Sunday, 27 December 2015

I've Just Seen: Contact (1997)

Contact (1997)

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Director: Robert Zemeckis

Contact is a mix between Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Howard's Apollo 13, and clearly influenced the story of Nolan's Interstellar; there was little doubt that I would enjoy this. Add to that  Jodie Foster, who seems to have been born a good actor, and you have over two hours of clever, enjoyable science-fiction.

The visuals are little dated, but nothing compared to many other films of the time. The opening shot is still beautiful, as we travel back in time through space accompanied increasingly older music, until we emerge out from Ellie Arroway's eye. There is also joy to be had in looking at the old school technology of video, phones and even the computers.

Jodie Foster's Ellie is all you would want in a scientist: cool, collected but also passionate in her pursuit of knowledge. She may be too secure in some of her opinions, but so is everyone else. Matthew McConaughey's Palmer Joss is interesting, though his character felt a touch undeveloped.

The debates around science and religion raised in the film are interesting, and I could imagine such debates occurring were we to connect with intelligent alien life. The twist at the film's end is clever, and is left open-ended enough for us to wonder what Ellie really experiences.

Thought-provoking and emotionally satisfying.

4 comments:

  1. Did you read the book? This would make for a very interesting comparison between film and book. I totally loved the book, one of the best and most realistic story about first contact I ever read. By comparison I thought the movie fell short on a number of important points, especially on the science vs religion issue. Maybe I should watch it again now that the book is more at a distance.

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    1. I haven't read the book, but will look it up. The science vs. religion debate felt a little simplified, but seeing as this is a mainstream movie, the serious approach to the topic was refreshing.

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  2. This is a truly great film and it does something so rare that it might be unique. Very few mainstream films treat either science or faith correctly and respectfully. Having either one treated right is a rare pleasure. Seeing both treated right, and compared/contrasted with each other, is something I cannot remember seeing in any other film. And I've seen my share of movies.

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    1. I agree, both tend to get presented in their extremes or stereotypes. I really liked that Ellie's character wasn't vehemently 'anti-religion,' it just wasn't something she believed. I can't think of any other movie like this, and I haven't seen as many films as you, so it is clearly rare!

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