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ST8 is the first ST movie that combines good acting, not annoying characters, reasonably good story, and passable directing. It doesn't bump the amusing-even-if-sometimes-poorly-acted ST4 from its throne, but it comes in at number 2 on the list of ST movies, bearing in mind that I haven't yet seen ST9 or ST10.
As I mentioned about ST7, unlike the actors from the previous generation of ST movies, the current lot actually acts well. I don't really blame the old guard; if you look at all TV shows from the sixties and seventies, the acting was all around poor. People just didn't know any better. It's hard to believe that we once considered that level of acting to be acceptable. It's likely that they were pandering to what they thought was a less sophisticated audience.
Furthermore, the characters in ST8 were not given the same obnoxious types of scenes that they had to play in ST7, so the annoying aspects of their personalities were in the background.
The plot was far-fetched, but not overly so for sci-fi. There are some discontinuities for the viewer, however. Georgie is suddenly without his visor, and now has bionic eyes. What happened to Troi [Oh, that was her on Earth, being silly and useless], and who is that blond woman who doesn't do anything useful? Not much information is provided about the Borg, but we can pick up enough as we go.
The story moves back and forth between different types of tensions, both physical encounters, and human struggles, which provides a good contrast.
Still, there is what to complain about. The characters, while not annoying, are certainly not deep. They act out scenes with no substance to them, and nothing really important is discussed.
I'm a little annoyed at the generic anti-septic look and feel that the producers use for spacecraft, uniforms, and so on, as it has very little distinctive style and looks just like every other modern futuristic show or film.
The time travel problems are not so annoying, although why the history books seem to ignore both Riker and Georgie being on the first Warp flight is a little strange. With so much easy access to time travel at everyone's disposal, can't they find some interesting things to do with it? And who went to collect all of those escape pods from the surface?
The captain being persuaded to change his course of action because some ignorant stowaway yells at him was cliche. And the sex scene between cyborg A (Data) and cyborg B (Borg) was just pathetic.
But the only real movie-killer was the end, when the Vulcans step off of their spaceship having never met any humans and speak IN ENGLISH: "Live long and prosper." Uh, yeah. That's the first thing that I would do if I landed a mammoth spaceship for the first time on an alien race's planet. Speak bland greetings in the native language to a bunch of ragamuffins.
Other than that, the movie was pretty enjoyable, a nice mix, and a down to Earth kind of plot. Notice that the reason that the odd-numbered ST films are constantly failing is that they all deal with life-after death issues, something that ST writers apparently don't do well. ST3 dealt with them the least, and it was the best one.
Game night is tonight instead of the usual Wed night this week, owing to Tisha Ba'av. Session report tomorrow, hopefully.