temporal vortex to travel back in time, the Enterprise follows and gets caught in a temporal wake. While caught in the wake, they see that Earth's entire human population has been assimilated into Borg, apparently in the past ... and yet, the Enterprise and her crew somehow still exist.
    Picard: They must have done it in the past. They went back and assimilated Earth. Changed history.
    Crusher: But if they changed history, why are we still here?
    Data: The temporal wake must have somehow protected us from the changes in the timeline.
    Picard: Yes, I... I remember you. You were there all the time. But... that ship... and all the Borg on it were destroyed...
    Borg Queen: You think in such three-dimensional terms. How small you've become.
  • Hearing Voices: Picard can't get the Collective out of his head...
  • Heel Realization: Picard, after Lily finally gets through to him that he is on a Captain Ahab-esque revenge quest, which is going to get his crew killed.
    "And he piled upon the whale's white hump, a sum of all the rage and hate felt by his own race. If his chest had been a cannon, he would have shot his heart upon it."
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: In-Universe example. Cochrane in the future is seen as a great visionary. In reality though, he was a drunken man who was just trying to get rich.
    • Cochrane's "Oh, wow" line toward the end of the warp flight (and his cameo early in "Broken Bow") indicate that he's on his way to becoming the man history remembers by the end of the film, however. And the novelization indicates that Cochrane had major mental illnesses that he was self-medicating with alcohol when his supply of meds ran out during World War III.
  • Hitler Cam: When Lily meets Worf, the camera angles have Worf (a large fellow) looming over the more petite Lily, emphasizing how intimidating he is to her.
  • Hive Queen: The Borg Queen, who claims to somehow be the Collective rather than simply control it (don't worry, the characters don't quite get it, either). Presumably the "Queen" is simply a personification of the Collective, assembled whenever one is deemed necessary for one-on-one interaction. Especially considering the number of times she has come back from the dead. Ever since her debut in First Contact, whether her existence is a good or bad idea has been a matter of great debate. Note that she never actually refers to herself as a Queen, or even the leader of the Borg. The other characters do.
    "You imply disparity where there is none. I AM the Collective."
  • Hold the Line. The Captain Ahab variety.
    Picard: They invade our space and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!
  • Homage Shot: Word of God said that this movie was heavily influenced by Aliens. The shots of the assimilated corridors on Deck 16 are similar to the shot of the infested LV-426 atmosphere processor in Aliens.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: The Borg exist only to assimilate everything into their collective to bring them closer to "perfection" and expand infinitely. Like a swarm of insects, they can't be bargained with.
  • Humans Are Morons: Humans of the mid-21st Century live in a post-apocalyptic society with just barely enough infrastructure to continue research on a warp drive, while the other races have already begun exploring the galaxy and view humanity as being "too primitive". The main goal in the movie is to ensure that humanity overcomes that notion and gains recognition from the alien community at large (or at least the Vulcans). Naturally, as the large majority of the rest of Star Trek canon shows, humanity generally overcomes this view among alien races to become the dominant space-faring race.
  • Humans Are Special: Why are the Borg going to such extreme lengths to assimilate Earth? Because once Earth rolls over, the rest of the Federation will be a piece of cake and assimilating Earth in the past saves them even more trouble by preventing the Federation from even existing. Makes sense considering the Federation only exists because humans worked so hard to unite the other races and encourage trade and development between them as opposed to the apparent "every species for itself" approach of before, leading to massive developments in technology and resistance.
  • I Am the Noun:
    Data: Who are you?
    Borg Queen: I am the Borg.
    Data: That is a contradiction. The Borg have a collective consciousness. There are no individuals.
    Borg Queen: I am the beginning, the end, the one who is many. I am the Borg.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: The EMH calls this by name - he's a doctor, not a doorstop. Appropriate for the franchise that named the trope.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Picard tries this with an assimilated Data and fails. Subverted when Data reveals he was faking the whole time.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink:
    • As Geordi goes on and on about Cochrane's impact upon human history, Cochrane tells him he has to take a leak, but it's just an excuse to go off and drink in private.
    • A subtle one, but the Vulcan envoy that Cochrane decides to serenade with a loud rendition of Roy Orbison's "Ooby Dooby" takes a very quick gulp of his drink.
  • Immune to Bullets:
    • Data, being made of metal and all. Rule of Funny also plays a small part, as well. Leads to a Continuity Snarl given how he was only semi-resistant to arrows in the episode Q-Pid.
    • Averted with the Borg, fortunately for Picard. This started a long fan debate over why Starfleet doesn't issue firearms, which ignores the fact that Picard's submachine gun worked because it was unexpected, not necessarily because it's a Weaksauce Weakness (it successfully killed two drones, but the number of drones that get sacrificed before the Borg adapt is usually about three). There is on-screen evidence that the Borg were already starting to adapt as early as the second drone given how Picard took twice as long to gun it down.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The Borg attempt to access Data's neural net by drilling into his head.
  • Info Dump: Actually handles this very well, getting out all the information the non-Trek fans need in a few lines after the Enterprise travels back in time. Particularly impressive when they have to describe an up-to-now entirely unseen time period (Earth in the 2060s).
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet/Puny Earthlings:
    • The Vulcan's view of Earth and humanity until they witness the Phoenix's first flight.
      Troi: They're on a survey mission. They have no interest in Earth; too primitive.
      Cochrane: Oh.
    • After completing the flight, Cochrane observes that Earth does look so small from this distance. Riker observes it's about to get a lot bigger.
  • Instant Expert: Data learns deception. He goes from unconvincingly lying about "mimicking the behavior of humans" when his arm flesh gets slashed, to convincing Queenie that he had sided with her and would betray humanity to the Borg.
    • On the other hand, Data is shown numerous times during the run of TNG that he's a very good actor, so he might simply be putting these skills on display. It may also be that the original "deception" was a double bluff; he put on an unconvincing lie in order to make a more convincing one later.
  • In-Universe Catharsis: When Picard severs the cybernetic spine of what remains of the Borg Queen with his bare hands after the plasma coolant miasma is flushed from the engine room, he does so with a certain relish. Not only did she violate him when he was assimilated and turned into Locutus of Borg, but he still has a bitter aftertaste from the Revenge Before Reason tangent over the ordeal that he was pulled back from by Lily. Not only does he get revenge for his violation, but he knows he can do so now without madly endangering his crew.
  • Ironic Echo: Data repeats the Borg's famous line "Resistance is futile" right before he reveals he was playing the Borg Queen and releases the gas which will destroy them.
  • Irony:
    • Lampshaded example of using a nuclear missile (a weapon of mass destruction) for the first warp flight which brought world-wide peace.
    • Despite the Enterprise swarming with Borg, Picard is hellbent on saving the ship, refusing to admit defeat to the Borg again. He eventually relents and orders an Abandon Ship, preparing to self-destruct the Enterprise... shortly after which an opportunity to save the ship arises.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: The Borg allow their sphere to be destroyed so they can beam aboard the Enterprise and start assimilating it.
  • It Is Beyond Saving: By the climax of the film, most of the Enterprise and her crew have been assimilated, and the surviving officers try to convince Captain Picard that evacuation and self-destruction is the only option left.
  • It's Personal: Turns out Picard still has unresolved issues from being kidnapped, Mind Raped, and otherwise violated in every single way it is possible for a being to be.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • While Admiral Hayes wasn't entirely right to send Picard away when the Borg attacked Earth (and Picard's showing up to the party proved to be the vital element that won the battle), his assessment of Picard as a potentially "unstable element" in a critical situation wasn't really wrong either, as we see in the latter parts of the film.
    • During Lily's argument with Picard, Picard says that he killed Lynch because there was no way to save him. While this is presented as part of Picard's Sanity Slippage, this is unfortunately true: the process to rescue Picard was long and tedious, nearly killed him, and would be impossible due to the Borg cutting off power to everywhere except the Engineering deck. Also, given the Borg's adaptability, they had probably refined the assimilation process by this time to make it harder to reverse.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Cochrane.
  • The Juggernaut: The Borg, naturally. Their cube is met by a small fleet's worth of ships that follow it all the way to Earth, and the most it's got to show for it by the time it gets there is heavy outer hull damage and a few power fluctuations. The Cube itself is still entirely operational and is shown swatting Federation capital ships like flies.
  • Jumped at the Call: Picard is directly ordered by Starfleet to sit out the battle with the Borg Cube, so he eavesdrops on the battle's progress. He manages to listen for about 20 seconds before heading for the battle.
  • Keystone Army: When the Queen is killed, the Borg are defeated. Makes sense; the Borg contingent on the Enterprise is cut off from the rest of the Collective in that time period, and relies on the Queen to be the hub through which they function.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better:
    • After the Borg adapt to their phasers, Picard lures a couple of drones into the Holodeck and shoots them with a Tommy gun. This has led to fan speculation that Borg shields suck against kinetic attacks, which is semi-verified in noncanonical novels. It's reflected in the visual effect of the Borg adapting to weapons fire. The series had what looked like an actual shield pop up and the phaser shot doing no damage. Starting with this movie the phaser blast seems to be dissipated into the full body of the drone, which suggests that it isn't a personal shield but the actual body armor of the drone allowing it to absorb energy. This makes projectile weapons logical.
    • Melee attacks weave in and out. On the one hand, Worf is inhumanly strong and Data is outright superhumanly strong and both do alright in physical combat but still ended up taking hits. The one human Red Shirt that attempts to Phaser-butt a drone gets his ass handed to him in short order. Another officer balks at the idea of hand-to-hand combat, clearly aware that such an attempt would fail horribly. Unless you can shut down the drone in one hit, you have no real chance in a prolonged fight; they're super-strong zombies with assimilation tubes, and if they grab you, you join them.
      • The Red Shirt getting his ass handed to him might have been because he hit the drone in the chest. The drone that Worf takes down with his phaser rifle was hit in the neck.
    • Worf, being a Klingon, is *somewhat* more resistant to assimilation than humans are due to his physiology (Klingons can still be assimilated—in fact, we do see at least a couple Klingon Borg in the film—but due to their immune systems being able to hold the Borg nanoprobes at bay for a time, it takes significantly longer, so even if Worf does get pricked by the assimilation tubes there is time to remove them before he goes Borg), and also stronger than humans, while Data is downright immune to assimilation and ridiculously strong compared to humans (which is why the Borg Queen had to resort to weird methods to try to turn him). Thus it makes sense that only these two were somewhat effective in melee.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Picard, being a Determinator when it comes to the Borg, is (initially) utterly opposed to any notion of retreat or surrender regarding them. Lily makes Picard re-evaluate his priorities when she compares him to Captain Ahab, being so bent on revenge that nothing else matters. This finally gets through to Picard, who realizes the horrible mistake he's been making.
    Lily: I guess he [Ahab] didn't know when to quit.
    (Picard smiles.)
  • Last Note Nightmare: The opening titles. Beautiful, uplifting music that fades into silence...and then... WHAM!
  • Lead the Target: The quantum torpedoes, when first shot, are aimed ahead of the Phoenix but in her path, and as the torpedoes travel, they continue to get closer and closer to the target. They miss just behind the Data intended.
  • Leitmotif:
    • The Klingon theme, the Enterprise theme, and the "busy man" theme from Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier return as leitmotifs for Worf, the Enterprise-E, and "first contact". (No surprise, as Jerry Goldsmith scored all three of these movies.)
    • The Borg get a new one, four bass notes in a minor key first used in a stark, loud, and downright terrifying manner as the Borg Cube is first shown in the movie.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: Invoked by Cochrane.
  • Limb-Sensation Fascination: Data is captured by the Borg and then has patches of organic matter — actual skin — grafted onto his exterior and integrated into his systems by the Borg Queen. Notably, when he tries to escape, one of the patches is cut, allowing Data to experience pain for the first time; the experience confuses and fascinates him so much that he agrees to allow the Borg to graft more of it onto him.
  • A Little Something We Call "Rock and Roll": An inversion of the trope, as it's Cochrane (re)introducing it to the time travelers from the future. Never lift off without it!
  • Macgyvering: On the hull of the Enterprise-E. Once Worf runs out of phaser ammo (the Borg shrug off each modulation), he resorts to using his Mek'leth sword. He lops off a Borg's arm, but his adversary doesn't even blink and swipes at his leg, causing Worf's spacesuit to decompress. When we next cut to Worf, he has tightly tied the Borg's severed cables around his leg just above the breach, sealing it shut.
  • Made of Explodium: The main deflector dish is charged with antimatter, which explains why the crew doesn't just shoot the interplexing beacon being built on top of it—if they miss the beacon and hit the dish instead, they'd blow up half the ship. This explosivity is later demonstrated after the dish is cut free of the ship; once the dish is far enough away, Worf blows it up with one shot from his phaser rifle.
  • Magical Negro: Downplayed with Lily. Though she's a fairly well-rounded character, and she has her fair share of vulnerable moments over the course of the film, she's the one who ultimately sees through Picard's bull and gives him a What the Hell, Hero? speech about his self-destructive desire for revenge against the Borg.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: It's typical for a Trek film to have the bridge officers do almost everything, but where this trope really stands out is with Zefram Cochrane. He both invents the warp drive and pilots the first warp ship. In comparison this would be like having Werner Von Braun be the first man on the moon, or having Yuri Gagarin designing his own spacecraft.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: The Borg plan is to travel back to the eve of humanity's First Contact, sabotage it, then assimilate the planet while it's a post-apocalyptic wasteland. It works, but the wake of their temporal conduit protects Enterprise from the changed timeline, allowing them to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Mauve Shirt: Lt. Hawk. He is the ship's navigator for the film, and thus appears in nearly every scene featuring the bridge until he goes on the EVA mission with Picard and Worf where he is caught, assimilated and killed by Worf.
  • Meaningful Background Event: When Lily is following Picard through the Enterprise and she's asking questions about the future, Picard mentions at one point that money no longer exists in his time and that people instead work for the betterment of humanity as a whole, comparing it to the work she and Cochran did on building the Phoenix. Unseen by Picard, Lily gives him a rather perplexed look behind his back. Later, Cochran admits to Riker that he only built the Phoenix so he could get rich from selling warp-travel technology.
  • Meaningful Name: The Phoenix, the first warp-drive ship, can be seen as having risen from the ashes of World War III.
  • Mercy Kill: Picard makes this an order to his security team. Justified because while he was saved from the collective, it was a long and tedious process and they have neither time nor resources (all the power is being drained from all decks except the Engineering deck) to perform similar procedures.
    "You may encounter Enterprise crewmembers who have already been assimilated. Don't hesitate to fire. Believe me, you'll be doing them a favor."
    • During the fighting a few scenes later, he puts his phaser where his mouth is and shoots a Red Shirt whose body is being consumed by nanoprobes. And then later on, he Tommy-guns Ensign Lynch.
  • Mundanization: Averted. This is one of the few time-travel stories that involves people from the far future going back to the near future, rather than the present day or past. Another Star Trek example is the Deep Space Nine episode "Past Tense".
  • Mission Control: Troi acts as ground control for the Phoenix launch.
  • Moby Schtick: "Captain Ahab has to go hunt his whale!" Picard is dumbfounded by this accusation, then denies it, and then finally — and resignedly — agrees that she's right.
    • Made more amusing by Picard quoting Moby Dick, Lily not recognizing it and saying "What?", and then confessing that she hadn't actually read it.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The music during the opening credits is quite beautiful and majestic, until the Scare Chord that heralds the transition to a Borg cube, with Picard as an unwilling passenger.
    • The scene where Lily tries to machine-gun Data is seriously funny, along with her fainting—until Data suddenly says that she requires medical attention. Turns out the fainting wasn't a reaction to Data withstanding her machine gun fire, but was instead due to theta radiation poisoning, and everyone there would have to be inoculated.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Picard's reaction after Lily's quoting of Moby-Dick and his Unstoppable Rage smashing his model ships (Enterprise-D and -C for extra pathos, if you're an astute observer) makes him realize he's throwing the crew's lives away because of his own vendetta against the Borg.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The first time we see Worf the Klingon theme from Star Trek: The Motion Picture plays. Both movies were composed by Jerry Goldsmith.
    • The Borg leitmotif uses the "blaster beam", also used for V'Ger's leitmotif in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which helps fuel the Epileptic Trees that the Borg was the race of machines V'Ger was said to have encountered, or that V'Ger had been the one to create The Borg based off of fragmented memories of its' Earthly creators.
    • As they're about to conduct warp flight, Cochrane yells "Engage!", which is something of a Catchphrase for Picard (really, for the entire Federation). Riker and Geordi grin at each other after he does this.
  • Near-Villain Victory: "Watch your future's end...".
  • Neck Snap:
    • During the assault team's attack on Borg-held Engineering, Data kills one of the drones by breaking his neck, undoubtedly helped by his superhuman strength.
    • Picard finishes off the still-wriggling non-organic remains of the Borg Queen's head after the mess of Data's successful deception gambit is cleaned up, severing it just under the third cyber-vertebra.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The trailer depicts Picard's "The line must be drawn HERE!" speech as a Badass Boast, instead of the Roaring Rampage of Revenge / Sanity Slippage on Picard's part. Additionally, the trailer also features Data's sneering "Resistance is futile" retort, but makes it seem as if Data had been fully subverted by the Borg, instead of being a Pre-Mortem One-Liner aimed at the Borg Queen as his trap of duplicity against her is sprung. And more importantly, the trailers made it look like the Borg were mounting a full-scale invasion against the Federation, instead of only attacking Earth.
    • The original teaser did not feature any new ship footage and was comprised entirely of stock footage from TNG episodes and Star Trek: Generations. This seemed to suggest that the new Enterprise would be the same model as the old ship. It also featured a shot of Voyager fighting a Borg cube.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    Picard: Perhaps we should just knock.
    • On the deflector dish, Lt. Hawk panics as he sees a Borg drone approaching him, and he fires two shots at it, giving the other drones ample time to adapt to their phasers immediately.
  • Nightmare Sequence: The film opens with Picard finding himself inside a Borg cube and part of the collective hive mind, before he's experimented on and his eyes are almost pierced by a needle. There's a fakeout where it seems like he's woken up, but then a Borg implant bursts out of his cheek! And then he wakes up for real.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Klingon Borg!
  • Nobody Poops: Lampshaded when Zefram Cochrane asks if nobody from the 24th Century pees.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: There are more than a few similarities between the character of Zefram Cochrane and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Both were men who were elevated to near-mythic status posthumously, seen as legends and visionaries with "a dream" — and both were lecherous, with substance abuse problems, and primarily motivated by money (not to mention extremely tall). The filmmakers claim they didn't base Cochrane on Roddenberry, but the similarities are there. One commentary noted that the scene where a star-struck Reg Barclay meets Cochrane was like a star-struck Trek fan meeting Roddenberry. And both, in different senses, created the world of Star Trek.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Picard refuses to leave the self-destructing Enterprise without Data.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: The Borg Queen's body is almost entirely robotic, with only parts of her brain, head and neck being composed of living tissue. So why, exactly, does she have boobs? The Borg aren't known for concerning themselves with attractive appearance.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Picard and Lily actually display a great amount of mutual attraction on screen, but given their different worlds and timelines, they don't end together.
  • No-Sell:
    • The Enterprise's Deflector Shields take at least two attacks from the Borg cube without suffering damage.
    • During the first corridor fight, one of the Enterprise security officers attempts to take down a Borg drone by bashing it with his phaser rifle. The drone doesn't even slow down and instead smashes the poor guy's chest in for his trouble.
    • Lily empties most of a machine gun into Data and it does nothing.
  • Not in Kansas Anymore: In a rare case of someone using the line without trying to make a joke, Picard tries to explain to a phaser-wielding Lily that she'd be transported to a starship:
    Picard: This may be difficult for you to accept, but you are not in Montana anymore....
  • Not So Above It All: The Dixon Hill program suggests that this supposedly-upright captain with his liking for opera also enjoys fist-fighting thugs and snogging ditzy blondes. This isn't a surprise to Trekkies (familiar with Picard's love of Noir detective stories and his wild past in "Tapestry"), but leads to the more serious drama of Picard screaming in rage as he machine-guns an assimilated ensign, then trying to bash his body with a tommy gun. Lily remembers this incident when later accusing Picard of not being above revenge, despite supposedly coming from a more enlightened time.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • The Borg Queen tries to convince Data that they are not so dissimilar when they try to assimilate him.
      Data: You must be aware that I am programmed to evolve — to better myself.
      Borg Queen: We, too, are on a quest to better ourselves, bringing us closer to perfection.
    • Picard introduces Lily to the better future of the twenty-fourth century in their conversations, but then she points out that his hatred of the Borg is making him not act like a member of the perfect future society he's describing.
  • Not so Dire: Just as the Phoenix is about to launch, Cochrane starts panicking over something he might have forgotten, which they can't lift off without. Riker is about to abort when Cochrane finds what he needs: a disc with the song "Magic Carpet Ride".
    "Let's rock and roll!"
  • Notable Non Sequitur: Before beaming down, Geordi tells the guy he's leaving in charge to check the environmental controls, as it's getting a little warm in engineering.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Averted. Lily refers to Borg as bionic zombies on a couple of occasions.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: The transponder rods for the interplexing beacon were originally bird feeders while the neural processors were made from Marlboro lighters.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Data visibly pauses as he reads out the date that they and the Borg have time-traveled back to, suggesting that he realizes at the same time as Picard that they've gone back to the day of First Contact.
    • Picard has an amazingly understated one when the manual release to Engineering's main door doesn't work. ("Perhaps we should just knock.")
    • Riker and Geordi share a look that just screams this when, after being told that a system has malfunctioned, Cochrane proceeds to hit the controls, shrug, and say, "Don't worry!"
    • The helmsman of the Defiant has a major one upon realizing that they've lost weapons and shields. Then Worf orders him to ram the Borg Cube.
    • When the engineers on the ship are ambushed by Borg, Picard briefly hears the Collective's voice.
    • An Enterprise crewman looks scared shitless when Picard orders the crew to start fighting the Borg hand-to-hand. Worf's successor as Security Chief, Lt. Daniels pointedly gives Worf a look, silently asking him to try to talk some sense into Picard.
    • Lily's clearly terrified after she empties her machine gun into Data's back and he doesn't even slow down.
    • She then comes close to completely freaking out when she has her first encounter with the "bionic zombies".
    • After the two previous traumas, she's momentarily scared (but not all-out terrified) when she meets Worf, her first non-malicious Rubber-Forehead Alien.
    • "39.1 degrees Celsius... like a Borg ship."
  • Once More, with Clarity: When Picard encounters the Borg Queen, he states that he remembers her from when he was assimilated. We're then treated to a flashback of his assimilation into Locutus in "The Best of Both Worlds", but this time the Borg Queen (who was never actually present in that episode) is part of the scene and is shown cavorting with her new drone.
  • The Oner: The opening shot which pulls back from Picard's eye to show the Borg cube's interior.
  • Only in It for the Money: In the Star Trek universe, Federation scientists and engineers such as Geordi LaForge revere Zefram Cochrane for inventing the warp drive, which allowed the Humanity to take to the stars. The Cochrane that Geordi meets in this film breaks the pedestal somewhat: he invented the warp drive to get rich and had no idea what would happen because of it. Riker seems to understand where Zefram is in his life right now, thankfully, and offers one of Zefram's own quotes from the future as words of wisdom.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • When Worf - the Proud Warrior Race Guy, the man who hours before was planning to ram his ship into a Borg Cube- is saying that Picard's plan is too dangerous. Picard calls him a coward when he should know full well how deadly an insult that is to a Klingon: this is the same Picard whom in the series is the only person Worf trusts enough to confide in about Klingon problems and is trusted enough by the Klingon government to arbitrate a succession dispute. So both Picard chewing out Worf this way and Worf's response — "If you were any other man, I would kill you where you stand!" — are very significant. It also underscores how much respect Worf actually has for Picard, and his knowledge that the future is far more important than any single ship or man.
    • Picard in general. From the moment he realises that Borg are on board he begins a dangerous slide, becoming irrational and violent; far from the calm, composed and compassionate leader he usually is in any other situation.
      • He goes berserk when mowing down the two drones in the Holodeck; not only emptying the full magazine into them (possibly justified) while screaming madly at them (questionable composure), but attempting to beat their corpses with the butt of the rifle (definitely unnecessary) before Lily stops him. He doesn't show any form of emotion when Lily points out that the drone he killed used to be a crew member, either.
      • When Worf suggests abandoning ship and self-destructing the Enterprise (a call that is entirely justified and the best hope for survival the crew has at this point) Picard calls him a coward and refuses to hear any other justification even from others in the crew. Add to this that to call a Klingon a coward is possibly THE worst insult you could wield against their species; you'd think Picard would be more careful with this were he not so blinded by vehement rage.
      • His outburst in front of Lily in the ready room. He vents his frustration by destroying his display of previous Enterprises, then vents to Lily that falling back is not enough, that a stand must be made; very passionate and very unlike normal Picard. It's a valid reasoning in any other situation, true, but when the entire surviving crew and the future is at stake, it's just reckless and VERY likely to end badly. Add to this the final sentence he speaks and the truth comes out; he just wants to destroy the Borg regardless of cost, as revenge for when they assimilated him and for the destruction they are wreaking on his ship. This is so unlike Picard that even Lily (who barely knows him) picks up on it.
  • Our Founder: When informed that he's standing in the exact same spot as his future statue, Cochrane goes a little bit nuts. (See Refusal of the Call below.)
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Troi getting drunk trying to reason with Cochrane. Rule of Funny at play, yet justified because she's, well, drunk.

    Tropes P-Z 
  • Palette Swap: The Starfleet uniforms seen here are an inversion of the uniforms worn on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, being predominantly black with grey shoulders and colored shirts, unlike DS9/Voyager's uniforms which had gray shirts and colored shoulders. The DS9 crew would soon switch to these uniforms for the rest of the series, whereas Voyager's crew, stuck in the Delta Quadrant, stuck with their uniforms till the end, though subsequent episodes involving the Federation at home featured these uniforms.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Averted. Cochrane attempts to fix a warning light on the Phoenix by hitting the console. It doesn't work, and he ultimately tells Riker and Geordi to ignore it.
    • Worf also has a moment of this, pounding on the crippled Defiant's control console as if that's going to change anything on the touch-screen display.
    • Cochrane also does this to his jukebox when it fails to power up. Becomes a Brick Joke at the end, much to the surprise of the visiting Vulcans.
  • Pistol-Whipping: When the Borg begin adapting to the phaser frequencies, Worf takes one drone down by bashing it in the neck with his phaser rifle. A second crewman attempts to hit a drone in the chest with his rifle, but it doesn't work and he gets beaten to death.
  • Phlebotinum-Proof Robot: Dr. Crusher activates the Emergency Medical Hologram to delay the borg, since he can't be assimilated by them.
  • The Pollyanna: Despite having just received a scathing Money, Dear Boy speech from a cynical Zefram Cochrane, Riker still has hope that he'll be a better man after the experience. He even quotes Zefram ten years into the future.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis: Lily never read Moby-Dick, but it's so well known, the basic point was still clear to her.
  • Precision F-Strike: "BULLSHIT!"
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    • When Worf destroys the free-floating deflector dish and all the Borg drones floating with it.
      Worf: Assimilate THIS.
    • Just after the torpedoes that Data fires at the Phoenix deliberately miss.
      Borg Queen: DATA!!!
      Data: Resistance. Is. Futile. (punctures a plasma coolant tank)
  • Production Foreshadowing: Crusher states that in the 21st Century, the Borg are still in the Delta Quadrant. Within the film, this is just exposition. But when it was released, it was a reminder that as Star Trek: Voyager was set in the Delta Quadrant, sooner or later the ship would hit Borg space — something which came to pass several months later.
    • The destruction of the Borg Cube in 2063 is followed up on late in season two of Star Trek: Enterprise, set 90 years after this film. During the episode, the surviving Borg using Enterprise (NX-01)'s comms to send a signal to the Delta Quadrant Borg; T'Pol estimates that a subspace message would be recived by the Borg in about 200 years.
  • Psychic Link: Picard can hear the Borg speak through him, indicated by Picard zoning out and hearing 'whispers'. This is implied to be a lingering effect of his time as Locutus. (He can also hear Data say "Captain" through the same link; it's not clear whether Data did this himself, or if it was a feint by the queen.) Indeed, at the beginning of the film, one of the first times we hear the link in action is just before Picard tells the fleet to lock on to and shoot a certain spot on the Borg ship, implying the link had informed him of a weak spot. In the novelization, the whispers stop when Picard snaps the Borg Queen's spine.
    • An explanation for the whispers would finally be provided 27 years later.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Resistance. Is. Futile."
  • Ramming Always Works: Worf was going to do this before the Enteprise-E decided to have a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Random Event: While Picard is using the Dixon Hill program, a blonde approaches him. Picard's mild surprise in encountering her even though he specified the chapter for the program to run suggests that her presence works as one of these.
  • Rapid-Fire Typing: Data locking out the main computer. Justified: Data's an android and can type at super speed (he did it all the time during the show). That's why he was asked to do it. He also devised a fractal encryption code for it, making him the only one who could unlock it.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The Defiant is heavily damaged and her bridge is darkened and filled with debris because the set was intended to only be shown on television and wouldn't have looked good fully lit on a cinema screen. This was the same reason the Enterprise-D set had to be lit so demurely and then eventually be destroyed in the previous film.
    • The Defiant surviving the Battle of Sector 001. Obviously, the ship had to survive as Deep Space Nine was still on the air and needed the ship for its own narrative. Amusingly Ronald D. Moore actually forgot this in an early draft and destroyed the ship...which understandably did not please DS9 showrunner Ira Steven Behr (hence the line in the final draft about the ship being adrift, but salvageable).note 
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Data gives an effective one with one sentence:
    Data: (to Borg Queen) Believing oneself to be perfect is often the sign of a delusional mind.
  • Red Shirt: Neal McDonough's Lt. Sean Hawk, who gets Borgified on the deflector dish. Also a case of Bury Your Gays, if the Expanded Universe is to be believed.
  • Red Shirt Army:
    • The Starfleet task force fighting the Borg at Earth prior to the arrival of the Enterprise. They are doing far better then the fleet at Wolf 359 years prior, but they're still getting curb-stomped.
    • The Enterprise security force continues the franchise tradition. However, unusually for Star Trek, they are shown to be quite competent, it's just that they're facing off against the Borg who can No-Sell pretty much everything the security officers can throw at them.
  • Refusal of the Call: Cochrane, when he got overwhelmed with his role in history. He gets over it eventually.
    Cochrane: "I don't want to be a statue!"
  • Remember the New Guy?:
    • Captain Picard remembers the Borg Queen when she's first introduced. Could be justified by the fact he was a Borg for a while, but that doesn't explain why he doesn't mention this vital piece of information about a dangerous enemy onscreen, and Data seemingly knows nothing about her despite the fact that he presumably would have read any report Picard made after the incident. They attempt to Handwave this by implying that Picard had forgotten about her until they're reintroduced in the film — or else thought that she'd died aboard the cube, and didn't realize she might have survived in another body (as is implied).
    • Lt. Hawk is the navigator on the Enterprise-E, and though he's never appeared before this movie, he's treated as if he's been a member of the bridge crew for years and Picard specifically addresses him several times throughout. Ultimately, this spotlighting is really just to make him a Mauve Shirt rather than a red one when he eventually is seized and assimilated by the Borg.
  • Removing the Crucial Teammate: Starfleet took the one Captain with the most experience dealing with the Borg out of the fleet assembled to fight them. Granted, they were afraid Picard would take the battle extremely personally and go into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, which he does, but they still could have relieved Picard temporarily of command instead of sending off the Enterprise-E; The first of the Sovereign-Class and crowning achievement of Starfleet shipbuilding, to simply study comets.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: When he returns to the bridge, Picard paraphrases the trope name as "Reports of my assimilation were greatly exaggerated."
  • Retcon:
    • This movie shows Zefram Cochrane as the man who not only created warp drive, but also conducted the first warp flight and made first contact with an extraterrestrial species shortly afterward. In the TOS episode "Metamorphosis", where the character originated, he was simply said to be the inventor of warp drive. No more, no less. Cochrane was also called "Cochrane of Alpha Centauri" in "Metamorphosis". However, fanon had long since decided he was a human who just moved to Alpha Centauri after inventing warp drive, under the assumption that he was the inventor of warp drive for humans (where other races may have had it much earlier), and because of the unlikelihood that humans colonized Alpha Centauri prior to faster-than-light travel. Cochrane also looks much older than he should, according to dates given in "Metamorphosis." The semi-official explanation for this is that he is younger than he looks because of radiation poisoning.
    • It's been noted that Picard's hatred of the Borg, to the point of Revenge Before Reason, wasn't really established in the TV series. At least, not nearly to the extent it's shown in the movie.
  • Retool: Due to a higher budget than the show, the Borg underwent a dramatic change in appearance, instead of pale guys in armored suits it looked like they were almost rotting out from the inside. Great change too, as befits the Rule of Scary. This actually fits in with the original concept of the Borg as a race that simply replaces biological parts with mechanical ones as they wear out.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Picard's motivation for fighting the Borg at any cost. Lily points this out with "Captain Ahab has to go hunt his whale!"
  • Reversible Roboticizing: Inverted with Data when the Borg attempt to bribe him by grafting human tissue onto his android body, something that is stated as being beyond Federation science at that point.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: The Enterprise can see the timeline created by the Borg's interference, but since they're in the wake of the time disturbance caused by the Borg Sphere, they're unaffected. It's strongly implied that they'd vanish from existence had they not gone through the time aperture themselves.
  • Robots Enslaving Robots: The Borg trying to make Data join them. They wanted him to choose to join them of his own free will, though. With a very tempting benefits package, too.
  • Robots Think Faster: Data says that he was considering accepting the Borg Queen's offer for 0.68 second. Picard smiles because that's just the span of a fleeting thought for a human, but Data insists that "for an android, that is nearly an eternity."
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Lt. Hawk
  • Say My Name: At the climax.
    Borg Queen: DATA!!!
  • Scale Model Destruction: Picard takes some of his anger out on the model ships (which are, symbolically, previous Enterprise models) in the stateroom.
  • Screaming Warrior: When Picard empties a clip classic "tommy gun" drum magazine into two Borg drones. Lily notices that Picard is a little too bloodthirsty, and even continues to hold the trigger down after the magazine empties.
    Lily: I think you got 'em!
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Captain Jean-Luc Picard disobeys the orders of Starfleet and goes to the front line to engage the Borg. And the crew are behind him.
    (The crew are listening to the radio chatter from the battle againt the Borg cube start off badly and go downhill from there, until Picard cuts the feed)
    Picard: Mr. Hawk, set a direct course for Earth, Maximum warp.
    (beat, Picard turns to face the rest of the bridge crew)
    Picard: I am about to commit a direct violation of our orders; any of you who wish to object should do so now, it will be noted in my log.
    (a long silence and conspicuous lack of objections)
    Data: Captain...I believe I speak for everyone here, sir, when I say... (Beat) to hell with our orders.
    (Riker, Troi, and Picard briefly smile)
    Picard: Red Alert! All hands to battle stations! Engage!
  • Screw You, Elves!: Lily's What the Hell, Hero? speech to Picard, who'd been lecturing her about how much superior 24th century humans were up to this point.
    Lily: I am such an idiot. It's so simple: The Borg hurt you, and now you're gonna hurt them back.
    Picard: In my time, people don't succumb to revenge. We have a more evolved sensibility.
    Lily: BULLSHIT! I saw the look on your face when you shot those Borg on the holodeck. You were almost enjoying it.
    Picard: How dare you...
    Lily: Oh, come on, Captain, you're not the first man to get a thrill from murdering someone! I see it all the time!
    Picard: GET OUT!
    Lily: Or what?! You'll kill me, like you killed Ensign Lynch?
    Lily: You didn't even try! Where was your "evolved sensibility" then?!
    Picard: I don't have time for this.
    Lily: Hey, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt your little quest! Captain Ahab has to go hunt his whale!
    Picard: What?
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Of the Enterprise. It's activated after Lily snaps Picard out of his Roaring Rampage of Revenge and convinces him that it's the only sane option left.
  • Series Continuity Error: Picard was able to deactivate the holodeck's safety protocols by himself to ensure that he would be able to kill Borg drones with a holographic tommy gun. On TNG, it was said that it takes two senior officers to deactivate the safety protocols.
  • Serious Business: Cochrane is ready to abort his space flight... because he wasn't sure if he brought his Steppenwolf aboard.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Lampshaded.
    Borg Queen: Do you always talk this much?
    Data: Not always. But often.
    Borg Queen: Why do you insist on utilizing this primitive linguistic communication? Your android brain is capable of so much more.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: An interesting use of the trope because, unusually, the historical event in question lies in our (the viewers') future, and we don't know exactly what it is until the end of the film. Lampshaded by Seven of Nine in the Voyager episode "Relativity."
    Lt. Ducane: So, in a way, the Federation owes its existence to the Borg?
    Seven: You're welcome.
  • Shooting Superman: Lily unloading her machine gun at Data, who barely shrugs. Somewhat justified since she doesn't know he's an android.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To the Original Series. "I'm a doctor, not a doorstop."
    • The Maglock system on the deflector dish has a subsystem designation of AE35.
    • Picard tells Lily "you are not in Montana anymore."
    • One of the ships fighting the Borg at the start of the film is the USS Thunderchild, a reference to another ship that fought alien invaders.
    • Twice, Cochrane's jukebox fails to start when he turns it on (once when he plugs it back in after Riker unplugged it, and then again at the end when he's introducing the Vulcans to Earth culture). How does Cochrane manage to start it? By thumping it, of course!
    • The end title sequence is directly lifted from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. As Jerry Goldsmith's score plays, the camera pans up from a forested area to a star-filled sky, the Trek theme plays, and credits roll.
  • Shouting Shooter: Picard when taking down the Borg with a Tommy gun.
  • Sickly Green Glow: This film establishes glowing green as the Borg's primary lighting. On TNG, Borg lighting more often used blue-whites or purples.
  • Significant Reference Date: Humanity confirmedly made first contact with an alien species, the Vulcans, on April 5, 2063. According to co-writer Ronald D. Moore, he chose April 5 because that was his oldest son's birthday.
  • Sinister Geometry: The Borg Cube and Borg Sphere, whose geometric shapes only add to their alien nature.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Picard is in a sleeveless uniform for the climactic showdown - possibly justified given the on-board temperature is 39.1°C at 90% humidity, akin to a jungle.
  • Songs of Solace: After being told he will not be part of the fleet to defend Earth, Picard spends his time in his office listening to opera with the volume turned up so loud that objects on his desk vibrate. It's implied he's doing it to silence the Borg whispers in his head.
  • Snipe Hunt: The Federation sends the Enterprise to patrol the Romulan Neutral Zone during the initial Borg attack, even though Data notes that the Romulans haven't made any hostile moves in almost a year. In truth, they didn't want Picard within light-years of the Borg.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: A couple of cases. First, when Picard does his Line in the Sand speech:
    Data: Captain, I believe I speak for the crew when I say... (Beat) to hell with our orders.
    • Later, a drunken Troi speaks about Zefram Cochrane:
      Troi: If you're looking for my professional opinion as ship's counselor... he's nuts.
      Riker: I'll be sure to note that in my log.
  • Spheroid Dropship: The Borg Sphere.
  • Stable Time Loop: The Enterprise crew creates either this or successfully Tricked Out Time, and it's not completely clear which one. While the crew believe they are doing the latter, it's unclear whether Lily rode with Cochrane in the original timeline and then later Riker and Geordi replaced her, or whether Riker and Geordi were always the ones who flew with Cochrane. For instance, isn't it strange that none of the Enterprise crew seem to have ever heard of Lilynote , especially since they are such fanboys of Cochrane's? It may be that Lily never rode with Cochrane in the Phoenix, and the Enterprise's role in first contact was understandably excluded from the historical account.
    • It's also not clear whether Cochrane's future quote about not trying to be a great man actually came from Cochrane, or whether it came from Riker telling Cochrane the quote, who would then go on to say the quote, which Riker would then learn and repeat to Cochrane, and so on.
  • Sticky Shoes: Picard disables his EVA suit's magnetic boots to take a flying leap over some Borg on the outer hull of the Enterprise.
  • Stock Scream: A man blown off of a roof during the Borg bombardment gives out a Wilhelm scream on the way down.
  • Super-Strength: Worf and Data exhibit two flavors of it. When it comes down to melee with the Borg, Worf prefers bone-crunching blows with the butt of his rifle (some other crewmembers try, but they are alas not Klingon) or using a mek'leth note  to hack borg cybernetic arms clean off. Instead of brutalizing drones up-close, Data prefers to throw the drones at each other.
    • In a more subtle variant, Worf has zero trouble working the Mag Lock manual switch while Picard and Hawk both notably struggle to get it into position, taking them significantly longer and leaving them vulnerable to the Borg and is what gets Hawk assimilated.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: A curious example. While the Defiant participates in the opening fight, none of the DS9 characters other than Worf are manning it. The real-life reason, of course, is the Defiant's cameo is ultimately a plot device for bringing Worf back into the TNG corner of the 24th Century for this film (to say nothing of budgetary constraints, overcrowding the film's first Act, confusing audiences who hadn't been watching the spinoff, etc). No in-universe explanation has ever been given for Team Sisko's absence (though given Sisko's a Wolf 359 survivor, it's not unreasonable to conclude that Command probably had the same concerns about him facing the Borg again as they did with Picard).
  • Theme Music Powerup: During the Enterprise's Gunship Rescue moment.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • After Data locks out the main computer, Worf reports, "The Borg have cut primary power to all decks, except 16."
      Picard: The Borg won't stay on deck 16.
    • Worf has one when Picard reveals his plan to deal with the Borg on the Enterprise's hull.
      Picard: Mr. Worf, do you remember your zero-g combat training?
      Worf: I remember it made me sick to my stomach. (face falls) What are you suggesting?
      Picard: I think it's time that we took a little stroll.
      Worf: (You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me! look on his face)
  • Time Travel: In this case, back to Star Trek's own past, with the Borg aiming to prevent the entire history thereof from happening. Most of the film takes place in the mid-21st century.
  • Tinman Typist: The Borg Queen stops her drones attacking Data with a wave of her hand when she should be able to do it with a thought as they're connected by a Hive Mind.
  • Tired of Running: Subverted because it showcases Picard's obsession with destroying the Borg.
    Picard: We've made too many compromises already. Too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far and no further!
  • Title Drop:
    • As of 2016, the only one in the whole franchise: "You're all... astronauts, on... some kinda star trek!" This points further to Cochrane being an expy of Roddenberry. (The closest any other Trek production has come was the finale episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation when Q uses the phrase "trek through the stars.") It's worth noting, too, that First Contact was released during the 30th anniversary year for the franchise.
    • Naturally, the phrase "first contact" is also used a few times. However, this is to be expected; the phrase is a very common science fiction term describing when two intelligent races meet for the first time. In fact, there was an episode of The Next Generation that is also titled "First Contact," though the plots are very different. Also, the "first contact" in question in this film is the First Contact, the first time humanity ever (officially and knowingly) had contact with any other alien race, ever.
  • Token Black Friend: Lily to Cochrane. Subverted, in that the two spend most of the movie separated from each other after their initial introduction, giving Lily her own subplot.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Geordi heads down to Earth and leaves Lt. Porter in charge of engineering. Porter later crawls into the Jefferies tubes in order to try to solve a seemingly minor problem. He hears sounds of the Borg and asks a female ensign still in Engineering if she's the one making the noise. He asks if someone else is there and then is seized by the Borg and screams. The female ensign, hearing this, decides to enter the Jefferies tubes herself to see if she can find out what is going on. She is promptly seized by the Borg.
    • Braga and Moore admit on the DVD commentary that the actress playing the female ensign was hired because someone liked her scream hence her Genre Blindness.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Starfleet took a heavy loss against a Borg cube at Wolf 359 in "The Best of Both Worlds," where 39 ships were wiped out in short order. In the aftermath this motivated increasing militarization, upgraded combat capabilities and new ship designs, many of which are showcased in this film (more new ship designs in a 5 minute sequence than the entirety of TNG). Whereas Wolf 359 was a Curb-Stomp Battle this rematch proves to be a Curb Stomp Cushion, it is not an easy fight by any means but the battle was a moving engagement from the Typhon sector to Earth and a slug fest. When the Enterprise arrives reports indicate the Cube is actually struggling against the fleet, and Picard is able to coordinate fire on a weak point to finish it off.
  • Tranquil Fury: Played with when Picard has the audacity to call Worf a coward. Worf's reaction isn't quite tranquil, but it is restrained for his character.
  • Trash the Set: The Defiant's bridge is shot to hell by the time the Borg Cube reaches Earth. Not surprising given the tough little ship lasted for the duration of the entire running battle. On a Meta level, this was likely due to one of the reasons why the Enterprise-D was destroyed in the preceding film: because the Defiant sets had likewise been built for a TV resolution rather than for higher definition Film. The darkened lightening, smoke, and damage thus is just as much meant to hide flaws or features that would have shown up on the big screen as it is to demonstrate the beating the ship's taken in universe.
  • Try Not to Die: Lily asks this of Picard before he embarks onto the deflector dish.
    Lily: (referencing The Big Goodbye on the holodeck) Watch your caboose, Dix.
    Picard: I intend to.
  • Tuckerization: One of the Borg drones Picard guns down during the Dixon Hill program, Ensign Lynch, was widely believed to be named after TNG reviewer Tim Lynch. In fact, he was named after a friend of Brannon Braga.
  • Two-Faced: Data is only partially converted to flesh-and-blood, much like the Borg are only partially mechanical looking note . The exhaust gas burns the artificial skin away, exposing roughly a third of Data's metal skull.
  • Two-Keyed Lock: Just like in Star Trek III the Self-Destruct Mechanism requires three officers giving three codes in order to activate it.
    • Also, the maglocks for the deflector dish work similarly, requiring separate authorization codes to release each lever. All three crew members manage to punch in their authorization codes, though Hawk gets seized by the Borg before he can move the lever at his station. After moving his lever, Picard has to go to Hawk's station to finish the job.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: For most of the film, there are three storylines going; Riker convincing Cochrane to make his flight, Picard fighting the Borg and Data's interrogation by the Borg Queen. Since Picard didn't voice his suspicion that the Borg are aboard the Enterprise before returning to the ship with Data (upon which they lost all communications), Riker, Troi, LaForge and the rest of the engineers on the surface never actually realize what's happening aboard the Enterprise until well after the fact.
  • Unexplained Recovery: When Picard protests the Queen should have been destroyed along with the cube back in the series, she merely replies "You think in such three-dimensional terms. How small you've become."
    • She turns up again in Voyager, more than once, which suggests that the "Queen" personality is simply downloaded into a specially-prepared drone body whenever there is need.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Lily. Overlaps with The Watson.
  • [Verb] This!: Occurs before destroying the Borg's interplexing beacon.
    Worf: Assimilate this!
  • Villain Ball: The Borg's plan is to use time travel to prevent humanity from becoming a spacefaring civilization, allowing them to assimilate all of Earth in the past with minimal resistance. For some reason, they don't open their temporal vortex until after launching an all-out invasion of Earth in the present, which draws Starfleet's attention to their time travel plot and gives the Enterprise crew just enough time to follow them back into the past and stop them. Presumably, they could have opened their temporal vortex anywhere in the galaxy they wanted (and then traveled to Earth while already in the past), and they didn't need to pick a massive fight with Starfleet to do it.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: The Borg Queen wanted Picard to willingly submit to the Borg and be her... "consort." When that didn't work out, she goes for the same approach with Data, seducing him with the promise of making him more human and her physical charms.
  • Virtual Danger Denial: A woman from the mid 21st century exposed to holodeck technology for the first time. She is surprised when Picard's holographic Tommy Gun has very real (and very lethal) effects on the two Borg that follow them in.
  • Walking Spoiler: The Vulcans being the race to make first contact with Humanity has become so well-known to science fiction fans, that it's actually more surprising to realize upon later viewings that this fact is kept intentionally vague right until the last five minutes of the film. Many fans likely assumed that First Contact would naturally be with the Vulcans, because of course it would.
  • Warts and All: Zefram Cochrane was the genius who gave the human race warp drive, thus taking the first step in the founding of The Federation. Star Trek: First Contact revealed that he was a cowardly, womanizing drunk whose motivation for building the first warp ship was "dollar signs, and lots of them."
    Riker: Someone once said "Don't try to be a great man. Just be a man, and let history make its own judgment."
    Cochrane: That's rhetorical nonsense. Who said that?
    Riker: (grins) You did, ten years from now.
  • The Watson: Lilly, being an outsider brought aboard the temporally-displaced Enterprise due to a medical emergency, ends up having to have various aspects of the Enterprise, the Federation, and the Borg explained to her. Her status as an outsider also allows her to be much less restrained about calling out Picard for being increasingly unhinged.
  • Weapon Stomp: When the Borgified Hawk reappears, he makes his presence known by stepping on the rifle Picard was about to use to sever the connection to the array. It doesn't seem to impede the weapon's function however, as Picard picks up again after Worf kills the Borgified Hawk and shoots the array off the deflector shield.
  • We Need a Distraction: When Crusher is evacuating Sickbay, she activates the EMH to keep the Borg occupied.
    EMH: Please state the nature of the medical emergency.
    Crusher: Twenty Borg are about to break through that door. We need time to get out of here. Create a diversion!
    EMH: This isn't part of my program. I'm a doctor, not a doorstop.
    Crusher: Well, do a dance, tell a story, I don't care. Just give us a few seconds!
  • Wham Line:
    • "Population: 9 billion. All Borg."
    • An in-universe one is "April fourth..." "The day before First Contact!" - but being a Title Drop it's not really one to the viewers.
    • Picard's reaction to Hawk's summation of the ship's environmental problems: "39.1 degrees Celsius... like a Borg ship."
    • Picard makes a deal with the Borg Queen to let Data go in exchange for him. The Queen releases his restraints and Picard tells him to leave.
      Data: No. I do not wish to go.
  • Wham Shot: As noted above, the movie intentionally leaves it vague who the aliens that Cochrane will meet are until the very end when one pulls back his hood and reveals a pair of pointy ears. It was likely more surprising for the uninitiated than the fans, though.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • When Data seizes control of the main computer and fires a trio of quantum torpedoes at the Phoenix, they miss and sail out into the void. The obvious assumption is they were programmed to detonate once they were clear of anything they could damage, but it's never addressed in-universe.
    • When the Enterprise arrives at Earth to help fight off the Borg, Commander Riker mentions that Admiral Hayes' flagship has been destroyed. It's not made clear whether Hayes himself was killed, and it wouldn't be until the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Hope And Fear" revealed he survived.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?:
    • Subverted by Picard and Lily when Picard kills the assimilated Ensign Lynch. Despite Lynch being fully borgified and covered in machinery, Picard is able to identify him by name, and Lily is visibly upset by his death. Later during the "The line must be drawn here!" scene, Lily calls Picard out for gunning Lynch down without attempting to save him.
      Picard: There was no way to save him.
      Lily: You didn't even try!
    • Played straight with the rest of the Borg drones and the Enterprise crewmembers they assimilate, though. Mostly nameless, all are dead by the end of the movie, and while Picard and Data share a measure of regret at the death of the Big Bad Borg Queen, they express none at all at the deaths of the luckless individuals she enslaved and mind-controlled.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Picard's crew are visibly hesitant to follow his increasingly judgment-impaired orders, and Worf has a particularly venomous response when Picard calls him a coward for refusing to obey an order that's outright suicidal. Then Lily gives Picard an epic tirade for his willingness to sacrifice his crew to get revenge on the Borg instead of doing the necessary thing, not flinching an inch when Picard yells back. Picard finally wises up and orders the evacuation and destruction of his ship, like he should have earlier.
  • What Year Is This?: Averted. The ship's sensors identify the approximate time period from orbit from the level of pollution in the atmosphere, and then narrow it down to a specific date when they see where specifically on Earth the Borg are attacking. Data also mentions taking astrometric readings, presumably comparing the stars where they are to where they should be in their present.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Not only does Picard's quest increasingly resemble that of Captain Ahab from Moby Dick, he starts to sound and act a lot like Khan Noonan Singh, except with less self-awareness.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Averted by Lt. Hawk regarding simply shooting the Borg deflector dish modifications instead of manually detaching them. Picard responds with Made of Explodium technobabble. It's also consistent; when they finally detach the dish, Worf then hits it once and it ignites into a giant fireball. The writers (Ron Moore and Brannon Braga) state on the commentary that their original intention was to blow up the dish in this manner. Then the Trek technical advisers stated that they couldn't shoot the dish because it would blow up the ship. And this was clearly shown in an episode of Deep Space Nine where the Jem'Hadar rammed one of their fighters in the USS Odyssey's deflector dish... causing it to explode violently.
  • With Due Respect: Lieutenant Worf does genuinely respect Captain Picard, he is simply frustrated with the Captain's refusal to destroy the Enterprise obviously being clouded by his desire for revenge against the Borg. The argument almost turns deadly when Picard calls the Proud Warrior Race Guy a coward. He later apologizes.
    Worf: If you were any other man, I would kill you where you stand!
    Picard: Get off my bridge!
  • Within Parameters: Subverted. When the Phoenix is about to launch, a red light is on, which Zephram attempts to fix by the age old "hit it hard" method. When it stays lit he says "Ignore it". It turns out not to be an issue, and the flight is successful.
  • Woman Scorned: The Borg Queen, oh so much. It's revealed that part of the plot was revenge against Picard for rejecting his place in the Collective. When Picard offers to be her consort once again, she accepts, and when Data refuses to leave, she practically giggles that she has a new consort, and Picard is no longer needed. Except as a new Borg drone, that is.
  • The Worf Effect: Played with. On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the USS Defiant was developed specifically to fight the Borg. The one time we actually see her fight the Borg, she's under Worf's command and almost gets destroyed. However, what we saw of it is only at the tail end a three hour long running battle from the edge of the Solar System right up to Earth's doorstep. It was getting its ass kicked, sure, but only after taking a gajillion tons more punishment than the other ships, who were getting one-shotted here and there over the course of the long battle. That it was still intact enough to be salvageable and quickly back up and running in short order by DS9, even after getting caught in the explosion of the cube, it shows how powerful the cube is, even with the new Defiant-class, but The Sisko's Defiant, even without the man himself, was the one carrying the fleet the entire time before the Enterprise arrived.
    Riker: Tough little ship.
    • Mostly averted with the man himself though. In fact Worf is basically the only one other than Data who's able to fight the Borg hand to hand effectively.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: After their short warp flight, an awed Cochrane comments how small Earth looks, finally starting to realize what he had just accomplished. Also when Picard shows Lily the Earth below her through a force field window.
  • Would Hit a Girl: We see several female Starfleet officers being assimilated by the Borg, and in the "Big Goodbye" program, one of the Borg drones pushes a woman particularly hard.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness. Picard.
    Data: He will make an excellent drone.
  • You Are in Command Now: Being aboard the most powerful ship in the fleet, and having enough veneration in Starfleet to be an admiral in all but name, Picard assumes command of the battle against the Borg cube once the Admiral's ship has been destroyed.
  • You're Insane!: Data does point out that the Queen's assurance of her perfection is a symptom of "a delusional mind."
  • You Shall Not Pass!: During the Battle of Sector 001, the Borg issue their usual ultimatum to surrender and allow assimilation to happen, declaring, as always, that Resistance Is Futile. Starfleet's response:
    Admiral Hayes: "All units, open fire!"
  • You Talk Too Much!: When Data goes off on a technobabble tangent.
    Data: Tell me, are you using a polymer-based neuro-relay to transmit the organic nerve impulses to the central processor in my positronic net? If that is the case, how have you solved the problem of increased signal degradation inherent to organosynthetic transmission across—
    Borg Queen: Do you always talk this much?
    Data: Not always...but often.


Data's Emotion Chip

How well does it match the trope?

4.78 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / PersonalityChip

Media sources: