|Yes, contact *is* a subtle movie, and it *does* rely on the watcher to fully realize things. I am a fan of the movie and book nonetheless.|
Jeffrey explained things well.
My initial majorish complaint with the movie was that the knowledge of 18 hours of static was never widely known, and that Ellie (Foster) was fine with it; I remember her lecturing a group of visiting schoolchildren to the Very Large Array (of telescopes) on always asking questions, and pondering the universe. This, instead of passionately defending the truth of her story where she should have been.
However, a straightforward triumph over unreason may have been too neat and un-thoughtprovoking.
May have the message of the movie been, for some, "Aliens do really exist"? perhaps, for the uninitiated watcher.
May have it been, "have faith in your reason"? I hope not, but perhaps so for some.
Was it, "truth is attainable"? Yes.
Should and could it have been, "reason trumps"? probably.
Regardless, the book takes a more abstruse turn; it regards science and religion, and for me, was an expression of the elegance and majesty Sagan saw in the universe, probably too abstract for a major motion picture. However, the film does well sticking to one premise of the book.
I highly recommend the book, too. I read it when I was fourteen or so, and admired Ellie, the epitomal heroine, who, at twleve years old, seeks the nature of calculus and pi (whose nature, and a meaning of the book, is revealed for a spellbinding denoument!), and Hammond, the eccentric/genius/iconoclast capitalist.
And the movie; fine acting, decent special effects, thoughtful, and Jodie Foster. Go rent/buy it!
PS. Mr. Small, you ought to post more often; 1 post after 700+ members have joined?