In this Zemeckis-directed adaptation of the Carl Sagan novel, Dr. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster) races to interpret a possible message originating from the Vega star system. Once first contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence is proven, Arroway contends with restrictive National Security Advisor Kitz (James Woods) and religious fanatics bent on containing the implications of such an event. An incredible message is found hidden in the signal, but will Arroway be the one to answer its call?
The movie is based on the novel of the same name written by the famous astronomer and astrophysicist, Carl Sagan. The story outline is by Carl Sagan and his wife Ann Druyan. Screenplay is by James V. Hart and Michael Goldenberg and they have made quite a few changes. The movie gives too much importance to Mathew McConaughey’s character and also turns him into her romantic interest. His showing up everywhere did not make sense. Also it felt the movie concentrated too much on the whole Religion vs Science thing and was trying to bat for religion indirectly.
Its not the usual science fiction movie but is more geared to make one think – raising questions about faith versus science. It takes quite a bit of time to get to the real part though. Some of the scenes looked dated now with all the computers and technology in use back then and some of the scenes felt a bit corny. Some scenes are very good like the scenes where they are trying to decipher the code or the scene of the first launch and the terrorist attack or the final launch and Ellie’s travel to a alien land.
Jodie Foster is excellent as Dr. Ellie Arroway but she did overact in some scenes. Mathew McConaughey is good but his role was somewhat badly written. James Woods is excellent as National Security Advisor Kitz. The rest of the cast was ok. David Morse is good as Ellie’s father. Tom Skerritt ie very good as Dr. David Drumlin. John Hurt is good as S. R. Hadden. William Fichtner is very good as Kent Clarke based on the real Kent Cullers who was an American astronomer and a manager of SETI’s Project Phoenix. Angela Bassett is good as Rachel. Jake Busey is excellent as the religious fanatic and terrorist Joseph.
Robert Zemeckis’ direction is very good for the most part. Even with the few flaws mentioned above its one of the best sci-fi movies ever.
P.S. This is a comment that I made back in 2006. Decided to convert it into a review with some minor changes.Tags: Jodie Foster Matthew McConaughey