The Abyss vs. Contact

Contact (starring Jodi Foster and Matthew McConaughey) bears a striking resemblance to The Abyss (starring Ed Harris) in structure, plot and overall message.

This is Jodi Foster ready to blast through a wormhole.
This is someone (I think Ed Harris) underwater.

In both movies people interact with aliens in foreign environments (space in Contact, under water in The Abyss).

Both movies take advantage of the belligerent, overbearing military guy cliché. You know, the frowning officer who won't go away until screws up the whole project and/or nukes everybody.

Things move along predictably in both movies until the last fifteen minutes when the main character meets the aliens face to face. At this point the aliens inform the main character that "humanity has a lot to learn," which the aliens realize because their so much more advanced than humanity. This is also a cliché amongst sci-fi movies.

Both movies also deify aliens. This is based on the following scientific system of thought: "We don't really want to mention God, but there still seems to be a lot of miraculous stuff going on, so let's just say, that, um, aliens are doing everything! Yes, that's it! Let's also say that these "aliens" are really advanced, and they believe in peace and harmony... oooh, yeah, that's deep."


Abecedarius Rex said...

An excellent short story by Walker Percy can be found in his collection "Message in a Bottle" (I think it's there and not in his other collection, "Lost in the Cosmos"). In said story humans finally send a spaceship to Ceti Alpha or some such planet where intelligent life has been found. On the way there, though, they cheat on each other, kill, and betray until only a few are left alive. Then when they reach Ceti Alpha (or wherever) they are denied landing b/c the intelligent life forms are unfallen creatures who, after a series of questions, discover the fallenness of humans and refuse to have any contact with them. Pretty funny stuff. Funnier than Carl (Mr. Serious) Sagan.

Jim Smith II said...

I never made the connection between the two until now. Great catch.