Usually working with writing partner Bob Gale , Robert's earlier films show he has a talent for zany comedy Romancing the Stone , and special effect vehicles Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Back to Filmography by Job Trailers and Videos. Share this page:. Projects In Development Airman.
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Robert Zemeckis - Wikipedia
How much of Robert Zemeckis's work have you seen? Won 1 Oscar. Known For. Back to the Future Writer. Forrest Gump Director. Contact Producer. Flight Producer. The King producer announced. School for Scumbags executive producer pre-production. Steel Soldiers producer. Contact has no desire to spoil its slow, diligent build-up work with a cop-out, and it doesn't. I think it's all the braver for that.
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When Ellie lands on the alien planet, the shot that Zemeckis uses is one that goes into her eye again at first. The implication therefore is that this is imagined, or in her head, or at least not as real as it may first appear. We see Ellie out of her chair and the chair was something that wasn't in the original alien design, interestingly, which in itself provokes a few theories falling to the surface. There, she goes through the sequence where she meets the alien in the form of her father. But is she seeing who she wanted to see?
Furthermore, there's no shortage of compelling evidence that what Ellie goes through is her dream or hallucination of sorts. Take the moment when she feasts her eyes on a scene which looks a little like the drawing that young Ellie had at the start of the movie, just before she's reunited with David Morse. The wonky trees of a childlike drawing have become realised Plus, when she's going through the wormhole itself, as Jodie Foster reveals on the DVD commentary, the directional changes are all controlled by how Ellie moves her head, not by the pod itself.
But then, what's the spaceship she sees halfway through her journey? Is that there to inject doubt in our minds, and lend her credence?
If you missed it, here it is So is that real? Did she imagine that?
Robert Zemeckis Filmography
It's not like, unlike the book, she brought any notable physical evidence back with her? And the film acknowledges that. I love that Contact spends a good ten minutes questioning whether Ellie was believing this had happened, or whether it actually had. What's more, for a film that keeps returning to the balance of faith and science, it would have been a fascinating, brilliant ending, had that been left in the air, and kept things quite vague and open to interpretation.
10 Classic Films By Robert Zemeckis
To a degree, it still does, but there is one thing about Contact though that's always bothered me. It's one line spoken by Angela Bassett at the end of the film, that removes some of would have been wonderful ambiguity from the final act. It's where she reveals to Woods' senate-wannabe that there were 18 hours of static on Ellie's recorder.
For me, at that stage, the ambiguity has gone. Because how else could it get there if Ellie's story wasn't at least partly true? We see from multiple angles the pod dropping through the machine in an instant. Where does 18 hours of static come from in that time?
Some argue that the 18 hours line doesn't resolve things anywhere as much as it I feel it does. But it feels just a little too definite and spoon-fed for me. Appreciating the book is far more conclusive and less vague about Ellie's journey, it still feels like the film would be better without this moment. It feels like, in the argument between science and faith, so wonderfully balanced throughout the film, that Contact ultimately picks its winner.
Robert Zemeckis is often routinely labelled as a man heavily interested in the technical side of cinema, mainly because he is. But that overlooks his ability to draw excellent performances from his cast, and his skill at putting human beings at the heart of his stories. The Back To The Future trilogy is an obvious example of that, but you can find examples as far back as Romancing The Stone , and as recently as Flight.
Few directors, in live action at least, balance the human and the technical quite so well. Furthermore, as he reveals in the director's commentary on the Contact disc release, and as mentioned earlier, the 'contact' that Zemeckis was looking for wasn't the search for life in the universe. It was signified in the moment where Palmer and Ellie join hands at the end.
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It's an interesting moment just before that, too, because Ellie - the scientist throughout - has become a symbol of faith to many in the crowd outside where the film's hearing scene had been taking place. As is also pointed out on the disc, religions have been built with less than you see in the film. Contact is a film, in blockbuster clothes, that allows many interpretations, plenty of debate, and delves into lots of ideas.
It also deals with very big subjects, that big movies more often than not tend to avoid. It remains as interesting a piece of cinema as it was on release, if not more so. And it's to the credit of all concerned that it blends its intelligence and ideas with a compelling, entertaining Saturday night movie. It may struggle for attention sometimes in the crowded back catalogue of Robert Zemeckis, but for me - and I don't say this lightly - it's one of his very best films.
Please, if you can, buy our charity horror stories ebook, Den Of Eek! View the discussion thread. Sign up for our daily newsletter Newsletter. In fact, it apparently got the highest-ever test audience scores for a Columbia picture to that date, yet somehow went on to fizzle right out at the box office. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but we ultimately favor the convoluted time-hopping second movie over the back-to-basics, Old West trilogy-closer.
Here at The Playlist, we pride ourselves on our ability to reach a consensus. And by consensus we mean a definitive conclusion to an argument, which happens due to boredom or people having to go to bed in other time zones. Still, it means we are mostly fairly harmonious, and yet in this Eden of agreement there is a single Serpent, and the name of that unresolved, ever contentious film? Yet every couple of years, Zemeckis quietly makes a film that reminds us that he can also deliver an honest-to-god emotional powerhouse for the multiplex crowd. These are the films where the director channels his showier tendencies and aims straight for the heart.
Those who have seen the film and are familiar with its central narrative conceit dude gets stranded on an island after a horrific crash, reverts to primitivism, finds happiness and himself, etc. Who can forget his funny, sad, and bizarre scenes with his island friend Wilson, in what is surely the most touching performance ever given by a piece of sports equipment?