Arrival: The Sci-fi We’ve Been Waiting For

Monday, November 28, 2016 (Issue #3)
by Victoria Arbour, Staff Writer

.   .   .

1 hr 58 mins
Science Fiction/Mystery

In the movie Arrival, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner whose mission is to make contact with one of 12 alien objects that have touched down on Earth.

Arrival, directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Eric Heisserer, is told from the point of view of Louise Banks, a linguistics professor who must race against time to communicate with the aliens before tensions across the globe reach breaking point.

The movie meaningfully delves into the concepts of communication and time. “Language is the first weapon drawn in a conflict,” is one of the quotes from the movie and is featured on its Twitter page. The film also daringly plays with time and perception in a way that leaves the audience pondering their own lives and decisions.

The film, based on a short story by Ted Chiang called “Story of Your Life”, is a transformative experience. The image of an oblong-shaped spacecraft levitating in the middle of an open field is haunting. Arrival is so expertly crafted and realistic that one feels as if he or she is getting to peak into a real-life alien invasion. Suiting up in radiation-proof suits, terror and fear in the eyes of the crew, and fingers brushing against the unfamiliar material of the spacecraft send shivers down your spine. The foreboding atmosphere is misty and overcast.

When a character asks what the aliens look like, “You’ll see soon enough” is the enigmatic reply. When the aliens are revealed, they are shrouded in a white smoke that lends a welcome aura of mystery.

“Language is the first weapon drawn in a conflict.”

The music by two-time Oscar nominee and Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson is other-worldly and eerie and the question throughout the movie, “what is your purpose here?”, echoes in the mind of the audience.

The biggest complaint regarding the film seems to stem from the insecurity of the audience itself. With movies like Interstellar setting the precedent for confusing endings and complex—sometimes even pretentious—intellectual speech, moviegoers seem less assured as to whether they grasped the concepts conveyed. Perhaps this is a reflection on the scientific community failing to keep the changing genre of science fiction accessible.

Some movies are meant to take up just an hour or two of your time and very little mental energy; Arrival is not that; Arrival will occupy your thoughts long after your departure.


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