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.
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.
Trivia: Filmmakers George Miller and Francis Ford Coppola both sued Warner Bros. over Contact. George Miller sued for breach of contract (as he was the original director before being fired and replaced by Robert Zemeckis), while Coppola sued because he claimed that he and Carl Sagan (the writer of Contact) had already developed the premise for a TV show in the 1970's which was never produced, before Sagan later used the idea for Contact in 1985. Both suits failed - Miller's firing was within contract and perfectly reasonable, and Coppola was dismissed (twice) because he had taken far too long to sue the company (if he sued when Sagan began working in the 80's, he may have won, but he waited until after the film's release in 1997 to sue).
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?
Join the mailing list
Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.