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
Ken Ralston: The Senior Visual Effects Supervisor is visible in the shot of scientists at the V.L.A. watching Ellie testify. Ralston is in the back row in the upper left corner of the frame, with a mustache and beard. See more »
The desk of the ham radio station is arranged so that the semi-automatic Vibroplex ("bug") morse key is on the left hand side, closest to the camera. This suggests it is used by a left handed person. Yet neither Ellie nor her father appear to be left handed. Ellie uses her right hand to complete her drawing of Florida and her father wears his watch on his left wrist suggesting he is right handed. See more »
This, for me, is a masterpiece. I have enjoyed it more with each viewing.
Carl Sagan was a great man. He promoted science in the way it should be, portraying the profound mysteriousness of our universe with humility, and without dogma. In his book, the Demon-Haunted World, he quoted Einstein:
"All our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike -- and yet it is the most precious thing we have".
Contact conveys this simple message in a subtle yet immensely powerful way. The performances are some of the most compelling I have seen, particularly by Jodie Foster and David Morse.
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