Reading other peoples' reviews, I see a split 50/50 argument where one side loves the movie and the other hates it. I am not one bit surprised, due to the importance of the film, and I feel this is proof that Contact is one of the most powerful movies of the decade. Like the reaction from the civilians to the machine, a movie with this much heavy firepower is likely to get both loathing and praise from its viewers. I for one praise the film, for its toughness and sensitivity, symbolism and passion, and the fact that it is a rare science fiction film, a gem which was released in a time <more>
where scientific intelligence in film has become a nothing short of a joke as the wonder of the universe has been ignored and the mystery of alien life have become a neverending trail of movie villains.The film of course centers around the science vs. religion theme, the oldest and most frightening of all school debates. Instead of taking the more independent path the book takes, the film takes the more sensitive on the science vs. religion argument throughout the film by telling us that science and religion points to the same direction the "pursuit of truth" but are misunderstood when studying the nature of their WAY of finding the truth science uses evidence and answers, religion uses love faith . At the end of it all, the film lets us know that if science and religion stops colliding with each other and starts to combine and compliment each other listen to Ellie's final words in her testament the human race might achieve things we can only dream about now.A perfectly refreshing film, with lots to say, great acting and directing, sound and special effects. Robbed by the Academy.
So many movies out there are pure drivel. They use sex, or shock, or sex to sell two hours of something that in no way contributes to our existence; be it inspiration, knowledge or spiritual awakening.Contact is an exceptional example of a movie that DESERVES to exist. From the spectactular beginning shot that shows us just how small we are in a world that once thought the universe was made for, and around, mankind; to its realistic conclusion that any X-Phile would expect to happen: this movie appeals to our humanity, intelligence and sense of adventure.One of the greatest realisations that <more>
the movie will guide you to is that what we search for in outer space is actually in our own backyards. We are cut off from each other and sci-fi tries to quell our loneliness with ideas that we'll meet E.T. and wont feel so lonely in our existence. But were AREN'T alone... we have each other.I never get tired of watching this movie, though I wish they brought out a packed special edition DVD full of behind the scene effects and the like.
All of the greatest work by the greatest scientists has been done while they were very young, when they were stupid enough to believe that two-plus-two-equals-five, and pursued it instead of listening to all of those who were much older and wiser who said Don't Waste Your Time. Einstein, it has been said, asked all of his important questions before the age of twenty-five, then spent the rest of his life working on them. `Contact,' directed by Robert Zemeckis, is the story of a young scientist, Ellie Arroway Jodie Foster , who like Einstein and all the greats before her, has been <more>
asking questions and seeking answers since she was very young. And now, as a member of the SETI Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence team, she is able to pursue her obsession with the mysteries of the galaxies and the infinite universe that surrounds us. Her job is to sweep the skies, using the most sophisticated equipment available, for a signal from deepest space. It may be her job, but for Ellie it's a labor of love, for she is convinced that there is something, or someone, out there somewhere, because otherwise, she reasons, what a terrible waste of space it would be. Ellie may be a dreamer, but she knows in her heart that it is the dreamers who over the years have been responsible for making us evolve, making us learn and grow because they are the ones who take insane, foolish ideas and pursue them. And to her, two-plus-two will always be five. Ellie loves her job and believes in what she is doing, but it's been a struggle over the years, as she and others have had to constantly fight for the funding necessary to keep the project alive, begging for dollars from short-sighted, unimaginative people with vision that goes only as far as the bottom line of their budget book. It's been a tough row to hoe, and she's had to swallow a lot of pride over the years, but then one day it all pays off, when in one magic moment she hears what she's been waiting for all her life: A signal from a distant end of the galaxy-- someone attempting to communicate, to make contact, with the people of the Earth. Ellie and her team soon realize that, whomever it is, they are using the universal language of prime numbers in their attempts at making contact; and when Ellie deciphers the code, she discovers something monumental in the bargain. But it's a message of global importance, something much bigger than she and her team alone, and she soon find herself fighting to remain a part of the drama that is only beginning to unfold-- the first interaction between human beings and an alien life form. And it's only the beginning of the adventure and the wondrous places this film is about to take you. Jodie Foster gives a performance here that demonstrates what a gifted, talented actor she is. Her Ellie is convincing and believable, and someone to whom you can genuinely relate, no matter who you are or where you're from, because there is something universal in Ellie's passion and longing to discover the truth and to see beyond the veil of our limited mortal capacities. There's a strength to Ellie, born of a combination of intelligence and innocence, as well as tenacity and faith, and Foster manifests all of these complexities of her character beautifully, with a performance that should've landed her an Oscar nomination. In this role, she is simply as good as it gets. As the young Ellie, Jenna Malone gives a terrific performance, also, which certainly captures the same spirit that we find in the adult Ellie. And there's a maturity she brings to the character that far exceeds her years. She was a perfect choice for the part, and if this is any indication of what she is capable of, Malone has a successful career ahead of her. The supporting cast includes David Morse Ted Arroway , Matthew McConaughey Palmer , Geoffrey Blake Fisher , William Fichtner Kent , Tom Skerritt David , James Woods Kitz and Angela Bassett Rachel . Zemeckis did a brilliant job of bringing this film to fruition, especially in the way he allowed Foster the time to really develop her character, by giving her that extra moment at just the right time that ultimately meant so much in the final analysis. Too often it's those few minutes that wind up on the cutting room floor that make the difference between a good film and an exceptional one; and between Zemeckis and Foster, they took it to the edge by taking some chances to realize that combined vision, which in the end made this a great film. Thoroughly engrossing and entertaining, `Contact' will transport you to places you can only imagine, and it's all done with style and in a way that makes this a truly memorable cinematic journey. It's what the magic of the movies is all about. I rate this one 10/10.
No film has moved me more than this one, ever (by SteveHevetS)
This, for me, is a masterpiece. I have enjoyed it more with each viewing.Carl Sagan was a great man. He promoted science in the way it should be, portraying the profound mysteriousness of our universe with humility, and without dogma. In his book, the Demon-Haunted World, he quoted Einstein:"All our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike -- and yet it is the most precious thing we have".Contact conveys this simple message in a subtle yet immensely powerful way. The performances are some of the most compelling I have seen, particularly by Jodie Foster and David <more>
This movie examines the premise of what would actually happen if we were to make first contact with aliens, and how that contact would logically happen.The protagonist is loosely based on an actual astronomer named Jill Tartar. She is focused on finding other life almost to the exclusion of all else in her life. When aliens respond to the Earth's first interstellar broadcast, she is caught up in the hysteria. What follows is an interesting observation of humanity rather than any aliens. We learn very little about aliens throughout the movie. Rather, we see how people react to knowledge of <more>
this magnitude. The movie examines religious, scientific, military and international reactions to the idea of humanity not being alone. I thought they did a fantastic job of representing the scale of reaction, from the fanatic to the skeptic, within the confines of a 2 hour movie. The movie mixes a thoughtful, sentimental tone with a good pace for action and excellent characterization. There is a somewhat arbitrary love story thrown in, but it is tolerable based on how it helps the protagonist's long-delayed progress towards a deeper understanding of her own humanity.The movie ends in a poignant yet hopeful tone, understanding our human problems but accepting them. I think the message is that the alien contact is the catalyst that will help humanity mature and grow past our more dark halves.If you like the movie I'd recommend the book. It gives much more insight on the aliens, and expands the scope as there are a number of scientists that participate rather than just one from America, and goes more in depth into the science. It also attempts to show that religion and science can get along. My favorite part is at the very end of the book where Sagan shows how God hid a message in the very fabric of the cosmos, that we could only read when we were ready. Be prepared however, the book is quite a bit drier than the movie and those who don't enjoy reading Discover magazine may have to dig in to get through the slower, more scientific parts.
One of the best SF movies ever made (by wisewebwoman)
And also a homage to the late great Carl Sagan. I have seen this movie 3 times, the most recent being on DVD more on that later . I saw it originally on the big screen and it did not get the publicity it deserved. I then bought a copy of video to savour it again and was not disappointed. This is not a simplistic movie, the visuals are faultless and the clash of politics, religion and science very well done. As is the romance between the Reverend Palmer Joss Played by Matthew McConaughy and the atheistic Dr. Ellie Aroway played by Jodie Foster . This issue of their sincerely held but <more>
opposite belief systems is never resolved but is left open. Ellie is a true scientist and even though some of the glory is withheld from her by a scheming ex-boss, somehow it all holds true, this sort of political jockeying happens and people do get away with it. The supporting cast is faultless and the special effects are incredible. Now the DVD - "Special Edition". What a disappointment, mainly typewritten notes on a variety of topics, simplistic computer graphics of the sets and no interviews with the stars or even footage of Carl Sagan shown. No outtakes, deleted scenes or director commentary. A complete rip off. Keep your video. 9 out of 10 for the movie, a must-see.
WOW!!!! There is Intelligence in Hollywood! (by Aaron_Al)
My only regret about CONTACT is that I didn't see it in a theater.This movie works on so many levels. It is a fabulously balanced concoction of thrills, suspense, action, politics, acting & characterization, awe, and... ahem ...INTELLIGENCE! And not just the alien kind! Some have compared this movie to 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY...with, perhaps, some justification. There certainly are more than just passing similarities. However, whereas 2001 relied on hardware to almost the exclusion of all else and placed a greater emphasis on "spectacle", CONTACT strives for more substance <more>
on the human and sociological level. It touches one's emotions in a way that most movies never attempt to, much less succeed. In this, CONTACT could just as well be compared to Steven Spielberg's masterpiece, E.T. But whereas E.T. was meant to wake up the "child" in us, CONTACT succeeds in waking us to the next level! This most definitely is THE movie for BRAINIACS!I rate CONTACT a STRONG 8 out of 10.
Films are rarely as good as the book but there are exceptions to the rule (by gingerkris)
This remains true for this very good adaptation of the classic book by Carl Sagan. Sagans' idea was to make science and the elite commandeering of information available to the majority, he wrote his books for a wide audience and I think the film shows this as was intended by its author.The Film is roughly about Dr Arroway, Ellie, and how she handles being alone in a world without family or close friends. It is metaphorically able to make us all think about how isolated we as a race, and as people can feel. Ellie, a brilliant young scientist working on the mistrusted SETI program discovers <more>
a message sent to earth from distant star system Vega. On its discovery Ellie must battle with the Military, Pentagon, and Male Dominated scientific world to keep her cards on the table and her discovery that of her team. Ellie is constantly kept in the game by he benefactor, a rich technological industrialist mogul who has a vested interest in her participation of the programme to reach this alien culture.I don't wish to go on any further and spoil this movie as I rate it as a fantastic exploration of Science Vs Religion and the entire subsequent human spectrum in between. As a film there were several alterations from the book that I felt could have been included, for example not just one traveler but a range of them, philosophers, theologists, scientists, poets and Dr Arroway.I have watched this film a number of times and still find it a joy to watch the fifth, eighth and tenth time. Jody foster playing a not so dissimilar to her role in Silence of the lambs attractive, clever, young, successful woman battling in a male world is exceptional and delivers feeling and intellect alongside an impressive script.I would give this film an 8.5 and recommend it to anybody, but if you are a sci-fi fan and haven't seen this film then you're in for a treat.
Buried within The Message from Vega The Message from Sagan. (by dunmore_ego)
"Close Encounters of the Third Kind" needed updating. "Contact" is that update. Though it may never attain the lofty heights of commercialism that "Close Encounters" enjoyed, "Contact" is, in fact, a more intelligent vision of extra-terrestrial communication with our outer-spiral-arm planet.From science maven Carl Sagan's optimistic novel of the same name, the movie is based on the ideology of the Drake Equation the speculative theory postulating multitudes of Life-harboring planets in this galaxy, given the sheer quantity of possibly habitable <more>
worlds , defined in the movie by the almost-too-cute syllogism: "If we are alone in the Universe, it sure seems like an awful waste of space." The Drake Equation is weighed against the Fermi Paradox, which argues that if there *are* alien civilizations, why haven't we detected them yet? This movie's plot obviously - negates that paradox.Whereas "Close Encounters"' method of alien contact played on the age-worn industrial-era concept of aliens physically visiting Earth, an infinitely more efficient manner is effected in "Contact" by means of radio waves. SETI astronomers, headed by Ellie Arroway perfect-featured Jodie Foster in sensual, leonine mane , stumble upon distinctly intelligent radio signals originating near the star Vega. In decoding The Message, they are astonished to find it is not merely a rudimentary greeting, but rather a technologically-superior detailed schematic for a Machine, to transport US to THEM.Considering the economics of space travel not referring to 'money', but expending 'energy' The Message defines the most judicious method for establishing contact, whilst discerning whether a civilization is ready and/or worthy to step up to an interstellar level of commerce. The concept of "aliens" has matured in this film, from simple benign or malignant humanoids treating Earth as the retarded child of the galaxy , to ambiguous "intelligences", regarding us as near-equals, in placing the ball in our court.This maturity is due in great part to the inexhaustible efforts of the late Dr. Sagan, whose quest to bestow a sense of cerebral wonder in a generation jaded by laser-wielding aliens and detestably non-scientific "science fiction" found a culminating point in this movie.With aliens being so apparently existent, there comes the inevitable contention of Religion vs. Science, and though Sagan clarifies his position in the novel, the movie must necessarily leave the issue ambiguous to appeal to its demographic of real or imagined "christians" the bulk of earth's popcorn-plucking populace. The film ultimately "preaches to the converted" on BOTH sides. No Atheist or Christian will be jumping their razor-wire fences on the grounds of this movie.As with all major-studio releases, the screen story tampers with the novel's finer details, slotting it squarely within motion picture dramatic parameters - most notably modifying the overweight evangelist of the book, Palmer Joss, to that of Hollywood man-toy, Mathew McConaughey, to give Ellie that seemingly necessary "love-interest". Thankfully, the broad strokes retain enough of Sagan's driving pursuit of knowledge, elevating it above mere whizbang alien-invasion fare.Yet we do not lack for effects stunning, thought-provoking effects, rather than "be-still-my-pants" jaw-droppers. The challenging opening sequence sees a camera panning backwards through space away from earth, beyond the edge of the Milky Way, outracing a jumble of radio static, which gets progressively "older", the farther out we go as indicated by familiar tunes, news snippets and cultural signpost sounds - i.e. the farther out in space you get, the farther back in time you hear; in essence, time-traveling backwards - faster than light, no less, if you are outpacing radio waves! . Herein lies the foreshadowing of the whole plot. For those unfamiliar with the physics concept that underlines this sequence, the movie will make no sense.The visualization of The Machine that The Message instructed to build was a marvel of utility and "alien" design, seamlessly integrated into the landscape of Cape Canaveral. Most impressive was the tragic sequence which destroyed the first Machine so artfully contrived, with views from the scores of "media" cameras covering the event - that the viewer never thinks to question where the reality ends and the green-screen babble begins.Though technically not a "special effect", an astounding camera trick with a running girl in a mirror will have you scratching your head for weeks as to how it was concocted - for directorial *aficionados*, this sequence alone is worth the movie.One can only hope that viewers can delve through the flummery which must necessarily blossom during the latter stages of the movie, as The Machine traverses worm-holes to the REAL "message" from Sagan: that the questioning and scientific mind is infinitely more precious to our species and creates more impetus for launching Mankind to the stars than the stagnating minds of the pseudo-science shamsters, which includes fanatical Christian contingents.One of the best arguments against *religionistas* played out in the movie by the ever-psycho Jake Busey - is that no scientist has yet strapped himself with explosives and taken innocent lives in his quest to force an opinionated Physics viewpoint on other people, whom he believes he will "save" by blowing them up The incomparably-reliable David Morse is Ellie's encouraging father, while William Fichtner poignantly plays a blind astronomer colleague. A stoic Tom Skerritt is simultaneously Ellie's supervisor and adversary, although thankfully is not painted as "villainous", even though cast as the obvious antagonist; an intelligent rendering, keeping his interests "scientific" rather than petty. Although he does prevaricate to score his Machine seat, he is noble enough to admit to Ellie, "I wish we lived in a world which rewarded honesty like yours", to which Ellie replies, "I thought the world is what we make of it." Carl Sagan died before production was completed on "Contact", making it one of his last gifts to a blinkered world. The film's dedication read simply: "For Carl". I wept. Without him, the Universe seems like an awful waste of space. Movie Maniacs, visit: www.poffysmoviemania.com