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Overall Rating

Awesome: 22.67%
Worth A Look27.33%
Average: 14%
Pretty Bad: 11.33%
Total Crap: 24.67%

8 reviews, 102 user ratings

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by MP Bartley

"In the vast reaches of space lies...boredom."
2 stars

Robert Zemeckis has essentially spent his career being an imitator of Steven Spielberg. Yes, 'Back to the Future' is honestly one of the greatest films ever made, but Zemeckis is generally far too much in love with the tools of technology to spend the time integrating a story or human interest onto his films. After all, you hear films or directors being described as 'Spielberg-esque' but when was the last time you heard someone being described as 'Zemeckis-esque'? And 'Contact' is proof that he badly wants to his own version of 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'. And he does. Very badly indeed.

'Contact' sees a signal from deep space being received back on earth by scientist and astronomy nut, Dr. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster). She's unable to keep this news private however, and pretty soon the world is going mad. Is it an invasion? Is it coming in peace? Or is it a sign from God, which religious nut Palmer Joss (Matthew McConuaghey) believes? And just what does eccentric millionaire and space nut S.R. Hadden (John hurt) have to do with it?

'Contact' then, is a film full of nutty people obsessed with things that are quite likely to be boring to other people. Whereas the master stroke of 'Close Encounters' was to tell the story from the point of view of a blue collar worker and thus capture the imagination and terror of ordinary people, 'Contact' comes from the point of view of some very dull people, who already know huge reams of information about quantum physics, which unfortunately excludes the audience.

Zemeckis thinks that showing scientists running about, turning lots of computer screens on is exciting. It's not. Zemeckis thinks that shouting things like "All systems have gone nominal!" and "The pulse is re-aligned through our primary transmitter!" is pulsating, gripping dialogue. It's not. And he thinks that showing a blip on a computer screen is the epitome of nail-biting tension. It's not. You know what is exciting Robert? A big fuck-off spaceship appearing above Devil's Mountain. Like I say, he's obsessed with the technology not the people.

The only time he does try and invest some characters into the story, he falls back onto the achingly bad cliche of all scientists not being uptight, buttoned geeks, but long-haired, scruffy, surfer dudes who eat takeaway at their computer screens. It's an awful stereotype seemingly designed to make us think: "Oh, those wacky scientists. Beneath that intellectual exterior they're as laidback and as cool as the rest of us...". But that stereotype has never convinced before, and it certainly doesn't here.

'Contact' likes to think it's asking big questions about science against religion, but it's not, because it doesn't have a clue itself. Just because someone could ask you a question about quantum physics, doesn't automatically make them a genius, as they may not know the answers themselves.

The actors are lost at sea here, without a decent script to keep them company. Foster does a lame retread of her Clarice Starling portrayal (little woman struggling against lots of angry men) and the scene where she runs to the transmitter dish shouting lots of garbled scientific jargon is just embarrassing. McConaughey meanwhile couldn't be more miscast if he was trying to pull off Scarlett O'Hara, while John Hurt just floats around looking like he's stumbled in from being the Bond villain in 'Moonraker'.

'Contact' is essentially a big, empty-headed bore, with the occasional nifty special effect. If aliens did ever decide to come down and visit us and see what our culture was like, they'd take one look at 'Contact', laugh in our faces and go off to find a more interesting species. And I wouldn't blame them for a minute.

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originally posted: 04/13/05 20:49:12
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User Comments

11/07/14 josh messier Best film I have ever seen period! 5 stars
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
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
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  11-Jul-1997 (PG)



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