[Review] 'Contact': The Search For Extraterrestrial Life
“You're capable of such beautiful dreams and such horrible nightmares. You fell so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we found that makes the emptiness bearable, each other.”
Robert Zemeckis’ 1997 science-fiction bravado, CONTACT, is a truly remarkable film. It’s awing, inspiring and fully ambitious with its ideas of exploration, discovery and, you guessed it, contact.
Jodie Foster leads the film astoundingly with the prime goal of searching for intelligent life. Her role finds purpose in that goal, and the performance finds itself well in that issue of discovering what else lies out there.
The film plays true with the much conflicted debacle of faith vs science. Can science prove faith right? Does science prove what faith can’t? Does faith overpower logical beliefs that we hold in our sciences? The age-long question of faith vs science has plagued our human desire for discovery and evolution for centuries and it continues to hold its place as a destined debacle of wether we should pursue evolution and discovery.
The visual effects might be the weakest part of the film; it is dodgy - though understandable for a film from 1997, before the major commercialization and evolution of CGI as a prime in the film industry. Zemeckis’ mighty and interstellar ambition with the film and where he wanted to take it definitely outweighed the dire visual effects needed to fuel that ambition and bring it to life, especially considering the age in which the production of Contact took place in.
Were it for modern visual effects to replace the outdated effects currently used in the film, it would’ve been a major improvement. The evolved nature of modern CGI and visual effects would’ve added a much needed visual and ambitiously aided boost to Zemeckis’ ambitious vision of the film, especially with its launch and space sequences. However, to say its effects are horrible for a film from 1997 are unfair, so as to say, Contact would’ve been a much better film, in terms of its visuals matching its ambition, were it to be made today. But considering the time it was made in, the visuals used to showcase the film’s ambition are definitely worth some praise.
Robert Zemeckis’ truly human sci-fi feature about the discovery of intelligent life is nothing short of inspiring. Jodie Foster’s encouraging performance paired with the ambition of the film’s courageous and meaty concept ensure a genuine and daring experience. CONTACT is a sincerely thought-provoking introspective into the mortal pursuit of discovery.