Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Contact [Blu-ray]
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on November 25, 2004
I originally viewed this at the theater. Later purchased the DVD. And view the movie again from time to time. No other movie is as good to watch repeatedly as this one to me.

Jodie Foster does an excellent job in the key character of this movie. And a fine supporting cast do quite well working to make all the events seem plausibly quite real.

Of the negative reviews I see here, they seem to fall into three categories. One is people who knew nothing of Carl Sagan's writings. And think the movie should be juiced up. One is people who read the book and don't like the changes made. And finally those who don't like the treatment of religion or the manner in which the science seemed at odds with religion as portrayed here.

If you aren't familiar with Carl Sagan, then you are possibly looking for the wrong thing from this movie. It isn't a sci-fi thriller meant to mindlessly entertain for a short while.

If you don't like the changes from the book, well I think that a matter of taste. I thought the changes didn't diminish too much the ideas from the book. And some concessions have to be made when books become movies.

For those not liking the portrayal of science and the way it is sometimes at odds with religion I can only say it must have seemed that way to Carl Sagan. And I think it often is at odds. As we advance in science as a culture it will be more at odds in the future. Some compromises or changes will have to occur. This movie left that open ended. As it must do to be honest.

In my opinion, 5 stars all the way.
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on March 21, 2000
I remember walking out of "Contact" struck by how unusual a film it was for a summer release. Not an action film, not a romance flick, not a comedy, "Contact" was a serious exploration of the roles faith and science play in our daily lives, and it asks a good question of us- how compassionate are we really? Do we accept the beliefs of others, or do we stay to our own narrow beliefs? (Appropriately, I saw the movie in our nation's capitol, just a block or two away from where numerous scenes take place in the film.)
The short and sweet of the plot is this: Jodie Foster plays an atheist scientist whose quest to find life on another world is rewarded with a signal one day carrying instructions on how to construct a machine capable of transporting a human being. I won't give away too much else. Suffice to say I was impressed by how the film handled the message and the response- it was not melodramatic and seems quite plausible. The viewer gets the feeling that if mankind does ever make contact, this would be how it was done. The question of whether there is extraterrestrial life out there is a daunting one- to put it mildly it would be the greatest discovery in the history of mankind and would fundamentally challenge virtually all of the assumptions mankind has made about our place in the universe.
Foster is quite good, but I found Matthew McConaughey's role as Foster's love interest and a religious thinker to be a little hard to swallow. He's a talented actor to be sure (he was terrific in "A Time to Kill"), but he was miscast here. James Woods and Tom Skerrit don't impress as the film's two villains, but the story and Foster are strong enough to carry the movie along despite some weak characters.
Does the movie demonize religion? For the most part: no. The unfortunate casting aside, McConaughey's character has an important role to play here in making it abundantly clear that faith and reason need not conflict and that mankind can believe in god and still be able to question the world around ourselves. A good message, but one that the film only half-heartedly makes.
In terms of technical execution, "Contact" has much going for it. It all looks plausible, like we are watching a documentary instead of a fiction film. The sequences involving CNN reporters and clips of President Clinton (re-edited to make it appear like he was commenting on events in the film) blur the line between fiction and fact.
On the balance, well done. This is a film that will impress and make people think. Good work.
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on June 17, 2004
I thought that "Contact" was a bit boring at first when I saw it back when it came out in 1997 but I was much younger then and now that I'm older, I later have found this movie to be really amazing and powerful.
The moivie is the tale of a woman who when searching the skies through a radio telescope picks up a mysterious signal that is not from a human made radio device and this causes a frenzy across the U.S. and her goal is to find out what it is by menas of special machines the size of large apartment buildings to make 'contact' with the sender of this mysterious signal.
This movie is just amazing. I at first didn't like it a whole lot back then but now I think it's one of the smartest sci-fi movies made in the 1990s and I strongly recommend this movie. It may be a bit slow in parts but overall, this is a highly rewarding movie and is one of Jodie Foster's best movies of her career to date.
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on July 31, 2011
Fraught with controversies and lawsuits, misinformation, outright lies; it's a miracle of stubbornness that this film ever got made and has such a devoted (overprotective) following. Personally, I don't know what to make of this film. It frustrates and annoys me and yet I found it absolutely absorbing, something I couldn't turn away from, even at its lowest ebb. At all times it is entertaining. But it is also manipulative, filled with stock character types rather than genuine people, and a story that is obvious; nothing truly surprised me about this film. And yet, I still liked it. I'm trying to figure out why.
The opening sequence is magical in its simplicity and beauty. It gives one pause to wonder. Unfortunately, how and why we wonder is soon taken away from us by a story that literally maps out exactly what we should feel, when, and why. Allowing us to arrive at our own conclusions was taken away, I find that galling and not a little insulting. I was also put off by the heavy handed way in which religion was presented (making Christians either lunatics or self-righteous nitwits). This was less a story about discovery and more about the politics that might surround such an incredible occurrence. All the fringe ugliness dampened whatever enthusiasm would be inherent in such a life altering moment. This is a great idea, mishandled. Why the botched "contact" moment? Why all the nastiness with James Woods maniacal character? If you want to tarnish and kill an ending, that's the way to do it!
On the other hand....there is that magnificent performance by Jodie Foster (and Jena Malone) as Dr. Eleanor Arroway. John Hurt was bizarre (in a good way) as the mysterious S.R. Hadden. It was so nice to see David Morse play something other than a bad guy, the same goes for William Fichtner.
In the end, I find myself justifying why I liked this movie in spite of all its negative points (that would include Jake Busey & Rob Lowe). I think that what I liked most was the notion that this could be possible, and wouldn't it be great if it was. I think that for a film to inspire that (hope) is something special in itself.

I've often found myself peering up at the night sky, wondering if anyone is out there...wondering if anyone is out there.
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on September 6, 2004
Directed by Robert Zemeckis of "Forrest Gump" fame, there are the same type of visual effects, and more, in "Contact", a movie about receiving an earth-originated TV-broadcast from the star Vega, 26 light-years from Earth.

Jodie Foster plays astro-scientist Ellie Arroway, who is listening for signals from space, and finally detects one. After decoding the message, NASA builds a large machine that was described in blueprints contained within the message. Ellie's slimey boss, played by Tom Skerritt, is selected to be the designated passenger in the machine, but the test-launch is sabotaged by a religious lunatic, killing Skerritt and destroying the machine. Luckily, there is a second machine, secretly built in Japan, and Ellie is chosen to man it. She ends up taking the ride of her life.

The movie co-stars Jena Malone as Ellie as a girl, William Fichtner as a blind astro-scientist, James Woods as the National Security Agency head, and Matthew McConaughey as a not-quite-priest who develops a relationship with Ellie.

The 2-1/2 hour movie is very well made, has many special effects (some are the type you don't notice), generally good acting, and an interesting premise.

The inexpensive DVD has 3 commentaries - one by Zemeckis, one by Foster, and one by the special effects guys; analysis of several specific special effects; sparse analysis of a few computer-animated concepts; includes extensive text-based behinds the scenes information.

Based on Carl Sagan's book "Contact" which interweaves military, religious and science aspects to space-travel. The movie science is suspect, but the story and bigger ideas are solid. Take "the ride".
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on December 4, 2000
while i'm not generally a fan of adaptions, this film is one of the few that manages to stand alone while keeping the message and spirit of the original work intact. one of the smartest and most spiritual films of the genre, this is a movie that even those who aren't necessarily fans of sci-fi can enjoy. jodie foster is absolutely luminous in the central role of dr. ellie arroway - a woman driven to find intelligent life in outer space. as the movie unfolds, we learn where that goal and that drive come from. matthew mc conaughey is suprisingly strong as reverend palmer joss, a man intent on helping others findfaith in a society that worships technology. the supporting players are also exceptional -- particularly william fichtner as a blind colleague of dr. arroway's, and the constantly underrated david morse as her father, the man who fostered her quest. even tom skerritt stops chewing scenery long enough to turn in a good performance. contact is moving, thought-provoking, and entertaining, as well as visually stunning from first frame to last, and stays with the viewer long after the credits have rolled.
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on February 10, 2004
When you see a film made by Robert Zemeckis, you can be sure that you are going to find three things in such movie:
1).- THE MOVIE HAS OUSTANDING TECHNICAL LEVEL: "Contact" has excellent visual effects, the worm holes seem very realistic, when Jodie Foster travels to another "planet", the scene looks spectacular. The photography in "Contact" is very detailed. The shots that show the outer space and the natural beauties surrounding the research centers are proof of the high technical level of the team behind "Contact". The use of footage of popular characters (like Bill Clinton) look as real or even more real that the scenes in "Forrest Gump" (same technical team behind "Contact", but with more experience and more technology than where they did "Forrest Gump" in 1994). By the way, the music is also perfect for this film, the composer was Alan Silvestri.
2).- THE MOVIE HAS AN INTERESTING CAST: in "Contact", we can find popular actors like Jodie Foster, James Woods, John Hurt, Tom Skerritt, Rob Lowe and Matthew McConaughey.
3).- THE MOVIE WILL BE INTERESTING, PERHAPS WILL BE FASCINATING: and "Contact" isn't the exception to this rule. The human beings are always interested in the study of other planets and solar systems, and we are always wandering if there is life in other place besides the Earth.
Robert Zemeckis is a director capable of tell a story in his movies, he has a lot of tricks and resources, he is very creative and he is always surrounded by the right people in every movie that he makes. Another interesting movies filmed by Robert Zemeckis are: "Forrest Gump", "Back To The Future", "Cast Away" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?".
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on December 27, 1999
It's been a long time since a big-budget Hollywood movie moved me as much as this film did. And CONTACT is *huge*! There are special effects galore; a broad, sweeping story concerning outer space and alien contact; and lots of technology in between. But at its heart is Jodie Foster. What a performance! I never knew she could be so soulful. She plays the resourceful, plucky heroine again, but this time Ms. Foster opens up and shows us so much more depth. The scene in which she witnesses the cosmos and cries, "They should have sent a poet" is breathtaking.
Now, the DVD is pretty cool too! Ms. Foster's commentary channel is a revelation. And the step-by-step process of creating the digital effects is interesting as well. It is truly amazing what computers have done for visual effects. I'm not sure I understand how some of the effects were done even after watching the demo reels on the DVD!
They've truly done a first class job on this DVD. The film is remarkable and the DVD simply proves (again!) the superiority of the format over VHS.
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on November 29, 2014
The film that has most influenced my work and life. Because I am a "man of the cloth without the cloth" and a "woman on a mission" who is often considered nuts, studying something most people consider far out: how to heal the body with your bare hands.

Contact is really about Connection. About being willing to go where few will go. Inspiration we need right now.
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HALL OF FAMEon September 11, 2004
CONTACT poses the philosophical dilemma revolving around the existence of God..or a God. Scientists are thought to believe only those things which can be proven...there has always been a battle between religion and science. Carl Sagan's book and Robert Zemecki's movie are not afraid to approach this dilemma. And it's ironic that in the end, the scientist faces a panel that asks for proof. It's a difficult question, and no answers are given.

The movie itself is a panoramic visual delight from the awesome opening to Ellie's travel to a distant galaxy. Although the movie is a little long in the tooth, Zemeckis coaches a dynamite performance from Jodie Foster. In her role as Ellie, Foster embodies the soul of a woman who has spent her life searching for answers, wanting to believe that there's more to life than us and our planet. Using her distinctive voice, those beautiful eyes, and her heart-felt performance, Foster brings life to a complex, yet innocent, woman. Matthew McConaughey as the spiritual former priest, Palmer Joss, uses his star power to enliven an otherwise poorly developed character. The supporting cast has some good performances from William Fichter, as Ellie's blind companion; James Wood as a slimy National Security director; Tom Skerritt as the underhanded scientist who mocks Ellie and then when something occurs, takes the glory, and Angela Bassett as an aide to the president. Zemeckis uses his FORREST GUMP technique of inserting the then real President Clinton into the film to authenticate the action.

The film works mainly because of Foster. This two time Oscar winner shows why she's one of our finest actresses.
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