Contact (1997) – Encore Review


“Is the world fundamentally a better place because of science and technology? We shop at home, we surf the Web… at the same time, we feel emptier, lonelier and more cut off from each other than at any other time in human history… ” – Palmer Joss

Number of Times Seen – 3 times (27 Mar 2000, 21 Nov 2013 and 27 Oct 2020)

Link to original reviewHere

Brief Synopsis – A scientist seeking life on other planets spends year of research trying to prove that we are not alone in the universe.

My Take on it – This is a film that has a great concept that is told with lots of momentum almost the whole way through that helps keep things so entertaining.

The realism of the story helps propel things along because it seems so believable that such events could possibly happen in the world we live in.

The choice to splice in footage with Bill Clinton also adds to the plausibility of it all along the way, especially given the way that they describe the technology of the day in a very realistic way.

The story unfortunately runs out of gas in the final act and things don’t work as well.

Jodie Foster is perfectly cast here as the dedicated scientist striving for proof that their is other life in the universe.

She easily makes us believe her intentions and reasoning behind her endeavors.

The supporting cast is also great and both Tom Skerritt and Matthew McConaughey stand out here.

They do a nice job of allowing us to hear both sides of the debate on the issue of extra terrestrial life.

The story leaves things a bit too open ended and ambiguous which is done to allow the viewer to try and form their own opinion on certain aspects of this story line.

The weak aspects of the final part of the film prevent this film from being so much more poignant in its message.

Bottom Line – Intriguing concept that has lots of momentum, but falls a bit short of the goal-line. Foster is perfectly cast in the lead role and makes us believe her character’s reasoning and interests in seeking extra terrestrial life. The story is done very realistically and with the technology that we have today, it all seems quite plausible. McConaughey and Skerritt both do nice jobs in supporting roles. The film is able to give us both sides of the debate on this issue and they leave things ambiguous as a way to allow the viewer to form their own opinions about certain aspects of the story.  The final third of the film is the weakest and doesn’t work as well as the buildup beforehand. Recommended

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Producer and director Robert Zemeckis had initially approached Sidney Poitier to play the President, but he turned the role down in favor of The Jackal (1997). Shortly after Poitier’s refusal, Zemeckis saw a NASA announcement in August 1996. “Clinton gave his Mars rock speech”, Zemeckis explained, “and I swear to God it was like it was scripted for this movie. When he said the line ‘We will continue to listen closely to what it has to say,’ I almost died. I stood there with my mouth hanging open.” (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10) (no change from original review)

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