A lot was said about the movie industry during the pandemic, and between all the theater closures and delays, little of it was good. Zero Contact is an example of the ingenuity found during the pandemic. Filmed in 17 countries and entirely through Zoom, the plot is about five people who are contacted by a mysterious A.I. entity. They soon learn what they decide to do will either save the entire world or destroy it.
At times, it seems like the film is more about what it has done. While it was far from the first movie made during the pandemic – or even primarily used Zoom – it is the first offered as an NFT on the Vuele platform. This also makes it the first feature film NFT. How important is that to the plot? Not at all, but it is all over the marketing for the film. Add in the fact that the film is supposed to represent the new genre of “remote footage” versus “found footage” and one begins to wonder if there is any substance to Zero Contact.
There are also around ten minutes of end credits behind the scenes footage that shows how the film was put together. This mini-documentary ends up being more interesting than the actual film at times. There is some interest in seeing how Zero Contact was put together, but it also has little to do with the actual movie. Even the revelation that this is the first part of a planned trilogy does nothing to make things more engaging.
So what is Zero Contact actually about? Finley Hart (Anthony Hopkins) is a genius whose death gets the plot started. This involves plenty of science fiction elements, lots of talking directly into the camera, and some mysterious intruders. It is never aggressively bad, but it often seems like it is spinning its wheels. Hopkins turns in his usual great performance; there just is not enough of a story to back him up.
Zero Contact is available in theaters, digital, and on demand May 27
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