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Contact 1997 movie spoiler warning

During her spaceflight, Ellie's chair detached while flying through the third Einstein-Rosen Bridge. Michael Kitz and company assumed Ellie to be a liar and that she never left the Earth. Since they judge her flight (or fall, as they believe) only upon the video footage, there is absolutely no explanation why the chair would detach during the capsule's fall, and why Ellie would have become unfastened. Why didn't they bother about that? Is it just something the movie forgot about, or is there an explanation in the novel?

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  • It's not that the ball didn't drop into the net and get bashed around.
    – Valorum
    Jun 5, 2021 at 13:01
  • @Valorum It fell softly onto a net. There is no consideration of being "bashed around". The extraterrestrials built the machine so that all would go well. No too high g-forces.
    – Strider
    Jun 5, 2021 at 13:14
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    Falling into a net from hundreds of feet up isn't my idea of a soft landing, no matter how stretchy it is.
    – Valorum
    Jun 5, 2021 at 13:31
  • @Valorum The guy on the ship spoke to Ellie about "minimum safety requirements" so that Earthlings couldn't allow for too high g-forces either. My guess is that you would feel about 2g when falling into the net. She actually fell from about halfway the footage fall, btw.
    – Strider
    Jun 5, 2021 at 13:36
  • Wasn't the net a human addition to the design? Jun 5, 2021 at 22:10

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They did not bother about it because they already knew that Ellie did not drop simply into the net. At the end of the movie, there is a short dialogue between Rachel Constantine and Michael Kitz, in which Rachel says how she is not interested in the fact that Ellie's camera just recorded static, but that she is interested in the fact that it recorded eighteen hours of static. To which Kitz responds with a knowing face, "That is interesting, isn't it". So he does not need to reconcile his version of events with the fact of the broken chair, because he already knows that, whatever really happened, his version of events is a lie.

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    18 hours and she didn't even bring a shell from the Beach. Like in Gibson's Hinterlands "But when he opened her right fist, something spun free and tumbled in slow motion a few centimeters from the synthetic quartz of his faceplate. It looked like a seashell." Jun 5, 2021 at 22:08
  • I thought when Kitz said this, he was actually astonished. Why would he want to absolutely deny Ellie's journey?
    – Strider
    Jun 6, 2021 at 5:28
  • @DavidTonhofer The beach was an illusion of Pensacola. I understood it the way that the planet actually looked different but was made look like Pensacola to Ellie. The quadruple star system Ellie sees from above the planet is another illusion, it looks very similar to the one on the image painted by Ellie you can see when she is with Palmer Joss in her home in Arecibo.
    – Strider
    Jun 6, 2021 at 5:31

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