Without a doubt Interstellar was a knock out film for speculative fiction. This film showed us a gripping story of mankind's desperate struggles for survival in the wake of climate change and everything that shifted as a result. Industry and values all change as we struggle to hold on just a little bit longer and a final desperate attempt is made to explore space to find a new home. The film is almost wall to wall theory work presented as reality and it sparked the imagination of thousands of people as they were exposed, many of the first time, to the wonders of theoretical science.

Thing is, I'd already gone through that back in 1997 with the release of Contact; a film in which humanity receives its first extraterrestrial radio message.

While on the surface the two films have little in common the aspect they share is that both films were less about telling a story and more about presenting ideas. Where Interstellar presented ideas of theoretical physics and applied ideas to spatial mechanics, Contact instead presented OUR reactions as cultures, politicians, businesses and religions all react to learning that we are not alone in the cosmos. The brilliance of Contact was that it took neither an idyllic nor cynical view of what those reactions would be. Instead it takes a realistic one. We see the full spectrum of humanity's reaction, from the hopeful wondrous and the curious to the frightened, narrow minded and violent.

Contact also did focus a bit of theoretical ideas within science like wormhole technologies, stretching and compressing time and more. Where Interstellar gave time to its science and explored it Contact instead looked at the various types of responses humanity has to major historic events. We got to experience how this world shattering news sparked the imaginations of scientists and engineers as they leap to decode the messages and build this amazing transportation device. At the same time you have a public outcry and the crisis of faith that would result in such an announcement. At this point the film truly shows its brilliance.

When the time comes to choose a candidate to send even the scientific and political council looks to religion over pure reason since a candidate that believes in god would be more representative of our species. Minutes later that same faith sees a suicide bombing nearly bring ruin to the greatest leap forward in human history. Interstellar may have opened our eyes to the amazing vistas of the cosmos, but Contact explored those same vistas within the human condition.

Sadly Contact has become something of a forgotten gem but one well worth remembering.