web analytics

Contact (1997), A Review

Jodie Foster and a fan at the Governor's Ball party on March 29, 1989 - Image by Alan Light

Jodie Foster and a fan at the Governor's Ball party on March 29, 1989 - Image by Alan Light

Page Visited: 87
0 0
Read Time:2 Minute, 22 Second

Contact is bound to alter a lot of views. Not just concerning the role that humankind plays in the vast, vast, emptiness of space, but about how special effects (SFX) can elevate a film when utilized in the service of a plot, instead of merely serving as eye candy.

In the realm of big-budget summer movies, Contact is a rare breed indeed. It placed great focus on the characters, and allowed the science, lights, and explosions to develop their own presence behind the spotlight – and it worked. One could say it’s a little bit like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, only better.

Based on astronomer extraordinaire Carl Sagan’s 1985 bestseller of the same name, Contact the movie retains all the magic and power of the novel – enhanced even, some might say, by the dizzying special effects. It is probably one of the finest science fiction films of all-time. It certainly helps that the film pays close attention to scientific accuracy – probably because Sagan himself served as the film’s scientific advisor and story consultant.

For a film with such a large cast, it is surprising to see most of the roles being filled with some of the biggest and most accomplished names in Hollywood. Led by two-time Oscar winner Jodie Foster, Contact features the likes of a young Matthew McConaughey, Rob Lowe, and Jena Malone, and a lineup of respected character actors which includes David Morse, William Fichtner, Tom Skerritt, James Woods, Angela Bassett, and John Hurt.

Foster didn't win an award for playing Dr. Ellie Arroway, but the character remains one of her most memorable ones. Imagec courtesy of John Mathew Smith (taken on November 2 1995 at the Senator theater in Baltimore M.D.)
Foster didn’t win an Oscar for playing Dr. Ellie Arroway, but the character remains one of her most memorable ones. Imagec courtesy of John Mathew Smith (taken on November 2 1995 at the Senator theater in Baltimore M.D.)

Foster didn’t win an award for playing Dr. Ellie Arroway, but the character remains one of her most memorable ones. Images courtesy of John Mathew Smith (taken on November 2, 1995, at the Senator theater in Baltimore M.D.)

The Plot

The movie begins in the early 1970s United States, specifically in the home of the Arroways, where single-parent Ted is teaching his 9-year-old daughter Ellie about the wonders of the universe through astronomy, and a short wave radio, of all things! Ellie’s sense of adventure and quest for answers was awakened from then on.

The movie skips forward a couple of decades into the future where we see a grown-up Ellie, or rather, Dr. Arroway, a brilliant scientist, struggling to find moral and financial support for the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute. At her bleakest hour, she and her team literally stumbled across evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligence from the star Vega.

The film did not shirk from reality and adeptly explores the religious, legal, financial and political ramifications of the discovery – and this is what elevates Contact above the run-of-the-mill alien encounter movies.

Conclusion: A priest, an ambitious scientist and a National Security Advisor walks into a bar – there’s no joke. Instead, you get Contact, a rich and layered science fiction tale peppered with suspense, romance, and religion. Stunning.

Contact, Summary

• Rating: 8/10

• Director: Robert Zemeckis

• Cast: Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, David Morse, Jena Malone, William Fichtner, Tom Skerritt, James Woods, Rob Lowe, Angela Bassett, John Hurt

• Running Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

• Rating: PG-13 (Profanity)

• Worldwide Box Office: $171,120,329

• Release Date: July 11, 1997

• Genre: Science Fiction

 

Song of the day: David Bowie – Space Oddity

Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %