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Ellie arroway receives a radio message from the distant star vega from an unknown extraterrestrial source. Contained within the message are blueprints for a machine for intergalactic travel capable of transporting its passenger to deep space. Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 09/27/2005 Starring: Jodie Foster James Woods Run time: 150 minutes Rating: Pg Director: Robert Zemeckis

The opening and closing moments of Robert (Forrest Gump) Zemeckis's Contact astonish viewers with the sort of breathtaking conceptual imagery one hardly ever sees in movies these day--each is an expression of the heroine's lifelong quest (both spiritual and scientific) to explore the meaning of human existence through contact with extraterrestrial life. The movie begins by soaring far out into space, then returns dizzyingly to earth until all the stars in the heavens condense into the sparkle in one little girl's eye. It ends with that same girl as an adult (Jodie Foster)--her search having taken her to places beyond her imagination--turning her gaze inward and seeing the universe in a handful of sand. Contact traces the journey between those two visual epiphanies. Based on Carl Sagan's novel, Contact is exceptionally thoughtful and provocative for a big-budget Hollywood science fiction picture, with elements that recall everything from 2001 to The Right Stuff. Foster's solid performance (and some really incredible alien hardware) keep viewers interested, even when the story skips and meanders, or when the halo around the golden locks of rising-star-of-a-different-kind Matthew McConaughey (as the pure-Hollywood-hokum love interest) reaches Milky Way-level wattage. Ambitious, ambiguous, pretentious, unpredictable--Contact is all of these things and more. Much of it remains open to speculation and interpretation, but whatever conclusions one eventually draws, Contact deserves recognition as a rare piece of big-budget studio filmmaking on a personal scale. --Jim Emerson

Customer Reviews:

  • Exceedingly good and fulfilling
    A very classy movie. What I can write about it is going to understate, how good this film is. Its beginning gives no hint as to what it is about, but it culminates as so much more....more info
  • Pretty good film about truth seeking dressed up as a science fiction / alien tale
    While this movie is often held up as a science fiction story about first contact with beings from another world, that is only the framework for what the story of this movie is about (I have not read the book and do not know if the book is similar to the movie, but the Carl Sagan was involved in the screenplay). Contact also refers to the human search for truth and what coming into contact with that is like. This isn't a particularly subtle story, but it does have a strong point to make about the humility true seekers of truth have versus those who talk about truth, but distort and destroy as they advance some other agenda.

    A mistaken view of the movie would be to see it as science versus religion or as reality versus faith. Sagan is actually pointing out the similarity of scientific truth seeking and faith - a lesson that Eleanor Arroway (played by the great Jodie Foster) eventually learns as she is persecuted for the reality she experienced, but cannot prove. She even refers to her experience as a vision in trying to describe it. And her soulmate, the man of faith Palmer Joss (played quite well by Matthew McConaughey), supports her testimony and sees something in the search for truth through science that he had not suspected.

    The bad guys in the film are on both sides and are portrayed a bit ham handedly, but are well acted by Jake Busey as Joseph, and James Woods as Michael Kitz. Joseph is the wild eyed "prophet" whose vision of the truth leads him to reject anything that science has to say (except the making of explosives, apparently), and Michael Kitz is a cynical politician who "investigates" Arroway's experience, but who is really using her to try and advance his political career. (Why they simply didn't have someone else go through the machine to verify what Arroway said one way or the other eludes me - maybe the story made up some "reason" to prevent that logical next step.) So, this way the story pairs Arroway and Joss as true seekers who have humility and devotion to the truth, but who have different approaches. Their love story shows them as soul mates not only in love, but also in their love of truth. Then we have the idiot bad guys Joseph and Kitz who have other desires and only pretend to be seeking the truth. They already "know" their truth and aren't seeking anything.

    The other characters all help dress out this theme and add to an interesting story, but this is the main point of the story and makes for a pretty good film. Just don't expect a terrific science fiction / alien film, because that is not what this really is....more info
  • "Contact" Connex
    I'm a huge fan of the writings of Carl Sagan, but I found his foray into fiction only mildly interesting. Happily, "Contact" is that rare instance when the movie is better than the book. It is worth the price of the DVD just for the awe-inspiring visuals of the opening sequence. The clever use of media sources for exposition, & the manipulated image of president Clinton (from his "Mar's rock" speech I believe) make it noteworthy. I also enjoyed the remarks by Ellie's "father" at the movie's end, as well as her testimony. In my opinion, this is Jodie Foster's finest role. If you're looking for a space alien shoot-em-up get Starship Troopers because this movie will dissapoint you - which may explain why this movie is often overlooked & under-rated. However, if you're in the market for a relevant examination of a "first contact" scenario, and some commentary on the media, politics, spiritual experience, and faith, then this might work for you....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
  • 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
  • Contact
    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.

    ...more info
    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.
    ...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.

    ...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
    ...of all time. This film is deep and it really makes you think. I believe it was ahead of it's time and that's why it wasn't well-received by the general public. Jodie Foster did her usual fantastic job, and Matthew McConaughey was his usual fine self. You know how books-turned-movies usually end up being a disappointment? Well, not this one. Granted, the book and the movie are extremely different, but that doesn't make the movie bad. I think they just took the gist of the book and turned it into this incredible movie. How unfortunate Mr Sagan was not around to see the finished product. ...more info
  • Pretty good
    Overall, a gripping and dramatic experience, highlighted with many colorful stereotypes and strong performances but marred by pedantic, emotional manipulation (standard for Zemeckis) and some fuzzy math. There is absolutely no way that 95 percent of the world's population believes in a supreme being. China has over a billion people, and I'd wager that atheism is running at 80 percent or higher. Atheism is widespread over the former Soviet Union, then think of Japan, and the changing face of modern Europe. Even here in America, the most Christianized nation on the planet, atheism / agnosticism is 15 percent or higher and growing. I'm sure that fact would delight Carl Sagan a lot more than, say, the way his book has been twisted into this by a seminal Joe Neo-Con. Other than that, this is a pretty good film with powerfully strong effects and plenty of drama. Jodie Foster is extraordinary, no doubt about that. ...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.

    ...more info
  • Contact (1997)
    Director: Robert Zemeckis
    Cast: Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skerritt, James Woods, Angela Bassett, John Hurt, David Morse, William Fichtner, Geoffrey Blake, Sami Chester, Timothy McNeil.
    Running Time: 153 minutes
    Rated PG for some intense action, mild language and a scene of sensuality.

    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 ("Forrest Gump", "Back to the Future"), is the story of a young scientist, Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster), who like Einstein and all the greats before her, has been 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. 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.
    ...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
  • "Good To Go"
    I liked CONTACT a lot when I originally saw it in the theater and my opinion hasn't changed despite numerous viewings since I got the DVD. Apparently I'm not alone. Other reviewers have brought up a number of good reasons for their enthusiasm. Reasons such as top-notch acting, a thoughtful and thought-provoking story, and dramatic moments like the initial appearance of the alien signal and the destruction of the alien device.

    I'm on board with all of these observations. In particular, the intelligent treatment of the controversy that erupts over the human response is plausible. This is a more thoughtful scifi movie than most (not to take anything away from space operas), and that's a good thing. Beyond this, however, there are some things in CONTACT that are special for me that haven't been noted by others.

    First, there's the opening sequence. It begins with a view of earth floating in space. From there the camera seemingly falls away at an accelerating pace, zooming past the other planets in our solar system, flying backward to a position looking back at the Milky Wat galaxy. It's a breath-taking sequence and the DVD is worth having just for that alone.

    Then, there's the great scene when Jodie Foster's character enters the capsule and waits to go wherever she's going. "Good to go", she keeps repeating. "I'm good to go." I can never watch this part of CONTACT without reflecting on what a terrifying yet exhilarating moment that would be. Foster's character has no idea where she's going (if she goes at all) or what she'll find when she gets there. It's the moment she's waited her whole life for, but she's facing the ultimate unknown. The scene is, for me, an incredible one and I never tire of seeing it.

    Finally, the trip Dr. Arroway finally goes on is visually gorgeous and emotionally satisfying. What happens is very much open to debate, but the journey is eye candy from beginning to end. The "contact" she makes is a nice culmination of her touching relationship with her father.

    I hesitate to call CONTACT a great movie, but it's certainly a very good one. It's one I'm happy to own and I strongly recommend it to you. Further, as I write this, it's selling here for just $9.99. That's a bargain in my book. Don't pass it up....more info
  • `Revision..Not Concision'..Too Busy Planning the Y2K/9-11 Demolitions (Part I)
    `Revision..Not Concision'..Too Busy Planning the Y2K/9-11 Demolitions Part I

    Originally, review of this movie found some fault with the short shrift given to the novel's breathtaking resolution. Usually the movie based on a book should at least attempt to preserve that, but it was mathematical, not unlike the computer models so excellently done in the movie--so it's debatable there were other motivations to further dumb down the content. Computer graphics are ok, just don't give people any ideas; and that's roughly the paranoid police state's continuing theme from movie to movie. So paranoid in fact, former head of creativity for Walt Disney Company Eric Hazeltine headed up a Discover magazine round table with American mathematics leaders to discuss no longer teaching long division in the public schools (9/'02). The point is, he was also a figure in the NSA meddling by some `association', thus we have a connected set of reciprocating facts surrounding what Sen. J. W. Fullbright called, "The Pentagon Propaganda Machine", largely channeled through the movies.

    So it's all about this idea of using cybernetic controls to pose as an alien threat, or the ultimate hack into human consciousness or tool for propagating torture and psychological conditioning on the population called Quantum Information and Communications (many titles are in the university library). And of course it has to have exclusive control over Artificial Intelligence, rumored to have begun development under DARPA way back in the 50s. Noam Chomsky tries not to allude to it very much, unsuccessfully, in his book "Language and Problems of Knowledge". The brain is sort of a language processor, so better look out for that character. Thus, the public is condescended to in this film quite miserably; I was expecting less overacting and more science. I guess any theater company's rendition of `Trouble in Tahiti' is going to disappoint some of the audience by a wide margin, or fail to capture many important elements of the story. Certainly the effort to push Shakespearian English on the modern drama goes without question as the worst form of retro. So when we go to the movies, expectations should consider anything possible. I guess it wasn't so bad...except for the effort at incorporating docudrama...with news coverage and Clinton's Mars Rock tape. That got off subject by confusing current events with a science fiction story. Of course the San Diego cult's execution has nothing whatsoever to do with any of this, or that viewing technology misrepresented in "Quantum Gravity" by Lee Smolin, or that other industry promo by Spielberg in `Minority Report'.

    What can be done? Any book is going to drive the movie projector and production of the imagination about 10 times better than a movie ever will or ever could. This is why motion picture propaganda is so easily filleted. (Take for instance the continent hopping, double murder insurance scam in `Flight Plan'--and other unsophisticated macho pieces) Movies are a kind of opiate for the masses, they're literally feeding off their sponsor's desperate desires to condescend and intimidate, pride in playing everyone for a fool, and more importantly a serious propaganda problem of a warfare level of escalation, such as the movie `The Forgotten' which tries to blame missing persons (like the prior movie) and modern disasters on aliens. Is extraterrestrial intelligence an important question for concern? It certainly is so far as the evasion of crime under such a ridiculous proxy to condition public passivity. Does it lend itself to any practical context with the down to earth? I doubt it. And the reason is actually more curiously redirected to the is comprising more offshoot entertainment themes that posit a different universe or a different consciousness than was expected...movies like `The Matrix', `CUBE', `THX', `Planet of the Apes' or allegorical time travel settings. So who knows? It doesn't interest as much as it used to, the bigger questions of course being the unceasing war on many levels between the various cultures of human beings, and not short of arriving in the American daily life. Science fiction has always been a social prospectus or blueprint for great dreams of beyond even urban planning, as have terrorist political movements always envisioned since earlier in the 20th Century. Then here we are right where it's thinking nothing of clearing the way, i.e. building demolitions and war spawned genocides.

    Let's take a look at one thing that was brought up in the earlier review, that being the oddity of the crop circles and elaborate glyphs. That certainly hints at a sign extraterrestrial presence maybe. Because you know, science and technology are not a static thing. In the 1950s diplomacy attempted to shake the earth in the South Pacific with hundred of enormous hydrogen bomb blasts, so called testing that was more a race of saber rattling...and of course its high aloft radioactive fallout disintegrated enough tri atomic oxygen to form the ozone hole...a fact that has to hide behind a courtesy screen in a book title like "Ozone Diplomacy". The `official science' doesn't add up, contrasting the Northern polar region's allegedly intact ozone layer where all the industrial CFCs were produced after all, and by the way, all the ozone from tailpipes of millions of automobiles at the same time.

    See the unsettling conclusion to the review on the soundtrack....
    ...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
  • Not bad until last the 1/4...
    ...when it becomes at turns drearily predictable and unpredictably schmaltzy.

    The best thing about this film is Jodie easy on the eyes, and such a talented actress to boot! She projects a very attractive spunkiness and tenacity which fit her slightly masculine features perfectly. The rest of the cast, which includes James Woods, Angela Bassett, and Matthew McConaughy (sp), are pretty competent but they can do only so much when the script goes south towards the end. ...more info
  • "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
  • 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
  • Six stars, if only I could.
    This is more of a personal response to this movie, since many other reviewers have detailed the plot, the actors, the strengths and (though few, in my opinion) the weakenesses.

    To the dismay of my family, especially of my 14-year-old daughter, this is still one of my favorite movies, if not my most favorite. (To be fair to said daughter, a few weeks ago she picked this one from a list of three, sat through the entire movie, and then wanted to discuss it afterward. Yessss!)

    I have dealt through my entire adult life with the issues of "science vs. religion." No other Hollywood movie I'm familiar with addresses this nexus so well. I grew up in a conservative religious environment, in which the short chronology of Earth was a given. And by short I mean about 6,000 years, per the genealogical chronologies of the Hebrew Old Testament. (As you may know, the Greek Septuagint OT chronologies run a tad longer, say about 7,000.)

    Graduate study in ancient Near Eastern history/achaeology and excursions into geology (including a three-week stint in the fossil forests of the Yellowstone) forced me to reconsider the "given-ness" of the short age of Earth, and to look more objectively at the nature of "truth," of perception and epistmelogy, of "myth" (as an organizing stucture). Without saying more, let me just say that this personal journey has left me closer to Ellie Arroway than to Joss Palmer.

    I used to say that religion and science were two valid ways of looking at the universe. Now I'm not even sure what such an assertion means. I no longer think of myself as a two-part witness to reality (whatever that is). Split epistemology like this no longer works for me.

    Ellie and Joss wrestle with "Ocham's Razor." In terms that would be entirely at home in the Evolution vs. Intelligent Design "debate," this movie asks the hard question that few on the religious Right today seen to care for: "What is the evidence."

    Other reviewers have made the point, correctly, that this movie is appropriately ambiguous on the answers to the largest questions. That said, good science still has the best approach to deriving trustworthy answers about the universe. I will leave for others the question of the place of religion in this mix....more info
  • This movie is terrible
    She rides through space and time to meet her father on some tropical beach. Of course it's not literal, but that doesn't give it the right to be crap. ...more info
  • You don't see any aliens in the book either
    Which I thought I might remark to people who complain about the "anticlimactic" ending. Well what would it be like if the ending has aliens showing Jodie Foster the secret of life the universe and everything and sent her home with a pat on the head? Apart from being quite beyond the capability of even Carl Sagans mind, by showing only the traces of aliens the sense of the unknown is kept. You're kept thinking "Oh come on I wanted to see more! What were they really like?" Sure you may be disappointed by being given only a little information but if it was all explained to you with nothing left to the imagination the sense of disappointment would be greater. The aliens are kept mysterious to keep you curious. Human beings like to wonder. In effect the viewer (and reader in the case of the book) is given a "teaser". If it gets you wondering about what's really out there, then I think Carl Sagan has accomplished what he really intended.

    Overall I think the book is more thought provoking, but the movie does have good points in the visual effects area. In particular, the 3 minute opening scene showing the pan away from earth, moon, solar system, cometary cloud, nebuale, galaxy to other galaxies and beyond gives a real sense of scale to the universe, much more than simply words could desribe. It's one thing to say "billions and billions" but to *see* the universe visually is quite another. The scene where Jodie Foster floats down from the sky to the beach world is uncannily dreamlike too. And of course the movie soundtrack is very good too.

    Overall a quite enjoyable film, but not quite a "classic"...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
  • Contact
    Everything well done. A must for Sci Fi lovers!...more info
  • Jodie Foster, Meet Larry Summers
    In Contact, Jodie Foster plays Ellie Arroway, a
    briiliant astronomer, maybe the smartest woman in the
    whole world. Mathematics and science are every bit as
    natural to Ellie as knitting a scarf or whipping up a
    souffle. Ellie's on a one-woman mission to
    find intelligent life somewhere out in the cosmos. It
    sure ain't in this movie. Here's how she quantifies
    her excitement:

    "You know, there are four hundred billion stars out
    there, just in our galaxy alone. If only one out of a
    million of those had planets, and just one of out of a
    million of those had life, and just one out of a
    million of those had intelligent life; there would be
    literally millions of civilizations out there."

    OK, here's what I get: "one out of a million" of four
    hundred billion leaves you with 400,000. So before you
    even get to the second "one out of a million" you are
    out of millions to get one out of. This is not even
    close, and would probably get you a summer in remedial
    math at even a crappy public high school....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
  • Contact is clearly not "an awful waste of space."
    The big thing that suprised me from this movie upon further examination is the strength with which carl sagan, an self-confessed atheist, gave to the character of palmer joss, a man of the cloth "without the cloth". Its wonderfully refreshing to see a script that doesn't present the faithful as delusional and unintelligent, but rather those with humbled opinions that deserve as much merit as anything scientific. The point-counterpoint conversations between ellie and he were marvelous (I'd need proof...Did you love your father? Prove it), and only added to the beauty of this film. The effects, as breathtaking as they are, only exist to serve the plot, and my only wish was that I could have seen this is theaters. Oscar material for Best Picture, IMHO, but back in '97, no one was gonna dare take a chance during the year of Titanic, a movie that I felt fell victim to the fx, and lost all feeling. John Hurt, fantastic as always. Tom Skerrit as a true a$$, and James Woods, as small his part was, marvelous. I can't say enough good things about this movie. ...more info
  • What a waste
    How can such a wonderful concept be twisted into such a horrible movie? I confess I did not read the book. This jaded view of science and politics was extremely uncomfortable to watch. I would hardly call it entertainment... I've had root canals that were more enjoyable. Taking what could have been an uplifting idea and producing from it this movie, may have been an accurate portrayal of the human condition, but it was hardly a happy experience IMHO. Yech....more info
  • 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
  • Contact
    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.
    ...more info
  • wow
    I don't need to say much since most of the reviewers here are right on with their opinions of Contact, but I have to say: the scene where the radical religious terrorist destroys the first launch site literally had my mouth hanging open...I'm not easily shocked my movies, but the special effects combined with the cinematography of that sequence had me in complete shock...a truly awe-inspiring film....more info