Overall, I enjoyed Contact, and I thought Jodie Foster did a
great job. But many of the basic premises of the movie didn't make
sense, and some of them led to poorly integrated scenes that only
stretched the movie's running time. Someday I'll check
out Carl Sagan's original novel and see what it was like.
- Let's say there's an alien civilization that's advanced enough to
build a spacecraft which can travel dozens of light years in a split
(Earth) second. First, isn't it our great good fortune that all the
materials required to build the thing exist on our little Earth? Second,
why couldn't the Vegans have just sent the spacecraft plans in plain
English? What's with the three-dimensional encodings and keys that
only one man on Earth, the elusive Hadden, can break? And could even he
break the code of a civilization so advanced?
- Would you really sink half a billion dollars into building a device which
you didn't know what it really was, and which many people were opposed
to? As James Woods's character pointed out, it might be a bomb that'll
blow us all up.
- Now, would you build two of them?
- Let's say you're building the second, secret device in Japan. How in sam
hill do you keep this $500 million project a secret? Is there like only
one person working on the project? And how will the world react after
finding out that their governments have secretly spent $500 million on
something that was opposed by so many people?
- Let's say you're selecting an astronaut to fly to Vega. Nobody knows what
the conditions are like up there. Flying in a spacecraft for several
dozen light years is a pretty strenuous task. Wouldn't you maybe choose
somebody who's been in space before, instead of either the director of the
NSF or some slender astrophysicist whose only apparent physical activity
is in bed with a "man of cloth?"
- How could you doubt that Ellie really visited Vega, given that you and the
rest of the world have admitted you have no idea how the spacecraft
I suppose some of these questions are "answered" by the Vegans, who most
conveniently say that "this is the way it's been done for millions of years."
It's also nice that the aliens look exactly like us. Thank goodness they don't
look like Matthew McConaghey.
The movie ultimately tries to blur the distinction between science and
religion. Most of us have never seen God nor any aliens, so why should we
believe that either of them exists? This is a good question, but I don't think
the issue of religion really fits into the plot of the movie. It just pops up
suddenly and annoys you for a while before going away... kind of like Matthew