Jennifer D. (jennicat) from ST AUGUSTINE, FL Reviewed on 12/30/2014...
I liked this movie. Jodie and Matthew did well.
"Wanna take a ride?"
M. Hart | USA | 01/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1985, Pulitzer-prize winning author and astronomer Carl Sagan (1934-1996) wrote a brilliant "what-if" scenario in his novel entitled "Contact". In the novel, Carl Sagan created a scenario in which his protagonist, a radio astronomer named Dr. Eleanor Ann 'Ellie' Arroway, discovers an extraterrestrial radio transmission that is clearly from an intelligent alien source. The discovery causes intense debate between the proponents of science, religion and government that eventually leads to some very compelling questions on the nature of faith itself. In 1997, the novel was transformed into a film of the same name under the direction of the well-known director Robert Zemeckis, who had previously directed "Forrest Gump" (1994, for which Zemeckis won the Oscar for Best Director), "Death Becomes Her" (1992), "Back to the Future" (1985) and "Romancing the Stone" (1984).Carl Sagan, with assistance from writers Ann Druyan, James V. Hart and Michael Goldenberg, slightly modified the original story by giving Dr. Arroway (played by Jodie Foster) a more personal adversary in another astronomer, Dr. David Drumlin (played by Tom Skerritt). At the beginning of the film, a brief exploration of Dr. Arroway's childhood (played by Jena Malone) is provided that helps to establish her purely scientific perception of reality that resulted in part from the passing away of her father, Ted Arroway (David Morse), who had also encouraged her love of science, astronomy and radio communications. As an astronomer, Dr. Arroway dedicated her work to the SETI project (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence), which Dr. Drumlin considers frivolous and potentially damaging to Dr. Arroway's credibility. With her governmental funding cut, Dr. Arroway eventually gets private funding after she approaches one of the world's richest and most influential men, S. R. Hadden (John Hurt). With funding secured, Dr. Arroway's search continues at the Very Large Array (VLA) near Socorro, New Mexico. With her unorthodox method of personally listening to outer space static, Dr. Arroway suddenly and unexpectedly hears a bizarre set of sounds. She immediately gets her team, which includes Kent Clark (William Fichtner), busy working on analyzing the signal, which likely comes from an extraterrestrial source. Once verified, she announces her discovery to the world via the news media, to the disdain of governmental officials including Dr. Drumlin, National Security Advisor Michael Kitz (James Woods) and then President Bill Clinton (himself via archive footage). It also gains explosive response from very religious individuals who don't necessarily share Dr. Arroway's enthusiasm, except for Father Palmer Joss (Matthew McConaughey), whom Dr. Arroway met in Puerto Rico in a more than casual sense. The content of the message itself raises some very large questions.What really brought Carl Sagan's vision to life in "Contact" was placing it within a contemporary timeframe. This included the use of many real events, people and places that included CNN, the VLA, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and many cameos from current politicians the television personalities (Jay Leno, Larry King, Geraldine A. Ferraro, Geraldo Rivera to name only a few). Also, Robert Zemeckis placed actors within archival footage in much the same way as he did with the film "Forrest Gump" in 1994. All of this, as well as superb acting from the principal actors (Jodie Foster, Tom Skerrit, Matthew McConaughey, John Hurt, William Fichtner and James Woods), great cinematography, wonderful sets and great special effects make this a brilliant film. Other memorable characters include Rachel Constantine (Angela Bassett), Richard Rank (Rob Lowe), the NASA Mission Director (Tucker Smallwood) and Joseph (Jake Busey). Some of the most memorable scenes in the film include Dr. Arroway hearing the message at the VLA, the public response, the political discussions, Dr. Arroway meeting S.R. Hadden, the machine, Dr. Arroway's relationship with Palmer, the pinnacle event and its aftermath.Overall, I rate "Contact" with a resounding 5 out of 5 stars. In my opinion, it portrays many very probable debates and reactions if astronomers ever actually do discover intelligent extraterrestrial communication signals. I applaud Carl Sagan for his vision, as well as Robert Zemeckis and the many actors and other people involved with the making of this very engaging and compelling film."
Engaging and surprisingly human in scale
Michael G | San Francisco, CA United States | 06/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is not your typical sci-fi movie. If you want spaceships blasting each other or evil aliens with mental powers, try Star Wars or Dark City. This is the culmination of a lifetime spent communicating the awesome potential of scientific discovery in layman's terms. I am, of course, speaking of Carl Sagan, the heart and soul of this movie.Sagan's vision, so eloquently translated by Robert Zemeckis and brought to life by Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey, is a realistic exploration of mankind's reaction to first contact with extraterrestrial intelligence. Skepticism, hope, wonder, fear, distrust, and wide-eyed enthusiasm greet the "Message from Vega." Zemeckis stays true to Sagan and delivers a thoughtful character study, a surprisingly even-handed debate on religion and science, and a commentary on mankind's readiness for entry into the Galactic milieu.One of the finest and most scientifically (circa 1990's) accurate sci-fi dramas of the past 10 years. (Except for the fact that we search thousands of frequencies at once, so humans don't actually listen to signals from space.) Foster's performance is worth the price of the movie."
A Brilliantly Crafted Movie
Steven Wood | Newcastle, UK | 06/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first read Carl Sagan's novel "Contact" as a teenager and was instantly hooked on the stories premise of intelligent beings sending us a coded message that held within it the blueprints to build a machine. It was a book I just couldn't put down and one that sticks in my mind as a truly great story. However I am always skeptical of films made from books, as they never capture the true essence of the story. This one did not disappoint though.Jodie Foster plays Ellie Arroway, a radio astronomer, desperately seeking signs of extraterrestrial life in the universe. This sign eventually manifests itself in the form of the above-mentioned message. What follows is a thought provoking journey of love, betrayal and political intrigue as she fights for the machine to be built and for her place on the maiden voyage. Her performance is full of enthusiasm and heartfelt emotion.The DVD is positively brimming with extras including insights on how certain special effects scenes where created as well as three (yes THREE! ) audio commentaries from Jodie Foster, the director Robert Zemeckis and the guys responsible for the special effects. Jodie's commentary is informative and she puts herself across as a very intelligent woman. As for picture and sound quality you cannot fault this DVD. The picture is crisp and flawless while the sound is an audio treat for the Home Cinema enthusiast. It will put your Dolby Digital amp to the test with plenty of use of surround sound, especially during the scenes within the machine. The opening scene with the camera pulling away from Earth will leave you in awe.In a nutshell this DVD is worth every penny and one that I will return to again and again.One to show your friends just how good DVD can be.Steve."
Kelly | Littleton, Colorado | 03/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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. "
No. 1 DVD - it doesn't get better than this
Stefan Schott | 12/04/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Excellent acting, outstanding directing and a thrilling story combine to produce an absolute masterpice of the science-fiction genre. SF - yes - but they make you believe it could happen exactly like this (and who knows - it might...). One of the most interesting facets of this movie is the fact that it has something that is rarely seen in Hollywood: a female heroine! Jodie foster brilliantly portrais a woman who is strong, intelligent, driven, courageous but also sensitive and emotional. Easily the strongest female character since Sigourney Weaver in "Alien". The DVD is a showcase in itself: the 5.1 digital sound is clearly the best in over 100 DVDs I've seen, extremely dynamic (if you have a subwoofer: tie it to the floor for the "liftoff" and journey parts of the movie or else it will bounce all across your living room), there are wonderful directional effects aplenty, the dialogues are crisp and easy to understand and the score is a beauty, too. For me the highlight are the full-length commentaries of Jodie Foster and director Zemeckis. They offer interesting and often humorous first hand insight into the making of this great movie. You learn a great deal about filmmaking (much more than through any "making-of" featurette), share toughts, feelings, even doubts of the people who brought this masterpiece to you and even learn about some memorable human episodes that happened during the shoot. Last but not least the image quality is very good, the contrast is high, the tonal balance is beautiful and the sharpness is way above what VHS could ever offer. This DVD is a true gem - I recommend it to everybody!"