Contact: The Best Science Fiction Movie That No One Ever Talks About

-FYI it’s unavoidable for me to write this without mentioning some spoilers.-

As I’ve shared from a previous post, I love movies that tackle topics about wormhole, the universe, and all that space-y stuff.  Mind you, I still would like to expand my repertoire of science fiction movies I have seen; I know that there are the classics out there, and I would like to get around to seeing all the good ones eventually.

First and foremost, behold the brilliant opening scene from the movie:

That just left me speechless.  So well made.

Over the weekend, I watched the movie, Contact, the best science movie that no one ever talks about.  A 1997 Robert Zemeckis film and an adaptation of Carl Sagan’s 1985 book of the same name.   I say that no one ever talks about it because I had not even heard about this movie until Joel mentioned it.  And he had not even known about this movie until coming across a a Reddit thread.  And when you hear “science fiction” you immediately think of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and 2001: A Space Odyssey – even Gravity and Interstellar.  But not Contact.  It’s one of the most thoughtful and astounding movies ever made.  So why is a movie this great has been so overlooked?

I knew nothing about Contact going in.  I even jokingly asked Joel if it was a sequel to E.T.  I didn’t know if it was a thriller, an action, or a fantasy film.  I wasn’t sure if there were actual aliens in it or if it was all conjecture.  But now that I’ve seen what it’s about, why have I not heard it mentioned as one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time, let alone one of the greatest movies of the 90’s?

Maybe some were disappointed by it not showing actual aliens? It came out in 1997, in the wake of movies such as Independence Day.  Maybe people were expecting aliens or alien destruction.  I’m actually glad they didn’t show any aliens; it was a movie about us, not about them. It was a movie about making “contact,” not who we make contact with – creating a believable scenario for that first contact if it ever comes.  The movie, actually, Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, did an excellent job interpreting  how society would react if it was challenged by alien contact on a scientific, social , political, and religious level.

Since I had just watched Interstellar recently, and since Contact had Matthew Mcconaughey (alright alright alright I had to google how to correctly spell his last name, ok) in it, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the two movies.  They were similar in a number of ways but were also quite different.  Interstellar  did a really good job with the score and the visuals.  I mean, the soundtrack really, really, really did add so much to the film.  However, the human connection was so much better  in Contact.  It was just so emotionally powerful, and it explored discussions about the nature of faith.   I did love that both films were about connecting the cosmos with love between a father and a daughter.  I found myself feeling the same feels in both movies in that regard.

Maybe it’s my love of science, astronomy, and space. Maybe it’s my recognition of the drive of the human spirit to prevail. But, the whole range of emotions this film induced in me had me feeling 100% positive that this was one of the best sci-fi films I had ever seen. From sadness, to loathing, to exhilaration, to determination, to disbelief, to wonderment, to even more wonderment, to happiness, to suspicion, to anger, to horror, to hope, to extreme tension, to pure rooting team spirit, to sadness, to epiphany, to happiness, to questioning, to smiling mixed with joy and tears. Religious or not, we are all part of the universe – and that was the underlying theme of the movie.

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2 thoughts on “Contact: The Best Science Fiction Movie That No One Ever Talks About

  1. Definitely one of the most realistic. Aliens landing on the White House lawn…not something that would probably ever happen. Ever. Besides…why would intelligent alien life want to visit us in person when they could use radio? Besides visiting Earth…why would they? We have to be the Alabama of the universe, right? A radio message is all we’re probably worth right now. Then they could sit back and watch all the silliness. We have to be the most entertaining reality show in the universe.

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