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Overall Rating
3.11

Awesome: 22.15%
Worth A Look27.52%
Average: 14.09%
Pretty Bad: 11.41%
Total Crap: 24.83%

8 reviews, 101 user ratings


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Contact
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Well-mounted but self-important sci-fi."
3 stars

I wonder when exactly it was that Robert Zemeckis became a mass-audience healer, dedicated to our enlightenment and improvement.

This, after all, is the man who gave us that hilarious ode to insincerity Used Cars ("You know, Mrs. Lopez, the color of your hair matches the color of these tires"). And even as recently as 1992 he made the memorably nasty Death Becomes Her -- whose box-office failure may explain Zemeckis' hard left turn into Serious Major Motion Pictures.

In Contact, as in his inescapable Forrest Gump, Robert Zemeckis tucks us in with an inspirational bedtime story. Both movies are fit for inclusion in William Bennett's Book of Virtues; they're companion pieces, really -- Gump toured America's past, while Contact turns its eyes to the future. And both movies have matching strengths and weaknesses. I actually liked Gump before it stopped being a movie and started being a pop-culture religion; I enjoyed its narrative sweep, its satisfying big-movie aura, and the same qualities kept me interested in Contact.

The movie is based on a novel by the late Carl Sagan, an enthusiastic scientist and thinker who was also a tad full of himself, as anyone who watched him on PBS' Cosmos can attest. Contact is full of itself, too -- swollen with hefty talk best left to college students lazing around a bong. Who are we? Why are we here? What is our destiny? Like, wow, man. The movie is like an extremely literal-minded answer to 2001, which hid maddening questions inside the folds of its narcotic mysticism. Contact poses questions only to provide its own warm and fuzzy answers. The universe is like a box of chocolates.

Acting for the first time since the awful Nell in 1994, Jodie Foster is once again alert and grounded, which is the best news about Contact. She's Ellie Arroway, a brilliant young astronomer driven to find a way to chat with whatever might be Out There. A skeptic and passionate scientist, she doesn't believe in God but does believe we're not alone; she's Mulder and Scully rolled into one -- she, too, wants to believe. And that, I'm afraid, turns out to be the emphasis of Contact. We've lost ourselves! We need faith in something -- anything!

Much of Contact unfolds in an anticipatory hush that's most welcome in this loud summer. The astrologers wait for a sign from the skies. They wait to figure out what the signal means. They wait for word from the White House. They wait to see who will be picked to go up in a spacecraft whose design has been encoded in the signals. Waiting and more waiting. Yet the movie isn't boring. Zemeckis still has superb, assured control of his filmmaking, if not his choice of material.

Contact yearns for a marriage of science and religion. The devotees gathering to await alien contact are like the Gump acolytes jogging across America, and Ellie becomes a Gump for Roswell junkies. After her trip through space, everyone thinks she hallucinated it, and her skepticism is thrown back at her. She can't prove what she saw; it's like God -- you just have to believe.

Zemeckis is telling us that the color of our souls matches the color of the cosmos. He's selling us used pieties.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=375&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/26/07 15:10:44
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User Comments

7/17/12 Phil K a very interesting,thought provoking film... 4 stars
1/17/11 Man out 6 Bucks Failed to send catholic Hitler and christopathic crusading terrorists down a black hole. 3 stars
11/20/09 JsmmyE Hi! tSlEshY 1 stars
9/24/09 JR Great review, Rob. One of the top 20 films of all time. Fantastic.. 5 stars
9/05/09 rob enjoyable watch, but just too silly in places, they could have made the script sharper 4 stars
3/08/09 SandySue I liked it - Jodie Foster and Matthew pick good ones 4 stars
10/14/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome Story! 5 stars
3/02/08 bronson Mejia intelligent 4 stars
7/27/07 R.W. Welch Murky sci-fi with romance angle that doesn't click. 3 stars
6/10/07 mb Very Interesting Story ... purely demonical New Age, however 4 stars
4/06/07 fools♫gold Intheend youchoosewhatyouwish2believe, andit'smuchbttrthn anythingEternalSunshine has2offer 5 stars
1/10/07 Booksworm "clark" is clearly an idiot.Excellent movie.FUCK anybody who doesn't like it. 5 stars
11/16/06 David Pollastrini a bit slow in places but still good 4 stars
8/26/06 brett An Awesome Beautifull sci-fi. 5 stars
4/30/06 R H Horton It sucks 1 stars
3/28/06 Brian Meyer Only movie I ever walked out on... not even "Batman and Robin". 1 stars
9/27/05 Carolyn Rathburn Good film, makes you wonder about life, out there 4 stars
9/21/05 Eric Fortune It was pretty good. The ending wasn't all it could be. 4 stars
9/04/05 Ritchie Kelly The movie is about Ellie's loneliness. She's at the loneliest age, in her 20s. She has no 5 stars
6/27/05 tony Very slow. slow everything. thank god my ass was itchy during this movie! 1 stars
6/20/05 Adam If you have insomnia rent this overated flick....ZZZzzzz 2 stars
5/22/05 Cham I watched the whole movie to find out that her father is an alien?!?!?!?! 1 stars
5/06/05 Mind Junkie It coulda been better 4 stars
4/24/05 Charlene Javier Call me stupid but it was boring! 2 stars
4/23/05 Kim I found it watchable. 3 stars
4/22/05 Roy Smith Worth a Look - if you love cliche's. It's actually boring! 2 stars
4/21/05 Carolyn Rathburn I enjoyed this film, it certainly makes you wonder what might be out there 4 stars
4/20/05 Krisan I liked it, i thought it had wonderful visuals 4 stars
4/20/05 Dan Good and intelligent sci-fi, but read the book first. 4 stars
4/17/05 Junior LaROche Loved it! Book was better, but Carl Sagan rocks! You have to like it for the story. 4 stars
4/16/05 Linda Denisen Thought it was worth watching and imaginative. 3 stars
4/16/05 Gail Crawford great sci-fi movie 4 stars
4/14/05 I-K No wonder they waited until Carl Sagan died to make it. 1 stars
4/14/05 Roy Smith Vince needs a brain implant. Proteus is far, far too kind. 2 stars
8/01/04 Vince Proteus should be executed. This is a great Sci Fi movie 5 stars
5/20/04 Proteus Excrement. Bumbling, preachy, and pretentious. tries for 2001, looks like Pigs in Space. 1 stars
4/13/04 John Humanity portayed at it's finest-- and worst 5 stars
4/08/04 Jon This film coulda used some trimming lengthwise; in any case, I liked it. 4 stars
2/18/04 Chicken731 Obviously if you think this movie sucks, you did not understand the ending. Read the book! 5 stars
2/13/04 Des This is an amazing film, it makes the audience think - why are all the ratings 5 or 1? 5 stars
12/26/03 Mason This movie is not for people with small brains. 5 stars
10/12/03 JimmyC Horrible 1 stars
9/29/03 Michael What's wrong with all the critics here - this is one of the finest movies ever made 5 stars
8/09/03 Nicole Very good, but the ending was kind of crappy 4 stars
7/09/03 natasha_theobald bold enough to expect the audience to think and accept the unknown 5 stars
6/18/03 Angolmois Manipulative schmaltz which manages to insult both emotions and intellect. 1 stars
4/04/03 Jack Bourbon At least Jodie Foster didn't get naked in this one. 3 stars
3/27/03 Ionicera good film, banal ending 3 stars
3/25/03 Jack Sommersby Heavy-handed nonsense. 1 stars
2/26/03 Francy Intelligent plot, great Jodie, serene and solemn music. 5 stars
11/19/02 Nevz Watch it up to the last 5 minutes. 5 stars
10/22/02 Charles Tatum B grade sci-fi with huge budget 4 stars
8/19/02 Nevz I loved this film, what an excellent story. 5 stars
8/05/02 KMG I COULD'VE DONE WITHOUT THE MORAL MESSAGE 4 stars
4/08/02 Film Guy One of the best films ever made 5 stars
3/29/02 George Good movie. Too bad OZ didn't get half of it. 4 stars
3/01/02 Andrew Carden Boring Sci-Fi Flick. Way Too Long, Although Woods Did An OK Job In His Meaningless Role. 2 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Such a slow film...I lost interest. 2 stars
12/26/01 doug Very good film!...until the end which totally screws it. Very stupid ending. 3 stars
10/26/01 Da Oompa This movie had SO much potential. I hate Skerritt almost as much as Alan Thicke. 3 stars
10/18/01 ron20003 Screw the movie - Read the Book 1 stars
10/15/01 Bod Goy Enough stones? I think it's possible for people to genuinely love this movie. Which I do 5 stars
8/29/01 Gary I hate this so much. This film annoyed me so much I almost ate my own fist. 1 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk Jodie Foster's a rug-munching has-been. Fuck her and fuck this movie. 1 stars
7/06/01 Rich Cirivilleri poetry. Graceful, thoughtful, lyrical. Foster deserved the oscar. fuck the academy! 5 stars
5/28/01 cinkcool Good until the ending. Very anticlimatic. Ruins the movie. 1 stars
5/04/01 The Jedi Droid hated it 1 stars
4/24/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) I agree 150% with {{OZ}}'s review. Too bad he's the only one with enough stones to say it. 2 stars
3/27/01 Jesse L Do NOT see this movie if you are sober... 1 stars
3/17/01 S A It's a great film 5 stars
3/15/01 URA1999 This is the greatest film I've ever seen 5 stars
3/12/01 Jon Cotleur Let me get this straight: First Contact gets 'Awesome', Contact only gets 'Worth a look'? 5 stars
2/16/01 Jake This was actually quite comical so I gave it **. 2 stars
2/15/01 viking You're a complete twerp, Naushad !!! This is REAL sci-fi. 5 stars
12/02/00 Naushad Phoney SF.Story lacks pace and energy.Wooden performances.Utterly boring. 1 stars
11/13/00 The EVIL Penguin a fine experience 3 stars
10/13/00 Ant Jodie Foster, like she has done before, takes this film beyond the ordinary 4 stars
5/02/00 Overflow Bitch I loved it !! Well done. Foster great as usual, great story. 4 stars
4/12/00 TJ St John Intelligent science fiction!!!! 5 stars
3/04/00 yankee this asks great questions, what if...needs to be explored more, but then we might get crap 4 stars
12/28/99 gepetto one of the best movies to come out of the 90's 5 stars
10/17/99 Shelagh A special film. Wasn't Jodie Foster really good ? 5 stars
8/20/99 Japtalian I respect intelligent sci-fi and this was that. 4 stars
6/13/99 Vick Di Brecci Larry King and Bernard Shaw are whores and Clinton should have sued. 4 stars
5/10/99 Beachlovr9 Excellent 5 stars
5/03/99 HI! It ROCKED godammit! 5 stars
3/17/99 Ah Dooey Extraordinary sci-fi movie, definitely incredible than Species and its sequel. 4 stars
3/05/99 Eric Walker It moved me. Wasn't meant to answer questions...but to ask them. 5 stars
2/03/99 James E. Laczkowski This is one of the most extraordinary films of the decade! Jodie Foster is incredible 5 stars
1/15/99 Dasha I loved this movie, and Jodie was great as always 5 stars
1/09/99 Thorn Silvertree The first 180 seconds alone are worth the price of the film. 5 stars
12/10/98 Freyja Smart movie. Unfortunately, stupid audience. Go watch the Waterboy. 5 stars
11/25/98 Fred This wins the MTT award: for Most Tolerable Techies. Only good sci-fi movie of the 90's 4 stars
11/13/98 Jules Very close to the book. Boring and preachy. +Enough fucking worm tunnel sequences already! 2 stars
10/27/98 Silent Rob IF you enjoyed the Sagan book, this movie does deliver some of the goods. 4 stars
10/25/98 Lord Of The Dunce URGH! I HATED this movie. Zero chemistry between the leads and HUUUUGE plotholes. Ugh. Ban. 1 stars
9/17/98 Miss LILI The most FUCKIN BORINGEST movie ever !!!! 1 stars
9/17/98 Ben Affleck Not bad at all.. Smoothe sailing movie, with some really cool scenes. 4 stars
8/23/98 Mister Whoopee Nothing of merit except the cool steadicam shot. Otherwise, crap. 2 stars
8/17/98 {{{OZ}}} Total crap. Fooling morons into thinking they're seeing a good film by making it long 2 stars
8/17/98 J-Guy (The MFC) pretty good. the end was a let down. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  11-Jul-1997 (PG)

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