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Two-time Oscar winner Jodie Foster stars in this visionary drama based on Carl Sagan's novel about human kind's first encounter with extraterrestial life, directed by another Oscar winner, Robert Zemeckis.]]>
From the Back Cover
- Commentary by Jodie Foster
- Commentary by Robert Zemeckis and Steve Starkey
- Commentary by Ken Ralston and Stephen Rosenbaum
- Four special-effects featurettes
- Music-only audio track
- Theatrical trailers
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Jodie Foster and Jena Malone make Ellie a fully realized, three dimensional character with texture and depth. Matthew McConnaughey delivers the first taste of what he is capable of as a serious actor (what we will later see proof of in A Time To Kill and True Detective). David Morse and William Hurt play, by turns, Ellie's iconic father and father figures without which she would never have had the strength to see things through. William Fichtner leads a cast of wonderful irregulars as Ellie's colleagues and compatriots.
What this movie offers from it's first shot - one of my favorite in ALL of film - is a sense of scale and beauty.
Scale by means of the sheer immensity of creation.
Beauty in the way that all that creation is filled from the macroscopic to the microscopic.
As a young boy, this movie helped me see what kind of a father I would want some day to be. It gave me the phrase often repeated to my own children - "Small moves, Ellie. Small moves." Mr. Sagan and Mr. Zemeckis both grasp the essence of wonder native to the human spirit and weave the fabric of a film that, decades later, still maintains a timeless elegance and essential dignity.
Shooting at Arecibo in Puerto Rico and the Very Large Area in New Mexico lend the film scope and grandeur no soundstage or green screen ever could.
Ellie has become a role model. Life is hard. It takes will and a willingness to meet it both rigidly and openly. The trick is knowing the difference.
William Hurt as Hadden has been a role model of a different type. A reminder not to think flexibly without compromising one's core self, to forge new paths past impossibility, and never accept a thing just because others think it so - things like endings. The importance of playing on one's own terms.
Three generations have been effected by this film in my household. I trust that will extend over time.
It stars Jodie Foster as a scientist who tenaciously clings to her SETI explorations despite obstacles and resistance from her boss (Tom Skerritt). Just before the plug is pulled and Foster's Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence team is evicted from Socorro, NM's Very Large Array radio astronomy observatory, they get a hit. Monitored signals originating from the Vega constellation send a mix that includes a 1936 TV broadcast from Nazi Germany of the Berlin Olympics, the first high-powered signals of such a type. These apparently took 26 years to reach Vega, and 26 years to be bounced back.
Not as a criticism of the plot, but this raises a question in my mind. I know little of physics, so it'll probably sound as dumb as I am on the subject. If there's nothing in the universe that's perpetual, including energy, how can a radiowave, which is a sort of energy (yes?), travel billions of miles without dissipating?
Anyway, news of this discovery brings out the lunatic fringe, each group converging on Socorro, all with different agendas. Most amusing are the Chevy Vega car clubs; most frightening, some scruffy Neo-Nazis and a raving "end-of-the-world" proselytizer.
When sub-frequncies are unscrambled and a language decoded, scientists are able to construct a one-person craft (from instructions sent by an unknown ET) that will instantly transport a passenger across the universe. Unseen events occur and Jodie is the one selected to make this voyage.
A "traveling through a wormhole" sequence is terrific and quite scary. Jodie arrives safely on a planet somewhere in Vega. The next scene is so obviously foreshadowed early in the film the alert viewer is expecting it, and yet I found the experience to be very emotionally stimulating. In hindsight, it occurred to me that we were SUPPOSED to know what's coming. Not being caught off-guard is what makes the moment so satisfying.
Bottom line is: I love this movie. See it, by ALL means!
Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 IMDb viewer poll rating.
(7.3) Contact (1997) - Jodie Foster/Matthew McConaughey/Tom Skerritt/James Woods/David Morse/William Fichtner/Angela Bassett/John Hurt/Rob Lowe/Jake Busey (plus TV personalities Larry King, Jay Leno, Robert Novak, Bernard Shaw and Bryant Gumbel)