26  SEP
Dad, do you think there's people on other planets?
I don't know, Sparks. But I guess I'd say if it is just us... seems like an awful waste of space.

Directed by  Robert Zemeckis
Written by  Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, Michael Goldenberg
Starring:  Jodie Foster (Dr. Eleanor Arroway)
Matthew McConaughey (Palmer Joss)
James Woods (Michael Kitz)
John Hurt (S.R. Hadden)
Tom Skerritt (Dr. David Drumlin)
Runtime: 150 minutes
Contact, based on the novel of the same name by Carl Sagan, is the story of a free thinking radio astronomer (Jodie Foster) who discovers an intelligent signal broadcast from deep space. She and her fellow scientists are able to decipher the Message and discover detailed instructions for building a mysterious Machine. Will the Machine spell the end of our world, or the end of our superstitions? Will we take our place among the races of the Galaxy, or are we just an upstart species with a long way to go? - Ed Howell

Yet another movie about the first contact between humans and aliens? A sort of remake of the classical 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010? An Independence Day with 'good' aliens? Probably a mix of all these things, but Contact is far more than this, it's one of the most intelligent science fiction movies I've ever seen.

First of all it doesn't push technology beyond the limit, everything looks quite believable. There aren't major flaws in the story and the development of the events is very logical given what happens in the first place, including the government 'interference', the conspiracies and the reaction of the masses.

There are many intellectual speeches and religious debates, the whole movie seems more mind-oriented than physical-oriented unlike most SF movies. The 'space tour' seems to be a mind journey more than a phisical one, the benefits to the human society given by the aliens are analysed more on the spiritual side than on then practical/technological side.

The few special effects are very well made (except the classical space tunnel seen in so many movies!), in particular the 'machine' is simple but still impressive. The underlying love-story is not pushed too much, it would have been boring and distracting if it was more prominent. There is also a very carefully tuned proportion in the various sub-plots, none of which ever overtakes the main plot.

Although the movie is quite long, it is very catching from the great opening sequence to the last scenes. There is no proper 'action' but there are various scenes that don't add much to the story but that enrich and widen it. The finale is a bit 'stretched' (all the last three scenes could have been the last one!) but it is still very effective.

Rating: 8.0  ****

Links:  Official Site




© Copyright Sergio Monesi, 1997-1999.
Last updated: 25 Jun 1999