If you have ever read Carl Sagan's books, you'll see that this movie touches upon the usual staples of a Carl Sagan read: the foundation of religion vs. the foundation of science, the mutual misunderstanding and struggle between those governed by curious optimism versus those governed by primal fear, and a demonstration of the dangers of a world that depends on science which is filled with so many people who do not understand it.
Some have argued that they find Contact to be "preachy." I don't really see much of a foundation in that assessment of the movie. Just like in real life, the ultimate philosophical answers are left wide open at the end of this movie, leaving it open to many different interpretations. And I think it's refreshing to see a movie that doesn't follow the contemporary pattern of avoiding any serious discussion about morality and philosophy. These are some of the conversations the human race will be forced to have with itself if we want to survive the coming centuries. Recent events since this movie was released and Carl Sagan's death only accentuate the importance of facing this fact.
I love this movie. From the beautiful computer-generated opening sequence, through the middle sequences detailing the main character's relentless and passionate quest for scientific knowledge and exploration, to the adventurous surreal climax, I felt that I had a personal connection with almost every aspect of this movie.