Contact

Plot hole: During the Congressional hearing, it is suggested that the alien signal could have been faked from a satellite - as Ellie only has her own experience to go on, it leaves her believing what happened, but still with an element of doubt. However, as a professional astronomer, Ellie would have immediately dismissed this since a simple parallax (triangulation) would have confirmed that source was at the distance of Vega - a distance far too great for any rocket to reach. (This is mentioned in the book). In fact, this is mentioned early in the film, when the employees in New Mexico calculate the source of the signal while it is transmitting prime numbers.

Plot hole: After Ellie makes her journey which she firmly believes happened she is questioned as everyone else watched the pod drop straight down into the water. But no mention is made of the chair that is violently shaken loose during her 18 hour journey. If that were to have happened in the split-second the pod fell through she would have been badly injured more than just a bump on the head.

jbrbbt

Factual error: In the zoom-out at the very beginning, we hear broadcasts going back in time as we zoom out through the solar system. However, we hear broadcasts going back through time roughly 40 years. Shouldn't we be 40 lightyears out from Earth to hear them, rather than just in the Oort Cloud beyond Pluto? Radio waves travel at the speed of light like any electromagnetic wave. EM waves should not be confused with sound waves, which move much slower than the speed of light.

More mistakes in Contact

Panel member: If you were to meet these Vegans, and were permitted only one question to ask of them, what would it be?
Ellie Arroway: Well, I suppose it would be, how did you do it? How did you evolve, how did you survive this technological adolescence without destroying yourself?

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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.

Tailkinker

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