When I got my first DVD player, back in The Year 2000!, it came with several free movie offers. The first disc I got was Contact, the 1997 big screen adaptation of Carl Sagan’s novel, directed by Robert Zemeckis. It’s one of my favorite films. Last week, it was re-released on Blu-ray and one couldn’t ask for a better package.
The transfer of the movie itself is absolutely pristine, preserving the 1.85 theatrical aspect ratio and crisp detail of the original theatrical release. This is especially apparent in the majestic opening shot that takes us through the entire universe, as well as in the many sequences where the film switches between video-textured broadcasts and actual film.
Thankfully, the BD retains all of the bonus features from the original DVD. These include multiple feature-length audio commentaries by Jodie Foster, Robert Zemeckis & Steve Starkey, and Ken Ralston with another visual effects supervisor. There are also a number of featurettes that overview key visual effects shots. What’s great is that these features are now clearly presented whereas they were inconveniently buried in the original DVD’s awkward menu. Unique to the BD edition is a music-only audio track. (I am a huge fan of composer Alan Silvestri’s work and fully intend to sit through the whole movie, listening to this track.)
Another detail which I personally like is that the movie begins playing directly upon loading the disc. It does not start with a menu. This is a forgotten attribute of early DVDs that I find very convenient.
It’s a superb Blu-ray disc of a film that deserves to be presented in this way. I highly recommend, nay, demand that you go out and purchase it right now.