Factual error: When Mr. Hadden reviews Ellie's life history on his airplane, he says she graduated from MIT 'magna cum laude'. This is impossible, as MIT does not award academic honors to graduates.
A religious fanatic with a bomb strapped to his body breaches security and destroys the transport machine. Dr. David Drumlin, who was chosen over Ellie to make the trip, is killed. Unknown to Ellie, the U.S. government secretly built a second transport machine on Hokkaido Island in Japan. She is chosen to go and travels through a wormhole to Vega. There she meets an alien who appears to her in the guise of her dead father. He tells her that his species did not build the machine, but it was already there when they arrived. Many other species have made contact. Ellie wants to stay and learn more but the alien sends her back, telling her that in time humans will take another step in communicating with them. Ellie returns to Earth. From her perspective the trip lasted about 18 hours, but from the point-of-view of those on Earth, she never left and was only out of contact a few seconds earth time. Not a trace of data was videotaped to prove her trip was real, and many consider her story a hallucination and the machine a total flop. Even Ellie concedes it may not have happened--except the video recording doesn't show seconds of static, but about 18 hours of it. Where was she during that time?
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?
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