You know, like Oz, I thought this flick was going to be great. I mean, it's written by Carl Sagan, one of the most recognized scientists in the world. Academy award winning director Robert Zemeckis, and Jodie Foster, what more would you want? Well, I was wrong, totally wrong. Sure, the film had its moments, but in the key moments it fails miserably, and falls short of its goals. I tried to like this movie, really tried, but, honestly, it was a mere piece of shit.Lets see, Ellie Arroway (Foster) is a scientist, working for the SETI, and is sent to Arecibo, Puerto Rico to work on the big dish they have there, listen to alien signals and stuff. We also get to see flashbacks of her youth and her ambition for the outer space, plus the hurting from the death of her father Ted (David Morse). He meets Palmer Joss (Mathew McConaughey), a former reverend, whose writing a book and is trying to reach David Drumlin (Tom Skerrit), Ellie’s boss to get an interview and try to get stuck into politics. But Drumlin shuts Ellie down, and tries to find another dish station in the US, and does, thanks to an unknown fundraiser. Then after months of search she receives an alien signal, and soon after a few researches, they find out is a machine to travel through time and space, and the media and the hype explode. But who’ll be the one that steps into it?
Ok, so, writers James Hart and Michael Goldenberg, who adapted the script from Sagan’s best-selling book were fully concentrated to make the delicate matter of Science and alien life believable. I mean it’s the basis of the entire message. The high point of this film is that they succeed in this. My physics teacher always said that it would be mathematically impossible to think that we’re the only race in the universe, it would be a scary thought, no wonder God was created, to keep us calm and to guard us from fear. It’s true isn’t it? Well, that’s another point, but still, I applauded that point that the film makes, and if you’re a rational person, you’ll certainly know that there IS life out there in space.
Only in the last one there’s a problem, the characters ramble about God vs. Science and all that stuff, but if you listen to the outcome of the argument, there isn’t any outcome at all. It starts but never ends, that’s because it never does. The arguments are left halfway from the discussion and you never get the final conclusions of why God doesn’t exist or why Science is inaccurate. Maybe it’s to make you think, but you never get a neutral statement of why this is. It leaves you empty handed.
And unfortunately, while the film spends all the time in it’s point of end which is the extraterrestrial credibility, it crumbles on it’s point of origin, which in the end, manages to crumble and fuck up a really promising movie: terrestrial credibility. As the film approaches the obvious, where Ellie gets the signal, then all of a sudden everyone in the word can hear it. It appears on many new shows CNN and all that stuff. Of course you’ll tell me, “ well Slyder, Ellie said to call everybody.” True, so the next logical step for the US government is to immediately militarize the operation. Remember Roswell 1947? The same thing happened, and the US government acted quickly to shelter the case and say that it was just a weather balloon that went awry. I say it’s logical, since that’s been the policy for like 30 years, it has always been that way, but not here. The script handles the government all throughout the film like a bunch of idiots giving out the unprepared masses the news, when in fact this should be a national security mater. I mean these guys would’ve come with any excuse, shut Ellie up or threaten her and the thing would be a secret. But the script never does that, that never happens, and thanks to this factual error, the film drops the bombshell as the Government guy tell everything to CNN again about EVERYTHING. No way, that was some illogical shit.
The film also blows it in a big way, when the machine gets built. Now if you were a logical person, you wouldn’t just start building something when you don’t even know what the hell it is for. Enter the fear factor. Why do you think scientist spent like many, many years in investigating unknown phenomena’s and other things? But no, out of the blue, just a few days after discovery, the thing starts to get build. It was even more illogical and ridiculous to see that since this motherfucker cost like lots of trillions of dollars to build, there was no security at all to prevent that extremist Christian with C4 in his body from blowing the machine to hell. That blew the movie for me. It was so illogically unbelievable that you can’t help but to stare at the screen and sigh and say, “Well, there goes another great film.” With those plotholes, that’s more than enough to kill the greatness the film tried to get within its grasp. A friend of mine once advised me on a feature that I wrote to better stick with the facts than try to editorialize and come up with all types of nonsensical bullshit. The same is true with this film.
The film even topples from the start, Ellie’s relationship with Palmer is never believable, and there’s no chemistry at all, it’s a cold relationship, and it never develops, they just ramble, kiss, fuck and ramble again, but never comes out of that circle. At the end of the movie, you won’t even give a shit, about them, you’ll be better off distracted about the message brought through unfortunately ill-fated plotholes that for the sake of the storyline kills the point it tries to make.
The acting wasn’t even that great, worse of all McConaughey’s role of Palmer was totally extremely girlish like, that it was stupid, at times laughable. Foster overacts her role so many times, she looks more like she’s struggling, trying to impress the Academy to give her another Oscar nod if not the Oscar. The rest of the cast was ok, though you could see the embarrassment somehow in their faces. You can’t say anything about Zemeckis, he just did his best to come up with the ideas on how the film should be and look, and unfortunately it relied on a bad blueprint that in the end, instead of rocking the house, it ended burning the house down.In the end, if you want to see this film, go ahead, just see it for what the film is trying to say, but if I were you, I’d read the novel. Sincerely, this film is not worth of your time. In most of its levels it never gives you the spark to make you think of what it has to say since it never really does. The message is clear; sadly the flaws blur it into almost total blackout. I feel sorry for Carl Sagan; this film should’ve been better if they wanted to honor a great scientist like him. What a way to make him rest in peace, it will make him roll over his grave even more. Bad, oh bad.
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originally posted: 10/15/01 13:41:21