Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems.
Astronomer Dr. Ellie Arroway has long been interested in contact to faraway lands, a love fostered in her childhood by her father, Ted Arroway, who passed away when she was nine years old leaving her then orphaned. Her current work in monitoring for extraterrestrial life is based on that love and is in part an homage to her father. Ever since funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) was pulled on her work, which is referred to some, including her NSF superior David Drumlin, as more science fiction than science, Ellie, with a few of her rogue scientist colleagues, have looked for funding from where ever they could get it to continue their work. When Ellie and her colleagues hear chatter originating from the vicinity of the star Vega, Ellie feels vindicated. But that vindication is short lived when others, including politicians, the military, religious leaders and other scientists such as Drumlin, try to take over her work. When the messages received from space are decoded, ... Written by
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (featured in the film) has a club station which acquired Grote Reber's old call sign "W9GFZ" earlier in 1997. Robert Zemeckis, learning of this tribute, planned to use the same call sign for Dr. Arroway in the movie. In the end, "W9GFO" was used. See more »
During the close-up of Fish watching Palmer's Larry King interview, the TV screen is reflected in Fish's glasses. In that reflected image Mr. King is talking, but the audio from the TV is Palmer's voice. See more »
Films are rarely as good as the book but there are exceptions to the rule
This remains true for this very good adaptation of the classic book by Carl Sagan. Sagans' idea was to make science and the elite commandeering of information available to the majority, he wrote his books for a wide audience and I think the film shows this as was intended by its author.
The Film is roughly about Dr Arroway, Ellie, and how she handles being alone in a world without family or close friends. It is metaphorically able to make us all think about how isolated we as a race, and as people can feel.
Ellie, a brilliant young scientist working on the mistrusted SETI program discovers a message sent to earth from distant star system Vega. On its discovery Ellie must battle with the Military, Pentagon, and Male Dominated scientific world to keep her cards on the table and her discovery that of her team. Ellie is constantly kept in the game by he benefactor, a rich technological industrialist mogul who has a vested interest in her participation of the programme to reach this alien culture.
I don't wish to go on any further and spoil this movie as I rate it as a fantastic exploration of Science Vs Religion and the entire subsequent human spectrum in between. As a film there were several alterations from the book that I felt could have been included, for example not just one traveler but a range of them, philosophers, theologists, scientists, poets and Dr Arroway.
I have watched this film a number of times and still find it a joy to watch the fifth, eighth and tenth time. Jody foster playing a not so dissimilar to her role in Silence of the lambs (attractive, clever, young, successful woman battling in a male world) is exceptional and delivers feeling and intellect alongside an impressive script.
I would give this film an 8.5 and recommend it to anybody, but if you are a sci-fi fan and haven't seen this film then you're in for a treat.
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