Film Review: Arrival

Updated on December 21, 2016
Source

We Can Understand Aliens Better Than We Can Each Other.

“Arrival” is, yet, another sci-fi film that flirts with the age-old concept of human contact with non-human intelligent life on Earth. “Arrival” stars Academy Award nominees Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker. Directed by Denis Villeneuve and based on a novella by Ted Chiang, “Arrival” tells the tale of Louise Banks (Adams), a depressed linguistics professor, who becomes embroiled in a major world crisis when twelve U.F.O’s appear out of nowhere across the globe. Recruited by the US Army, Banks is asked to translate the alien’s immensely inaudible language by the impatient Colonel Weber (Whitaker) to provide an answer to two pressing questions: why did they come and what do they want?

The tension throughout the film is dense and thick, like a Mexican standoff, only this time it is between the soldiers and the scientists. Mainly because governments worldwide are on pins and needles, terrified of the aliens’ unknown intentions, and are looking for any reason to unleash hell upon the alien spacecraft. The scientists, on the other hand, want to actually discern whether the aliens have come in peace or not. The tension culminates when American troops grow tired of playing the bench and that is when things go from manageably bad to just bad. “Arrival” paints, and breathes life, into a fine portrait of a world ever so quick to rush to judgment and adopt extreme reactionary postures. It is almost as if Villeneuve is condemning humanity’s “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality, which if he is, he should be applauded just for that alone.

While all three stars contributed fair, and equal, parts of believability, it is Adams who wins the day with her innocent Fox Mulder-like performance. Though the film itself is, at times, slow moving and guilty of more than a few moments of borderline boredom and theatre seat numbness. It is only because those scenes are when the science takes over via theoretical physicist Dr. Ian Donnelly (Renner). It still manages to never lose its “payoff” factor, that build-up to when your senses burst once you realize the big picture. That factor is very much alive, and well, it just takes a while for it to get there. However, given the enormity of the subject matter and the concept, I suppose it only makes sense that we reach that point with less speed since we are, after all, only human.

Visually, “Arrival” is an extraordinarily daunting film. An innocent sense of otherworldliness is felt, or easily attainable, when you sit through this film. It starts when Adams enters the “pod” for the first time, then heightens when the partially veiled visage of the ultimate foreign visitors is finally exposed. Though it is not until the echoes of the aliens, and the presentation of their communicative ability through organic symbolic shapes does the sense become full circle.

The way in which the film chose to depict the alien language is enough to make one appreciate the time, and effort, someone in some dark room somewhere put in to create such a language. And not only that, but make it as understandable to an audience with little to no knowledge of linguistics or symbolism, as possible. “Arrival,” unsurprisingly, is already rumored to be a serious contender for a multitude of Oscar nominations, especially in the Best Actress and technical categories.

We shall see if those rumors hold to be true come February of next year. In the meantime, if aliens, world panic, and a pretty redhead (or Jeremy Renner as a scientist for those of you that prefer that sort of thing) sound like hours not wasted to you, then “Arrival” should be your next movie stop. Just brush up on your linguistics before you do.

Dre's Rating

4 stars for Arrival

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)