Contact

Correction!! I made a small boo-boo.A small team of S.E.T.I. research scientists, led by Dr. Ellie Arroway and amid financial hardship, detect a legitimate alien signal. The discovery triggers a worldwide military, political, and religious upheaval. During which, a transportation device is built based on a schematic embedded in the alien signal. Influencing Ellie in this are three men: One is Dr. David Drumlin, Ellie’s superior who pulled the plug on her research project. He later undermines her role as the discoverer of the alien message and positions himself as the top candidate to make the trip through the transport machine. Another is S. R. Hadden, a billionaire industrialist who financially supported Ellie’s research after her NSF funding was cut. Hadden further assists Ellie during the raging political maelstrom and shares a key element he’s discovered to decipher the alien message. Third is Palmer Joss, a theology vs. technology expert and a religious adviser to the White House. Despite deep religious and philosophical differences, Palmer falls in love with Ellie.

Factual error: The geography around the VLA in New Mexico is actually relatively flat - in fact one of the reasons why the array complex is there is because the land is flat. The canyon in the film was actually Canyon de Chelly, in Arizona, more than 170 miles (270 km) away. But in the film, when Ellie goes to the canyon, the radio antennas seem to be right there, insinuating that the canyon is part of the VLA's magical desert scenery.

solarpilot
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Palmer Joss: What are you studying up there?
Ellie Arroway: Oh, the usual. Nebulae, quasars, pulsars, stuff like that. What are you writing?
Palmer Joss: The usual. Nouns, adverbs, adjective here and there.

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Trivia: The film's opening shot, zooming out from the Earth to outside the galaxy, held the record for the longest completely computer-generated shot for seven years until The Day After Tomorrow in 2004.

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Question: In the few seconds (Earth time) it took for the pod to fall through the time travel device, it would have been impossible for Ellie to have become detached from the safety seat. It would have been even less possible for the seat to have become dislodged from the pod, AND for the seat to smash against the side of the pod with sufficient force crush it. I understand there was a cover-up (e.g., the 18 hours of static on her recording device), but Ellie, herself, would have remembered the dislodged, smashed seat. Why did she never bring it up in defense of her version of the facts? Was there a reason someone knows of, or is this just a plot hole?

Michael Albert

Chosen answer: Ellie defended her version of the facts with everything she had to work with, but the simple fact was that the government cover-up was just too strong for her to overcome. The points you raise are perfectly reasonable, but the version of events released by the powers-that-be denies everything that happened and, without any other proof, Ellie has only her word to convince people with. For some, that's enough, as we see in the film, even if a majority choose to believe the "official" version.

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