China''s nuclear weaponry was discovered on Monday, while astronomer Carl Sagan published Contact, a science fiction novel, which reportedly reported that he saw no evidence for God''s existence, and in July 1997, Robert Zemeckis appeared on the big screen. It''s interesting to look at a film that at its core is really a science fiction film.
As the camera pulls away and our planet becomes larger, the music, news, and jingles become more silent and nostalgic. In just three minutes, one might argue that Zemeckis establishes a connection that all things are made from God and humankind is one with God.
Ellie Arroway, who plays her father in the film, loses him to a tragic heart attack, and turns her back on her faith. As an adult (Jodie Foster), Ellie enjoys a tryst with a young preacher who is named Palmer Joss in the Puerto Rican jungle. In this case, the serpent is the temptation of a spiritual life. Ellie rejects the temptation and flees the garden.
Ellie receives a phone call from someone else and tells Ellie she has the program. For the first time in the film, S.R. Hadden (John Hurt) has acknowledged a higher power.
Ellie is rejected by a government commission to develop a space capsule that will guide her to the Vega star. Ironically, she is dismissed from the film because to a religious deity and a crazed religious zealot (Jake Busey) who is still fighting for her. This time, Hadden is seen floating in space in a spacecraft of his own, informing her that there is a whole separate Vega space station on the other side of the globe waiting for her
Ellie begins her frenetic journey to Vega when she says, "I''m okay to go." She''s not only telling ground control she''s prepared and ready for her odyssey; she''s also telling herself that she''s letting go and letting the fates call the shots. A cheap Cracker Jack compass gifted to Ellie in a frightening sequence, but when she does, the seat becomes unhinged and smashes into the top of the capsule. Ellie''
Ellie is struck by a celestial, kaleidoscopic beach, covered with palm trees and sand grains that shimmer like white diamonds beneath a star-covered firmament. Could it be heaven? When an ethereal being approaches her in the form of her late father, Ellie is filled with love and trust that she has eluded her since her childhood in Pensacola.
Ellie is greeted by a throng of supporters followers as she exits the hearing. Without a shred of knowledge or evidence to support her otherwiseworldly experience, Ellie appears before a skeptical congressional committee, unable to convict anyone about her story. In an emotional monologue, Ellie says, "I was given something that changed me forever, and I believe in it." Ellie has now been forced to file a lawsuit for faith over facts.
Ellie is returning on familiar turf at her desert garden full of huge mammoth satellite dishes that serve as ears to the universe. While guiding a tour for a group of school children, one of them asks if there are other people in the universe. Ellie''s response, "If it''s just us, it appears like a terrible waste of space," indicates her surrender to the unknown and the possibilities that await us if we simply have faith.
Ellie is often positioned like a moth in a cocoon, legs drawn to her chest, face resting on her knees in the final scene. Now she''s now standing straight up, legs extended, but open to whatever she may be doing as she continues her odyssey on this planet.
Sagan was an excellent astronomer who encouraged people to look beyond the "billions and billions of stars" of the universe, so perhaps his intention with Contact was to manifest interest in something beyond the "billions, beeps, and computer coding; something spiritual that science alone can''t explain. It appears Zemeckis saw it that way, because the spiritual message of Contact continues to reverberate 25 years later.