The idea of the movie is great, going through what it would be like to discover an alien signal for the first time is an intriguing idea. However the premise of the movie isn't what bothered me, it's more of what the movie was actually about.
Contact begins very awkwardly, it tries to give you some sort of backstory on the main character and it my opinion it was completely unneeded. The story about her father dying should have been irrelevant to a story about aliens, right? The problem was, the movie isn't about aliens, it's about religion vs. science. You don't notice this at first, but it becomes painfully obvious after the first hour.
Forgetting the first part ever happened, the next part of the story is quite entertaining. The scene where they are first getting the signal was incredible and the subsequent scenes of dissecting the code was just as good.
Matthew McConaughey plays a religious man that is the love interest of Jodie Foster's character and from what I gather the producers decided to do this to play to audiences emotions, I guess? When you look at great sci-fi movies like Alien and The Thing, imagine if they had shoe-horned a romance in there, would they had still been great movies? To this day this kind of thinking in Hollywood exists, they feel as if they don't have a romance in their movie it would be incomplete which is ironic because the opposite is true in my opinion.
The entire religious aspect of the movie was also unneeded. I am not a religious man, but the way they portrayed the religious people in this show was ridiculous. The LAST thing you would expect in a sci- fi movie is a heavy religious overtone.
Looking at some plot-holes, why didn't they stock Ellie's capsule with food in case she was gone for a long time? No space suit either? It seems like these people are some of the most unprepared astronauts ever. Also Vega is 26 light years away, which is actually right next door to us, to think an alien civilization that is capable of opening wormholes doesn't utilize radio waves is a bit unbelievable.
All things considered, it's a good movie with a ton of bloat. It could have easily have been 90 minutes long if they had cut out all of the things I mentioned above. It would have been an 8/10 if it hadn't of tried to give us a moral lesson.