I am sat here watching Contact with Jodie Foster, it is an underrated film, maybe a little too ponderous but so is the Sagan novel. The idea though is of interest to me that an alien species communicates with us via science, specifically the use of the first 261 prime numbers (I didn’t say Sagan was a user friendly SF writer). This mathematical puzzle opens a wider world or Universe that seeks to share technology with us. I think maybe the math element of this film is what probably killed the film at the box office and John Hurt’s portrayal of the philanthropist Hadden is a little creepy. Then again, Foster is wooden and she reminds me of the awful closing scenes of The Silence of the Lambs, ‘Doctor Lecter, Doctor Lecter’ becomes ‘Aliens, Daddy, aliens’ in that same wooden drawl. I wonder how she would have tackled the role of Ripley in Alien? I dread to think.
That moan aside there are some great SF films from Forbidden Planet to Alien to Dark Star. I’ll give Contact a chance but are there any SF films that really rock your boat or just hack you off, please share here – Andrew Oldham 14/11/2009
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Since I am also watching contact, I feel compelled to comment. I agree about Jodie Foster, she is not one of my favourite actresses although she has appeared in a couple of my favourite films. I have never actually read the novel by Sagan but I do watch the film when it comes. Perhaps as a die hard SF lover I just feel compelled. As you may already know about me I am less concerned with the science in my SF entertainment although I always do find it interesting (My mother was a geneticist and a biology professor so a something must of rubbed off on me).
As for great SF films, I guess I always love the ones that have a little adventure, a little human endeavour, and a lot of overcoming the odds, characters I can relate to or at least appreciate, a different POV, and always with a twist. I have to admit though when it comes to SF films I am far more forgiving so even when they are completely silly and contrived I still find them entertaining.
This particular film I would say fits a lot of my criteria but I think is woefully let down by the final scene between Foster and the psuedo-dad alien. I mean we get sent all that info and technology, have to go through all that drama, get sent all that way across space only to be told we’re still too ‘young’ but maybe someday…meh. Up until that very final scene it’s a good ride as SF films go.
Twelve Monkeys was very good. I thought Unbreakable was underated and its last line impressed me. But you have to be a ‘comics reader’.
We have a thread about best SF films on the TTA forum http://ttapress.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1213