Reviewed by: Richard Fangrad
With the recent landing of the “Pathfinder” spacecraft on Mars, the celebration of a supposed UFO crash at Roswell, New Mexico 50 years ago, and a string of movies about visitors from other planets in recent years, more and more people are questioning whether we are “alone” in the universe.
“Contact” is based on the late Carl Sagan’s 1985 novel of the same name. Dr. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster), a scientist with the SETI program (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) searches the stars for intelligent life by renting time on huge radio telescopes and listening to the radio frequency energy coming from those distant stars for any signal that might be “non-random”. She’s looking for a signal that carries information. One day, she gets one. Her team quickly springs into action, recording and beginning to decipher the message. Before long the whole world is caught up in the excitement. Eventually it is revealed the massive amount of information is in the form of blueprints for an immense space/time travel machine for one human. Who gets to go, is decided at the highest levels of government. There’s no real surprises in the plot until near the end… and I won’t give that away.
Robert Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?,” “Back To The Future”) directs. As is now expected with his films, the special effects are amazing, especially the opening sequence. The acting by all of the main cast is superb and the story does an adequate job of keeping us interested in what’s happening to the characters.
Despite the high quality of the moviemaking there are some very serious negatives from a Biblical/Christian point of view. Some things are obvious: occasional swearing and taking the Lord’s name in vain throughout the movie, implied extra-marital sex and the idea that science has proved that God doesn’t exist.
By far the most disturbing thing about this movie are the countless, subtle anti-Christian ideas. Christian’s are, once again portrayed, many times throughout the movie, as not having answers. A young Ellie was kicked out of Sunday School when the teacher couldn’t tell her where Cain got his wife. (See Genesis 4:16 and 5:4 for the answer) Once again we are told that science and religion don’t mix. While this is generally a true statement, it is not true of Christianity. Many of the Founding Fathers of science were Bible-believing creationists. Issac Newton, for example wrote more Biblical commentaries than scientific papers! We are told that God has left us no hint of his existence. Romans 1:19-20 says that there’s so much evidence for the existence of God in His Creation that non-believers are without excuse! There are many more example’s which could be cited and discussed. Many are subtle, others are obvious. Evolution is, of course, implied. The reasoning is that if the conditions are right elsewhere in the universe, life will evolve, just like it supposedly did on Earth.
Movies can be powerful teaching tools. The combination of stunning visuals and emotional music and sound alone can bring the script writer’s and director’s message across without ever appealing to the truth. “Contact” works, and is very convincing, on an emotional level. Many people, including Christians who are not prepared, will be influenced by the ideas presented in it.
Ellie is willing to die to find an answers to some of the big questions like, “Why are we here?,” “What’s the meaning of life?” She expects to find these from aliens. A sentence that is repeated three times during the movie is, “If it is just us, it seems like an awful waste of space.” How ironic that the truth is that we are not alone in the universe. While the Bible makes it clear that we are the only intelligent life form, we are not alone! There’s God! The Creator, and He’s chosen to reveal himself through the Creation and through the Bible. The Bible tells us the answers to those big questions and many others.
I would only recommend this movie to Christians with a solid grasp of Biblical truth and the ability to discern the truth from a lie no matter how subtle the lie might be. For those Christians who don’t fall into this category… learn to discern, study the Scriptures and go see this movie with a Christian friend who is able to pick out the lies.
Year of Release—1997
To learn more about extraterrestrial life from a biblical perspective, see: