release year: 1997
genre: sci-fi/drama
viewing setting: theater, 7/5/97 (sneak preview)
what I expected: something wonderful from the mind of Carl Sagan, RIP
what I got: interesting, sometimes annoying (but probably realistic) account of how our first encounter with extraterrestrials would take place

synopsis: An astronomer receives and decodes a message from space - a message that not only proves the existence of extraterrestrial life, but has instructions for building a device that will let an Earthling communicate with the ETs. Problem is, only one Earthling can go. The race - both to build the thing and to select that one person - is on, as the world watches in awe.

impressions: - This one fell prey to the "expectation-greater-than-execution" as well as the "rewatching's-tough-because-you-know-the-surprises" syndromes. Then it fell prey to the "Forrest Gump" syndrome, which means that since so many of the general populace liked it, there must've been something wrong with it (I'm only half-joking.) It also struck a personal note with me because it had elements of the science-vs-religion debate.

acting: I don't like Jodie Foster, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate her fine job here. The various other actors and actresses all did well, too.

final word: Despite a few minor flaws, it was a well-done sci-fi movie with some great special effects, and it kept me guessing.

rating: C+

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