The historic first Trek movie entirely divorced from the original cast is no blot on the franchise. And if non-Next Generation devotees feel a bit left out of the fun, well... now they know how all the non-Trekkers felt about the previous seven films.

Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his crew get mixed up in a proper mess involving time travel, the monstrous Borg and flawed great-man-of-future-history Zefram Cochran (James Cromwell), inventor of the warp drive. This allows them to dress up in awful 21st-century rags, butt up against quaint

old customs like cranking up the Steppenwolf and boogeying till you puke, and worry that the fate of Earth's future rests on their shoulders. Alice Krige, who plays the leader of the Borg -- a race of cybernetic zombies who conquer worlds by absorbing their inhabitants into their collective

half-flesh, half-mechanical society -- is the best thing about it: A cross between METROPOLIS's Black Maria and HELLRAISER's cenobites, she fairly oozes synthetic malevolence beneath a blanket of special-effects makeup. Like most Trek movies, it's a bit talky and a bit thin, unless you come to it

with an extensive background gleaned from the series. But then, who but a fan would be going anyway?