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- Good film, could've been great...
"Contact" is the filmed version of Carl Sagan's novel of the same name, and was completed after his early death. I can imagine Carl having as mixed feelings about this movie as I do, but overall, I think he would've been generally pleased. However, there are so many things, so many details, and extrapolations in this filmed version which were dealt with so much more satisfying and explanatory in the novel, that I wonder.
Generally, "wonder" and a sense of "awe" at the scope and size and meaning of the universe, and whether or not we are "all alone" (as far as technological, advanced, intelligent OTHER civilizations in the cosmos are concerned), or not, is at the heart of this movie. And considering Hollywood's reluctance to tackle such weighty cosmic matters, overall, this film has to be considered a moderate success.
Unfortunately, crucial elements from the novel are simply ignored here or are given lip service at best, and the result is a film which is compelling and eye-candy in some parts, but in the end especially, lacks any solid ground and is overlong and in too many sections, insufficiently explained for the layman/average viewer. Also, while the beginning of the film is one of the coolest major motion picture beginnings of all time, the payoff and end leave something to be desired.
Technically, the film is almost perfect, with great pace, acting, and a mostly intelligent screenplay. The opening sequence, in which we travel from our own little noisy corner of the universe, zooming out towards our real, rather insignificant and silent place in the greater scheme of things, is amazing. It's just too bad that the whole film couldn't have kept up that quality. And the end, in various ways, seems to contradict and/or diminish the same.
Having read the novel long ago, I remembered an ending even more cosmic and mind-blowing than that which is exhibited here. Perhaps, in retrospect, the ending of Sagan's novel, in which the whole question of "religion" and "God" and the "cosmos" is given as compelling an ending as the film's beginning, couldn't really have been "filmed." Perhaps during the production, it was decided that the end of Sagan's novel, really couldn't be visualized with film, so while the movie as a whole is generally satisfying, the end is very disappointing.
"Religion" and humankind's views of such and how they may or may not explain our being and place in the cosmos, play a significant part here, but a more undefined "belief in a God" is confused with "terrestrial" religious tenets and symbols here. And the whole government/taxpayer supported SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) "scientific" project and "mission" is eventually revealed to be nothing much more than just another "religious" idea, explored with science and technology and MONEY, instead of meaningless ancient voodoo and superstition.
This leads to a confusion between "faith" and "evidence" which the movie never really addresses. In a crucial scene, the question is asked, "You loved your father? Prove it." I'm sure Sagan could've and did (in the book) explain this, but in the film, this is left unanswered unnnecessarily. As are so many questions and answers, up until the end.
Many parts of the film and premise, are just too simple-minded and too much a set-up for easy answers later on, when it all could have been so much more. And yet, a lot of this I'm sure, will fly light years above most people's heads. Still, as one who has studied both UFO/ET/Abduction evidence along with that of the continuing mission of SETI, I'd have to call it a draw so far.
In the end, the film comes nowhere near the truly mind-expanding conclusions and questions of the novel, but again, perhaps, this was just too much to be put in a Hollywood movie, and may even have been impossible to visualize with mere cinema. The main problem here is that a very patronizing ending is tacked on where something more in keeping with the general spirit of the novel's original ending, would've been so much better.
We are told, in the end, that the traveler's journey and contact with real ET, can somehow be proved beyond faith, with science and human measurement instruments, but besides the temporal moments the traveler spent light years away, the only proof of such, could lay in a 1000 different explanations, including the first one that came to mind. The traveler could've dreamed it all up, in a split second. While observers (and human science) recorded it as something more.
This is an overall entertaining and intelligent movie, with some great special effects and wonderful music, but its basic premise, that of SETI itself, is flawed in my view, and is never fully and satisfyingly addressed within. In the beginning, the young girl is told by her father, when asked if there was anyone else out there, "if not, it would be an awful waste of space." Sadly, the end of the movie, refinforces this general idea, but it is as much a "religious" idea as is anything the movie preaches against.
Space and our universe is big, really, really big. But size and numbers of planets do not posit some sort of religious idea that life, let alone intelligent life, is somehow "common" in the cosmos. And really, if there were such advanced civilizations, I think a more likely explanation would be that they've already been here for eons, and that primitive "radio" signals we might someday receive from them, would've been discovered long ago. Long before the "UFO" phenomenon, long before our technologies, and perhaps beyond the reach and imagination of SETI scientists and researchers, who after all, depend upon money and peer status, for everything they pursue and have the courage to pursue.
I would've loved to have read Carl Sagan's review of this film, because in his dying days, a lot of what he seemed to think and say, he seemed to refute, and was strangely contradictory to this pretty but too much shallow rendering of his great novel....more info
- I Love This Movie!!!
I have always been a science buff and a science fiction fan. This movie was wonderful. I think it is not far off to what our reaction would be if we were contacted by others in the galaxy. Jodie Foster was wonderful as Ellie Arraway and the spirit of the book was carried over into the film. The film does take some liberties with characters and what occured in the book but that was only to make it fit into a 2 hour movie. ...more info
- Sappy but good
First off, an overall great movie that I've watched several times. Great direction by Zemeckis, and Jodie Foster is brilliant as usual, and Sagan's ideas are well worth bringing to the screen.
Now for the nitpicking...
I haven't read Sagan's book, but I'm guessing the story was altered to give it a wonderful sappy ending in which religion and science are "both right". Maybe they are both right, but this movie sure didn't show it. Because the ending has a monstrous gaping hole.
In their effort to teach Ellie (and us) a lesson about faith, the writers contrive an ending where Ellie is left with nothing but a memory to verify her wonderful experience. An angry congressional inquiry, led by the James Woods character, investigates, and comes up with an alternative explanation for everything that has happened -- that it's all been an elaborate hoax perpetrated by the eccentric genius Haddon. But this is ridiculous, for many reasons. For one thing, how did Haddon come up with radically new technology capable of generating lightning and tidal waves yet inside of which "the weather's fine"? He's smart, but not that smart (he has self-sealing door metal technology that he never thought to sell?).
But more importantly, a signal from deep space could not be faked by a satellite, especially one that's been verified in Australia. And even if it could, THE SIGNAL WAS STILL THERE during the entire building of the machine. The aliens could not have known it was received at least until Ellie made her journey, so they would not have stopped transmitting. There was all the time in the world to verify that the signal was in fact coming from Vega. So there was clearly a message sent by aliens, and the public anger over wasted money makes no sense. So, the entire ending of the movie seemed stupid and manipulative to me. The message of this movie should have been "science trumps human stupidity", but that message wouldn't have been commercial.
Oh yeah, and don't anyone ever put Matthew McConaughey in a sci fi movie again. Please....more info
- Could have been so much better
First, the very opening of the movie is fantastic - almost worth the discounted purchase price by itself.
The special effects are really quite good.
The acting ranges from good to poor but, is generally passable.
The story development and character interactions are OK if one hasn't read the book.
However, if one has read the book there is such a distortion of both characters and their interactions and loss of sophistication and nuance as to be quite maddening.
Ah, for what might have been!...more info
- I wish I could give it negative stars
Contact is quite possibly the worst movie that Jody Foster or Matthew Mcconaughey have ever done. In all fairness, this should be a 2 1/2 or 3-star film, but the utterly appalling ending removes any possible enjoyment.
Many other reviews have summed up the plot, so I see no reason to restate it here. What is so ghastly about the movies' conclusion is the premise that an intelligent, well-educated, experienced SCIENTIST; upon meeting an alien species is reduced to "faith" to explain what happened. I was almost physically ill. Faith is the ENEMY of science. It denies reason, ignores evidence, and accepts no criticism. To suggest that a scientist would throw away logic and reason in some sort of quasi-religious epiphany is not just stupid, it's insulting.
Do not buy this. Do not watch this.
Watch Star Wars instead. It's far more entertaining, and far less insulting to your intelligence. ...more info
This movie is so layered that every time you watch it you catch something new and it makes you think of a multitued of possibilies....more info
Carl Sagan's novel about contact with extraterrestrial intelligence was made into a movie with Jodie Foster as Ellie. Ellie is into astronomy as a girl and pursues her passion as an adult, working for SETI. Contact is made, and a machine is built according to instructions sent by aliens. Ellie is transported through a wormhole to Vega. She encounters an alien whom she perceives as her deceased father. The ending is inconclusive, which again shows we cannot seek reality in science fiction. Foster achieved notoriety when John Hinckley, the man who shot Ronald Reagan, said he did it to get her attention. Sagan got famous appearing with Johnny Carson. His Cosmos series led to dinosaurs and politics.
- "I'm okay to go!"
I saw this movie when it first came out, and at the time, although I didn't really understand the premise, something about it stuck with me as I grew. Now, after purchasing this movie and having had the opportunity to sit and watch it again, I see that it truly is a work of art.
Jodie Foster does an amzing job in her role as the first person from our world to EVER make "Contact." While many others shoot her thoughts, ideas, and hopes down throughout the movie, she never wavers once! Standing firmly in her convictions as a scientist, she aims to make believers of us all.
Although I am not a big Matthew McConaughey fan, he does a solid job as Foster's polar opposite. Another thing i liked is, although they are very opposite in opinions of the world, they can co-exhist and share one common thing: love. Now, you may be thinking "oh there's a love story here?" Yes, but it never distracts from the overall story; and at a crucial part, even helps to enhance it further.
Very, very solid acting and storytelling in this one. The directing is also some of the best I've seen. Add this to the astounding special-effects used, and you have yourself a pretty good movie!
Highly recommended! ...more info
This was a very intriguing movie! I thought Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey had great chemistry on screen as Ellie Arroway and Palmer Joss. Some of their conversations brought age-old debates to the forefront. I was particularly interested in the disagreement they had on religion and God. Ellie made the point that as a scientist, she could only believe in what she could see and equate facts with. Palmer then asked her if she loved her father that had passed away when she was a child, to which she replied yes. Palmer looks directly at Ellie, and said, "prove it". Very thought provoking movie.
very thoughtful story about SETI and the personal search by Jodie Foster. enjoyable. sometimes the science gets a stretch but the story holds up well....more info
- Very enjoyable
I won't rehash the plot in this review. Most other reviewers have done that and there is a review by amazon about this movie's plot. I will only add my "two cents" here.
I thought this was a very interesting movie and that it was made believable by the great performance of Jodi Foster. If another actress had tried to pull this off, it might not have worked.
This is not your usual "contact with extraterrestrials" movie. I think that's refreshing. In most movies with aliens, the aliens are either nice or evil but there is always the usual way the aliens meet us or us them. In this movie, Segan uses a different approach. We get some real science tossed in. Cosmos fans will undoubtedly recognize some of Sagan's lessons scattered here and there. So this is more like science probability than actual science fiction.
This is simply a movie that speculates about the events that will occur when humans discover that Earth is not the only planet with life in the cosmos and contact with that life is finally made.
- i couldnt find it anywhere else
i couldn't find it anywhere else, so i ordered it.
good movie. in good condition when it got to me....more info
- The Truth
Great movie. The cast is outstanding. Gets you to think about how science and religion may not be at opposing ends....more info
- No words...
This film always brings me to tears. No matter how much I know my emotional strings are being tugged, when Jodie Foster's face morphs into herself as a child and she whispers "No words" ... well, I'm crying now.
To see if you'd like it, find the soundtrack album on Amazon and listen to track ten and imagine Jodie Foster's beautiful, honest face filled with wonder and transcendence. If you think that's beautiful - get the film. If you think that's boring, this might not be the film for you....more info
As always, I love paranormal movies and this one has always been one of my favs! One can never go wrong with Jodi Foster :)...more info
- THE EVER MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE
Whenever I have a chance to look at the open clear skies at night, I always have a tingling sensation and wonder what do we have out there in this vastness, are there intelligent living things like us or even much superior than us out there. It would be rather preposterous to presume that we're the only living thing existed in the whole universe. As it is so well put in the movie that 'It would be such a waste, wouldn't it?' This is why I am so fond of Jodie Foster's character in the movie; from a very young age, she is fascinated with the idea of receiving messages from intelligent living thing from outer space. She has the support from her father but; unfortunately, he died when she is still very young. However, her interest remains unchanged and goes on to pursue her ambition and graduated with a doctorate in her desired field. She has to go through adverse situations before she got her financial support from a prominent industrialist played by John Hurt. She finally succeeded in receiving messages from a faraway place. The messages she received is to build a machine but it is in code that no one can decipher. Just as the hope of deciphering the blueprint is in vain, the industrialist summons her to his private plane and conveys the decoded chart to her.
You can imagine the discovery of this magnitude when made known to the world, what kind of commotion it would create. From this climatic moment on there is no dull moment. You see the ambitious contest and opportunistic seizure by some scientist to gain recognition and the right to ride in the spacecraft, the wacky religious cultist and his bent on destruction, and all kinds of outlandish demonstrations of human irrational reactions. In the end Jodie Foster gets to ride the spacecraft.
I don't want to spoil the fun of watching the movie yourselves, therefore, I'll leave it right here. I guess I'm not the only one who got a kick out of the line 'Wanna take a ride' spoken by John Hurt in the movie. There is one reviewer who put it as his title.
Contrary to the famous critic of a worldwide fame weekly magazine who ridiculed the movie as being shallow, I think instead, it is very imaginative and has a profound sense of the unknown.
- Great story......awful production.
One of the outstanding movies of modern times, both good and bad, Contact is a production of the Carl Sagan novel of the same name.
What makes it one of the most irritating productions of all time (only Twister surpasses it), is Zemeckis' idea that the major players, James Woods, Angela Bassett, and Tom Skerritt all have to act like nannies to properly convey the script.
In one the worst performances of his career, James Woods is downright ridiculous from beginning to end. His obnoxious portrayal of a babbling and blabbering government agent about US national security interests and agendas not in line with his own has no depth and totally lacks personality. One of THE WORST scenes in the movie is when he notices a nazi swastika beginning to appear in the alien video transmission discovered by Dr. Arroway (Jodie Foster). He then motions for AK-47 armed guards to enter the room from which Dr. Arroway had asked them to leave not 5 minutes before. Does Zemeckis really expect us to believe that such stupid nonsense as AK-47-wielding personnel are going to correct, or secure a video transmission of a swastika?? The scene is revoltingly, insultingly stupid. Hollyweird at its worst.
And Angela Bassett was thinking what? A striking actress of incredible talent, Ms. Bassett looks like a fool in this film. She hardly ever communicates her official position with any more clarity and professionalism than that of a kindergarten teacher talking to a bunch of 5 year olds. Sad performance. Again, blame Zemeckis.
Tom Skerritt has some interesting things to say, especially when he acknowledges that Dr. Arroway got a raw deal throughout the discovery process, but it's wasted on his pathetic facial gestures and teenaged competitiveness. Hello? Are you there Zemeckis?
Rob Lowe's performance? If this is the actual personification of America's moral majority, then our present day inability to stop waging war, enacting capital punishment, and refusing stem cell research shouldn't be that difficult to understand. Lowe made his character's credibility look like swiss cheese, full of holes.
The only events that save this movie are the work of Jodie Foster, David Morse (Dr. Arroway's father), and John Hurt (Mr. Haddon) and how the scene with the Vegan (disguised as Arroway's father) transpires.
Morse envelopes the dying father notion with exquisite care, never acting more than he needs to, but making certain that we know how deeply he cares for his daughter and her intellect. (This is something Zemeckis communicates effectively, strangely, because he makes the religious zealots in this movie look like total morons because of their undying contempt for anything scientific). Plus, Morse's reappearance as the "Contact" is to say the least touching. The scene on the beach is astonishing.
John Hurt provides excellent work as an eccentric business mogul who is also a mechanical engineer. (I enjoy this admission because it gives weight to his character). He respects Dr. Arroway and gambles on the notion that her attempts at alien contact may prove fruitful (he grants her money to lease a satellite array in New Mexico), and he certainly makes sure he's there for her when he needs to be.
Jodie Foster is incredible in this film. Her unflagging determination to follow her dream of contact over vast distances is something we get to experience WITH her. She takes us to the heart of her frustration with the government and the pathogen of religious zealotry; she also shares with us the incredible excitement of discovering the newest contact with alien intelligence. I'm guessing Zemeckis either had nothing, or everything to do with Foster's performance. If not, then Foster must have known a great deal about Carl Sagan's passion for science. It suits her very well.
The alien transport that is built to communicate with the Vegans is extremely well done (especially in the scenes with Dr. Arroway) and the story itself is incredible. While I didn't comment on McConaughey's performance or Arroway's colleagues, they do well enough to provide the tension required and help to make this fiction somewhat believable.
Zemeckis had quite an undertaking with this film and while some of the twists he included were needed to breath life into Sagan's novel, the personae in conflict with Dr. Arroway were completely off the mark overacting and at best making the human race at the highest echelons of government and religion look like complete jerks.
If contact with aliens was ever made, it would be interesting to compare what might actually happen to the preposterous suppositions made by this film. A good film with some enjoyable moments but also a bizarre film because of some terrible over acting....more info
- One of my most favorites
This movie is one of my most favorite movies of all time on many different levels. Enough said....more info
- A search for love signals and extraterrestrial signals
It's a beautiful movie. The search for extraterrestrial life is combined with a search for romance and a father, who has passed away.
Even the former president Bill Clinton appears. I wonder how they did this... Perhaps they simply invited him to be a star in the movie.
The movie tries to ride on the fame of the president, and on the fame of Adolf Hitler too.
Well, I identify with what one of the guys says in the movie:
"1) If there is intellignt life in the universe, it is probably too far
away and we can't get in touch with it
2) It's possible that there actually is no other life form in space."
For me, it is clear: there is nothing in space, that wants to talk to us.
But the movie is enjoyable anyhow.
The special effects are as good as they should be,
although there is a vibrational space travel scene, which is somewhat annoying.
Jodie Foster plays a very driven and ambitious research scientist,
so she conveys the hope of finding extraterrestrial intelligence to us
in a very sincere way.
So the best earthly specimen, the planet over, that could possibly be fielded, which all nations would just swoon to agree to, would be some poorly set up super-genius, though quite humble Ph.D. super-astrophysicist, or whatever background she's suppose to have, which she prodigiously got when she was just starting to get her period. UNBELIEVABLY STUPID AND UNREALISTIC.
And then James Woods as head of a crack super-commando, sub-machine equipped, NSA firesquad team, who, when push comes to shove and tensions get hot, supposedly with something so momentous, and uncertain, as alien contact, gives ground and allows Miss Youthful Supergenius to command his team and the entire operation?!?!
If 1 said this were a poorly cast & directed propaganda piece with egregiously affected and phony performances, that would be a step up for it....more info
- Are We Alone?
Jodie Foster gives a passionate performance as a scientist in search for ET. Her determination to go against the scientific community, the government and politics within her own scientific community, in order to substantiate the existence of extraterrestial life pays off in the end, or does it? She is by default left to take the ultimate journey herself to see whether what her father believed was truth or fiction. The billionaire who funds her venture adds a bit of wonderful eccentricity to the movie. Even though the ending of the movie with her transport to the outer reaches of the universe and a surprise encounter with another being leaves one wondering "what was that all about" the movie, as a whole, is very entertaining. The special effects of the "other worlds" is stunning and so beautiful you don't want to stop watching. It is a fitting tribute to Carl Sagan, the Cosmos Series Author. ...more info
- Unspeakably terrible movie
I am shocked and disgusted that this movie has received such a high rating. Hands down, this is the worst movie that I've ever had the displeasure of sitting through. ...more info
- Great Movie
This is a great movie that I can watch over and over. The script develops the characters well and represents Carl Sagan's plot without compromise....more info
- After reading the book, this movies sort of disappointing
I think they definately should have stuck more closely to the source material. Ellie developing a sexual relationship with Palmer was really corny. I saw this movie once years ago, years before reading the book and I liked it alot then. But I just read the book a couple weeks ago, so I went back and bought this movie and realized how much they actually changed... for the worse.
The main thing that troubles me with this film is the theological aspects. I'm an atheist (I wasn't when I first watched the movie years ago, so I didn't catch all the religious overtones at first) and I felt kind of slighted at the treatment of the source material. The way they made Ellie seem like a bad person for being an atheist. Granted, in the real world that is likely how it would've played out, but I can't help but feel this movie had more of a pro-religion agenda.
The worst part of the film was definately the ending... If they had followed the book directly, the ending would've been much more dynamic. They also definately should've kept S.R. Hadden's ending. It was so cool, but instead in the book we just see S.R. Hadden's dead body being wrapped up. The book's ending was definately ten times more satisfying than the movie version's. All in all, I'd recommend this to others, but warning to those who have read the novel and loved it, you will be disappointed in this film, at least slightly.
- Good but flawed
This is NEARLY a superb film. An extra-terrestrial communication is picked up and (eventually) Jodie Foster goes on a very surreal space trip while apparently not moving. Foster is excellent throughout, but the film is spoilt by a crass sub-plot concerning so-called religious right politicians who try to prevent her going on the misson because she doesn't believe in God. The over-coiffured Matthew McConaughey looks far too well groomed for a priest, and is unconvincing in his role.
There are some great moments though, and some excellent special effects, so there's enough here to interest the average sc-fi fan....more info
- Carl Sagan's Vision Comes Alive
This movie is based on Carl Sagan's novel of the same name. Carl is no longer with us, but he was a key component in the production of this film. Starring Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, and William Fichtner, this fine film will capture your interest from the start, and even more so if you are into Science Fiction. You really get caught up in Ellie Arroway's heartfelt desire to make contact with another world. She gets her chance, and what follows is nothing short of miraculous. I cried during this movie. It tugs at your heartstrings in a big way at times. This is a truly great movie....more info
- did not received this movie during 5 weeks
did not received this movie during 5 weeks!...more info