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YMMV / Contact

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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 (meaning just about everyone else) who don't understand the science as well as she does, he is very good at explaining things so regular people can understand. It's as if Sagan separately identified the two aspects of himself; the personable lecturer and the passionate scientist. Without the connection to humanity he would be as arrogant as Ellie, without the science he would be as cynical about the universe as Drumlin.
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    • 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.
  • Anvilicious: When the international committee is interviewing Drumlin and Ellie in order to decide which one goes through the machine, the question of religion comes up. Ellie honestly says she is an atheist, while Drumlin portrays himself as deeply religious. Afterwards Ellie confronts Drumlin in private as she knows him enough to know he's not religious. Drumlin flat out says he told the committee members what they wanted to hear. Aaand then Joseph the fundie sneaks into the Machine — with Drumlin too much of a coward to test it himself, and too much of a glory hound to be paying attention to his lackeys — and blows him up. He got into bed with religion to win at all costs, and religion killed him via suicide bomber - so either the dangers of fundamentalism itself or the dangers of trying to use such elements for personal gain. Subtle Zemeckis is not.
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  • Designated Hero: Palmer can come off 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 the Love Interest.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The scenes of Ellie being upset about losing her position at the Arecibo Observatory became this after it was revealed in November 2020 that Arecibo was on the verge of collapse due to two of its support cables failing, one of which leaving a huge gash in the dish itself. It was deemed too dangerous to repair and slated to be decommissioned, and then it collapsed on December 1st, 2020.
  • 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.
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    • 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.
    • The word "vegan" means a whole different thing 23 years later, so modern audiences are apt to be confused by this film's use of it and wonder why the characters are mispronouncing it (vea-gan vs. vee-gin). What, the aliens don't eat meat? Well, good for them!
  • Memetic Mutation: First Rule of Government Spending; Why build one when you can build two at twice the price?Explanation 
    • "They should have sent a poet" tends to crop up whenever someone is otherwise in Stunned Silence by something they find awe-inspiring.
  • Narm: When Drumlin says Ellie won't be taken seriously as a scientist with her SETI work, she shouts back "So what?! It's my life!", a line that makes her sound more like a petulant teenager than a grown-up scientist.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Hitler speech video. The noise from the message is in sync with chanting "Seig Heil! Seig Heil! Seig Heil..."
  • One-Scene Wonder: Unsurprisingly, John Hurt sells the Hell out of his two scenes as S.R. Hadden.
    • Jake Busey is absolutely chilling in his small role as Joseph, the religious fanatic who destroys the first transport in a suicide bombing.
  • 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.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Jena Malone as young Ellie in the flashbacks to her childhood.
  • Strawman Has a Point: 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.
  • Tear Jerker: All of Ellie's backstory, especially when her father dies suddenly.
    • Earlier in the film, while Ellie talks about making contact with faraway places with her dad, she asks if they can contact her deceased mother. Her dad says even the most powerful radio in the world can't reach that far. After her dad's funeral, the flashback ends with her desperately trying to contact her dad in vain.
  • Technology Marches On: Sagan lampshades this in the "Author's Note" section.
    My fondest hope for this book is that it will be made obsolete by the pace of real scientific discovery.

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

  • Misaimed Marketing: Atlus marketed this game as a quasi-EarthBoundish title due to the "quirky" Retraux art style and humor, and although the tone is indeed quirky, it's not quite Earthbound-y.
  • Good Bad Bugs: A double-edged one — your Stat Grinding is supposed to have diminishing returns as you outlevel the enemies, but the Anti-Slash stat erroneously scales this to the Slash stat instead of to itself. So if you knew this in advance you could max out Anti-Slash against the crabs on the first island, by making sure not to hold a blade until then. If you didn't know this, you might find this one defensive trait inescapably locked at a pitifully low level and never know why.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Terry recharges one EP if he kills two enemies between skill uses (three if he started with 0). There is no other way to recharge EP. This makes EP very hard to come by and all skills feel Too Awesome to Use at any time other than when you're maxed out (at a paltry 5 points) and don't want to waste the recharge.

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