Revealing mistake: When Ellie is traveling through space, she unbuckles herself from the chair to retrieve the compass. The chair then breaks off from the violent movements of the space pod, and slams up against the ceiling. At this moment, Ellie is in deep space in a completely weightless environment. She is floating, suspended in the pod and the chair itself floats a bit before being slammed upwards by the force of the pod movement. But, some small parts of the chair (bolts, etc.) are seen falling directly down, towards us in obvious full gravity; revealing that the scene was actually shot in normal gravity.
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).
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