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Making Contact (1985)

  Tags: 80's, Axel Berg, Barbara Klein, children, Christine Goebbels, demonic, dummy, Eva Kryll, evil, evil dummy, Jan Zierold, Jerry Hall, Joey, Joshua Morrell, kids, Making Contact, Matthias Kraus, powers, psychic, psychics, Ray Kaselonis, Roland Emmerich, Sean Johnson, Tammy Shields

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)
Reviewer Rating: 
5

makingcontact.jpg
Rating #: 
5/10
Director: 
Roland Emmerich
Runtime: 
79 minutes
Cast: 
Joshua Morrell, Eva Kryll, Tammy Shields, Jan Zierold, Barbara Klein, Jerry Hall, Sean Johnson, Matthias Kraus, Ray Kaselonis, Christine Goebbels, Axel Berg


Before director Roland Emmerich went on to destroy the world several times with films like Independence Day, Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012, one of his earlier ventures was a little paranormal fantasy flick titled Joey, or Making Contact, as it's known in the US. Although an interesting and a somewhat enjoyable watch, the film failed in the fact that it relied too heavily on the success of past similar-themed entries like Poltergeist, E.T., and even The Goonies. You'll notice a lot of similarities as the movie progresses and it unfortunately remains throughout the entire viewing, throwing any potential creativity out the window.

The initial concept is probably the only fairly imaginative aspect the movie offers, as we follow a young boy named Joey who's grieving over the recent loss of his father. Despite his untimely demise, little Joey doesn't let a thing like death keep them apart, which becomes clear when he begins talking to his Dad over what's supposed to be a toy telephone. We soon learn that the boy has psychic powers that enables him to talk to spirits, animate toys, and move objects with his mind. This is all fun and games until an evil spirit that inhabits an old ventriloquist dummy sets his beady monocle-wearing eyes on the kid in hopes of taking over his body.

I liked the movie to some extent in the beginning, but it just increasingly become silly as time went on and I couldn't help but notice more and more similarities to other applicable films, especially towards the end when the storyline seemed too convoluted for its own good. The filmmakers were also trying to accomplish much more than their budget allowed (especially at the end), leaving behind some bad looking effects and unintentionally funny scenes. Unlike the films it attempts to imitate, the scenes involving the children's perspective just seemed tacked on without real emotional or a true sense of adventure behind them, which proved to be a real downer for me since I really like stories told through children's POV.

Negative aside, I was never bored by this and there were actually some elements I did enjoy. For instance, the beginning when the boy is discovering his powers and later when government scientists become aware of the his abilities and try to study him, which is an obvious rip of E.T., but still proved a decent change of pace. I also thought the brief psychic battle between the boy and the dummy was amusing, but it wasn't used as much or as effective as it should've been.

Making Contact could've been a highly enjoyable watch had it not been so reliant on the success of other similarly-themed flicks. Instead of attempting to deliver any sort of originality, they opt to just borrow bits and pieces from several other pics, resulting in a mish-mash of many failed ideas.

Posted on October 30, 2011 - 6:55pm | FrighT MasteR

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