CONTACT. Robert Zemeckis, dir., prod. (one of several). USA: Warner Bros. and South Side Amusement Company (prod.) / Warner (dist.), 1997. Carl Sagan, and Ann Druyan, co-prod., story, from the novel Contact by Sagan. Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, James Woods, John Hurt, Tom Skerritt, William Fichtner, David Morse, Angela Bassett, featured players.
An admirably serious examination the varieties of religious and scientific experience, faith, and motivation, significant here for its images of Jodie Foster's character, Dr. Eleanor Arroway, amid nature and scientific equipment—esp. large radio telescopes—and (in a change from the novel) the lone occupant of The Machine. In this machine, a woman is set within a high-tech, mostly spherical but geometrically intricate device that is also a portal to adventure and mystic experience. Cf. and only slightly contrast the trip sequence in 2001, with a male in a spherical pod; strongly contrast final return sequences of CONTACT and 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (film): Dave Bowman as god vs. Ellie Arroway as a woman becoming more human. Cover story in Cinefantastique 29.2 (August 1997). (RDE, 28//08/97)