Corrected entry: There's a scene where Ellie sleeps with Palmer, then gets up quickly to go to the lab. In her haste, she departs whipping on a shirt with no bra. The camera follows her outside where suddenly it appears she is now wearing one.
Corrected entry: The simple fact that they overlooked the opportunity or chose not to repeat the experiment with the same or different machine to get a "second opinion" seems like a pretty big hole to the answer almost all the higher ups were asking. Easy enough to find a volunteer now that the first person to go through survived.
Corrected entry: When they contacted Australia to confirm the signal before Vega set, you can that hear Ellie's team still has the signal tuned in when they are talking to Australia. This couldn't have happened because Australia and US are opposite each other, therefore only one country could have been pointing to Vega at one time, not both. So Ellie's team shouldn't have been able to hear the signal because Vega was past the horizon and appearing on Australia's side.
Corrected entry: Although it appears that Ellie's trip through Space actually occurred, she claims it lasted approximately 18 hours her time. This is later confirmed from the video footage, which also lasted approximately 18 hours. But the space pod was not that large, and couldn't have possibly held enough oxygen to sustain life for 18 hours. There was no supplemental oxygen or oxygen production capability inside the pod, so the only air Ellie had to breathe was what was trapped inside the pod when the door closed. She was only on the beach for a few minutes, and even then it appeared she was still within the confines of the pod which is why she was able to breathe on their planet. So if she had only the pod air to breathe, how was there enough oxygen to last her 18 hours?
Corrected entry: After the space pod splashes down in the ocean, it floats on the surface. But when they show Ellie from inside the pod after landing; there is absolutely no movement of the pod, and it's obvious the space pod is not resting on water. Even if it were hanging suspended in the air in the rescue net, its motion would still have it rolling around slightly after impact. But the footage from inside the pod shows the pod to be completely still without any movement, as Ellie asks how long she's been gone.
Corrected entry: While Ellie is traveling through the wormholes, the chair tears away from the ceiling and then gets thrown toward the ceiling as the pod stops, apparently. The pod was made of man-made materials. Assuming she was traveling at about a bazillion miles an hour, the chair would have ripped right through that pod like paper when it stopped.
Corrected entry: In the part of the movie where Ellie is traveling through the worm holes, in one scene it shows the restraint seat getting crushed against the top of the pod she's traveling in. However, when the camera shows Ellie inside the pod after she lands in the water, over her shoulder you can see the restraint seat in good condition. I realize some could argue that her trip never happened, but the special finding report, discussed at the end of the movie, proves her trip did in fact happen since her camera recorded 18 hours of static. Therefore, her restraint should have been crushed when the camera was showing it at the end of her trip.
Corrected entry: When Ellie goes into the pod and the door closes, the seam magically disappears while she's watching it. The pod was made of manmade materials and therefore, the seam should not magically disappear, and when it does disappear, she just blows it off like it's no big deal. Being a scientist, she should be freaking out or at least have mentioned it to mission control.
Corrected entry: Ellie claimed her space trip lasted approximately 18 hours, but from what we saw it seemed more like 15 or 20 minutes at the most. She made it through the initial worm holes in several minutes, spent several more minutes on the beach with the Alien - and then as she later testified, an instant later she was beamed back to Earth as she splashed down. How does this possibly add up to 18 hours, when the trip was really only several minutes long? We were seeing the trip in her time, as it actually unfolded.
Corrected entry: When Angela Bassett is speaking during the Press Conference, she mentions that the Signal was discovered at 6:31 a.m. Mountain Time. New Mexico is probably in Mountain Time zone, therefore this time would be accurate in the early morning. But Ellie actually discovers the Signal while lying on her car during the evening/dusk, and rushes back to the control room, where they work through the night processing the signal and discovering the Primes. In fact, one of the guys working there mentions that they have to do something soon, as Vega would be setting, meaning it was becoming night.
Corrected entry: When Haddon is showing Ellie's life story to her on his plane, he mentions that she turned down a teaching position at Harvard in order to do research work for SETI at Aericibo. But the video clips he is playing for her at that point show her actually teaching from a podium, using a screen behind her. This implies that she was physically teaching at Harvard, although in reality she never took the teaching position in the first place.
Corrected entry: Ellie drives her jeep to confront Drumlin after learning he's pulling the plug on their research funding. She begins her typical argument, "there are 400 billion ." and he cuts her off with, "two possibilities: 1) they're so far away you'll never contact them, or 2) there's nothing out there but noble gasses and carbon compounds" . (ahem) the top 10 elements of which our local sun is comprised are: Hydrogen, Helium, Oxygen, Carbon, Nitrogen, Silicon, Magnesium, Neon, Iron and Sulfur (that's two noble gasses out of 10 ?) and isn't carbon-based life what they're looking for? so . carbon-compounds wouldn't be a bad thing to find, now would it? (00:26:45)
Corrected entry: In the scene where the alien machine is activated for the 2nd time. The ships are shown to lean toward the machine (as a result of the gravity field it creates). Boats float orthogonally (horizontally) to the direction of gravity. If the machine generated a gravity field that "pulled" then the ships should be seen tilting away from the machine... in order to float orthogonal to the direction of gravity.
Corrected entry: Towards the end of the film, when they review Foster's footage of her supposed space trip, they note that about 18 hours of static has been recorded, but she was only off the cameras for a split second. Foster claims to have traveled to a distant region of space and claims the trip may have lasted for hours (the camera static supports this), and that the cameras on the machine may have only missed her for a split second "Earth time". But, this contradicts Einstein's special theory of relativity, which states that time will slow down for objects traveling closer to the speed of light (which Foster was doing) relative to objects at rest (observers on earth). If Foster truly traveled for almost 18 hours, as she states, and as her camera records, then it would be impossible for the stationary observers on Earth to see her gone for only a split second. They would have to had to recorded her as being gone for far, far longer than 18 hours.
Corrected entry: When Ellie discovers her father has died, as she descends down the stairs from the second floor, the stairwell is on the left side of the center hall (relative to the front door), and the room where the spilled popcorn comes from is on the right side of the center hall. When she turns to run up the stairs, the shot is flipped, with the stairs on the right side of the center hall, and the room with the spilled popcorn on the left side. (00:21:55 - 00:22:30)
Corrected entry: Some of the world's most brilliant physicists would have been involved in the project, but when they see Ellie's capsule drop straight through to the bottom, they all dismiss the project as a failure and no one seems to back Ellie's testimonies. How could these physicists neglect to weigh up all the different possibilities? After all, they are conducting an experiment that is far beyond conventional science. Ellie herself is a brilliant scientist, so how did she neglect to check the footage recorded by her helmet cam and use it as evidence?
Corrected entry: In the public inquiry at the end, Ellie says she was gone "approximately 18 hours". But this contradicts what she says right after the capsule lands: "What day is this? How long was I gone?" So how did she come up with 18 hours? We do find out after the inquiry is over that her headset, conveniently, recorded 18 hours of static, but this was kept secret by the investigating committee. So Ellie didn't know that; in fact, she had no way of knowing how long she was gone.
Corrected entry: Hadden tells Ellie that the zero gravity and low oxygen environment aboard Mir is slowing the progress of his cancer. Quite apart from this being medically absurd, he isn't breathing Mir's atmosphere - he has a nasal air line installed.
Corrected entry: After the signal from Vega has been established to contain an encrypted message, some of the world's most skillful cryptographs are set to decrypt it. After weeks without any success, Mr. Hadden finally reveals the solution to Ellie - the squares making up the message have to be put together like cubes rather than in a 2D grid. This seems fair enough from a cinematic point of view, because it gets Ellie back on the track. However, it is hardly logical. In reality, one of the first things a skillful cryptograph would do when getting those squares with markings in the corners would be to try putting them together like cubes. Thus the message would have been decoded in much less than a week.
Corrected entry: When Jodie Foster comes down off the helicopter, she and Tom Skerritt are interviewed on the spot (that happens minutes before the explosion of the first engine). This interview last about 3 or 4 minutes, at most. But if you look in the background, you will see a countdown panel. At the beginning of the interview, it shows 2h01 and at the end, it shows 1h53 instead of the expected 1h57.