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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> February 1999 >> Contact


Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
4 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
February 1999
IMDB Name:
Contact (1997)
Robert Zemeckis
drama, sci-fi
MPAA Rating:
PG for some intense action, mild language and a scene of sensuality.


If you can get enjoyment from technical excellence, you will love Contact. Director Robert Zemeckis is apparently a stickler for making the camera do astonishing things. Every way that the camera work could be ordinary is passed up here to give the film a dramatic energy that really pushes the story along. There are several instances of impossible editing and superimposition that do amazing things to the narrative simply because you can't imagine how they're done.


As the plot progressed, I found myself getting really engrossed. Many of my friends failed to find the emotional manipulation as wonderful as I did, and I can't put my finger on why. Maybe I sympathized with the under- recognized scientist, or thrilled at the contact scenario. I do have to admit that the emotional climax of the movie happened about twenty minutes before the end, and most of what came after didn't flow as well. Does this plot really call for a courtroom scene? It's a good way to prevent the usual Hollywood victorious feeling that might've cheapened the ending, but it plays meaner than a lot of the movie, and seems a little off.

DVD Comments

The transfer is excellent. I did notice a layer change shortly after the one-hour mark, but I assume that this bought the bandwidth for the three commentary tracks. I'm really glad that they did whatever was necessary for those commentaries to exist. The Ken Ralston / Steven Rosenbaum commentary gives you an idea of the incredible technical effort that went into the movie. The Robert Zemeckis / Steve Starkey commentary fills in many design details, casting details, plot intentions, and much more. The Jodie Foster track lends even more insight of the difficulties from the on-screen perspective. It is a testament to the movie that this much detail not only exists, but is also worth hearing about!

A deeper exploration of the disc reveals little production vignettes showing the production process for the special effects. This collection of pre- production images and explanations of the assembly into the final product is a great addition.

The menu design is startlingly practical. The software anticipates some intentions from a single directional movement without requiring the select key. This does occasionally backfire, as in the Trailers menu, where down and right both appear to have the same purpose but actually do different things. They are not contrary to the rest of the interface, but it's a little odd. The selector is always clear, which is better than some discs.

See the IMDB information on Contact's DVD or compare prices at DVD Price Search.

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Copyright 1999-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.