YMMV / Contact

YMMV tropes and audience reactions for the novel by Carl Sagan Contact:

  • Clueless Aesop: A subplot that didn't make it into the movie was Ellie's rocky relationship with her mother and chauvinist stepfather, John Staughton - especially as her mother remarried just two years after her doting father, Ted Arroway, died. Turns out that her mother cheated on him with said future stepfather, resulting in Ellie's conception. Sagan describes this as a massive shock to Ellie's worldview - that she had spurned her "real" father in favor of a "fake" - but when one considers how Ted did all he could to encourage Ellie to enrich herself and John refused to pay for Ellie's college because he thought women were too stupid to be scientists, many adoptees would think that Ellie was completely justified in adoring the man they betrayed and giving the Glorified Sperm Donor the cold shoulder. That her mother was too ashamed to admit it while she was alive just makes both of them even more despicable.
  • He Also Did: Carl Sagan, astronomer and famous for the scientific documentary Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, as well as essays and books of scientific and skeptical nature, writing a novel might sound alien for some. Indeed, it's possible to notice common points in this book which are later repeated (or are repeated from) his other works.

YMMV tropes and audience reactions for the 1997 film Contact:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Even in-universe, nobody's sure what Hadden was really after, especially considering how close to death he was. Money? A charitable contribution to mankind's future? Manipulation for its own sake? Scientific discovery? All of the above?
    • Drumlin is very politically savvy and much of what he does lampoons Ellie. However he never does anything bad and unlike Ellie who is very condescending to those (pretty much everyone) who don't understand the science as well as she does he is very good at explaining things so regular people can understand.
    • Kitz is the National Security Advisor. He would be blatantly derelict in his duties if he wasn't skeptical and cautious about everything going on. It is a theme of the movie of course, but Ellie puts a lot of faith in the aliens.
    • Palmer is every bit as unhelpful and obstructive of Ellie as Kitz or Drumlin, for both unscientific and selfishly personal reasons, but gets away with it because he's Matthew McConaughey.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • When the Vegan first walks towards Ellie, his blurry form bears a strong resemblance to the DRR DRR DRR creature.
    • If the film is really taking place around the time it was made, Hadden's trip to Mir oddly predicted Dennis Tito's visit to the ISS 3 years ahead.
    • Matthew McConaughey is in this film, and seventeen years later, it would be his turn to take a ride through a wormhole. Honest Trailers even lampshaded it, dubbing the film "Christopher Nolan's Contact".
    • During the opening trip through the solar system, the chorus from the disco standard "Boogie Oogie Oogie" is played at the exact same time we see the planet Mars. This is somewhat funnier after The Martian, with the running gag that the only music left with Mark Watney on Mars is disco.
  • Magnificent Bastard: S. R. Hadden. There's no other way to put it.
  • Narm Charm: When Drumlin says Ellie won't be taken serious as a scientist with her SETI work, she shouts back "So What?! It's my life!" It makes her sounds more like a petulant teenager than a respected scientist. It actually got a laugh when this troper saw the movie in a theater.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Hitler speech video. The noise from the message are in sync with chanting "Seig Heil! Seig Heil! Seig Heil..."
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: Most people recognize the film due to its high-profile Troubled Production as well as the negative publicity surrounding then-president Bill Clinton making an unauthorized cameo as well as those of real-life CNN personalities.
  • Strawman Has a Point/Wrong Genre Savvy: Kitz is a total jerkass, but when you think of it, his fears aren't that stupid as they sound in context. At one point he even asks Ellie directly about why she thinks the aliens must be benign.
    • Near the end of the book, Ellie starts to wonder if she has been selling him short. Given that personal experience vs. objective evidence is a major theme of the book this portrayal may be deliberate.
      • In the movie, it comes full circle: Kitz discovers definitive evidence that the aliens are real, but suppresses it to maintain the status quo. But he also gives Ellie a blank check for future SETI research. He's a politician - he's playing all the angles.
  • Visual Pun: The use of the slingshot effect while in the wormhole causes Ellie to look like she's being stretched back in one direction then sent flying in the opposite.

YMMV tropes and audience reactions for the 2006 video game Contact: