With Making Contact, Roland Emmerich has clearly set out to make a Steven Spielberg film. Making Contact was advertised in a way that made it seem like it was a copycat of Spielbergs E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) although in actuality it bears more resemblance to another Spielberg film, the ghost story Poltergeist (1982). Emmerich borrows many Spielbergian lighting effects and there is a copycat John Williams score.
Alas, Making Contact is not a very coherent film. It seems uncertain whether Roland Emmerich is trying to make a childrens film where it is clearly pitched or what, considering that the film also has a number of sinister adult moments. There is an odd mixture of elements calls from the dead kids father on a toy telephone, a malevolent talking doll and toys that appear to come to life, the kid developing psychic powers from somewhere but none of this gels on a conceptual level. Although, there is one cute scene where the mother invites the kids teacher for dinner and the kid keeps casually psychically moving items across the table to the teachers agog amazement. However, we are never sure what is going on and Emmerich fails to offer us any explanations least of all. It is not clear, for instance, if it is the father talking to the kid from beyond the grave. If this is the case, why is the doll telling the kid otherwise? The kid also just seems to get psychic powers out of the blue without any explanation. It is not clear why the kid crosses over into the beyond or some other dimension at the end. The sequence where the kids are attacked by some supernatural force in an old house is the height of silliness featuring attacks by a giant hamburger, a monster boulder and a Darth Vader figure. (There are a number of Star Wars (1977) toys that appear throughout for some reason). While most of Roland Emmerichs other films are at best cliched and mediocre, the result here is an incoherent mishmash. And for someone who made his career out of big spectacular special effects films, Emmerichs effects here are decidedly weak.
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