I've said it before, and I'll say it again, but when a director uses a flashback to develop sympathy for a protagonist is ruins a movie more often than not. Many people will blame Contact's failures on the ending, the whole "alien is her father" thing, but that never really bothered me. This movie came out at a time when alien movies were huge and it was great that this movie was more about man's reaction to what would happen if contact was made, rather than what the aftermath would be. When the movie focuses on this, it's pretty good.
I used to think it was so much fun when Wooderson and Starling would trade barbs in the age old science versus religion debate. As far as summer blockbusters go, that kind of stuff can be quite entertaining, but therein lies the problem. Was this movie trying to win an Oscar, or just compete with a good popcorn eatin', soda drinkin', crash bang boom, when aliens attack summer sex romp? It should've went full blown summer blockbuster, because whatever drama this movie has, is poor at best, and c'mon, no alien movie is going to win a Best Picture Oscar.
Contact takes 35 minutes in this movie. That's 35 minutes of listening to Starling being referred to as "
" and the beginning of quotes like, "If not, it's an awful waste of space!" that would be repeated throughout the movie. It also lets you know how evil Evan Drake is, and it's unfortunate because no matter what events change the shape of the earth in this movie, Evan is still going to be Evan Drake. When the script came out, he didn't have a chance. It's fun when writers create a character that they know they're going to blow up, because they make that person as douchy as possible. It's easy to blow someone up when the viewer hates him, that's what makes the death of Goose so much more tragic. We loved Goose. Stupid Top Gun writers doing something for unnecessary dramatic affect! Once contact is made however, this movie is summer fun. Sparks
The opening sequence of this, where the camera keeps panning further away from earth, so we get a nice little journey through the universe, is ultimately the best part of this movie though, so basically, you can turn this one off in 5 minutes and not miss anything.
Here are the Top 10 Best Movie Intro's of All-Time:
10. The Dark Knight
I love how this movie just cuts in on a really cool bank heist and we don't know which one the Joker is until the end of the heist. It always helps when William Fichtner gets gunned down in a movie. I'm surprised Evan Drake never made fun of him for being blind in Contact.
9. A Few Good Men
It's just so cooooool when the troops do the gun exercises. Once Demi Moore starts talking, it's all downhill from there though.
8. 2001: A Space Odyssey
The Dawn of Man sequence is great right until the bone turns into the space station.
7. The Graduate
Dustin Hoffman riding an airport people mover to the "Sounds of Silence" was incredible. What I like best about people movers is their direct name. They're named that because they move people. I love simplicity, but not multiplicity because Michael Keaton is involved, even though he's good in Jackie Brown, which also features a person riding a people mover in an airport, but this time to a 70s funk song. How's everyone doing today?
6. The Return of the King
Getting Gollum's backstory was awesome! I know I'm typically against them, as recently as the above paragraphs in fact, but this is a great one. It probably works best because it's at the very beginning of the movie!
5. Star Wars
The long Imperial Fighter shot is great. I know everyone has great ideas for pornos, but if they make Boogie Nights 2: Diggler Strikes Back and started it Star War's style and began telling the story …
… A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away
It is a dark time for women everywhere, but unbeknownst to them, a young rebel, named Dirk Diggler has a really large penis and wants to fuck all of them beyond their wildest dreams.
From here, Dirk drops his pants and the camera pans across it just like it does the Imperial Fighter, and after it reaches the tip, instead of dropping down to a planet, it drops down to the woman's snatch as he prepares to enter. I wonder if this has been done already. I bet it has.
It's too bad the whole movie isn't as good as the intro. Seriously, when this came out, I'd often go to the movies with enhanced emotions. This intro was so good in that state, I believed this movie was good for about 10 years.
3. The Fellowship of the Ring
The brief battle for Middle Earth was amazing.
2. The Godfather
No, this wasn't too flashy, but what makes it so good is the longer and longer the first speaker tells his story, the anticipation builds and builds for seeing Marlon Brando. This is just wonderful filmmaking.
1. Saving Private Ryan
Sure you can find fault with the whole botched fade in Tom Hanks/Matt Damon eye thing, but who cares. Once the Americans storm the beach, I've never been so blown away (ho ho ho) by a movie intro. Sadly, the movie doesn't even have a chance to get that good for the rest of the film.